Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Don't Get It

I'm a guitar player. All things considered, I am better than most people. Yes, that is right - I am better than most people.  Knowing that most people don't play, I am better than they are. See how that works?

So, with the constant tutoring from my buddy Kevin, and tons of practice, I am now one step above "suck" and have graduated to "poor".   Now and then, I have flashes of brilliance and could be called "sub-standard".
For me, one way a musician can improve themselves is to learn songs. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but chords and scales and such get old after a while.  Pick a song you know and like and play it. If you pull it off, you really can feel the excitement.  Confidence builds. Practice comes even easier.  Before you know it, you have booked a world tour.
So, I have found myself falling back to the music of my youth for inspiration. On the heels of winning the 2011 Grammy for Best Metal performance,   Iron Maiden comes to mind.  What songs in their 25+ year catalog can I manage? They are really quite good and I am really very not, so I have to think this through.  I have doodled with Revelations and Children of the Damned.  I'll get 'em.

One song that is a complete masterpiece is found on Powerslave.  Released in 1984, it features a classic - The Rime of Ancient Mariner.  At over 14 minutes long, it is based on the Coleridge poem of the same name.  It is simply awesome yet within the reach of a hack like me.  With just a few chords and some semi-intricate guitar work (forget the solos - I'll never manage)  I think I can do it.  With lots of practice.  Lots. (Check the song here.  Sit down. Relax and enjoy. Really. The creaking hip part in the middle is great. I can't wait to the do the rhythm guitar during the first solo on my electric guitar (I may get one soon. All acoustic so far). That thundering A Chord stepping down to an  F is gonna sound awesome. My neighbors may hate me.)

Well, I don't have the album anymore.  A quick trip to the music store and I should be able to find it. No.

Oh, fine.  What is this then?  The Essential Iron Maiden.  Ahhh, all the classics!  The good stuff on a 2-disc set.  Granted, with 15 albums since 1980, some good ones had to get cut. 
No Rime.  You have to be kidding me. That is not essential?  Who are they kidding?

Can someone please explain this to me? Would the Beatles release an "essential" album without Hey Jude?  Would Zepplin do one without Stairway to Heaven?  Would John Denver do one without Rocky Mountain High?  Would Britney Spears do one without "Oops...I did it again?  Oh  wait a minute. Scratch that last one.  She is not essential. At all.  All told, I could go on and on.  You get the point.  Unbelievable.

Oh well. Thank goodness for YouTube.

Up the Irons!


david boon said...

Up the Irons indeed!(by the way,do you know what that means?)
I once saw Iron Maiden in 1982,Bruce Dickinsons first one, and my ears buzzed for two weeks!

Paul said...

It is simply a greeting from one Maiden fan to another. It is not much different from, say, friends greeting each other with "Sup". However, "Up the Irons!" has a fun ring to it. "Sup" make it sounds like you have 4th grade vocabulary...

david boon said...

I ask, because my football team in England are West Ham United,and the crest is two Iron Hammers(they were originally Thames Ironworks FC)and the popular chant for supporters is "Up the Irons",or "come on you Irons" Maybe Harris and all are Hammers fans!

Paul said...

There is certainly a connection. As I understand it, he is an very good football player (of course, the rest of the world calls it "soccer"). One of his bass guitars has their logo on it and he had once considered pursuing professional sports before he learned the bass guitar.