When the 90's came around with its Seattle-sounding wave of "grunge" bands, I was already a big fan of music, and not the big hair and lipstick variety I saw infesting MTV. Like those proponents of the Grunge and Alternative styles, I too realized that the bazillion glam bands parading in drag in videos featuring at least five megatons of pyrotechnic explosives were headed for oblivion, but why did guitar ability have to follow suit?
It seemed to me, having been obsessed with the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Randy Rhoads, Death, etc., that the problem was not guitar nor especially knowing how to play one. The problem was often talented musicians taking the easy way out and signing record deals to join the throng of regurgitated rejects polluting the airwaves with pointless love ballads.
My attitude at the time was "**** Grunge!" and I was delighted at the image of Kurt Cobain's splattered skull on the inside sleeve of Slayer's Divine Intervention album. I cheered as band after band succomed to the inevitable demise of their lead singers and all the while my favorite metal bands were still kicking major ass (except for Metallica who were on serious probation at the time).
But then I realized that every time I went to jam with anybody I inevitably found myself plodding along to another C-G-D rhythm, suffering through the boring old arrangements and tiresome chord progressions because knowing how to play was not "cool." In fact, having an inkling of ability at my instrument meant that I was a relic of the past, stuck in the 80's corporate glam factory with the likes of White Snake or (insert your favorite hair band here)
...and there are some decent ones.
I found it quite distressing that knowing how to play was somehow a bad thing, and even more, NOT knowing how to play was somehow a good thing. Uh...okay?
How many times have you heard this excuse: "I don't learn the scales and chords because I feel it would affect the way I play!"
There is no excuse for sloppiness, and though it may have been trendy for a while being a bad player is not the way to succeed. Unfortunately, though, the world of guitar is far too full of players who just dink around and call it music.
But here's the plain and simple truth - taking a lesson will not ruin your "art." Sure, it will change the way you play, but for the better. Coming to this website is a step in the right direction, but look beyond that tab you're interested in. Read some of the lessons, too.
And if you like alternative music, Grunge or whatever - great. But consider Candlebox or Alice in Chains, where would they be without their guitars? Smashing Pumpkins have some brilliant stuff. You can write high quality rock 'n roll and actually know how to play your instrument!
Don't fall into the laziness trap. You don't have to sound like Joe Satriani to be a good player, but don't be afraid of learning how. Learning to shred, or even learning to play semi-proficiently is not going to consume your soul or compromise your precious creativity. In fact, having a little bit of skill might just set you apart from the crowd. It might even get you the gig.
Let someone else be the lazy one!