My Musical Career (really long read, sorry)
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Thread: My Musical Career (really long read, sorry)

  1. #1
    RockenPunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default My Musical Career (really long read, sorry)

    Way back in '07 my cousin Todd was shredding guitar. He could play "Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)" by Green Day flawlessly, making me and my older brother jealous. Every time he played, I thought, is it really that easy? We had an acoustic back at home and we made up our own way of playing the song using only open strings. After showing our wincing parents, we realized we had it all wrong. We then stopped our music career indefinanatly and forgot about it. My mom started to take guitar lessons not long after that, learning Christmas songs in September (getting ready for the season). Nevertheless, it drove me a little crazy, so whenever she stopped, I would try to learn a new song to get the Christmas music out of my head. Songs like "Smoke on the Water", "Bad to the Bone" and some sort of spy theme were in my arsenal of songs.

    Soon my other cousin James got an electric guitar. This sparked my interest greatly, having control of volume and tone added variety. One night spent at his house, My brother and I found out how to play "Iron Man" on the internet. Then things got intense. This opened up so many possibilities for me, being able to look up any song I wanted and to learn it as quickly as I wanted. Guitar Hero came out around that time, strengthening my bond with music. I would find songs on there that I like and learn to play them on my cousins electric. "Sunshine of Your Love", "Carry on my Wayward Son", and "Woman" were songs learned because of the Guitar Hero franchise. Pretty soon I would ask for requests from friends and family. My friends would say songs like "Handlebars" and my family, mainly my grandfather, would say songs like "What I Say" by Ray Charles.

    The time had come for me to want my own guitar. But not just any guitar, a rocking electric of my own. Being only 14 at the time, I didn't have a vast amount of money, so I only looked at the cheep stuff on the internet. Once I found a nice cheap one, I proudly told my parents of my decision. My father then promptly told me that I couldn't buy a guitar until I started guitar lessons. He said if I bought a guitar without taking lessons, I would soon abandon it. So on every Tuesday then on, I would go to this guys house for an hour as he taught me the guitar. I struggled with the notes and sheet music, simply because I had always used tabulature instead. And the songs I learned in my lessons were so boring! "Yankee Doodle" "Rockin' Robin" "Minuet in G", I really stopped enjoying lessons, but I kept at it for that electric guitar.

    One day at Cargo Largo (local thrift shop) i saw it, the perfect guitar. $118 dollars, SG shape body, little amp included. I called my dad (he was in Chicago for work) and pleaded my case. The maker of the guitar was a division of Gibson, so I pointed that out. It also had a 5 year warranty on it.

    I had just bought my first electric guitar. I remember opening it up in the car, trying to tune it without a tuner, and plugging it into the mini amp. As my older brother held the amp, changing the tones around, He stumbled upon the "Gain" button (also know as the distortion). As he pressed in the distortion, the guitar went from clean to dirty, and everything in my head clicked.

    Before, we couldn't ever figure out the distortion part of my younger cousins amp, though I realize now that the gain was way to low to hear it. But when we turned on the distortion on my new amp (the gain was already cranked), it sounded like a guitar. Never before in my head did I make the connection that my electric guitar could sound just like the ones on the radio. That when I held a few power chords, I could play just like the rock stars on stage. From a life of only acoustics and clean settings, I could finally rock, and I think that is when I realized that the guitar, and music in general, was something more than just a pastime.

    If I didn't have ear-buds blasting music, I had a song playing in my head from that day on. I would imagine how a song would be played when I heard it on the radio, I got teased for playing "air-guitar" in gymnastics class, and my friends had to endure my long boasting stories of how I learned "Icky Thump" in only thirty minutes. I started writing my first song, "Those Eyes" experimenting with what sounded good distorted, clean, or acoustic. I even spent a summer recording 14 Christmas songs and put them on blank CDs to hand out to people.

    My brother and I were really into the band Blink-182, and we we're learning their songs like crazy. We didn't own a bass guitar, so my brother would use the acoustic while I would rock my electric guitar. We learned songs like "All the small things" "Aliens Exist" "Voyeur" "First Date" and "Down". That next Christmas, he got his own bass guitar, cheap and used, but it sounded like a champ. We jammed even more now, and I started working on more original songs. My friend Kenny had a sister with a drum-set, so I persuaded and recruited him to play the drums. He was never really keen on the idea, but he could bang the drums. My other friend, Alvin, was looking to start an instrument, and I helped him choose a guitar that fit his style. We were a band! We were all still pretty fresh, Kenny and Alvin with a few months under their belt, my brother with six months, and myself with three years.

    To recap a bit:

    -Started playing acoustic guitar
    -Learned of tabulature
    -Found an electric guitar I wanted
    -Had to take guitar lessons
    -Got electric
    -Brother got bass
    -Friends started to learn instruments
    -We started a band

    Almost forgot! About four months into guitar lessons, I broke my hand. I broke it by doing a Stutz on the parallel bars. A Stutz is where you swing forwards in between the bars, wait til your feet are over your head, let go of the bars and do a half turn, then grab back on. I had just learned in and was trying it by myself. I caught the bar between my pointer finger and middle finger, breaking my third metacarpal. I had to have two surgeries on it, One to put in four metal pins, another to take them out. I was in a cast for a few months, so no guitar lessons for me, or so I thought. My teacher had me doing collage level guitar theory, even though I was struggling with sheet music. I tried to keep up with him for a few weeks, but we soon stopped going, both because I wasn't learning much and because it wasn't exactly cheep.

    Back to the band. We all started out pretty stoked, and soon we were able to just jam a song for awhile. It was fun, wither it was in Kenny's small sub-basement or in the lower-level of our house. But, seeing as Walter was in collage, Alvin was getting ready to graduate, and Kenny and I were getting more involved in coaching, we simply didn't have the time. It was also discouraging because we weren't the best sounding group, so when we practiced, it was only for an hour or so, for the sake of our families. We all collaborated together to write a few awesome songs.

    As time past, my older moved on to the Fire Academy, Alvin went away to a University, and Kenny and I continued our gymnastic careers. The band slowly fizzled away, and I slowly realized that we were not going to practice anymore. I had built up the idea of a band in my head for so long that for awhile I thought of going out on my own and seeing if I was worth listening to. Before the band stopped, we had been talking to a guy about recording and playing a tour with his son. We went to his house to have him record our jam session, and my brother and I, having never sung while playing, proceeded to sound terrible. The recording guy stopped asking us about the tour soon after that, and we accepted his decision. This is when I wanted to try to go on my own, but with my voice, I didn't stand a chance.

    So that summer past by, and nothing musically changed for me. I jammed by myself mostly, sometimes my brother would join me. We talked of buying a drum-set and trading off drumming while the other person played guitar or bass. We simply didn't have the money at the time, but we were saving up. Our church already had an electric drumset, so we occasionally played on that. One instance, when we were trading off on the church drums, another member of the church, Tim, asked if he could have a turn. As he sat down, he blew us away with a crazy drum solo that I'm not even going to try to describe.

    After a mission trip to Kentucky, the youth group of our church decided to start a band. my brother and I jumped in on bass and guitar, and we saw that Tim was on drums. In between songs for the church with the singers, we began practicing our original songs, just my brother, Tim and I. We started planning separate jam sessions, the three of us, at his house. He kept telling us that the church drums weren't that good, and when we heard him play his acoustic setup, we believed him. We were, no doubt, a band now, and we practiced at least once a week.

    When we completed the church band (we played one Sunday in front of the church) we focused more on our band. We started on thinking of a good band name. If you look waaaay back at the beginning, Todd, my cousin, had an idea for a band. In 2009, Todd was killed in a car accident. He died at the age of 17, and I can't begin to describe how it has changed me. His band name idea was Left Lane Closed.

    When my brother and Todd were 9 and I was 7, we wanted to start a boy band. We had the dance moves down, we all had matching necklaces, it was perfect (I must also mention that n-sync had just hit it big). He had told his mom one day in the car that a good band name would be Left Lane Closed, partly because he had just past a sign that said such, and also because in life, you had to stay on the right path.

    We created a facebook page and soon after played our first gig. It was Bump City, two sessions of a two hour time for kids to run around at the gymnastics place I worked at. We played all the songs we knew as the kids ran around, ignoring us mostly. That is, until we got smart and started throwing picks at them. Suddenly we had a small crowd, some recording us, others wanting a shout-out. It was like being on top of the world for people to clap to our songs, even if they only wanted a pick or to have us tell them happy birthday.

    Since then, we have written around 10 songs, played two more shows, and were getting ready to record. I look back, while typing all this, at the times I have spent with those six strings. I have really enjoyed my musical career and hope that the best is yet to come. But it doesn't end there. My older brother moved to another city to be a fire fighter, and eventually Tim moved and got a job somewhere else, and I am currently in college to be an audio engineer. But that's a whole different story. Thanks for reading, RockenPunk

  2. #2
    Scrubs Nerd
    kk360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Chicoutimi, QC


    I feel you man, I've been playing for a year and I'm so stoked on music. I really wanna start a band but none of my friends play anything. I'll try to hype them up.

  3. #3
    Retired Staff

    Join Date
    May 2013
    SF Bay Area


    I feel the broken hand thing. I've been playing bass since I was 15. I can't wait to get the cast off and be able to play again.
    "Before diagnosing yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not just surrounded by assholes," William Gibson

    I'm trying to be more Zen. What is the sound of me not giving a fuck?

    Rev J

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