Music

The mysterious black box

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If there’s anything 2001: A Space Odyssey has taught me, it’s that black boxes(excluding coffins) evoke curiosity. There’s a mystery behind them(may include coffins). For some people, it evokes a little fear(definitely coffins).

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But there’s nothing to fear about my new black box, a.k.a Cajón. It is a percussion instrument made of wood. It doubles as a short stool. In fact, you have to sit on it while you play, a sort of musical bonding between wood and ass.

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This is not what it sounds like. This is a bad recording of the black box.

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What I have learned from starting a band

I am not leadership material. But I do have ideas. So my plan was to bring together, a bunch of musicians, explain my ideas to them and then neatly slide away into the darkness while the band began cultivating ideas on its own. I hoped someone would take on the mantle from me. I hoped someone would steer the ship in the right direction. But none of those bitches share my dream. So now I am “captain of the sinking ship” and the only Jack and Rose in this story are me and my vision.

Teamwork

I have a dream, a simple, revolutionary dream. I want to make music. I want to see people become happy when they listen to my music. Unfortunately, I do not have the talent to realize this dream on my own. I need a team(in the words of the great Deadpool, “a super dooper fucking group”). I’ve been trying to put together a team for the past one month. After several auditions, I finally got a bass player and lead guitar player. I explained my dream to them. I narrated it in Morgan Freeman’s voice. I put forth the idea like Steve Jobs explaining a business idea. I did everything I could. Yet those fuckers want to pursue a more “people-friendly” genre rather than taking a chance with me. I respect their musical interests. So now, I travel for an hour every weekend, play drums to fuckin “Foo Fighters” at a recording studio, come back home and eat till the depression fades away(Domino’s wins again). 

I met a family who lives inside the studio’s premises. Here they are:

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MTV

The year is 2000. I’m siting on the floor, watching my sister watch MTV. I look at her face. There’s no reaction. I look at the TV. I see the MTV  logo with the big, orange “M” flash on the screen. Then I see a backstreet boys dance to “backstreet’s back”. Sister and I begin to jump around and dance. Good times. 

Fast forward to today. I am at the gym, being careful not to make eye contact with anyone for fear of “conversation”. VH1 is playing on the TV. A Bruno Mars song is playing. Suddenly, the song ends and a weird show begins. In this show, they basically talk about celebrities.

  1. Who’s dating who
  2. Who just got a divorce
  3. Who just got pregnant
  4. What do you think Meghan Markle should wear to the “big event”?

And I thought to myself, “holy shit!. I miss TV!”. Just kidding. It just made me happier about not having cable TV at home. Don’t get me wrong. They still play great music! It’s the other parts that I don’t get.

Hunt for the guitar hero begins

The epic quest to find the ultimate guitar god began yesterday. Over the weekend, I made a few calls to a few musician-friends to get some advice on how to go about this whole ‘starting a band’ thing. I got the best advice from a very good friend I met at a guitar-solo competition (read about it here) a while ago. He said, “if you have a clear idea of what exactly you want to do, then you don’t have to be afraid to do it by yourself. You might have to put some time, energy and money into it. But at the end you’ll know if you are on the right track. So if you can’t find people to play ‘with’ you, find people who can play ‘for’ you. Eventually, things will pan out and you’ll meet the right people along the way”. Kids, this is why you need to have friends.

So on Monday, after work, I took a bus to meet up with a friend who I met at a concert a while ago. Dude’s a videographer. I know. Not a guitarist. But I thought he could give me some tips. AND HE DID!!! This is what I learned from the long interaction I had with him. It’s one thing to have the ability to explain your idea to others and create enthusiasm and excite them (like that part in the movie Jobs, where Steve Jobs convinces the CEO of Pepsi to join his company. But it’s a whole other thing to actually show them some of your creations. And believe me when I tell you this. It creates a lasting impression on the person when you actually, physically show them what you are capable of. I realized this when the videographer showed me some of his work. I mean, he hadn’t done a lot of shoots or anything, but the clip he showed me was enough to give me an idea of what he was capable of. I understood that he’s not a big fan of the traditional music-video- camerawork(I am of the same mind-set). So an idea came up and I said, “maybe we should work together on a percussion-based project”. Boom! magic! So basically we talked and talked and talked while his girlfriend kept calling him mercilessly. At the end of the day, it went well. We spent about two hours eating the worst French fries in the world and talking about music, artists, video, cameras, dolly tracks, all that good stuff. So I can safely conclude by saying that yesterday was a success. I dunno. I feel like somewhere along the way I’ll be able to make use of this person’s skills.

 

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winner of 2018 high definition picture award

 

Death of a dream

This is going to be a very negative one. So skedaddle outta here if you don’t want to ruin your day.

A few months ago, I got to live my dream of playing in a professional rock band. Initially it started out great. I was overwhelmed by the amount of talent in the band. People from different walks of life came together to make music.

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There was a finance analyst, a school teacher, a videographer, an audio engineer and myself. It was amazing to see how each member of the band added their own personal touch to the music. It was like, there was a little bit of each of our personality in every song. I was enjoying every second of it. The band and their friends were like family to me. More importantly, I could be me for a change. I didn’t have to put on a mask to be socially acceptable anymore. I was free to be my weird self. All that was until today when I got a call saying, the band was dis-banding due to scheduling issues. My heart broke. I’ll be honest. The last time I felt this bad was when I got dumped! I was carrying groceries when I got the news. I felt like throwing it onto the ground and screaming. My dream had faded away. 

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So that happened. But now, it feels like a wake-up call. Maybe I have to do it myself. Get together a group of musicians with similar interests and make magic happen. But for that, I need to find people with that special spark, that light of creativity and willingness to consider someone else’s opinion. It will be hard but I will not give up. I will rise from the rubble. I will not fade away. Wait a minute…this is turning into a gladiator speech. Besides, I’ve got bigger life-problems to deal with. Like, the light in my bathroom is too bright. It hurts my eyes.