Funny thing, rocknroll. Looks cheap. Ain’t.
Take tonight’s Sin-e performance, for which I am monumentally stoked. My excitement not withstanding, shit ain’t cheap.
$150 – Postcards
$160 – Pickup
$125 – Pickup installation, tuning and set up
$56 – Rehearsal space
$16 – Capo
$54 – Patchcord(s)
$33 – Tamborine (you’ll see)
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. I’ll make more dough. I’m just illustrating an interesting phenomena (which at least one ex pointed out to me before, presumably annoyed by the ease with which I spent $1200 on a Rickenbacker, instead of diamond earrings). I’ll nickel and dime, for example, an airline over a $300 ticket to Iowa. I’ll eat Lean Cuisine frozen dinners for a week. Heck, I’ll drink PBR all year if need be. But I’ll drop nearly five bills for a random Friday night show on the Lower East Side. What up with that?
There’s no explaining one’s passions, I guess. Or addictions. Compulsions. Whatever. It never seems like an option to, say, do it half-way. To play a guitar that sounds like shit, or struggle with a just-ok tuner. Hence the new pickup, intonation adjustments, etc etc. See, my Martin DC-15E’s in the shop. So I’m leaning on my beater: The Norman. It’s a fine guitar: blonde wood, solid-topped, sturdy. But it sounded really shitty at rehearsal last night. Too brassy. So I’m gettin’ all this stuff done to it. Ends up, though, my efforts are superfluous…
Casey Shea to the rescue.
I rode over to Casa del Casey after work for a last-minute brush up on chords and harmonies. First off: brutha’ can SING. I’ve never, ever sung with someone who sings so well, and so naturally. He hears it right off, and nails it: no theory, no technique, no b.s., just intuition. Anyway, he loans me his brand-new, gorgeous Martin acoustic/electric, and is all like, “You can play tomorrow night it if you want.” Know this: guitars are fragile, personal things. This was a huge offer. I tried to beg off, but after running the set, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to play this smooth, warm, beautiful instrument. You’ll be thanking Casey by set’s end too.
Anyway, it’s what I do, like breathing or walking or eating. Sometimes it sounds good, sometimes it sounds great, and sometimes there are goosebumps. We’ll see. Regardless, it’s worth the price of admission.