Here it is, the first Saturday of 2015. Are you doing anything different? Anything to reach those resolutions? Are you even the type who makes resolutions? I’m not, and haven’t been for some time, but that’s not to say that I don’t set short, mid, and long term goals, start making plans and implementing them. I learned early on that, for me, a resolution lacks resolve without the planning and implementing portions.
I’ve been wanting to become a better guitarist and vocalist for a while now. To some, that sounds silly, as I play fairly well within my genre already. To others, ‘it’s about time’ might cross their minds, as I’ve been coasting as a guitarist, placing more effort on writing better lyrics, performing more, becoming better at marketing, and showmanship. With so many hats to wear as a modern independent musician, mostly full time employee, and family man, the whole music industry becomes a juggling act, where priorities are constantly in flux.
My family band, Sentimental Value has been on a slow burn for a few years now, while the skill levels of the rest of my family improved. Now, my son is a pretty darn good bass player, and at 18, can get into bars to perform with less headache. My wife’s health is slowly improving, so she has returned to practicing singing, and guitar. As her guitar playing and confidence improves, that frees me up to challenge myself with lead riffs and additional parts that weren’t possible with just one guitar. This means that I have to improve now as well, and can no longer coast.
My daughter is still young, at 12, and is interested in returning to the drums, but the next few months of rehearsals will be telling. I’ll either have a drummer, or not, but I have options for percussive sounds while playing, so it’s not a deal breaker, and I’d rather have her truly wanting to practice and perform, rather than force the issue and have her hate music. Once summer hits, we’re usually playing out most weekends, and my goal is to wow people this time out.
I’ve set another musical goal. One that incorporates music into another past time, and is a very niche market. I’ve been writing geeky songs and arranging them, in the hopes that I can drag my son along, and start performing at conventions later this year. My interests are very sci-fi and fantasy oriented, through film, television, and books, with a background in games of the video, board, and role-playing varieties, and a broad Anime base. My son puts my interest in Anime to shame, with a huge viewing history and expansive knowledge base.
At first, I was worried, because I usually write from the heart about the lives around me, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to transition into lyrics about things I’m interested in that aren’t actually real. Turns out, I’ve been having a lot of fun, and the songs are flowing. My son’s dismayed response, these sound like your songs, dad. I suppose he was expecting my sound to change along with the subject matter. Time will tell, but I’m having fun trying something new, yet familiar. We still haven’t come up with a group name for that project, but ideas have been tossed around on Facebook.
We sent out a challenge, looking for names, with bonus points given to those that hinted at either Doctor Who, or Firefly, our personal favorite shows (damn you, FOX Network). A lot of suggestions came of it, including some very obscure options that most wouldn’t catch. For example, I had to look up a word, only do discover that it was the name of the initial mechanic, fired when Kaylee could fix the engine in moments. Yup, pretty obscure, being in less than five minutes of one episode, and a Firefly reference.
If you have any thoughts, by all means, toss them into the comments. I’d love to hear from you.