Monday, December 19, 2011

In Which I Blow and Suck

Never learning to play an instrument with any proficiency is one of my greatest regrets in life. Now it is yours, too!

I’m ahead of myself. First, a little on my musical background beyond my well-known mad percussion skillz.

I sang in a band in high school for about six months.

Our repertoire consisted of a few ‘80s Who songs, a crappy number by prog-rock supergroup Asia, “Rock This Town” by the Stray Cats, the Van Halenized version of “Oh! Pretty Woman” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran. (We briefly brought in a female classmate to stand next to me and do the moaning at the end of “Wolf.” Absolute closest I came in high school to losing my virginity.)

We went through guitarists like Spinal Tap went through drummers, just without the bizarre gardening accidents. Shortly after we finally found one who was really good (that would be him on the left in this video playing with ‘00s Top 40 alt-rock band Splender), they realized they needed a singer with a vocal range exceeding four and a half notes.

In college, I taught myself to play some basic blues harmonica riffs so I could jam with my roommate, a nine-and-a-half finger guitarist, while we drank too much Keystone on Thursday nights. You can image how that went.

I took piano for a few months in my 20s through an adult education class. I was at the top of the class. Sound impressive until you learn my competition was all grandmothers. With arthritis. And periodic gout.

I took bass guitar lessons for about nine months from one of Bob Dylan’s first electric sidemen. Result, I can play bass guitar like I’m wringing a neck. Not confirmed but I may have been the student who drove him to move to Israel.

So when Neil of Citizen of the Month asked me last year if I would contribute something to his next Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, a joyous annual post of bloggers singing and playing their eggnogged noggins off, I immediately said yes. Never let it be said that I let my lack of talent stand in my way.

Below you will find my solo musical debut, but I encourage you to visit Neil’s site and enjoy the entire Sixth Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert. It’s a blast:

My Love’s unvarnished reaction when I finally showed her this yesterday: “So is this why the ladder was in the living room last week?”


  1. I would pay money to see a death-metal version of that.

  2. Two instruments at once! Multi talented!

  3. Seriously, I felt like I was at a Hendrix concert.

  4. What was with all the coughing prior to performance? Is that the way you warm up?

    Keystone beer? Another big spender!

  5. LOVED it!!

    For it was there I found you and life just got a bit funnier!

    You were fab...just fab!

  6. I keep trying to watch but the video won't play. Have you had second thoughts about sharing your famousity?

  7. That was very entertaining. I loved the intro! (Not to say that I didn't also enjoy your jingling and harmonica-ing.)

  8. I'm impressed by your playing of the harmonica.

    I couldn't even master that.

  9. Oh snap! That was too friggen funny. I was NOT expecting the Harmonica!

  10. The harmonica was a surprise... I mean, coming off of playing with a nine and a half fingered guy and Keystone... Who knew you would be able to play AND keep rhythm??
    Nice job!

  11. I had my I phone lighter on. I might have even gotten a contact buzz.

  12. I miss being in a band. I was in one in the Netherlands for about three years and I was also the singer/screamer. We did traditional heavy metal with keyboards. Friday nights were filled with beer and metal. It was wonderful.

  13. Just popping back by to let you know I finally saw your performance. If Steven Tyler ever breaks his lips and can't play harmonica maybe you could step in for him.

  14. I'm blown away that you could jingle while harmonica-ing. I don't even think Springsteen can do that.

  15. Makes me sad that Christmas is a whole year away again.

  16. Any news about A defector's mysterious disappearance?

  17. are you ever going to update your blog again?? I hope all is well.



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