It’s time to once again hand over the mic. This time, please welcome to the stage our guitarist/roadie/driver/designated adult Ritchie.

Most of what follows, unfortunately, happened. 

Date: Every time I close my eyes.
Venue: A bedroom recording studio.
Crowd: Two impatient musicians.

I know how to play the song. Everyone else knows that I know how to play the song. Which makes the fact that we’re currently on take 37 quite infuriating for all involved.

Every one of those takes has something different wrong with it. A different bum note or missed beat each time. And each take is getting progressively worse as my confidence drains out of me with every bead of sweat.

I joined the band after they made their first recording, “Songs To Slaughter Cats To,” and there was one song on that where my part was originally played by Graham, our other guitarist. My solo consisted of just four notes. Four notes. That’s fewer notes than Jake knows in total. Yet EVERY SINGLE TIME I managed to play my part wrong. It became a running joke, not just within the band, but all three of our fans, that I would play it wrong.

As such, I never became very confident with my lead chops. No one ever expected much of me and that was fine. There was very little pressure. Until now. Now, the meter is ticking up.

I decided that I wanted to challenge myself as a musician. I can’t remember why. Something about personal development or some such. I am starting to regret it greatly.

It isn’t much more complicated than my four note solo. It isn’t even going to be as prominent on the recording. Yet I insist that I get to play it perfectly. Not punk rock perfectly where it sounds vaguely correct, but properly correct. So people will, at the very least, think those are the notes I intended to play.  

If I can do this, I know my mum would be proud of my musicianship. She might start to think that the £10 she spent on guitar lessons every week for three years was well spent. I say she “would” be proud, as there’s going to be a large number of naughty words on the recording and I will be too scared to play it in front of her. And also, what she doesn’t know is that £10 could buy a lot of cigarettes in those days and that I told Mr Hallett after three weeks that I didn’t think guitar lessons were for me as they weren’t punk.

As I mess up take 38, I can hear Graham and our mate Baz, who we convinced to record us, both sigh loudly. Even though we are paying Baz by the hour and so he gets a bit more cash with every increasing take, he is far past the point where he wants to take the guitar off me and play the part himself just to get it over and done with.

Both the other people in the room can play the guitar better than me, and it is credit to their characters that they don’t just grab the guitar from me and play it. Well, credit to their characters and that fact that the guitar is left handed and neither of them are.

I pray for the ground to open up and to be swallowed by the Sarlacc. Then I remember that few punks are religious. And even fewer watch Star Wars.

Take 39…

Pic by goatling via Flickr


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