Jan 25, 2010

Scales, scales, they're good for your skills...

...the more you play, the more it kills.

Scales are one of the major building blocks of playing any instrument. I remember having to memorize and play then in high school band as warm ups every class...and I hated them. Scales are just so boring and I wasn't very good at memorizing them.

I couldn't get myself to play them when I was tooting on the trumpet back in my high school, brass rockin' days, and the same applied in my transition to the strings. Being a self-taught guitarist, I always figured learning scales were one of the best ways to learn the fret board, to strengthen my fretting hand, and to work on my alternate picking, among other things. Unfortunately, it never caught on. I skipped to the fun part, searching the internet for guitar tabs of songs I wanted to learn and strumming away.

So here I am, close to 9 years since I first picked up a guitar and the scales are coming back to haunt me. Still running with the self-teaching philosophy, lately I've been disgusted with my lack of knowledge with what I'm playing. (That and learning other people's songs. I know Good Riddance by Green Day yet I don't know some of the most basic theory!) I've written dozens of songs, I've been in a band, I play my guitar most every day, but if you were to ask me what I was playing, beyond the basic explanation of, "this is a G-chord", I'd probably talk like I just picked up a guitar yesterday.

Last week I pulled out an on old book, part of the K-I-S-S series of books (Keep It Simple Series...or Keep It Simple Stupid for someone like me.), for a starting point, something to jump start my thirst for guitar learning goodness.  The scales section popped right out at me and now whenever I'm just sitting around I tool with every scale I can literally wrap my hand around; major, minor, melodic minor, harmonic minor, chromatic, pentatonic....it just goes on.

As simple and straight forward as some of the stuff in this book seems, having played for all this time, I think spending some time going over this mind-boggling music theory stuff will do me good. It's not the most fun thing in the world, I mean, let's play some songs! (Write some songs is more like it.) But that's what happened 9 years ago and I think it's time to get a little more serious, no matter how much is hurts.

Jan 23, 2010

See You Soon Conan

This is sad, at least for me. Conan O'Brien is off The Tonight Show after only 7 months. I love Conan, I never disliked Leno, but I always struggled to stay awake through Jay's show so I could catch Conan on Late Night.

Below is the link for the final episode of Conan's version of The Tonight Show. If you don't watch the whole thing, at the very least watch the last 5 minutes or so. It's a very rockin' and incredible end to a show cut too short.

Jan 8, 2010

Ending The Year With A Bang...Not So Much

The fact that I'm just now writing this post about my New Year's Eve says quite a bit. This new year was supposed to be different, not the same 'ol hum-drum, sitting in front of the tv to watch the ball drop and pretending that I enjoy drinking a few. (Which I really don't.)

I mentioned in my post, "The New Year's Eve Let Down", back in November how ringing in the New Year is never what it's cracked up to be. Though the transition from '09 to 0-Ten (definitely doesn't sound right when you say it out loud) wasn't the same kind of let down, I'm thinking I hyped up this year's celebration a little too much in my head.

KJ and I headed to downtown Kansas City to catch a rock show put on by 98.9 The Rock featuring local band Red Line Chemistry, Cavo, and Rev Theory. Overall, the show was decent, Rev Theory was definitely the highlight, with Cavo almost putting me to sleep and Red Line Chemistry being pretty impressive. No offense to Cavo, they have some great tunes, but they followed the local opener who came out ripping as a 5-piece group (2 guitars, bass, drums and lead vocal), as a 4-piece (only 1 guitar) which was a major step down the intensity meter.

Compounded with a long, short week at work, it being way past my normal bed time (I'm usually in bed by 10:00 at the latest), many more drunk people in comparison to other shows, and the countdown being a little bit of a dud (you need to work on that for next year 98.9) I was most definitely ready to hit the door once Rev Theory finished their set.

So as for ringing in 2010, the new decade, this show was a major step up from most other countdown nights of my adult life, but I feel that it could have been a little better, even with my insane expectations.

What's the moral here kiddies? I enjoyed myself and that's all that really mattered. I have to quit with all the hype and enjoy things for what they are from now on, I think that will make all the difference. Rock on to 2010!

Oh, and the hell with resolutions! Let's just write some tunes and leave it at that.

Let me know how your New Year's Eve went!
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