Strung Out

If there’s one thing I loathe more than practicing guitar, it’s stringing it.

It’s the night before a big show, though, so it had to be done. I picked up a few Asahis, ordered some Planet Sushi, sat down on my shag rug in front of Nova, and got down to business. Which is when I noticed that I’d purchased a box of twelve Martin extra-lights.

I play a six string.

And so, as the race heated up between the French and the Americans to see who could fly first, I made due.

I’ve never been much for stringing my guitar. Heck, I’m not even much for playing it. I basically taught myself, strumming along to “The One I Love” and “Pop Song 89.” Guys have tried to teach me theory, but it never makes much sense. The only thing that’s really stuck is the sage advice some dude in a Syracuse music shop once taught me. “You look like the kind of guy this might help,” he said. I had a pony tail. And three earrings. “Think of it like this: Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually. Those are the strings.”

Obviously, it stuck.

Everything else I know about my guitar is intuitive. The minor fall and major lift, the ebb and flow of verse and chorus, chord progressions, it’s all just in the ether around me. It just comes to me. I don’t try and innovate, and just try and make it sound nice. It’s not rocket science; it’s in the air around you if you listen closely enough. I was never into math rock anyway. i like simplicity, elegance.

But practicing? Forget it. I’d rather write a new song. Or surf a few blogs. Or watch some television. Or drink a beer. Practice my old songs? Alone? No thanks.

And the truth is I’ve gotten a little cavalier about rehearsals. Nowadays, my confidence in Dough is such that, heck, I know we’ll be fine. We may sound more like The Replacements than Rush, but that’s probably a good thing.

Still, tonight I got down to business. Here, all alone in my apartment, I ran the set. And what a set it is. See, one has a choice: write a set that that builds and falls and finishes big, or write a set that tells a story. I vote for both. Here’s how tonight’s Rockwood Music Hall performance shapes up:

Live Forever
St. Anne (Of The Silence)
Intent on St. Paul
Do It Again
Harder To Believe
Dear Elizabeth
I’ll Be Waiting
Long Shot
My Happy Ending

What story does it tell? Well, I guess I’m not quite sure. Or if I was, I guess I’d spare you the melancholy narative arc anyway. But it’s real, and it’s mine. And it rocks. And you can hear it for yourself, and render your own judgements. So join us, won’t you?

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