Wednesday, July 01, 2015

One Year and Four Strings Later...

it was exactly one year ago that i sat in my apartment, working on my computer and humming the Everclear​ tune, “The Honeymoon Song” from their album, ‘Songs From an American Movie, Volume 1: Learning How to Smile’ (for reasons i will never understand, since no music was playing in my home, no TV or radio turned on, and i don’t recall hearing the song playing anywhere in local elevators), when i said to myself, “hey, i really like this song… i’d like to learn how to play it on the ukulele… i guess i have to buy a ukulele”, and that lead me to Amazon where i ordered an Oscar Schmidt Concert Uke (cheapest 5-star uke i could find), a padded gig bag, and a tuner, and having clicked on “Place Your Order”, promptly forgot about the entire event until, about a week later, when i arrived home to find a large package was waiting for me on my doorstep, prompting me to say, “what the f&ck this is? i didn’t order anything” (that’s often a problem), and, taking the package inside and opening it up, further prompted me to remark, “huh… i bought a ukulele… i guess now i have to learn how to play it…” and the rest, as they say, is a tiptoe through the tulips of history.

what i didn’t know was that The Honeymoon Song, the Oscar Schmidt, Ukulele Bex​, Jim Carey​, the Santa Cruz Sons of the Beach Ukulele Group​, and so many others i’ve met along the way would bring the joy of playing music back into my life and the lives of a number of my friends, and would provide me with an infinite number of opportunities to giggle like an idiot, acquire a stupid number of ukuleles (where stupid > 10), and learn how to take a $30 Chinese/Aliexpress uke and, having more guts than brains (or as i like to say, “The Confidence of an Idiot”), teach myself kitchen-table luthierie working with emory boards, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser bricks, a pocket screwdriver from AAAAA Appliance Repair, avocado oil and fishing line, turning those pieces of wood into a very nice instrument.


these days i’m never more than few feet away from a ukulele (quite literally, i have one with me pretty much 24hrs/day), and this has led to impromptu concerts at many a local car wash, in the hallways of the Apple law dept offices many afternoons after 6pm, and this past spring in Los Angeles where i attempted (with 1100 of my closest friends) to break a Guinness Book of World Records record for Ukulele Playing along with Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho (we didn’t, but i was at least able to check an item off my bucket list). i’ve recorded personalized Happy Birthday tunes for a number of friends, wrote a parody of the song “Hero” by Family of the Year​, (the song that played throughout the film Boyhood​,) for my friend John DeKoven​ (he claims it was his favorite movie of all time! ;^)), and last weekend, when i couldn’t find the chords or sheet music anywhere online, transcribed the Harry Ruby tune, “Father’s Day” (made famous by Groucho Marx) and posted it all over the web for ukulele players to learn and play for their own fathers… playing the uke has also revived my interest in playing piano and keyboards, and encouraged me to try and learn the guitar, again (i’ve tried, unsuccessfully, every 5 years since 1975, so apparently the 9th time’s the charm!)

music is good… live music is better… playing your own live music is the best (and as i often remind myself, if you don’t know a chord, just sing louder!)…  or, as the little old lady who lives across the street remarked as i opened my eyes after intensely making my way through all the verses of Marrakesh Express (falsetto fully intact for the requisite, “well, let me hear you now!”) and realized she had been standing at the edge of the driveway, watching me the entire time:

You’re getting better.

yes, i am… in more ways than i could have imagined…

namaste
r.

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