We’re in the past. I’m about 15 years old. I’m sitting on my bed trying to nail that incredible solo from Joe Satriani’s Crushing Day. I’m getting pissed off. This is hard. Try it again. Argh! Hit a clanger about a quarter of the way in. Start again. Frig. Only got two bars in that time and hit a bad harmonic. Argh. Aaaarrgh! Argh.
My dad walks in.
“What the hell is going on?”
“I’m trying to learn this Joe Satriani solo but it’s impossible!”
Hey! I’ve just popped a new song up on Bandcamp. It started life as a drum beat (you can hear a bit of it in the second half of the solo section) and I decided to chuck a couple of guitars on to see what it sounded like in context. Before I knew it a whole song had tumbled out, lyrics and all. But my singing sucks, so I decided to play the vocal melody on guitar instead. The lyrics are about learning, communicating, reinforcing your opinions with research and discussion, junk like that.
So I was digging through some old photos the other day and thought I might as well scan this one. It was taken when I’d just turned 11 in July 1989.
I was in fifth grade, and I was singing the song “Cry In Shame” by Johnny Diesel and the Injectors at a school assembly during Book Week. Diesel was one of my early guitar heroes. Naturally, being book week everybody had to dress as a character from a book. I was dressed as a rock star from Smash Hits magazine. Because that counts, right? I like that my audience includes a policeman and a princess. My god, I loved that grey stonewash denim jacket so much.
See that red guitar strap? I knitted that myself. It didn’t last too long but I thought it was pretty bitchen.
Oh and the guitar is a 60s Ibanez student acoustic that my next door neighbour gave me. It’s pretty beat up and not particularly collectible but I still have it and it’s kinda cool.
Note also the ultra-sophisticated microphone stand.
So what about I Heart Guitar readers? When did you start playing? Got any photos (embarrassing or otherwise) of your early gigs?
Here’s something I whipped up a few months ago just fer laffs.
In the video I’m using an Ibanez RG550MXX 20th Anniversary reissue in roadflare red (#1083 out of 1987), a Marshall DSL50 head, AxeTrak isolated speaker cabinet, MXR/CAE Boost/Overdrive, and MXR Carbon Copy Delay.
I wrote this one a while ago (the main riff popped into my head while I was strolling around the Melbourne showgrounds between bands at the Big Day Out in about 2004), and I’ve recorded a few versions of it. This one is from about March 2008 I think, but I’m not 100% happy with it yet and I’m sure I’ll rerecord it again some day. This version has been on my Myspace for a while but I always thought the mix sucked, so this morning I whipped up a new mix which tamed some of the harshness of the rhythm guitars, and opened up the dynamics a bit.
This song originally had lyrics, but I never planned to actually sing it myself, so the lead guitar is the vocal melody. We used to play it in my old prog band, The Silent Age, and I played it to a backing track at Shredfest in 2007.
Most of the guitar parts were played on an Ibanez RG7420 with Dimarzio Tone Zone bridge pickup and Blaze neck pickup, but there’s also one track of my homemade Telecaster with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder pickups in the background of a few parts. I used Amplitube 2 for amp modelling, and an Ibanez TR series 5 string bass. Drum sounds are from Toontrack’s Drumkit From Hell Superior.
I just finished recording a new song tonight, and I figured, what’s the fun of having a blog if I don’t put my own stuff on it from time to time? I named this song ‘Travels In Hyperreality’ after the collection of essays by Umberto Eco, one of my favourite authors. The drums aren’t finished and the recording is pretty raw but perhaps some day I’ll record it with a real live drummer in a proper studio, instead of here in my loungeroom. Enjoy!