And now, for something completely different! There will be no Guitarist Better Than Hendrix this week. I will write something. You’ll maybe like it. You’ll see. It’s gonna be a grand adventure!
In my imagination, you asking me earnestly, “It’s Thursday, where is my article about a guitarist better than Hendrix?” You also look nervous, as though you might not get your weekly fix!
It’s my imagination, I’ll use it any way I damned well please!
Well, I suppose that somewhere in this article there’s a guitarist greater than Hendrix – but I can’t actually give them a name. I don’t know their names and I’m not even going to begin to look them up. I’m sure they have names. In fact, I’m positive they have names!
Come on, what are you waiting for? Get in the car, we’re going on an adventure!
I’m not sure where to begin?
I don’t understand a good half of the stuff I see online. Nope… I see a whole lot of memes. I’d say half of them mean nothing to me. They include things like anime and television shows. They reference movies and stars. They include popular media figures and famous people.
I don’t actually know who many of them are. No, I’m not going to learn. You can’t even make me learn about them. No, I’m not going to be interested in your favorite television show. No, I don’t care that it has a lot of drama.
No, I probably haven’t seen your favorite movie. I do sometimes watch some, but I’m pretty selective. No, I don’t expect you to watch my favorite movies. I don’t even expect you to like them.
I’ll digress a moment…
Men, if you want to get nookie, Seven Years in Tibet is good, as is August Rush. They’re both kinda “chick flicks” but they’re well worth seeing.
Women, if you want me to watch a movie with you, I’d like some Terri Gilliam or maybe some early Tim Burton. We will also be watching Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, because that’s just the greatest movie ever produced. It tells you, right there in the title, that it’s an adventure and that it is just the beginning!
Suffice to say, the missus doesn’t watch a whole lot of movies with me. No, no she does not. She obviously has no taste, she’s has sex with a guitarist. It only stands to reason that her taste in media consumption is also bad.
Back to the subject at hand – and it’s okay, the missus doesn’t read the site!
I do watch video/film. I just don’t watch movies or television, at least not like you’re probably thinking. I watch documentaries. I love me some documentaries!
I ain’t even kidding. I don’t want to watch your drama. I want to watch about history, science, art, and things of that nature. I fucking love documentaries!
Lest you think I’m on some high and mighty horse, fuck that! No, I don’t watch ’em to learn anything. A bunch of ’em are straight up wrong and many of them present things with quite a bit of bias. I ain’t learning a damned useful thing with the documentaries I watch – nothing. It’s pure entertainment.
Fuck yeah! They’re awesome! They are better than cartoons!
I love me some documentaries but I’m not learning a damned thing from them, most of the time. I might learn a few little interesting tidbits, but I forget ’em soon after. It’s just passing entertainment. I’m not doing it out of some weird goal of moral superiority or even for the purpose of scholarship. I just love me some documentaries!
BBC has some pretty great stuff. I watch a lot of those. I long since forgot the people’s names, but I just recently watched a series called Victorian Farm. It has a lovely old bird named Ruth and like two guys in it. They go spend like a year living on a Victorian farm, inasmuch as is both possible in today’s society – as well as with, you know, a video crew, sound crew, producer, and director. They do surprisingly well. Highly recommended! They also do several others series, at like a manor house, Edwardian farm life, and even living in a castle! It’s pretty sweet!
But, that’s not really the point of this article.
No… This is about a dream. This is about a vision. This is about an idea so glorious that someone should throw me a parade.
Man… I really, really want to play the audio track for a well-made documentary, preferably a whole series. Nope… Ain’t even kidding.
I’d giggle like a little schoolgirl if BBC called me up and asked me to do them the honor of playing for one of their long documentaries. I do not even care what the documentary is about, either. Nope.
Hell, I barely care what instrument they want me to play – but I hope it’s a pipe organ or lots and lots of bells! I ain’t scared.
I don’t even know how to play a violin, but I’ll play one for a BBC documentary series! Oh, hells yeah I would! It’s all squeaks anyhow.
Heck, if you put the colored strings on the C and F, I can say I’ve spent some time on a Grand Concert Pedal Harp. Can’t say that I know how to play a harp, really. However, I eventually managed to play Stairway to Heaven on one. (Call me, BBC!) I’ll be more than happy to play one for your next documentary! In fact, I’ll be *honored* to play one!
I am not scared! You bring it on!
I should probably explain this. I do realize that I may seem like I’m talking nonsense.
Can you picture the challenge that must be? They have top-notch musicians, including fantastic guitarists, create the music for their documentaries. If you watch a documentary and don’t pay attention to the music score, you’re missing out on half the fun! Some of those musicians are fantastic.
They’re also often made on shoestring budgets – but BBC does have some pretty good recording gear. They regularly pull sound from people climbing up mountains, stompin’ through the bush, or animals half-way across the savanna!
Damned right, they do. And…
That’s pretty much the perfect time to play a bitchin’ solo. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a better time to play a bitchin’ solo, ’cause you know damned well they’re gonna make copies and broadcast it! They’re going to make copies and put ’em in things like vaults. They’re gonna archive that stuff!
That’s right… 1,000 years from now, some historian is gonna be digging through archives and listening to ’em play a bitchin’ solo, all while trying to figure out why we believed the things we do in the 21st century!
Some of those scores have full orchestras, blasting away bitchin’ solos. Shit, you can find a documentary about orchestras and it’s gonna have nothing but awesome orchestras playing bitchin’ solos! I can type “BBC orchestra documentary” into YouTube right now, and I’m 100% confident up will pop a documentary complete with bitchin’ orchestra solos.
I’m hard pressed to think of anything more awesome, except maybe a pipe organ or drunkenly change ringing bells at 02:00 while the entire police force yells at you from down below.
Wait… And maybe fire-breathing monster trucks taking sweet, sweet jumps. I dunno, those might not actually be as awesome as making the music for a BBC documentary? Those are pretty awesome, but probably not BBC documentary awesome? I’m not sure quite where to put ’em on the Awesome Scale?
Anyhow… Many documentaries are stuffed with original compositions, on a whole host of instruments! So, it’s not just guitar, either. They have loads of instruments – even oboes! Or course, I’m kind of partial to the ones that contain guitar, but I openly admit my bias.
If you’re a musician, there’s an aspiration for you – should you want it. Many of them are entirely unique pieces that you’ll have generated for a single purpose. You’ll be tasked with establishing emotions, making thoughts more clear, and increasing understanding – with music! You’re seemingly given broad leeway, but still must play with precision, often as improvisation!
Like I said, it’s pretty much the perfect time to play a bitchin’ solo. If you listen to ’em, some are really quite good. They’re full of bitchin’ solos! I have no idea what their names are, but they’re full of guitarists who are, in all likelihood, better than Hendrix.
They’re pretty much unsung heroes and given little or no recognition. That’s just wrong. Today, we recognize them – the nameless and faceless guitarists that play in BBC documentaries.
Seriously, it’s not like they let shitty musicians play in ’em. They have like standards and stuff! They are full of people who’ve devoted a lifetime to mastering their guitar and I’m gonna hazard a guess that they’re pretty much all better than Hendrix.
Man, I’d take it as an honor to be asked to play the score for one of their docs and I’d not need even a wee bit of money to do the job. Shit, I might even pay my own expenses to get there.
I know not the names of these brilliant guitarists, and they don’t even always show them in the credits – at least not as individuals. I’m also absolutely not willing to dig into it further. It’s entertainment to me, and not scholarship.
I’d love to do some of their solo guitar work, recorded in one of their studios, to accompany a documentary. I’d love to have one of their sound engineers and audio production teams record me and then work their magic on the results.
I really can’t think of too many things that would be more awesome. I realize that they pay people to do this, but to me doing so would be an honor. I’d do it for free!
Hell, I’ll even show up mostly sober for that. I’ll even sign a contract saying that I’ll wear pants the entire time AND wear the pants properly. I’ll even wear shoes. Actually, no… No, I can’t commit to shoes but I will wear something on my feet – ’cause feet are ugly and there’s just no getting around that.
You laugh, but which one of us is keeping the dream alive? That’s right… Only one person in this entire room is secretly working on a plan to record bitchin’ solos for a BBC documentary! I’m keeping the dream alive!
I’ve done a lot of things, I’m old. The only dreams left are the absurd ones, which is nice. It means I’ve lived a pretty good life. So, the only unfulfilled dreams I have left are things like playing in a BBC documentary (or playin’ a honking giant pipe organ).
Anyhow… I don’t really have much energy today.
I’m not dead, just not feeling well. I’ll be back to normal soon enough. In the meantime, keep the dream alive. Keep practicing. Keep performing. Keep playing. Keep trying to get to a better future. Keep trying to make each day the best day ever.
Maybe you can aspire to play guitar in a BBC documentary? I’m pretty sure that’d make you better than Hendrix by default, or at least more awesome. (A cartoon series like Animaniacs is also an acceptable substitute!)
I shall leave you with a song. It’s called Box of Rain, by the Grateful Dead. They let Phil sing and it’s surprisingly popular – even though I’m pretty sure it was a horrible idea to let him sing. Still, the song is particularly salient and goes well with this topic of keeping the dream alive. (What, you didn’t think the actual topic was playing the musical score for a documentary, do you? That’s absurd!)
Until next time…
Shut up and play us a song!