Sunday, February 20, 2005
Gong Show at church tonight - fundraiser for the mission teams. (One group is going to a flood-damaged area in Michigan to help with rebuilding; the other is going to Ukraine.) Someone paid good money (American dollars? as my Dad would say) to see me don a "rock star outfit" and play electric guitar. I wore my loudest tie-die t-shirt, black stretch pants emblazoned with dancing skeletons, a leather vest, calf-high deerskin boots, and a stars-and-stripes bandanna. I had three patches programmed into my BOSS ME-30: "Heavy", a heavy humbucker-based distortion with some reverb reminiscent of Deep Purple, "Boston", a bright distortion with a little phaser sweetening that mimics Tom Schultz's tone, and "UniVibe", a deep, chewy wah effect. I hobbled out using a cane, and warned the audience that "If it's too loud, you're too young - why do you think it's called a ROCKING CHAIR!" I clapped my hands above my head to get them establishing the beat, then launched into the early metal classic beloved of all rock guitar wannabes of my generation: Smoke on the Water. Played with my thumbs, of course. Now, had the person who put me up to this only tossed a fiver in the kitty, I would have stopped there. But someone actually laid down long folding green to see me play. Plus, I was the opening act for the whole show. I felt obligated to give them their money's worth. I segued into the "Purple Haze" intro, and from that launched SRV's "Mary Had a Little Lamb". That served as a launching pad for a minute or two of tweedling and deedling. I forgot to do the fingertapping bit I'd been practicing, unfortunately. Once I ran out of ideas (and being a rhythm player and fingerpicker, that didn't take long, I slid into "Amazing Grace". Up past the 12th fret, with the wah pedal working overtime. (You ever get the shimmies in your leg, where your knee gets bouncing at 120 bpm? Applied to the wah pedal, that makes a guitar sound like a cowboy harmonica.) At the top of the tune, I went into full Hendrix mode, complete with tweedles and deedles, whammy bar stylings, pick-scraping whammybar dives, turing the axe upside down over my face, everything but playing behind my head (I plumb forgot) and setting the thing on fire with lighter fluid. Ended with great big plagal-cadence power chords. Much fun.