Guitarists And Windhaven

I’m about to start working on songs for tonight’s rehearsal with Windhaven. I’ve just spent the last half hour or so changing some info for some of the shows Windhaven and myself are attached to. I had to correct the dates, but I was mostly removing Bad Hat Harry from the bills. I got up this morning hoping to have received an overdue confirmation from the guitar player that we’ve been trying to get involved in BHH (a friend from one of my other bands), but there was no response to the two e-mails I sent him yesterday about playing tonight in Ybor City. For me it pretty much sounded the death knell for Bad Hat Harry. Not that it’s a big loss. We never came close to getting it off the ground.

You know, looking back, guitar players have always been the bane of my existence. With the exception of my asshole cousin (who was a singer), nearly every problem in every band I’ve played with can be traced back to the guitar player. Either they’reĀ ego-maniacalĀ prima donas, they’re unreliable drug addicts and alcoholics, or they’re layabouts who show up with a smile on their faces and an inability to play the material (whether through a lack of preparation or skill). Most of the people who know me are aware that while I’ve always considered myself a bass player, I’ve played guitar as well almost from Day One. What most people don’t realize is that the reason I picked up guitar in the first place was that I got tired of depending upon unreliable guitar players to help me put together my songs. It was easier to do it myself than deal with the chronic bullshit of guitar players.

I’m writing this mostly because it’s occurred to me that if we’re not going to Ybor City tonight to play with Bad Hat Harry (in which I would have played bass), we’ll be rehearsing here in Saint Petersburg with Windhaven (in which I play guitar). Maybe it’s my ego talking, but it feels to me like a significant changing of the guard. I’d already decided that if things fell through this week with Bad Hat Harry that I was done with it. Now that it looks like it has, the effect is quite liberating. Maybe we’ll finally make the final push with Windhaven that will get us out and into the clubs. We’re already scheduled for the Wednesday slots during June at Market On 7th in Ybor City (pending final approval from Gino, the owner).

I like what’s happening with Windhaven, and the potential that it represents. We can do a lot with this. I’m beginning to believe that the reason nothing else has worked out (even the most banal, zero pressure efforts like Bad Hat Harry) is that Windhaven was meant to be the focus all along. Maybe in some small way I’ve just made the shift in perception from Windhaven being a project to Windhaven being “the band”. It’s definitely liberating to realize that I don’t really think of myself as a bass player anymore. I’m the guitarist in a band called Windhaven, and it’s been a long time coming. Hopefully in the coming months and years I can show some of the half-assed guitar players I’ve known how this should be done. And hopefully I can do it without becoming a prima dona, drug addict, alcoholic or generally half-assed individual.

I realized the other night as I played “Midnight Special” by CCR on my 12-string guitar that the song was originally written by Lead Belly, the famous 12-string Blues player. That struck me as ironic, as I was sitting there with a 12-string acoustic in my hands, knowing that on the gear page for the guitar I had quoted Lead Belly. I also realized last night, as we listened to Joan Baez’s version of “Diamonds And Rust” that, after first playing the song as a bass player in a Hard Rock band in 1986 (doing the Judas Priest version), I’ve finally come full circle, in a sense, by playing it as a guitarist in an acoustic trio. In some small way I feel like I’ve finally grown up.

I kind of like that.

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