A Song That I Can Play On An Instrument | And I Wonder

When I started hanging around musicians all the time, one would have thought that my intense interest in music as well as whatever potential I’d shown in that direction would have manifested in me, you know, learning a fucking instrument. But I didn’t.

I feinted in that direction a few times, most notably writing some lyrics for a project that I wanted to start with my roommate. No one ever really saw them, and I’ve not pulled them out in about seven years because I fear that they are the epitome of terrible. I was 20, after all, and I can’t think of much good that happened when I was 20.

So, I sat around, a band aide more than anything else. I’d help cart equipment around, give whoever might need it the occasional ride to practice, go to shows, do the whole thing except play an instrument.

I’ll never not wonder what might have happened if I’d pushed it then. We all know by now that I am a shameless, if not talented, singer. Add in some actual working musical ability and maybe I’d have a whole different art that I was pursuing, or at least some other way to express myself, like Marc Fort.

But I don’t. So I play Rock Band.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Rock Band. The way I play games is not the way a lot of people play games. I am a serious completist when it comes to such things, wanting to reach every goal set for me and whatever else I only set for myself. This sometimes results in a marathon gaming session marked by a masturbatory intensity so complete that I alienate those around me to the point of anger.

So, yeah, that’s me and video games.

Those tendencies made me, in the end, very good at RB drums. I learned how to play (sort of) more than a few of the more popular songs of all time.

That’s including “Everlong”, one of the greatest songs ever, and one of the toughest to drum. But, sadly, I can only get through it on hard. Those sixteenths give me a hell of a time.

I could probably learn to play real drums, having learned some of the basics through this game. But I probably won’t.

Just another example of wasted potential for me in a lifetime full of them.

2 comments

  1. Allen Holt

    Oh, you like goals in your video games, do you? Man, just you wait until Rock Band 3. 🙂

    (I’m a pretty decent RB drummer, and Everlong kills me on hard. The one time I tried it on expert I *literally* nearly spontaneously combusted.)

  2. Black Swan

    I know I have mentioned it before, but I love the design of your site! You definitely have kicked it up a notch or two.

    Also, I must tell you, I feel quite honored to have been a part of a band that many people enjoyed very much.

    Since I began playing in bands in Austin, I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend and be inspired by some musicians that are one generation older than me, including Tim Kerr (The Big Boys, Bad Mutha Goose), John Croslin (The Reivers, Spoon).

    These musicians were/are some of my heroes.

    And to imagine that *I* could contribute to someone sharing in the blissful feeling of a great live show – where one of your favorite bands rocks one of your favorite songs – is very humbling.

    It almost feels like a version of “paying it forward.” And I’m convinced there is nothing more powerful than inspiration through art. Uncovering a universal truth about the human condition through 3 chords and the truth.

    Life, art, death. Music remains as primal as fire, food and cave drawings flickering on a wall from the dance of a breeze-blown fire…just as modern-day motion picture films flicker against a wall.

    Our art is our history. Our art is our progress. Our art is our humanity.

    Thanks for allowing me to share in your’s…

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