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I guess I'll take a note from the other's here and post my first show and a few others here as well.....grab a drink, this is going to be a long one......

My first show on guitar...
The 1998 Opelika High School Guitar Concert. I had 2 sets that night, one with a "frenemy" of sorts, and another with a guy whom I really despised....but somehow through the magic of performing that night, we finally gained some respect for each other for once.

The first set was Imagine by John Lennon...

Now people at that time, knew of me as this "weird Van-Halen obsessed kid" because I was studying my ass off on right-hand hammer-ons, whammy bar technique, and tapped harmonics, all during the oh so perfect (snicker) time of the late 1990's when guitar solos were outlawed. So of course, with this explained, everyone, at least I felt, was in absolute horror at the idea of me even so much as attempting to play something by John Lennon......boy were they wrong....

I pop up on stage for Imagine, no floyded wacked-out strat, no distortion pedal, keeping a calm on-stage demeanor, I noodle some light leads through the song like a master Clapton, no mistakes, and manage a rather nice (albeit generic) octave solo midway through.....okay....I survived the Lennon song, but how about the next set.....

Second set? Me playing Eruption/You Really Got Me

Just a minute before I go on, I had to break the lock on my guitar case because the Kramer's sleeping chambers were locked and I forgot her key.

Ok, I go grab my evil red Kramer hellabeast from it's wretched beat-up Alverez hardshell and plug into the oddball configuration of a BOSS HM-2 into a Fender Twin Reverb......and a nasty old Twin Reverb, missing knobs, and looking quite like an electrical hazard at that.

Anyway, I had rewired the guitar a bit the previous night and everything had seemed fine, but as soon as I set foot on stage and kicked off that opening A chord to eruption....I knew something was amiss....hardly any gain, hardly any sustain, I sounded more like Eddie Cochran than Edward Van-Halen....but people were cheering so I just kept on with it.

Now, I'm just about up to the hammer-on's towards the end and just as I kick into that -h12-p5-h8- sequence that ends it, my fist slams the pickguard at one point bringing the Kramer Focus 3000 out of it's cold-solder/short induced semi-coma, and now I've got the sound I've been desiring for the 2:00 of 2:47 of Eruption, cheering gets louder, then I hit that bar dive at the end, audience goes nuts, life on stage is gooood...

So I kick into You Really Got Me, goes off without a hitch.

We were recorded on tape and audio that night, the audio I have sounds like an old AM radio performance in a studio full of loud people.

OHS Concert #2 -1999
Considering the success from last year, all semi-comatose Kramer incidents not withstanding, I decided to up the ante.......

During prep for the concert the following events leading up to it happened....

1) I was in a nu-metal band, our singer and I were big Metallica fans, we decided we would do two Metallica songs that year

2) I just got one of my dream guitars, a Jag-Stang with EMG pickups (yes...THAT Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups) just a few months before, so I wanted to do an original solo.

3) I got my hands on a B.C. Rich Ironbird bass which got employed twice at the concert.

First off, we decided on Sad but True and Seek & Destroy for the Metallica set, during that time, I quit the band and took some time away from the drama going on there, but we still performed.

Second off, nobody wanted to play bass for the Dixie Chicks song (Cowboy Take Me Away), and in my wanton joy of being on stage, decided I'd do it.....with my new B.C. Rich Ironbird Bass ( hehehehehehehehe). Don't get me wrong, I don't like them at all, but hey, I got to play on it so it was still fun.

Third off, New Guitar = New Guitar solo. At the time, I was making up my own "eruptions" if you will. So I decided to make the Jag-Stang's first on-stage appearance blatant abuse from the Fender Dynamic Vibrato.

So first off was Cowboy Take Me away, which went nice and smooth, though those lights were a lot hotter than I remembered them being. But even now, I STILL get a laugh out of what all those country fans thought when some long-haired shredder appears on stage with a big, scary, pointy metal bass. Listening to the recordings, the Bass was the lead instrument - LOL. Mission Accomplished in my lil' 16 year old mind.

Next came the Metallica set. - Sad But True - My guitar solo - and Seek & Destroy...

Sad But True - we all thought we rocked this one at the time, but really, ALL of us forgot everything except the main riff and the chorus. The Ironbird was the Drop-D bass for the night. Right before the song, our bassist said "Man, I'm scared of this thing, like it's going to stab me or something".....he stood still most of the night with that thing on!

Guitar Solo (aka. Poontang Pie - a comment from a friend named that one, LOL) - So I walked back to the stage, put down my old basketcase Kramer, and picked up tada....Excalibur-freeking-Jag-Stang. I kicked off into my solo with an E5, and just started ripping into the most aggressive three minutes of the night.....I tortured that poor Leo designed whammy like it was a Floyd stayed in better tune than the Kramer did actually. The audience was going pretty crazy but they REALLY amped up when I started doing the right-hand hammer-ons, I almost could not hear myself when I hit the last stretch where I started doubling and tripling hammer-ons into chords. Headiest moment of the night.

Seek & Destroy - the song started off fine, but once we got to the Guitar solo, my lead vocalist decided to let out his so-called "Primal Screams".....but the great part, right at the front of the OPAC stage is a orchestra pit...and in the orchestra pit, were nothing but my peers, headbanging, one of them literally banging his head on the stage, girls on the shoulders of their metal-loving boyfriends, cheering. I have never seen anything like this before or since, it felt like a friggin pro gig at that is something I wish to experience again though.

But of course, being Alabama, and being as we were a bunch of "evil voo doo heathen hippies playing devil music" we were blown away by the guy I played Imagine with the previous year and some of his pals (including the guy who played rhythm guitar on Seek & Destroy, who is also an amazing guitarist) when they did Freebird. Man, you do Freebird down south, and it's all over for anyone else.

Anyway, the story draws to a close the day afterward. The next day, everyone is telling me how great the show went out in the courtyard in the morning, and about the time lunch time hits, I'm hit with the news that two old fogies that came to the concert had a fit and said that our singer was "flipping off the audience" and "showing gang symbols" and "showing the devil horns". Also, someone in the Orchestra pit got injured, and they had to start a school-wide campaign against using lighters.....also, next year's guitar concert was to be Acoustic only.....but that was NOT enough to stop little ol' me......

My last concert @ the OPAC - OHS 2001
By this point, I already had another band, called Lithium (I'll tell the crazy tales later)...

Because of this, I was not nearly so involved at our third show....that plus, due to our group being the Opelika equivalent of Godzilla rising from the paper mill up the street, now the concert was forcibly acoustic, no lighters were allowed (people held em' up during my guitar solo the previous year), and that meant, I had to find another way to put something cool into the set.....aha - Nothing Else Matters.

Then came the song "Wish" by Pearl Jam, another one of my friends wanted to do but, again, can't find someone to play one of the instruments - this time Bongos, so I decide to do that.

The big drama of the concert was that we had a family gathering the same bloody night, so I had to show up early in the night, play my set, and get the heck out.

Wishbone was fun - me spacing off for 3:45ish banging on the drums, went perfect and without a hitch.

Then I played "Nothing Else Matters", my first time on lead vocals, and to be honest, I really do HATE my voice, I mean HATE my singing voice. I fear singing more than plane crashes and thermonuclear war. But I manned up and got to the mic, and did not do half bad, or so they say.

All in all, I remember that night being rather anti-climatic on stage, I'm glad I only did two tracks that night, just not my cup o' tea to play acoustic. I jumped off stage, handed my friend his black Takamine Bruce Springsteen, and ran out of the venue to head to the family gathering....needless to say, that's another rough story, skinned and ripped up my knees in the mud sliding on them outside in the rain.

Skip ahead about 2 days, I had girls flocking to me to talk about the performance, I guess I did something right.

All in all, it was a good starting point for me playing music live with bands now. Wouldn't change it for anything. I'll tell some more stories later.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)