2012 in Review: Music

Last night I was at the rocking birthday part of Ina Santiago and we were head banging and dancing (well, she and a lot of other people were, I was kind of jiggling in my seat) at Craft’s Glam Rock night which featured cover band Trinidad. And while taking in the Bon Jovi and David Lee Roth it made sense to start thinking about how I have been working and getting back into music this year.

I talk about how music saved my life in high school (I mention it in the paper which I gave, more on this below) and how it has been such an integral part of my life and the way that I interact with the world. Though I was never much of a musician, playing music and loving music form a large part of my identity. I struggled to make it as a musician for a long time, dreamed the rock star dream. Sometime in 2009 I gave it all up. In reaction to the big break-up of that year I put my guitar away. Right now, I don’t know where the bass that served me for many good years is out in the wind, and I guess I should track it down.

But I put the guitars away and stopped writing about music. I still listened to music, but things had changed.

In 2012 though, I picked up the guitar again. Not only that, but I made the jump from bass to guitar. Part of this is thanks to friends Adam David and Michael David, who pulled me into a gig, and that got me started playing. Once I had a guitar in my hand, I missed playing music and realized that I wanted to play again. Over the course of the year, I played a couple times with them at Sputnik, before it closed.

I bought my first electric guitar, a Samik Telecaster style cherry red scorcher. And an orange amp. I’ve pulled ’em out at every possible chance. Again, I’m not much of a musician, but I enjoy playing music.

After gigging for about ten years on and off, and then quitting for almost three years, I took to the stage again with Gang Bading at the Komiks rOX benefit gig. We played a bunch of 90s covers and it was hell of fun. I can’t think of a group of guys whose music I jive with as much, and I am looking forward to playing some more music with them in the coming years (yes guys, this is me trying to drop hints, come on, we gotta do a classic rock set and I can let rip my heavily distorted version of “Heart of Gold”).

And towards the end of the year I got to join the junior faculty as part of the band, playing guitar and bass on one song. It ain’t a performance to write home about, but it was fun to be playing music, and further to play music with people that I just like hanging out with. It’s great in that being able to connect with people has an affinity for in a way that one loves just helps to develop camaraderie and friendship. Sounds like a big dollop of cheese, but yeah, I’m getting a little sentimental and hey the world didn’t end, so lemme have this little shout out.

Beyond playing music, I got to attend some really great concerts. I was near broke and had to borrow money from friends to go (it took a semester for my papers to be processed and for me to get my salary as a professor) but I got to watch Death Cab for Cutie and Toe. That was pretty amazing. I had dreamed of watching Smashing Pumpkins live since I was a teenager, and braving the terrible storm I got to do it with some of my best friends and my sister. Got to catch Snow Patrol and Keane on someone else’s dime too. And towards the end of the year, saw the Wolfgang 20th anniversary concert. To cap it all was glam rock night, which is now something I will want to go to regularly.

I also got to present a paper about music. I talked about music and poetry, and how we can read music using a literary background. Presenting with good friends and faculty bandmates was another fun thrill. Thanks too to new friend Aine, who helped me write this paper. Nothing like talking to specialists who challenge your ideas and help to push you into different territory and ways of thinking.

I also got to listen to a lot of new music this year, as evidenced by the previous post with the list of favorite songs. Music has always been integral to the way that I am in the world. And I guess I am happy that I have gotten to engage it again, and most importantly, start making music again.

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