I’LL never forget my first guitar. I was a part-owner of a P600 acoustic bought downtown. I didn’t know where it was from specifically or what “brand” it was. My dad bought it for us brothers when we started showing interest in playing the instrument. Looking back, it was a terrible guitar. But then, did we really care for “intonation” or “action”? I couldn’t even change the strings.
I’ll never forget learning my first four chords: D, A, G and Em. With those four chords, I could already cycle my way through numerous tunes—add a Bm to the set and I could rule MTV. I started out learning Church and Gospel music, strumming my way slowly and slowly into more chords, notes and playing opportunities in school where playing in mass was the weekly gig. Want to hear some reggae during the Eucharist? Drop by Don Bosco on a weekday morning.
It’s a running theory at home: Dad’s the hardware—he sings and plays all the basic instruments, including the violin. And mom’s the software, where all our melody and musical theory probably comes from since our great granddad was a maestro. Dad’s roots delved into the political, which we really didn’t bother digging into at the time. But now, it makes for pretty interesting tales.
So mom, bought me my first cassette tape and lent me her red Sony Walkman (or did I take it out of her cabinet? I can’t remember), which I used day-in, day-out. I’d sleep with the earphones on overnight. Inspired by a scene from Back To The Future, I’d wake my brother by putting the earphones in his ears while he was still asleep and play the intro to People Like Me by Audio Adrenaline in full volume. He hated me for it but eventually he’d come up with his own pranks to get back at me. Typical.
From a creative aspect, it’s nice to have folks who support their children’s passions. It’s far from ideal though; the arts, especially music, won’t easily pay the bills. Looking back, those bars and boards look more and more enticing. But then again, there are parents who only think of their own interests and pride, or worse, harbor the ideal of their children as cash-producing entities. Ah, that is something else. Perhaps, it’s just about finding one’s passions in life and being good at it.
I’m thinking of this right now, since my folks are somewhere right now enjoying their wedding anniversary. It’s been awhile. At least they get to have fun after all the fun they allowed us kids to have. Happy Anniversary, you guys. Go crazy on that mini-bar. It’s on us.