Ol’ Buddha Goes on a Quest…


I have found a pipe organ in a secular facility. Today, my quest begins. Without further introduction:


They tell me that I’m sane. You’ll see why that’s important.

Message Body:

This is going to be long. This is going to be very long. I’m also serious. I’m very serious. This is a serious matter!

You have been warned.

It should also be known that I’m not even a little sorry for what I’m about to do.

For reasons that are too long to get into, I sent a hoard of people on a quest to find me a pipe organ, preferably in a secular facility. Your name came back on the list.

I should probably start at the beginning.

Because I will be publishing this, I will simply say that my name is David G. I’m an accomplished guitarist, old and retired, and have a dream. (I also have money, if that helps.)

Seriously, I’m pretty good. I’m not very famous for playing guitar, but I have performed for many, many people – mostly drunk people. Pretty sweet, huh?

Except, I play guitar like this:

Told ya, I ain’t even a little kidding. I can play a guitar.

Alas, most of my career has been me playing music such as this:

See? Wasn’t kidding. I can play the snot out of a guitar. I’ve been at it for almost 5 decades.

Let’s see…

Sadly, musicians make very little money – as a general rule. So, my actual real career was that of a mathematician but I’ve given up my heathen ways and mostly concentrate on music, now that I’m retired.

I think those all go in the plus column!

I have played a piano. I have taken formal piano lessons. I have even played *at* an organ in a church, multiple times. (I can’t believe they let me do such things! I’ve even been asked to ring the bell. Pretty awesome, huh?)

I’m the kinda guy who can’t walk past a music store without window shopping. I can’t see an instrument and not want to touch it. Some fuzzy memories tell me that I’m probably kicked out of at least two museums for just such a thing!

So, now that you know a little about me… Let’s move on!

I have zero idea how to play a pipe organ. None.

Let’s just get that little detail right out of the way.

Frankly, I hardly think that should matter!

See, I’m 99.9% confident (trust me, I’m a mathematician) that being allowed to play a pipe organ is pretty much the best day ever.

That’s right. I’m on to your little secret. I know darned well that playing a pipe organ has to be pretty much the most awesome thing on the planet. You’re not fooling me any.

I want in.

Not for long, but I’d like a four hour block of time and probably should have someone there to tell me what not to do.

I will give you money. I will even pay someone to stand there and not yell at me too much while I struggle to play the merry tune of my people.

Frankly, the sheer volume of air that you folks move is inspiring. I have actually met people who don’t understand when I say, “Man, I want to play a pipe organ.” They’re just not good people. No, they are not good people.

I will not break your pipe organ and I will follow instructions. I will even wear my pants!

Umm… I might also have a small camera crew and I’ll ask them nicely to wear their pants.

Moving on…

No, I don’t have anything specific to play. Like I said, I don’t even know how to play a pipe organ. Not a clue, but it has stops, pedals, and a keyboard. I know enough music theory and I’ve played a whole variety of instruments.

Heck, I’ve played a grand harp before! That’s right, it was even a pedal harp. (It lets you cheat and once you know where middle C is, you can play anything!)

I know some music theory… Yeah… I ain’t scared of your pipe organ – but I will respect it.

I’d absolutely love to come play your pipe organ. I’m telling you, it’ll be a good time. I’d love it if you even had an audience there. That’d sweeten the deal! (We may need to chain them in, but once again I remind you that I’m not scared.)

I guess my ultimate question is, can I play your pipe organ? I promise to behave.

If the answer is no, my next question is can I bribe you and play your pipe organ? I have a few bucks.

If it’s still no, my next question is if it will help if I pretend I have cancer and that I’m from the Make-A-Wish Foundation? (Trust me, I can come up with these all day long.)

I have the entire month of January off and I’m not actually sure what I’m going to do with it. I’m pretty sure playing a pipe organ should be on the list of things to do! Anyone who doesn’t have “play a pipe organ” on their list of things to do is just broken inside.

Thank you in advance! If you need more examples of my playing merry tunes, you go ahead and ask! I’ll send ’em along! Somewhere around here, I have me playing every instrument for Rush’s XYZ, but I didn’t think you’d necessarily appreciate that.

I’m on a mission. You’ll be jealous. You’ll see.  I shall update you with any news!

Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.

That right there is a title. It’s a good title, as far as titles go. It tells you exactly what I’m gonna do! (It’s probably a horrible lie.)

Today, I’m in the mood to write something. I feel pretty good, actually. I was even able to smoke some pot. Damned right and about time!

That was probably a bad idea, ’cause I haven’t been able to smoke much lately and imbibed a ton of it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I now see that I didn’t think my plan through very well.

After much inner-discussion, I narrowed down the list of things I was going to write about. Trust me, you don’t actually want to know the subjects that were cut from the list, but they had very little to do with guitar and things like fake Grange Hall conspiracies were on the list.

It’s probably important for me to tell you the complete truth. It is that I don’t actually yet know what guitar I’m gonna tell you about. Not a clue, really. I’m pretty sure I’ll think of something!

Hmm… I should do a series on guitars that were horrible, horrible ideas. I’m probably not gonna, but I should do that.

But… The plan is to write about a guitar. I can’t actually say that’s what I’m gonna do, but I remain hopeful! So, get in the car! We’re going on a grand adventure!

~*hands you a rusty screwdriver, half-eaten fruit roll-up, and an old film canister filled with pennies*~

Bring those, you’ll know when it’s time to use them!
Continue reading “Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.”

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TheBuddha Approves #7 – Guitar Tab

Today, I’ve been tasked with teaching someone to drive and giving her the opportunity to learn more about photography. I’m not actually sure why this needs to involve driving, it’s beautiful right outside my front door. However, it does – and I’m not sure that she wants to drive so much as she wants to take pictures of something else. I’m also not a photographer. Dunno how I’m supposed to help with this. We shall see!

Yesterday, my ISP hated me. They didn’t just hate me – they hated millions of us. So, I didn’t really do any prep work for this article. Instead, I just reached into my magic text document of links I approve of and picked this one.

What is it? It’s a bunch of real, official tab. Unlike many of the tab sites, these are the authentic tabs and not something transcribed by someone with dubious abilities.

Don’t actually know the legality of this site. Nope…. I can’t actually say that I much care about the legality of this site. Hey, neat, it kinda wrapped around the image a bit more. Isn’t that special. I should try to remember that, but I digress… Hmm… After formatting, it looks a bit ugly. Meh… I’m leaving it.

I don’t actually think this needs much more of an introduction or commentary? There’s other stuff at the site, but you might just as well see the giant collection of real tabs. It’s large and might have something you’re interested in learning.

Visit guitars.ch and explore their collection of authentic guitar tab.

Umm… Yup… That’s pretty much all I need to do for this article. Can’t really think of much to add to it! Sweet! (I’m still pretty low-energy and it’s actually weird because it appears to impact my concentration. I dunno? I’m not that kinda doctor.) Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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I’m doing smashing, thanks!

Today, I don’t even really hurt that much. I haven’t even eaten a pain pill yet today. My body doesn’t feel that bad and, at this moment in time and if I’m doing it properly, my spleen doesn’t even feel swollen!

I’m still devoid of energy, but I feel pretty damned good – comparably speaking, of course. I feel like I can constantly use a nap, except I can’t actually sleep. I’ve never been a big fan of sleeping and my body doesn’t seem to like doing so. But, I feel like I could sleep for days.

It’s reached the point where it’s damned annoying, to be quite blunt about it. I will deal with it, but not without complaint. I’m grateful that I’m at least not sore. Even my throat isn’t feeling bad!

I never did get the promised rash. Trust me. I looked everywhere for it. I’m pretty disappointed about not getting the rash. I was told I’d get a rash. I got no rash. I feel deprived.

And now for what might be the most inappropriate story you’ll read all day. I was going to share it last night, but I was on a tablet. Today, I shall share it! I probably shouldn’t, but I’m gonna. It’s what I do!

~makes spooky intro music sounds~

Last night, I went and watched a movie with the missus and the eldest hoodlum. It was one they picked and I don’t even remember the title. They enjoyed it and I partook.

Midway through the movie, the eldest hoodlum started coughing and was saying her throat hurt. The conversation follows and went something like this:

EH: *cough cough* Ow! My throat hurts. I probably have mono!
Helga: No. you don’t have mono.
EH: Do too have mono!
Helga: No, you don’t. David hasn’t been kissing you.
EH: Well, not when you’re watching!
Both: Cackles of laughter as they both felt this was the funnies thing ever.
TheBuddha: You’re both incorrigible. Real life needs an ‘ignore’ button.

In this house, we don’t actually always talk about music, math, and science. Sometimes, I’m surrounded by lunatics that crack bad jokes. Discipline, order, and deep thought are actually just as rare at my house as they probably are at your house, maybe even more rare!

With that story now out of my system, I shall move on! (The two online people who will appreciate that story know it’s for them.)

I was pondering what to write today. This is a lengthy process when there’s no reasonable way for me to smoke weed, which is a more complicated problem than you might imagine! I’ll explain…

If I cough, my throat will start hurting again. If my throat starts hurting again, I’ll want to take opiates. If I take opiates, I’ll get even more lethargic. I’m tired of being lethargic. There’s also the whole opiate abuse thing and opiate abuse leads to not pooping. I kinda like pooping. So, I’m not smoking pot. (Trust me, you don’t actually want to see the rest of what goes on inside my head.)

To write the article, I pondered the many ways to say that I’m feeling better today. Eventually, I recalled the turn of phrase, “I’m doing smashing!” In that case, it’s used to indicate that they’re doing well.

This seemed to remind me of something. It seemed like it might be important. I knew, beyond reasonable doubt, that I’d remembered this for a reason – and that I’d probably written it down.

So, I cracked open my “ArticleIdeas.txt” (which is not the most clever name, I admit) and scrolled through. After some distractions and mis-clicks, I finally found what I was looking for and the heavens burst open with sound as much rejoicing was had.

A couple of months ago (it has been that long?), I was smoking pot and talking to PMYB2 on a site known as “Poal.” (It’s a nice place to visit, though I’d suggest you put on an asbestos suit and have thick skin.)

In that conversation PMYB2, I was talking about how the universe runs on smashing. It does, too. The universe runs on smashing, not Dunkin.

Once upon a time, I envisioned turning that conversation into a 3000 word essay and explaining it all. I had a pretty good idea of where I’d take that and the memories of that intended article came flooding back. It was something that I’d put on that list, ’cause it was maybe a good article – and PMYB2 had been there to suggest such.

Reality is not often nearly as awesome as my dreams. Reality would be much more awesome if it was, but this universe cares not for justice.

Which is a rather absurd way to say, “I ain’t doing it.” I’m not doing it now. I’m not doing it tomorrow. I’m never going to turn that into a decent essay. Nope… ‘Snot gonna happen.

So, what better day to just pretty much cut, paste, edit, and pretty up that comment and turn it into an article? I can’t think of a better day. I feel pretty damned good but haven’t got much energy. (Speaking of which, the lack of energy makes it exceedingly difficult to concentrate. I think this bout of mono has given me greater understanding of the maladies that other people sometimes suffer from.)

That’d be what you’re getting today. It also serves the purpose of finally getting that entry out of my ArticleIdeas.txt file. Side note, it’s probably the least efficient organization system in the world, but it’s the one I have. You’re just getting a glimpse at a conversation from a couple of months ago.

Without further ado…
Continue reading “I’m doing smashing, thanks!”

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There’s no specific GBTH this week.

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!
Continue reading “There’s no specific GBTH this week.”

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Why do I play guitar? (And some shit I’m going to pretend you asked.)

I have shit for energy. I feel like ass. My throat is pretty much on fire still, though that is marginally better.

Yesterday, Nadeshda was kind enough to write us a wonderful article about Mongolian throat singing. Today, I was not so lucky. Today, I must pound the keyboard, or my streak ends.

It’s okay. I can cheat.

I’m pretty sure I can answer these questions and the results will be different every time. I’m pretty sure that I don’t always have the same answer. I’m pretty sure it’s too generic a question, but it’s one that I get with some regularity. So, I’m going to answer it and answer some other questions.

Why do you play guitar?

Well, this morning I played it because I need to practice and I had the time. I needed to practice because I must keep my skills at their peak, so that I can fill my obligations to my bandmates and the audience.

Why did you learn to play guitar?

I’m still learning. I initially picked up the guitar because I thought it was cool and figured it’d be easy enough to learn. It was neither, really. Sadly, beginning guitarists don’t get laid often and it’s not easy to learn. Worse, my earliest tutelage was quite specifically classical guitar – which is both complicated and anti-sex-appealing. Learning to play ate up a lot of my youthful fun and sex time.

Why did you stick with it?

I liked the challenge and I really enjoy the versatility of the instrument. The wide variety of tones that can be produced, even from an acoustic guitar, are fantastically interesting. I’m nearing the five decade mark and I’m still learning. I’m still improving. I still don’t see myself as a master.

Will you ever stop performing?

Damned right, I will. For a while, I was pretty much retired and I’d just sit a few sets with friends, or do some gigging with them. I’d go jam with other musicians. I enjoyed that and I’m getting old enough to see that I’ll eventually be slowing down and unable to give a satisfactory performance due to physical limitations caused by age. I will stop before then.

Will you ever stop privately playing?

No, probably not. I expect the quality to deteriorate, but I’m sort of at a peak right now. I’ve had the past decade to really, really put in a lot of hours. I’m actually probably at about the peak of my ability. I might, if I stretch it, be able to pull it off for another decade. Dexterity will go down as will my speed. I can increase efficiency of movement, but that only accounts for so much.

What is your favorite color?

Green. Specifically forest green. There will be a quiz.

Do you actually like playing guitar?

Not always. Nope. Sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass and I’d really like to do something else. However, it’s not going to learn to play itself and I’m kind of obsessed with it. I enjoy the challenges it offers and I like the feelings of accomplishment that it gives me. The thought isn’t my own, but I’ll be forever chasing sound.

Tell me more about chasing sound?

No. That’s more work than I’m putting into this article.

Do you take anything serious?


Are you going to take this article serious?


Are you just fucking with me?

Nope. In fact, I’m done. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Throat Singing – The Mongolian way

Throat-singing, also called overtone-singing, is a range of singing styles in which a single vocalist sounds more than one pitch simultaneously by reinforcing certain harmonics (overtones and undertones) of the fundamental pitch. In some styles, harmonic melodies are sounded above a fundamental vocal drone.

Originally called overtone-singing in Western scholarly literature, the identification by acoustical researchers of the presence of harmonics below the vocal drone in the deep, guttural styles, as well as overtones in the more melodic styles led to adoption of the term throat-singing (a translation of the Mongolian term höömei).

Throat-singing necessitates activating different combinations of muscles to manipulate the resonating chambers of the vocal tract under sustained pressurized airflow from the stomach and chest. As with operatic singing, the technique requires years of training to master.

Throat-singers usually accompany themselves on the distinctive Inner Asian fiddle, with its pegboard often carved in the shape of a horse’s head. For an epic-narrative performance, however, the fiddle is replaced with a two-stringed plucked lute or a long board-zither. In the past, throat-singing was performed by men in ritual contexts.

Picture from: NIU Mongolian Throat Singer Brings Sounds Of Nature To Retirement Center

Female performance of throat-singing was thought to cause infertility or to bring misfortune on the performers’ menfolk for seven generations. Since the late 20th century, however, a number of female musicians have begun to challenge those taboos.

Here is an example of Mongolian Throat Singing.

Tuvan Throat Singing

To start the throat singing journey they would encourage you to start with Khöömii, basic – begin by producing a long, steady note with an open, relaxed mouth and throat. By altering lip and tongue positions to say vowels, “oooo… ohhh…. ayyy…. ahhh….. eeee….”, you will hear different overtones in ascending pitch. Cupping a hand to your ear may help you to identify these initially. Maintain one tone as you tighten your throat and stomach muscles slightly. If you choke, try a lower fundamental.

If you begin coughing, go into this tightening over a period of time to avoid damage to your voice. Hard coughing is punishing to the vocal cords…

You should now be making “electronic” sounding vowels. If any of these are extended with subtle changes to the tongue, lips, or jaw (changing one element at a time as in any controlled experiment), separate overtones will gain definition. The sounds you create are feedback leading to finer mouth control.

It may be difficult to sort out the overtones created by each position. Discover them as you work out a scale above one steady fundamental. Eventually simple melodies will emerge within a limited range. As you consciously create melody, avoid the temptation to alter the fundamental. This is basic Khöömii.

By now you should have picked up that Khöömii is steeped in Mongolian culture with origins in Shamanism (Mongolia’s national religion) and many songs are dedicated to Genghis Khan himself.

Interestingly enough the kids and I are currently learning about Mongolia and Genghis Khan and one of the stories I stumbled upon is definitely worth sharing.

In The Book of Virtues (Great book btw!) I found this story about Genghis Khan, his merry party of hunters and his favorite hawk.

This hawk was a trained hunter and at a word would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey, and if found, would swoop down upon it swiftly as any arrow.

So after a very long day filled with no success, his party took the nearest way home and Genghis went searching by a longer road for a drink.
His pet hawk left his wrist and flew away, knowing how to get home on his own.
The king searched but the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks.

At last, he found some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time.
The king leaped from his horse and took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.

All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk. The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops and this time he did not wait so long.
When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth but before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

And now the king began to grow angry and tried again, and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.The king was now very angry indeed!

“How do you dare to act so?” he cried. “If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!”

Then he filled his cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.
“Now, Sir Hawk,” he said, “that is the last time.”

He had hardly spoken before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand but the king was looking for this.
With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.
The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master’s feet.

“That is what you get for your pains,” said Genghis Khan.
When he started looking for his cup, he couldn’t find it.

“At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring,” he said to himself.
With determination he began climbing the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.

 At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it?
It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind!

The king stopped as he forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.
“The hawk saved my life!” he cried, “and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him.” 

He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home.
He said to himself, “I have learned a sad lesson today, and that is, never to do anything in anger.”

Rewritten: By Nadeshda
Source: The Book of Virtues

So what does this story have to do with Mongolian Throat singing? Well not much really but it’s a good story none the less and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Obviously getting angry and cutting up your friends is never a good idea and we already know that you shouldn’t shout as this will stretch and damage your vocal chords.
If you are still curious and want to learn Mongolian Throat singing, here is a fun video on how to practice throat singing in a super easy way.

I think you will enjoy watching this guy!

How to do Mongolian Throat. (Tuvan / Tibetan / Didgeridoo)

Until next time, keep the song alive and make a joyful sound!

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TheBuddha Approves #6

I don’t really have much time or energy today. I’m going to be prone for much of the day, which limits me to a tablet. I have my daughter rolling in today, and that’s going to be enjoyable.

I suspect she’ll be in bed not long after getting here. It’s a dreadfully long drive. She has to stop along the way and will be getting the material needed to give me a second opinion.

She’s a pediatrician and my regular is not. She’s seen far more cases of mono than my regular doctor has, and she’s still pretty young. So, she can give me a second opinion. Mostly, I’m just glad she’s coming – even if she’s only going to be able to be here for a couple of days.

Seeing as nobody has stepped up to write an article, you’re just getting a short TheBuddha Approves article.

If you want something better, you’ll have to wait or write it yourself. I don’t really have much time and I’m not feeling that energetic.

This next one is actually not good – from my perspective. But, we don’t always have to look at things from my perspective. Instead, we can look at things with a different outlook. We can look at things with a different goal in mind.

My personal goal (and job) is 100% faithful replication. It is my task to make music that is exactly like what you heard from the original artist’s studio session. It goes beyond that. My goal is for other musicians to say, “That sounds just like the studio work!”

That’s not something everyone has to do. That’s not even something that I recommend most people do. The expense of getting the official tab and sheet music is not something everyone needs to undertake. The need to get someone to transcribe it to tab from ear is also not a task that you need to undertake.

It’s not only perfectly okay, it’s sometimes better to just play it how you want or just to use whatever tab you find that sounds good and that you can play. You don’t have to try to get perfect replication – nor should you, unless that’s your very specific goal.

My goals aren’t your goals.

This next site is not completely accurate. However, it will do. The tab is “close enough” and the results will be acceptable to even professional musicians. I’ve gone through and looked at a few songs that I know are often transposed wrong and they do have errors – and that’s okay.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a site such as this one. You don’t have to be exact. You also don’t have to buy all the pedals. You don’t have to buy an amp profiler. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. You can do just fine without those things and you can do just fine with the tab that’s on this site.

This site also has some great features. You can play along with the audio and play it at a variety of speeds. There are a ton of different features and it’s not up to me to decide how you use them. It’s an excellent learning tool that will enable you to play ‘close enough’ to the original artists. They even include multiple tracks, so that your whole band (should you go that route) will have access to the same material.

In other words, it’s ‘good enough.’ You really don’t need more than this.

Without further ado:


If you want an example of ‘close enough’ then you can see this link:

Songester.com’s tab for Metallica – Nothing Else Matters.

There… Now you have no excuses to not go learn a new song. There’s the music notation. It’s free. There’s a very good chance that they’ll have something there that you want to learn. The interface is easy to use, though I’d suggest they add a delay so that you can push play and then get setup and have it start playing like 10, 20, or 30 seconds later. (If they have such a delay, I have not found it. I don’t actually use the site, I just know it exists and have given it a once-over.)

Add that one to your list of resources, folks. It’s well worth looking into. No, it’s not perfect – as there are some errors in the tab. However, you don’t really need perfect and it’s good enough for the needs of most everyone. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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TheBuddha Approves #5

I’m exhausted. I usually sleep from 4 to 6 hours per night. Last night, I slept for like 10 or 11 hours. Dunno how long I slept exactly, ’cause I was sleeping!

Yesterday’s show went went well and was productive for the eldest hoodlum. I tried to get her to write a damned article, but she was having none of it. None.

It’s hard to get good help these days!

Because I’m tired and really not feeling well, I’m just gonna do a “TheBuddha Approves.” So, you’re not getting a novella today. Nope… You can’t make me. ‘Snot like you can fire me!

Y’all do know that I have no idea how most of these are going to end, right? I just smash the keyboard and words come out. I don’t actually have a plan, no. ‘Snot like I have outlines, an editor, or even high publication standards.

Oh! I’d like to thank the folks that knew I had a show yesterday and stepped up to write today’s articles. Their names are ‘nobody’ ‘not me’ and ‘ask someone else!’ They get the TheBuddha Award of Appreciation. You’re gonna miss me when I’m dead. You’ll see!

Anyhow… You’re not even getting a damned intro today. Well, either that or you’re not getting an article. You’re just getting some stuff crammed together. Like I said, you can’t actually fire me!

I know y’all do drugs and drink. You’re fooling nobody! Well, if you’ve ever been trashed and poking around on the fretboard, you’ve probably come up with a chord you thought was brand new and didn’t know the name.

Sure, you can unpack it and figure out all the notes, or you can just cheat and look it up! Seeing as not a damned one of you is going to learn any music theory, you might just as well cheat!

Yup… Just click this here link and you’ll go to a ‘reverse chord finder.’ The whole site is pretty good, actually. If you can’t figure out how to use that layout, you can ask – but it’s really simple – so you can even figure it out when you’re stoned!

See? Told you that I’m a big helper.

You’re not getting anything better than that today. Sitting up hurts like hell and the damned opiates don’t appear to be kicking in yet. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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Another unofficial view from the stage…

David the Tree Trimmer has received no new emails. I think they finally realized that I am not, in fact, the person they should be calling if they want to have their trees trimmed safely.

Well, not if they’re sane…

If they’re not sane, I’m pretty much exactly the person they want to have chopping down their trees! With that many skee ball tickets, I can buy the missus soooooooo many spider rings! So many! I can probably even get her some temporary tattoos and they have a much coveted switchblade comb!

I’m not sure if it’s my lack of skee ball skills or if it’s that I give most of my tickets away to any kids that happen to be in there – but I never seem to have enough for the switchblade comb. It’s one of many holes in my life and, one of these days, it’s going to be mine! And probably some snap bracelets with skulls on ’em! Gonna earn ’em with my new tree trimming business! You’ll be so jealous of my snap bracelets.

Moving on, lest we get too deep into absurdity…

I am pretty sure my spleen didn’t rupture in my sleep. I actually don’t feel too shitty today. I suspect that’s the double dose of opiates, but we’re gonna pretend that’s from keeping a healthy diet and getting lots of rest.

Man, those two or three people who wished for my untimely demise are gonna be so disappointed! That’s okay, they’ll still be sad when I’m dead!

Moving on again, lest I take that one too far into absurdity…

Today, I am in a band. Ain’t nobody even going to remember the name of the band, who I am, or even what we played. Strangely, there will be lots of people – but they’ll be there early and enjoying the day, waiting for the more popular acts to come on later. But… That’s actually a good thing. In fact, it has a great deal of potential!

It’s a very, very short show – but they agreed to our rates, no questions asked. A lot of times, they’ll say that they’re only paying x-amount. That’s not an option with us. My band makes x-amount, no exceptions – and it only goes up from there.

I don’t do shit for exposure and the band is no longer in a position where getting gigs is difficult. I’m pretty sure I can get a twice-a-month, maybe more frequent, show at a venue that I like.They absolutely love us in Greenville.

They’ve asked, multiple times, if we’d be interested in being much the same as what one might call a ‘house band.’ Except, we’d come in for one weekend night and cause permanent hearing loss. They really, really like us there.

Twice a month means the band can actually eat. Every weekend means they’d live very well for musicians in Maine. Twice a month and other gigs, and then doing four to six yearly shows at rented halls? That means they’d live very nicely in Maine. (Assuming we can put asses in those seats. I won’t know until next year. With the project now pushed out even longer, I get to be even more selective and careful with our image.)

So, today’s gig is just a very short one. We’re not even allowed to play an encore. As we wind down, the second stage turns on. There’s a very small chance that the band that follows us has some mishap and we’ll be asked to extend our set. The best part? If we get to play an encore, it will mean they’ve asked us to play more than what we agreed to – and the contract says they’ll give us extra money.

Damned right, I’m in it for the money. If you go way back to the very start, you’ll see this and understand why. My involvement with this project has not a damned thing to do with “art.”

Nope… My involvement with this project is so that I can mentor a younger generation and give them the tools to make their living exclusively from their musicianship. It has never been about anything else. It will never be about anything else. The rest of it is just gravy. At the end of the day, my goal is to teach them how to get paid.

The missus is not going to this one. She hates doing this work. Dunno why? It’s pretty awesome! Her reasons boil down to, “I don’t do anything but push the buttons you folks told me to push and push them on time. EH does most of the work anyhow.” She mostly drinks coffee and glares menacingly at drunks.

We really do need someone better on sound and that’s actually maybe going to happen – but, for now, it’s good for the eldest hoodlum to learn and know what’s going on out there. Sound can make or break you. A performing musician should have a good understanding of what they do and why they do it.

I’ll elaborate on that ‘maybe going to happen‘ when I know more. I’ve had one meeting with a sound engineer and he has a project he’s working on. It’s supposed to wrap up just prior to the holiday season. He’s young and works for a radio station – but he’s actually a qualified sound engineer and finished college. It’s also an old-school radio station, so he’s got his hands on the board with great frequency.

The funny thing is, he’s probably less expensive than the missus and today can actually help teach the eldest hoodlum what the hell (and the why of what) she’s doing. She does just fine – but she’s doing fine because she’s following rote directions. “Bring up mics three, four, and six at this cue.” Or, “Cue song 12 and press this button on the laptop. Move sliders two and eight …” etc…

But… See… The good news is that the missus isn’t coming. She’ll be out of the way!

I should probably elaborate! She doesn’t read the site, but she might start! It’s really actually a good thing that she’s not coming.

See, even though there are two stages, there’s only one booth for sound. Inside that tent will be a dozen people, maybe more. They’ll be doing the sound for the other bands. They will have lots of downtime and they’re probably (don’t really know) pretty good at their job.

I know some of them will be very adept and will be using similar kit. Not only that, some of them will be using much better gear and some of them will be using much older gear – which means a vast array of different understandings.

See, here’s the thing… I can’t teach her to do sound on my own. I don’t have those skills. Most of what she knows thus far comes from the band members – who are more familiar with the more modern equipment than I am. I’m 100% positive that our gear does things we don’t even know how to use. There are buttons that I don’t actually understand.

I don’t actually know how to do the sound. ‘Snot my job and I was retired for a decade. Much of our setup is digital and there are ports to hook up everything from laptops to mass storage devices. I know what most of the knobs and sliders should do but I have not so much as done more than poke at it until someone shooed me away before I broke something. (I do love me some button pushing.)

I know what they do out there in sound. I have no idea how exactly they do it. None. I can go out and listen during soundcheck, and tell them that something is off – but I don’t know how to actually fix it. ‘Snot my job to know. That’s distinctly not on the List Of Shit TheBuddha Is Obligated To Do©.

All of these things combined means she’s going to get some very, very good exposure to some very talented people. I’ve even cheated. She’s written a list of questions and she’s going to try to get answers to them from the other people doing sound. She’s not just tasked with our sound, she’s also tasked with observing and asking questions.

Ha! I didn’t even ask permission for this! She’s an attractive young lady and has already grown tits! We all know damned well they’ll be stumbling over themselves to help her. Shit, she could stand there and play dumb – and they’ll do it for her. She’s got tits. That’s how that works!

Ah, life lessons with TheBuddha… (Ed. Note: It’s not like I was actually gonna get syndicated by Rolling Stone magazine anyhow!)

However, she’s not allowed to rely on her tits and looks. She has to do the work herself and she has to learn from them. I’ll speak with them and let them know my plan and I’m 100% positive that I’ll get buy-in, ’cause we’re all in the same industry.

I’ve explored a lot of different industries, and I have to say that the subset of the entertainment industry that is performing musicians is probably one of the most helpful. You may think it unusual for me to be so confident that she’ll get help – but the truth is that she’d get help, even if she were an aging fat guy with bad teeth and body odor.

I’ve not only been the guy who had some guitarist ‘show me something, real quick’ backstage, but I’ve been the guy who did the showing. I’ve helped other bands do their setup. I’ve opened for acts and had their guitar tech come help me out in a rush. I’ve had their sound fill in for our sound. The list goes on…

I have handed someone one of my guitars and said, “Use this.” Their guitar had been in a bit of an accident and I don’t recollect the details but the result was that the neck was broken. I’ve even just let people borrow one, because they wanted to try it on stage.

It’s sometimes easier/faster to just let the next band use some of your gear – but that’s not really why we do it. We do it because we understand. We do it because we know what it’s like to have malfunctioning gear, sound that didn’t even consider showing up, or troubles due to inexperience. We do it because, at the end of the day, we’re all a part of a very small group of people with similar interests and goals.

Other than a few large acts, and those are probably for publicity, we actually are pretty helpful to each other. The number of people who make their living from their musicianship is vanishingly small. We know this. We end up having some sense of kinship. I won’t say we’re like a giant (dysfunctional) family, but we certainly have some bonds.

Anywhere I go, anywhere on the planet, I can find musicians. Everywhere I go, this is almost universally true. I’ve played guitars handed to me by people with whom I didn’t even share a spoken language. I’ve done the same in reverse. I have jammed on borrowed equipment and with people that spoke a language I don’t understand – sometimes playing music I’ve never heard before, and returning the experience by playing/showing them music that they’d never heard before. The only language we shared was music.

Which is to say, she’ll get a good education today. If I’m feeling well enough, I’ll extend our time there. I’m pretty much only obligated to be there for about two hours. I may extend our time at the venue, just so she can learn more. It depends on my physical condition and it depends on how much she appears to be learning.

If I can get her some time on other boards (unlikely, but possible) that’d be worth any physical discomfort I may have. Worst case scenario means I get a chair or leave her with one of the band members to supervise her and get her home safely.

I’m pretty excited about that. She’s pretty excited about that. She’s got a whole list of questions and a notebook. I had her write the questions out over the week and they look like good questions to me. Don’t really know if they’re good questions – because that’s not my domain. Ol’ Buddha isn’t actually an expert in everything. I have limitations and I try to know those limits.

Because the other sound folk’s (not all are actually qualified to be called sound engineers) time is valuable, I had her try to answer two questions for each question on the list. For every question she wants to ask, she must ask herself two things:

  • Have you tried to answer these questions yourself?
  • Do these questions have likely answers that will help further your understanding?

So, they’re probably good questions and worth trying to get answers to – if she’s able to answer affirmative to both. There’s no reason to not take advantage of the situation and it’s potentially a very, very educational setting. The experience has a wealth of potential.

Anyhow… That’s another view from the stage. I’d write more but I have shit to do. I think I’ll actually submit this today, as I have another few hours before I have to leave. Still, those are some of the things we think about, some of our concerns, some of our goals, and some of the experiences we have.

It’s quite different than I find most people expect and trying to share those experiences is the point of this series. This series is predicated on trying to show you what it’s really like from our eyes, what we experience, and maybe explain why we do some of the things that we do. Y’all seem to enjoy ’em and I’m happy to put them down in text. My giant ego says they’ll someday be important!

Finally, this is the last outdoor show of the year. Winter is rapidly approaching and there’s not many outdoor shows in the winter. There is one that I know of but I haven’t gotten us into it yet. I’m working on it – ’cause I can bribe them with a stage. That’s not until 2019, however.

They do it every year (it’s a winter festival) and bring in a giant rented stage and a bunch of heaters. I just so happen to have a stage, a few heaters, and know the members of the board that make such decisions! ‘Snot nepotism if we’re not related! (Ed Note: Yes, yes it is. I looked up the definition, just to be sure. Guilty as charged. Don’t care.)

I’ve been trying to get into that show, but it looks like this year’s lineup is already selected and all the contracts signed. It’s nice to be in a position where we’re selective about gigs! It’s also nice to know people who can help us get into the kinds of venues/events that we are aiming for.

I do know that said show pays exceptionally well. They have a set payment, even for the headline act, and pay absolutely no more than that – but it’s a very, very nice amount. (I know, ’cause I know the organizers! I told you, I’ve got friends in low places!)

Every music act makes exactly the same amount and only the same amount. It’s paid for by local businesses, donations, and proceeds from the year before. They have snowmobile races, snow sculpture contests, delicious food, and even have snowmobiles doing flips in the air and stuff! (No monster trucks, however.) So, I’d like to play that festival! What kinda weirdo wouldn’t want to play that festival?!?

I’ve made this article long enough. I guess I’ll submit it – ’cause I’m pretty much ready to go. I need only carry a duffel bag and garment bag to the car. The hoodlum will take care of the rest. She’s even packed her guitar saying, “Just in case I need it!”

Gotta admit, an emergency guitar is probably sound logic – though she’s not getting any stage time today. I’ll giggle if she cons her way onto another band’s stage. I could see her trying that. She really seems to love her stage time.

I doubt she’ll be able to, but I could see her trying it. In fact, I’d say that’s a very low probability event. Sure, you might scoff – but you what you should be doing is taking a lesson. See… What she’d be doing is keeping the dream alive and working towards her goals, even though the odds are against her. 😉 (I’m a horrible influence.) Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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