One of the most popular reasons that a man might pick up a musical instrument, in the modern world and the modern world alone, is in the hopes of attracting female attention. Now, it is an odd, yet seemingly absolute fact, that while women always have the chance of any attention, sexual or otherwise, that they might require, most men have a great deal of reaching this state. This is also true of musicians. Still, the reputation that guitars themselves have for attracting women of the female variety remains unabated and unquestioned. For some people, dedicating years of their lives to the single pursuit of musical knowledge is simply what it takes to get that one night of passion that they look forward to most.
Of course, there are numerous other reasons that could potential lead to an attempt at musicianship. Musicians are not all men, and, though some women undoubtedly hope to attract men with their skills, they are a lot less open about it. For some, watching their idols in action creates a less of longing that they simply have no choice but to answer. For others, music may well be imposed on them, though ultimately it is up to themselves to continue pursuit after their years of childhood are over. There are far too many possibilities for them all to be listed.
Most musicians will cite influences to their playing. To a lot of fans these influences are obvious, while some may prove to be much more obscure. Put simply, understanding who a musician learns from, what they learn and why are crucial to understanding the musician themselves, and this is what being a fan is all about.
As reasons become less and less popular, they also become more and more strange, as is the truth of all things. For many, the rhythm simply does manage to get them. Some use their instrument as a crutch, or a simple method of communication. Some are so hyperactive that learning to play music is the only thing keeping them from stringent and lonely masturbation seven times a day.
Then, of course, we reach the truly odd and rare. As an example: Guitar Hero. Of the numerous possible reasons to begin learning about music, picking up a guitar due to Guitar Hero is easily one of the strangest of the different potential options. Nevertheless, it happens. The sheer availability of the instrument creates a certain appeal that can, with a little time and effort, cross over into the reality. Though it is true that most musicians do not understand the sheer amount of work necessary until many years into it, true dedication goes a long way. Skill has always required effort, no matter what skill is being sought.
There were a lot of different reasons that affected the choice for one David Morris. Now, with a band put together, he was forced to look a little deeper at why he wanted to make music and what it was that convinced him that a guitar was the right instrument for him. This was especially difficult due to the fact that he'd never really looked at the choice in depth, nor had he considered all that it had resulted in. Since switching from Guitar Hero to an actual guitar, his life had changed considerably, though he still welcomed the change. It wasn't to say that he didn't think Guitar Hero an awesome game, he just spent more time sitting and playing with his actual guitar instead, even when his brother would be playing the game.
Another constant companion was Heather. She held a special interest for David, but it was another thing that he had never really focussed on. The fact that she was always there was both soothing and welcoming, but he had originally put it down to some argument with her usual friends. Now however, since being invited out to dinner by her, David was beginning to wonder. He had certainly been given a lot to think about of late.
Practice was going both terribly and remarkably well at the same time. David had been expecting things to go a lot worse than it actually ended up. He had spent a long time putting people together, trying hard to make sure that none of them were particularly close friends. This was advice that he had been given by the band leading sub-forum of Ultimate-Guitar and it certainly seemed to make sense to him. These were all people that he wasn't very attached to, so he had the opportunity to swap and change people from each position but his own as and when he wished to have it happen.
David himself took the first guitar position. Despite his limited experience, he was still one of the most experienced musicians there. The second guitarist was called Hugh, who had about as much experience as David himself, though he still seemed considerably more capable. He certainly looked like the most skilled musician when he let his fingers play his parts over the fretboard.
On bass, he had managed to get one of the older students at the school. His name was Billy, and he was tall, blonde and extremely well-built. He had started on bass guitar recently, and, style-wise at least, it suited him perfectly. When it came to actual skill, unfortunately, he was far from talented. His fingers often seemed to have trouble finding the correct spot, and his knackered old second-hand instrument had a strap that continually refused to stay attached, so they kept losing the bass from the mix completely.
The percussion spot was taken up by Animal, named so because of the rampant enthusiasm with which he attacked the drums. Everybody else could tell that this was a far from intelligent method, but this was where his inexperience showed most clearly. He was surprisingly small for his chosen position, being both short and almost skeletally thin. When he breathed in deeply enough, all of his ribs poked out, but he was the only person in the school who had turned up at the auditions with any sort of confidence other than Hugh Gee, who literally screamed confidence constantly.
Finally, there was the singer, a girl from the choir who was slightly younger than David, though still in the same year. She was short, though she made up for it with a constant energy. Though she was hardly bouncing around the music room that they had booked for their first practice session, she always seemed to be moving, even if it was just to stand in front of the microphone and clap or to go back and forth between the microphone and the PA controls. Her name was Tracy and she had been one of quite a few potential singers.
David, at first, had strongly considered doing the singing himself, but Heather had managed to talk him around by asking him to sing for her. Due to nerves and the moment in general, he had been completely unable to do so, which made it very obvious that he wouldn't be able to sing on stage. Heather was present, as ever. She was sitting in the corner, as usual, her eyes following the movements of each and every musician, step by step. It was like having a safety net around. Heather would keep track of what was going on around them, leaving David to concentrate on the music.
So we're in G, right? Billy the bassist was asking, looking thoroughly perplexed by the piece that David had been trying to show him. If it's D, then A, then F sharp to G, then we're in G? One sharp.
No, we're in D major, supplied David, while Hugh laughed to himself at Billy's confusion. The F sharp is a minor chord, you just don't have to worry about doing chords when you're on bass. You just play the notes while I play the chords for this bit. You have an easy bit here, so just relax and worry about getting the chorus nailed, okay?
Okay, Billy muttered, submitting in the same tone as a young child. He went back to his fretboard, moving his hands slowly through the notes that he was aiming for. Animal jumped in to give Billy a little support and keep him in rhythm, and together the two of them went through the verse at a slightly delayed rate.
That was good, David said once they had finished, trying to offer some encouragement to the behemoth bassist. I think we should run through what we have so far, just to see how we're doing with it. I know this is all about trying to gel, but we can't get a giant jam going when not all of us really know how to handle the instrument yet. Don't worry though, we'll all learn together. Let's give it a try.
The wave of noise that followed was somewhat akin to an inexperienced pygmy attempting to strum an un-tuned banjo. It actually hurt David to hear Billy trying to fit the bass notes into the rhythm at seemingly random intervals, completely missing the strike of Animal's hi-hat, which, in itself, was constantly getting faster and faster. David wouldn't have blamed Billy if he had been too slow because of Animal's inability to keep the rhythm, but it really was completely random as to when Billy would actually hit a note. In their own little areas, Hugh, Tracy and Heather were laughing to themselves. While David, Billy and Animal had been trying their hardest just to get something together, the other three had been seemingly unable to even find something to do.
Tracy had taken to scribbling down lyrics in a notebook that she had brought particularly to fight boredom with. Hugh had wandered over to her after showing off a little. It was clear that Hugh was by far the best guitarist there, though he seemed to have multiple capos on his instrument. Whether it was by preference of because the wood seemed to be coming away from the fretboard, David was unsure.
This isn't working out, David shouted over the din, calling a halt to all attempts to actually stop Animal and Billy from playing. Billy stopped easily enough, looking shy and disappointed with himself. Unfortunately, Animal seemed to think this was a cue to go absolutely crazy on the drums. He sped up, hitting things at random and thrashing like a fish on fire. David surrendered his aching head to the relative safety of his sweating palms until silence was finally reached. This entire situation was not working out.
When all of the musicians in the room had finally ceased their playing, David turned his attention to Hugh and Tracy. How about we just start off with the two guitar parts, make sure they settle in together and then try and bring everybody else in.
Fine, Hugh said, moving quickly back to his appointed position and making a quick run down his fretboard. Which bit are we working on? I don't really have that much to do in the verse, so are we moving from the intro forwards?
Sure, answered David, submitting easily. He struck his first D note, then moved into a suspended chord while Tracy stepped up to the microphone and threw the first words out of her mouth into it. This was an original song and it started gently, moving almost soothingly upwards. It was led by Tracy's lyrics, but Hugh came in with a little lead line overlaying the chords that David was providing.
Without the bass or the drums it sounded empty. Billy made an effort, and, given time, he did manage to take the lead from the lyrics being provided. Animal then leapt in with something overly spirited, but his hi-hat was hit every time David released the chord change from his guitar. For the first time, during this intro, they actually sounded like a collection of musicians, not particularly capable musicians, but musicians nonetheless. It was when they switched from doing the intro into doing the verse, and Hugh moved towards a high-end chord harmonisation, that it all went very wrong. Animal moved too quickly, Billy moved too slowly, and Tracy stopped singing altogether. This made Hugh start laughing, though he was the only one who did not stop playing the part that David had shown him.
This was not going well at all.
I don't think it went as badly as you think it did, Heather was saying as the two of them emerged last from the music room that they had managed to procure. The two of them had spent the last twenty minutes packing up stray wires and moving the rented amplifiers back into the cupboard in which they practically lived. The drums had also been an effort, especially considering that neither David nor Heather knew anything about setting them up to begin with, but Animal had just wandered off after spending so long setting them up.
Were you in the same room that I was? asked David in response. It was a disaster. Hugh was the only one who actually knew how to work his chosen instrument, Tracy kept changing the lines I'd written without telling anybody, even when they were taking this cues from it and I can understand why they call him Animal, he's got no intelligence whatsoever. He can't hit a few drums with a couple of pieces of wood without putting in so much effort he ends up red in the face and nearly passing out.
As it turned out, this was the reason that they had had to cut the session short by ten minutes. Animal's final flurry after one last failed attempt at making music had simply been too much for him, and no amount of water would convince him to carry on regardless. Instead, he was almost dragged out of the room by a concerned Billy, which left the singer and two guitarists without the necessary backing to really work on anything. Hugh already had all of his parts down, no questions asked. The boy eclipsed David without question.
Well just swap some people about a bit, advised Heather, still trying to play the optimist to David's pessimist. You had more than just those people at your auditions, so have a play around and see if you can make a band out of any of them. If Hugh's good then just keep him around and swap the others. If that doesn't work then hold more auditions until you get it right.
I guess, David conceded. The weight of the guitar on his back was actually starting to feel more like a burden than ever before. I just wish it was all as easy as Guitar Hero, you know? There's all of this band politics and crap, but with Guitar Hero you don't have to worry about any of that. You just strap on your bit of plastic, put your fingers in the right places and do your thing. I wish I could do that on stage for a living, just keep tapping that bit of plastic until I reach a hundred percent on the hardest setting.
Life's not that easy though, is it? asked Heather. I can kick arse on Cooking Mama, but I can't cook. I can do Guitar Hero, but I'd never dream of picking up one of those things. I can snipe without being seen for hours in Call Of Duty, but I'd be useless if there ever was a war I had to fight in. You know what I mean. Games and simulators and all that crap might give you a taste and teach you some of the basics, but they're just there for the entertainment factor. All games are. If you want to do something for real, you have to work your arse off. You know how parents always say that you can be whatever you want? It's true, they just forget to point out how much work's involved in making it happen.
Where did all this come from? David said, his mouth hanging open slightly. The sheer amount of information, all of which was both fitting and entirely correct, was staggering. He had been selling this woman short for far too long.
Maybe I saw it in a film or something, theorised Heather with a cutesy smile. She shrugged and shook her head. I don't know, I just say whatever comes to mind at the time. I don't plan things out or anything.
You're right though, he told her with a smile. You've been right about pretty much everything so far as well. I should play more Call Of Duty with you too, I think that's something that should be taken away from this conversation, we don't play enough games together.
She raised an eyebrow at him slowly, a tiny smile threatening the very edges of her lips. What kind of games did you have in mind? she asked. Of course, he had been thinking of the exact game that he had mentioned, so the question confused him a little, but he was determined to persevere.
David considered the question for a moment, a little perplexed. All the games I have, he tried, trying to guess the right thing to say that would satisfy whatever question she was trying to ask. You know I'm a big gamer. I've got everything from Devil May Cry to Jungle Book. Besides, we can always go back to Guitar Hero every now and again until we start getting bored of it. Who knows, maybe with a bit of work I could teach you some stuff on guitar as well. Would you like that?
I think I would, she told him, hooking his arm in one of hers so that they were linked while they walked through the deserted school. It was well past the end of teaching hours, and now only those students with either extra-curricular activities or detentions were wandering around, trying to escape the madness of the building for another couple of hours before they had to start all over again tomorrow.
It felt odd having anybody hold onto him in such a manner, but, as he walked through the corridors towards the main entrance and exit to the building, he found himself quite enjoying it. David had never received any sort of female attention. In fact, thinking about it, he had never even desired any really, and yet he didn't try to shrug off the blatant affection that Heather had been showing him of late. Things had just sort of rolled together.
I'm glad to have you around, he told her quietly, lest anybody else be around to hear him. I think I'd be lost without you. It's always good knowing that you're right behind me for when things go wrong. I've never had that. Usually games are what I do when I get annoyed or upset, but you've kept me from needing them. I just come to you now.
Weird words to hear from you, teased Heather. Most of the time I'm not even sure if you notice me or not, but I'm always behind you somewhere.
You're right, you are, and I should be more appreciative, said David. I'm going to start those guitar lessons right away, and we're going to play some games and spend some time together, starting right now. You're going to come home with me and we're going to have some fun. Does that sound like a good plan?
That sounds brilliant.
Together, the two of them walked out of the main doors of the school into the brisk cold outside. Heather huddled a little tighter inside of her jacket and moved a little closer to David, but that action alone was enough to keep his blood pumping inside of him. He would switch his band around as he saw fit and do whatever he wanted, but first, he would go home and play hours upon hours of Guitar Hero with somebody who was so close to him that he would have trouble imagining life without her.
He had been rushing home from school for the past few days, his battered instrument bouncing in the rented case that he had been given to protect it. This one was especially well cushioned, while the guitar itself was still being fixed, though Hugh constantly needed it for practice sessions with his, as yet unnamed, band.
He had been running home every night and barely leaving home since his father had suffered an attack from the family of Richard Meyers and several of their friends. Though the blood and bruises had obviously been cleaned and healed respectively, there was still some lasting damage in both his muscles and his bones. Hugh's father had been beaten badly, and he had not managed to land many successful hits in retribution. He had advised his father so very strongly not to get involved, but, as was evident, the old had not listened to the young.
He rushed through the house, dropping his bag at the foot of the stairs and laying his guitar carefully against the wall during his only real pause. In the living room, in the same spot where he had emptied his bag to display the remnants, his father was laying, his eyes on the television and his right arm, in a cast, covering his gut. He had been ordered bed rest, and a lot of it. But for Hugh's mother, that would not be the case. His dad was a very stubborn and decisive man.
How are you doing? Hugh asked of his prone and weary father. Do you have enough tea and soup and stuff?
I'm laying on my arse all day getting fed, came the quite happy response. When you go to bed, she gives me a sponge bath and helps my angle when I need a piss. Why would there be a downside in any of that? Sure, the cast is a bit of a pain in the arse, but people are all coming along to sign it. I'll get em, don't you worry about that.
I'm not worried dad, I just don't want you getting hurt again, Hugh said, trying to reason with his father.
And that's what worrying is, isn't it? responded his father with a brief laugh. You don't want something to happen, so you fret about it. Next time, I'll do it properly, don't you worry. How was your band anyway? It fixed yet?
No, it's still a bit bust up, but I'm sure they'll have it sorted over the weekend, Hugh answered. Band's going alright. It's nothing special, and the new boys are a bit crap, but I'm settling in alright.
You happy, son? Hugh's father asked. Something about the question drew his attention more strongly than ever. His dad was being very direct about something.
Hugh wondered how he could answer. His father had been attacked, Hugh himself was constantly under threat all because of one stupid joke that he had made, and yet, everything was going alright. At least, for now.
Yeah. I think I am. It's weird. All the jokes and everything were fun for a bit, and they still are, but I yes you change to cope with things.