Recently I decided that after almost 15 years of dedicated playing I was going to hang up the guitar. When I announced this to my friends I was met with shock, disapproval, words of encouragement to continue playing, and disbelief. Nobody seemed to be able to understand why I would do such a thing. I don't know if I can fully explain what led me to that point, but the best analogy I have come up with is this: Being able to play the guitar the way I can without achieving any real level of success or fame is like having the keys to a Corvette and not being able to get it out of the parking lot. So I decided to get out and try to enjoy the walk. Make sense?
It really was a relief to me, thinking that I'd never have to bother with that six-string tumor anymore. I mean, it had gotten to the point where I was sick and tired of playing songs I WROTE. How could that happen? It made me feel ill.
When I analyze what playing guitar and singing has done for me in recent years, I find that it is not what I'm really looking for. It no longer puts joy in my heart. It doesn't put money in my pocket. It puts booze in my belly and women in my bed, both of which usually lead to headaches. I don't like headaches. Nobody likes headaches!
I hear it from all angles, too. "Man you sure can play that guitar", or "I've never seen anybody play like that" or "You just melted my face!" I know people who think I'm the greatest guitar player alive. How the fuck am I supposed to handle hearing something like that when I'm nearly broke every time I pay rent? I thank them and recommend picking up a Roy Buchanan or Jimi Hendrix record.
I do buy records, too. I bought a turntable and a receiver and a pair of triaxial Sony speakers and I drop a needle every day. I'm a music lover who refuses to own an iPod. By the way, if you have an iPod, take it outside and run it over with a steamroller. If you don't have a steamroller, pay someone who does to do it for you. The sound is TERRIBLE and you just don't know it. I'm not the only one who feels this way.
I find it hard to keep hoping that I'll make it with my music because I think it's good and most people like CRAP. Crap rules the world. People sit for two hours at a stretch watching morons dance on television. People sit at full attention while some jerkoff's balloon hoax floats into our consciousness. Paris Hilton is the biggest star on earth, and I wouldn't even trust her to make me a sandwich. If you like Paris Hilton you should be tied to a tree and shot like a rabid dog.
In a time when the phrase "guitar hero" reminds people of a video game and not, say, Duane Allman, what chance do I have? Not only do I play, I'm a luthier. I make my living building guitars. If every person that owns Rock Band or Guitar Hero bought a guitar instead, I probably wouldn't need to worry whether or not the company I work for will go belly-up in the coming year. I mean, why mess around with toys? To quote one of my own songs (entitled Guitar Zero): You can't plug that axe into an amplifier/It can't make a sound that I would admire/Feelings of nausea are all you inspire/Take that game outside and light it on fire// Go buy yourself a guitar/And give the world a song/Your plastic pantomime/Is completely wrong.
Enough bitching. Here's what I've decided: I'm going to give it one last go 'round with my music by purchasing a ProTools interface and recording all my songs myself. Finally I'll be able to make them sound the way I intend. My goal is to have some of my songs get picked up by record companies and recorded by their artists. Then if they become big hits I can sit on my pale, narrow ass and collect royalty checks for the rest of my life.
The problem is, I found out yesterday that Windows 7 isn't compatible with ProTools yet. This is yet another symptom of my piss-poor luck streak that hits every single autumn for the past 8 years or so. As John Lennon once wrote; "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
So I'm forced to continue to keep my head down and try to plow through to '10 when hopefully my luck will change and Microsoft will figure out that their new operating software needs to work with THE INDUSTRY STANDARD RECORDING SOFTWARE.
To sample some of Ryan's music here he is jamming out with the band (neglect the first 30 seconds or so), a clip of Third Rail Power Trip, and a solo from Motorboat.