How losing 100 pounds has made me a better musicia
Current mood: peaceful
It's been a while since I've been super active in the community, probably about 2 years or so. And I must say that quite a lot has happened since then.
For one, I completed my Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish, and I'm now going to a different school in a new city to get my teaching certification. It's been a long road, and I didn't think I'd ever be saying this, but I am very grateful for the last 5 years in school.
Of course, the most significant thing that has happened to me, and probably the main reason why I haven't been too active in the UG community, is because I've gone through some pretty significant life changes in the last 2 years.
As the "fat kid" since as long as I can remember, going through my teenage years that way was definitely tough. I was definitely able to fake my way through high school, using self-deprecating humor in order to offset the insults that were constantly being thrown at me.
But the only time that I was truly happy was when I was playing the guitar.
I loved how absolutely anything was possible on the instrument, and how there were an infinite number of styles that I could indoctrinate into my own. I loved that feeling of accomplishment that came with learning that next seemingly "impossible" song, and how it would eventually become one of the easiest songs in your repertoire to play. I loved how I seemed to have a knack for writing instrumentals that would draw an audience, which has slowly but surely been expanding bit by bit as the years go on.
And yet outside of the guitar, much of my existence seemed so unfulfilled.
I found it virtually impossible to get a date, even with girls that I wasn't really all that interested in. At my heaviest I weighed around 280 pounds. Aside from just relationships, my weight had also prevented me from getting my glider pilot's license through the Royal Canadian Air Cadets program, which to this day is something I regret somewhat.
Eventually it got to the point where I was head over heels for this girl who was just using me for the attention. I got really depressed and thought about calling it quits. Life, I mean.
And in the end, the only thing that came between me and this terrible decision was a dream that I had fostered since I was 14 years old. I wanted to be one of the greats, just like my idols - Eddie Van Halen, David Gilmour, Steve Vai etc. I wouldn't let the so-called real world take me out for good.
Since that day just over 2 years ago, through running 40 minutes a day 6 days a week and having a proper diet, I have really managed to turn my life around. Not only has the loss of 100 pounds made me more confident with women and society in general, but it has also allowed me to play the guitar with zero inhibition.
Before, when I was playing, even on my best days I would always be thinking to myself that people were judging me on my weight, and not my playing. It felt like no matter how much effort I put in, they would never be able to just appreciate the music for what it was, which is not sights, but sounds. I should also mention that my fingers became a lot more nimble, and thus my speed increased seemingly overnight.
The real profound difference was that I was also able to start singing. I'm by no means perfect yet, but just the fact that I am no longer afraid of how other people will judge me as a person means that I am no longer afraid of putting my voice out there. And I've developed a fantastic percussive-acoustic style that is no doubt due to me actually being physically fit enough to pull it all off.
Being able to put myself out there in the world more has meant that I've a plethora of new experiences. And all of these new influences have vastly improved my songwriting ability, and has given me even more confidence that one day I will make it and my dreams will be realized.
I don't know how much further I have to go, only how far I have come. And if I could go through that blistering inferno and only become stronger, then there's no way I'm going to stop now.
I'm sorry I've been away from the community for so long, but I've had to deal with a lot of my inner demons, and I've grown up a lot in the process. I don't like to talk about this stuff at all, as it's very personal to me, but at the same time I really want to use my story to help people in some way.
All I can say is that if you're overweight and unhappy, then let my story give you the strength and the courage to overcome it. I had never even known what it was like to be a healthy body weight, and somehow I managed to find it after many trials and tribulations. If you're a musician with a dream, then let this story propel you forth in those times of weakness when you think about quitting, or that you're not as good as you want to be.
So long as you keep believing, it will happen for you in the end.
Why Don't You Just Piss Off!(That One Guitar Tech)
Current mood: Fucking Pissed
Hi, I haven't blogged anything in a while, probably because it's a huge waste of my fucking time. But fuck it, here I am with another aspect of the guitar world that hits me like the fat off a beaver's ass.
You know what pisses me off? Noobs especially can relate to this asshole. I want you to just visualize this: you, still a guitar noob, walk into a guitar store, eager to buy your first/second axe, or maybe do some funky modifications that you read about somewhere on the internet to your current axe. You walk up to the counter, or find some guy hanging around not doing anything. You inevitably find yourself running into the giant, skeletal figure with insanely huge fingers, long, nicely kept hair, and a Children of Bodom t-shirt on. You know right away that this son' bitch knows what's what just from his godly appearance. Carefully you approach him, with almost a sense of nervousness.
And that's when you open your mouth...
You try your hardest to sound like you know what you're talking about. Maybe you'd seen your favorite guitar heroes using a whammy bar, and mention to him that you want to sound like Eddie Van Halen or some shit like that. This typical "asshole" will probably laugh at you outright, knowing that you're a noob and that he's a million times better than you. That makes you feel pretty shitty, but you respect that this man most likely IS a million times better than you, and that you can't argue that shit with him. So then he says, "So, what, do you want a floyd rose trem?" Fuck! Your research into the instrument had not gotten that far, and you panic. You don't want to look like a complete retard, so you don't ask him up front WHAT exactly a floyd rose trem is. You kind of just scratch your head for a minute, trying your hardest to find an easy out. You run out of options, and then you just blurt out what you believe is the safe answer.
"No, I want the one that Eddie uses. The one that makes his guitar squeal!"
And so, the story ends with him making you feel even more shitty, telling you that you don't know the first thing about guitar, harmonics or whammy bars. He tells you what you'll need to do, yes, but not before he rips out your soul and stabs it with a thousand needles. You'd think you'd be happy that he gave you some good advice, but actually...
The thing about this asswipe of a guitar tech is that you can find one in EVERY guitar store. I swear to God, sometimes I try to avoid talking to techs altogether on the off-chance that I might run into this prick. Even though I'm pretty confident in my knowledge of the guitar and its various accessories, I know that this little fuck will find a way to piss me the fuck off. I'd love to tell this guy that he is a douche, and that if he was such a god he'd be in a godly band making fat cash... HOOKERS AND BLOW MOTHAFUCKA!!! But it all comes down to axe work, and generally, this guy lives and breathes guitar, and you can't even compare.
So hold the fuck on, urgey_rock! Are you trying to say that just because you play like Yngwie Malmsteen AND work in a guitar store makes you both of asshole and douche breeds?
No, I'm just saying THE POTENTIAL IS THERE BIOTCH! But don't worry, because here are three easy things that guitar virtuosos can do to avoid being douchebags working at a guitar store:
1. Have a life outside of the guitar - Yes, I know it sounds impossible, but you can do other things with your time that don't involve the guitar. And I don't mean writing ridiculous blogs like I am currently. Go out with some friends, or, if you don't have any, make some in a fun-filled environment like a bar.
2. Find yerself a woman - Women are often very naggy and will demand your attention in bunches. They are great for taking your mind off of guitar, amirite? But urgey_rock, what if you're a WOMAN who is a douche guitar-tech?! Then God help us all...
3. Don't work at a guitar store - If all else fails, and you find that you are inevitably a perma-douche, then just quit your job right now, because no one wants to handle that shit. Please... just... fucking... leave...
If you are an asstech, and refuse to get my professional help, then Why Don'y You Just Piss Off?!
You know what pisses me off? When you get all of these aspiring new, young guitarists who think that skills come from their wallets. I mean, what real relation is there between shredding hardcore and fat cash? Well,some might argure that the relationship is gear, but I don't care how much money you put into your new guitars and amps, if you sucked balls then, you'll still suck balls afterwards. They're the guys that make you wish you had that kind of money that you could drop it on a handmade Paul Reed Smith and a Marshall full stack on just a whim. I'm talking about the douchebags who really think that gear will save them in a guitar battle. And then what do we get? A clueless individual flaunting his "pretty V-shaped guitar" not knowing what he is doing onstage.
Granted, as one becomes a better player, gear starts to become an important investment to think about, as it is necessary to encapsulate the sound that one is looking for, and any serious player should definitely look into it. Even still, I've met so many fierce players who have to prioritize their rent over new gear, and yet, they still kick so much ass and sound so professional because they have learned that versatility and the ability to work with shit equipment is fucking important.
Now here's the real bitch of the situation; when they buy their prized guitars and amps, and start playing for a few months, get bored, and decide to let their beautiful piece of wood (the guitar) collect dust in the corner of the room. It's fucking wasteful! You know how people are always talking about people wasting food, and how starving kids in Africa would love to have it? Well this is the musical equivalent, and what a waste it is.
This is really the same with any hobby. There's always the guy who can (or his parents can) afford to take lay down the farm to fund their hobbies before learning what it's all about. Fuck money, fuck capitalism, and fuck you! If you have chosen this forbidden path, then all I gotta say is why don't you just piss off!
You know what fucking pisses me off? Motherfuckers who play guitar only to impress. I mean come on, I love the gals and everything, but when that's the only reason that these son' bitches pick up the damn thing, it's just like "oh beaver piss, another shit-to-mediocre guitarist degrading the catalogue of serious players." As much as I hate power chord rape (as I mentioned before) this shit sucks even more. It'd be like if there were no movie reviews in existence and you were looking to watch something good. You'd have to sift through all of the shit to find it, and when you finally did, you'd wonder, "was it worth it?"
Now I myself am no ninja on the guitar, but god damn, I especially hate it when you're totally just playing your guitar, minding your own business, with a small audience of people just listening to whatever the fuck it is you're doing, when that one mother fucker comes along; I think all of you who have been in the game for a while know who I mean. I'm talking about the guy who can't write his own songs or anything (or at least doesn't try), but instead has forced himself to learn all of the popular songs on the radio that everyone knows and can sing. Well, fair enough, I have no real beefs with most mainstream music, but when he is regarded as the superior player just because he knows how to play something by 3 Doors Down, and you're busting your balls improvising on the side that shit just plain blows. Even though I could care less that a person without knowledge of the instrument might not recognize the next Steve Vai (again not talking about myself) when they see him, it's still a very sad state, and it could really be related to any instrument.
When pure talent loses to the popularity whore, all I gotta say is why don't you just piss off!
I'd just like to say that today is John Evan's 70th birthday, the lesser known keyboardist from Jethro Tull. I don't play the keyboards much, or really even like Jethro Tull much for that matter, but I decided that a random post is better than no post at all. So...
The last couple of years have been great for reunion tours and shows for many great bands, including Van Halen, The Police and Rage Against The Machine just to name a few. But what is, to me anyways, a shotload more interesting is the fact that the legendary Japanese progressive metal band X Japan is reuniting for some shows for the first time in over 10 years. But to really understand the amount of praise they deserve, I should give you a little background...
Basically, in around the year 1997, X Japan was at the top of their game. They had released an album with a countless number of chart-toppers, and had showed true versatility with their tremendous live act. Well, anyways, for a variety of reasons, the band broke up. This disheartened fans, however there was still hope for a tour that it seemed was in the works between 2 of the members. This hope, however, was shot down after one of these two members, one of the lead guitarists Hide, apparently comitted suicide. There is much speculation into whether it was suicide or not, but the end result was still the same.
This devasted both the band and fans alike, six of which attempted suicide (only 3 succeeded). This is what drove the band into their dormant, secluded state, where they have remained for all this time.
However, after 10 years, the band has almost suddenly risen from the ashes. They recorded the single "I.V." for the film "Saw IV," and have announced a few tours in Japan, which may turn into a full-blown world tour.
Many fans, including myself, are anticipating the concert dates without hesitance, and it seems as though the band might release some new material.
All in all, this news kicks some serious ass, and I hope to god I can somehow go to Japan just to even breathe in the event.
You know what really pisses me off? All of these fuckin kids playing the guitar, thinking they're all cool and shit with all of their fucking tricks. I mean come on, they go around impressing they're stupid friends who don't know shit about guitar by exhausting power chords, pinch harmonics, and the fucking whammy bar like they invented the shit! It's a dead fucking horse, stop beating it! And then they go out, start a fucking "rock" band, and sometimes make millions. I mean, I'm all for getting rich and famous, but it's when a bunch of kids who don't even know what a root and a fifth is (aren't I funny today) dress in black and produce an album with material that is completely identical on every fucking song. EVERY FUCKING SONG! I mean, trying to tell the fucking difference between any of these songs would be like trying to identify a particular bee in a swarm of one fucking thousand, while your ears bleed from excessive monotony! Ever heard of an open chord, or maybe a barre chord? "Well that's your opinion!" Well you're right, it is my fucking opinion. It's also my opinion that I wish I was born in the fucking 70's, so I wouldn't have to put up with this shit.
But something I probably almost hate more than those fucking power chords are pinch harmonics. Fuck that! Basically, fuck Zakk Wylde. I know what you're thinking, "Don't you hate on Zakk Wylde!" But I'm not. I know he's an awesome guitarist, but why does every riff he makes have to end with a harmonic squeal?! Ok, well whatever, that's his style, I don't like it, but that's personal taste. But now it seems like every pissant guitarist wants to do the same thing. So why do I hate it so much? Because it's on the verge of becoming the power chord, damnit.
And the whammy bar?! Well, simply put, noise doesn't substitute music, which is what the fucking thing is used for. These "guitarists" will jerk off one of these suckers in the place of a guitar solo. It's like, you're listening to a song, and then the whammy bar makes some annoying bleeps where you know there should be a fucking solo. Fuck that.
And if you don't like it...Well then, Why Don't YOU Just Piss Off!