It had come to my attention while digging at a fungus on my heel, that I had not actively done anything musical in over a year. Live, in a studio...nada. After 25 years of being in original bands as a lead singer, songwriter and sometimes drummer, and cover bands as a singer, you would think it was in my blood. You would think after writing/cowriting a mother fuckload of songs, doing a handful of tours regional and one national, not really making it but certainly taking it and generally loving to death this thing called music, Umm, You would think the massive attack of art and creation and sound and finding a voice within woodshed and craft busting trial and error would be something that would freeze my blood and wither and hack my breaths to dust if I happened to just ..stop...doing..it..one..day.
Wrong Em Boyo.
I'm a single dad. I'm strung out punch drunk on a never ending..not even begun domestic split that takes every cognitive thought and cold cocks and cuckolds it into the stratosphere...nothing mattersphere. Yeah, meaculpa , motherfucker, whatever.
I've got drums molding in the basement in the house in which I once did reside. Yeah, fucking mold on em. Even when I lived in Brooklyn in the early aughts and kept that pathetic kit in a rat riddled basement of a former Hasidic school and played in a hipster Americana band that did 4 gigs total, they never had mold on them. rat turds, yea, but no fungus amungus. Saw it two days ago. Its like the fucking Swamp Thing's been practicing his paradiddles on em.
The guitar I used to strum on every other Tuesday every 4th month of every year was a nice acoustic...I was actually breaking bad past that pesky barre chord barrier that I failed to purge my digits thru, a fuck of a million times over....when the house of cards went up like a shit brickhouse. Poof. Poop. Yeah, and said axe happens to be my ex wife's. She claims to have been in a band for a half minute in NYC in the late 90s as a singer. I can vouch for her having a decent set of pipes, but I never once saw her pick that thing up and strum me some femme empowerment rock. So it sits there in that house. All covered in bitterness and cat hair. It's not even furniture. Its an accessory. Goes well with those nice hardwoods. Spider webs swinging from the neck and all.
I had another acoustic guitar in that moldy chasm of a basement, and I included it in my exit strategy. It was an Alvarez, late 80s, missing a tuning peg, needed an intunation fix, new strings and some TLC. I broke it out soon after I moved into my new place in Mar/Apr and figured I'd take it to....well, shit I'm in the Suburbs...so Guitar Center in Plymouth Meeting...a suburb of Philadelphia.
Then life bitchslapped me around in a mad dash for a vehicle, furniture, insurance, lawyer fees, toddler clothing, utilities,summer camp, foodstuffs, and work related travel. I forgot about the guitar. But hadn't received a call from Guitar Center. But in late June, I did receive a letter thrust at me by invisible lawyers and letterhead telling me in legalese that if there was no response within a month, it would result in the "forfeiture of your property". I was contacted again by the guy who I presumed fixed my guitar during the first week of August. I rehashed the letter and he claimed by "talking to him" I could be assured that it wouldn't be put out on the floor.
Let's cut to the chase. I went in to this local Six String Wal Mart last week to pick up my guitar. This ...cavernous box store for suburban musicians....that never has had more than ten people total inside of it, including personnel...just a smattering of classicrockasauruses and kids practicing Shinedown riffs in front of a stack of transistor shit.
A semi nice bloke with a good case of the male pattern baldness an equipped with a British accent...IN suburban box store PHILLY??? took my inquiry, referred to the the computer and went off to "check the back". He came out and relayed the bad news. Not only was my guitar "out of the back" it had been put on that ever- vacant floor less than a week before and actually had been sold.
Wow. OK. So , yeah, I told him. I did get a letter, I did speak to some low rent guitar tech, but did they really need to PUT MY FAIRLY WORTHLESS ALVAREZ on the FLOOR? You mean to tell me they were running out of ROOM......IN THE BACK? Was this a pressing issue? Or some hack employees following strict policy from the higher ups at the Six String Wal-Mart. I remained as calm as I could with a heady mix of embarrassment and anger.
So then I went in to barter mode. I had my son with me. I had told him that we were gonna pick up Dad's "other" guitar because I got it fixed so I could start playing it at the apartment. I wanted to leave there with a guitar. Mine was gonzo. In the hands of who knows who. I presented a scenario to the bloody ' burban bloke that he offer me a deal. The value of what the guitar sold for, minus the repairs I sanctioned....towards a new...USED guitar. The daft knobjockey offered me 10 percent off of any USED guitar. Final Offer.
We left in a huff.
I'm still angry. Ashamed of myself. 10 less iced coffees and a grip on a short attention span in that time period would have laid that Alvarez somewhere in this room tonight.
But I'm still befuddled by the practice of business. I doubt the inventory...IN THE BACK was ever effected by my guitar taking up space as much as the result of Guitar Center's stupid policy putting another dent in my creative ego done got me good.
I could be practicing those barre chords again. Going somewhere muse-ically and musically. Filling in the escape minutes that I spoke of in my last post with rugged finesse, or just going acoustic tri-tone crazy as I strum along aggressive to Sabbath's debut . Possibilities= endless.