Kille-Artist from Kent. One of the most talented musicians I will ever meet.

The Middle Part 3-Emotions in music

So far so good. I was exploring chords and songwriting, finding out what made pretty sounds. I was having a fun time stringing chords together to make progressions and putting music to words that my brain thought of. I found it was quite therapeutic. Now I find it very therapeutic. As I have mentioned I tend to write when things are not going too well. The side effect of this is composing actually makes me worse! I find I wallow in it, to drain every last drip of whatever it is so I can make the most of it.

Music is a powerful force and can help people through difficult times. It also helps create lasting memories. I have quite often found I want to have the backing music that you hear in films to help me through dilemmas and problems. It’s not all depressing though. Music can really lift my mood and though I find it a struggle sometimes to listen to a happy track, I find that it does help.

The Middle Part 2

So continuing the story of my musical journey, I started to really get into songwriting. It’s funny looking back at my old lyrics and seeing all the cliches that get trotted out. However some things I think remain constant in all of us. For me, one of the constants as far as my songwriting is concerned is I can only write when I am unhappy.

I can write songs under any mood, but it seems the ones that grab me, the ones that make the hair stand up on my palms are the ones that reflect some kind of emotional turmoil. Usually about a woman. Even now, I go through sporadic phrases of productivity when I am feeling melancholy, or worse. I am not entirely sure why. To a certain extent I understand that it is my subconcious dealing with issues, I just seem to be pre-programmed to create my finest when I am a dribbling wreck.

Looking back over my lyrics over the years that’s my main constant. From relationship break-ups to women that float through my life that I seem to fall for. Ah yes the un-requited love. What fun that is! I still have my first book of lyrics that I wrote whilst I was under the magical spell of teenage hormones and misplaced affection for a girl at school.

She occupied my every waking, and sleeping moment (more or less). Little did she know how much she would impact on me finding out that I am somewhat a slightly more sensitive chap than the usual. Though much water has passed under that bridge, I am still aware of thought processes that can trace their roots back to how that relationship panned out.

We all have a mojo of some sort. What’s yours?

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The Middle

I was starting to love the guitar. My Dad said he would buy me and electric if I started off on an acoustic. Which is supposedly the “right” way. Being a rebel without a clue I said “nahhhhh…” and jumped right in with the electric.

So there I was, a scrawny 14 year old, playing out fantasies of being a rock god in my cupboard of a bedroom. Playing along to my sisters copy of Bon Jovi Slippery When Wet (on tape!)..rewinding to go over that solo again and again. I remember the joy of hitting the right note at the same time as Richie Sambora..clearly I was a natural. Forget the fact that I had trouble finding all the other notes in the solo… Not having any song books with tablature I learnt to play by ear. A fragemented approach but extremely rewarding. I don’t have perfect pitch (which I have heard..excuse the more of a curse than a blessing) but I can nail pretty much any note or melody down thanks to those years of..” ahh.. here it is!”

Still, I persevered. Getting accustomed to power chords was a life changing moment. BAHLAANNGG!!! Lovely stuff. I lacked a whammy bar on my Encore sadly, and it would be a few years before I would experience the joy of dive-bombs and gargle notes a la Vai. I remember the action on the Encore was frightening (don’t blame the tools..) which made string-skipping an Olympic event.

My early musical influences were certainly more melodic than technical. Though at the time Richie Sambora sounded like a guitar god (and he is under-rated I think), his style isn’t overly technical. Coupled with listening to Mark Knopfler (who I will defend to the death as one of the most tasteful guitarists) my ears were bending towards melody and taste rather than outright technical ability.

All of this started to make me think about writing my own songs. I still have somewhere my very first attempt at writing a song using the aforementioned power chords. As my very first attempt it was..poor. I may well upload it here (shall I? It is bad…) after I have sorted some sort of copyright, though who would want to steal the glorious lyrics that make up “Sharper Than a Knife” I do not know..


The Beginning…

So some bright spark said to me about blogging about my music as I am a little more active now than..ever. This will eventually have pictures, videos and songs to download if anyone wished..

This is my musical blog of all things…music. Indeed. Music is a massive part of my life, and probably 95% of what I am. With the other 5% being comprised of any necessary bodily functions. Strangely enough for something that has been such a huge part of me my music has always struggled to find a pulse outside of the bedroom.
So how did it all begin? Well children, get a drink and snuggle up with these digitised words if you wish.
Various things have held this back a little including suffering from the “bedroom curse” (just one more technique/lick/ to learn..I’ll just get this tapping right and then waheyyy..!) and a slight sense of “I’m not really good enough”, have all contributed to a lack of confidence as a performer of sorts.
In answer to my own question (the “how did it all begin” question), I don’t really know. I didn’t have that eureka moment when I heard someone play and thought “I want to do that”. I just remember flicking through the Argos catalogue and seeing an Encore Black electric guitar complete with headphone amp. £80 (or thereabouts). Which just so happened to be the same amount of money in my bank account.
Having thought about wanting to play the guitar (and practising fingerings on a ruler of all things to Alice Coopers’ Poison… I still love that song!) for a few days I decided to take the plunge. I withdrew my dosh and gave it to my Mum who in her lunch hour trundled down to Argos and picked up the guitar.
She was cursing me for days. I wasn’t aware guitars came in triangular boxes which are hard and awkward to carry. Oops.. Thanks Mum!
I remember cracking open the brown box. With a swift brush of my hand the plastic sheeting was torn excitedly from the top of the guitar and there she lay…a shiny black electric Encore. A virgin neck waiting for my fingers to dance across it. Pulling the Encore from its temporary cardboard coffin I sat on my bed all excited. This is the golden ticket to every kind of naughty thing a 14 year old urchin could imagine. Which is a lot. I will be famous in a matter of months! Because playing guitar is really easy, I thought…
This will be a doddle. I have seen some people play on the telly. They just move their fingers like this..and…
Why doesn’t it sound good? Turns out it’s a bit more tricky than I thought.
After boldly going where my fingers hadn’t been before, I managed to play the Eastenders theme tune in front of Clare and Madeleine…with my thumb. Good work. Slowly (and I mean sloowwwwllllyyyy) I started to pick with my right fingers to start off with. I didn’t own a plectrum or any music books at this point. Instead I started to listen to my Dads music.
Duane Eddy, The Shadows, John Williams. Trying to find the notes they played on the guitar was difficult to say the least. Probably because the Encore was out of tune. Tuning? What was that? After fumbling around like a fumbly thing for a few weeks my parents took me to Music Bay in Cheriton where a very helpful chap (Dave…he’s the guvnor and knows everything..) helped me out with a few bits and pieces. Some of my parents’ £’s later I owned a Music Bay guitar strap, a few plectrums and an Osborne guide to playing the guitar.
Looking inside and stumbling across tablature originally confused me. What were these numbers? Of course being on the way to full on adult male-ness I had already developed the skill of not reading the instructions… So I sat confused for a few minutes thinking, “I don’t have a finger 12, or 18″ (though I am from the Marsh and that is more likely than most places..).
Ahh…it refers to the fret number. Clever. After a few days…BLUDDY HELL!! Fingers hurt… and they kept hurting. In fact I gave it up for a few weeks thinking I would never be quite good enough.
Funny how things don’t change..
Over time my fingers toughened up and I had managed to acquire a Park G10 amplifier. Made by Marshall. A full 10 watts of solid state transistor ecstasy. Now I can make proper guitarity noises!
From that point on I thought, yeah me like this a lot… And I started to get a bit of a knack for it. and that’s when the fun started…