Check out this pic of me when I was a kid with my Christmas smile and a super cool electric guitar in hand.
You can’t tell but something isn’t right…
Back then I was taking guitar lessons from my Father. My Grandfather, in his early career, was a professional guitar player and a prominent bandleader. He taught my Father how to play guitar, and I can only imagine how thrilled they were that I was playing the guitar.
At the time of this picture, my Grandfather owned a guitar shop in Brooklyn where he fixed up the electric guitar that I’m holding in the picture. It was Christmas morning and I’m surprised at how thrilled I look holding that guitar.
The truth of the matter is…
Behind the smile I was wearing, I hated taking guitar lessons and learning from the book that I was studying. Within a week from the date of this picture I gave them back the guitar and told them I never wanted to play guitar again.
The next time I even touched a guitar was around the age of 24. I also decided I was too cool to stay in chorus once I reached the Junior High School and quit that as well, once again never to sing again until the age of 24.
At 24 years old I was in the Marines and stationed in California. Some Marine Corps friends were sharing an apartment out in town, and I went over one day to a party. When I arrived, 15 people were sitting around the living room, and they were passing a guitar around.
My friend Tai, who was a musician, was trying to teach them how to play the opening riff from “Blister in the sun” by the Violent Femmes. The melody behind the following lyric – “When I’m walking I strut my stuff, and I’m so strung out, I’m high as a kite, and I just might stop to check you out.”
That’s when it happened…
It’s a relatively simple three-note riff, and no one seemed to be able to play it. As I was watching I’m thinking to myself, “Give me that guitar, I could play that”. When the guitar got to me, I played the riff with no problem and my love for music was instantly ignited. Tai had an extra guitar and he let me borrow it to play in the barracks. I’ve played guitar just about every single day since then. That was over 20 years ago.
When I told my Dad, who was still an avid guitar player, that I was playing guitar, it must have thrilled him. He immediately grabbed an old acoustic guitar that was laying around the house, fixed it up and shipped it out to California. It was a beauty, and I had my very own guitar, my first guitar!
To say I became obsessed is an understatement. The guitar became, and has remained till this day, an integral part of my life, my creativity, and my soul. I even began the long journey to recover my vocal abilities. It’s been a long but beautiful road.
It’s one that I cherish immensely and attribute to saving my life on numerous occasions. I’m finally ready, after all this time, to share that blessing with the world.
Here’s me playing guitar in front of an original collaborative painting named “Open arms” at Theceeflat Gallery in Brooklyn
Here’s the lesson I learned…
The reason I’m sharing this story is to encourage you to honor your dreams and your passions. Even if you’re just dating them and enjoying the learning experience, there’s a blessing hidden in there. It’s good for your soul, and you might become great at them. It’s never too late to try something you always wanted to do.
I encourage you to do it. Although our lives are short, they’re also considerably long. I’ve gotten 20+ years of enjoyment out of playing the guitar/singing, and there are so many years of happiness ahead.
At the beginning of the year I promised I’d be sharing my musical endeavors with everyone and the time has come to make that a reality. I’ve opened a Soundcloud account to share the music that I’ve written. Keep in mind that these are self-produced scratch tracks in Garage Band. They are not professionally mastered songs, but I felt it was essential to share anyway.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share the other half of my creative soul with you. Many blessings to you and the passions in your own life. The world needs the gifts that you bring. Let’s share more often and celebrate. Let me know what gifts you want to share with the world in the comments…