Why was I learning an instrument that was not even present in the music I was listening to at the time? Why did I not understand that I should actually listen many times to the songs I wanted to play? Probably because I was learning music from notation, and the ear had very little to do with it. It's taking a long time to reverse that "training".
"Transmission" by Joy Division is playing on my last.fm stream right now. It's been a long time since
I've heard this song, and some long-dismissed memories are resurfacing.
I really wanted to be in a band when I was in middle school and high
school. Bad. I had some musical skills, but those skills involved the piano,
which was not an instrument that was used in any music I liked at the time,
with the exception of Rush. I spent much of my time trying to figure out how I
could be cool playing the keyboard. I spent much more of my time doing that
than I ever did actually learning how to play the keyboard.
I had a friend, Chris T., who was learning to play the bass and also wanted to
be in a band real bad. I had a friend, Matt K., who was a very talented
musician, who could play multiple instruments, and who also automatically knew
a lot about cool music because he had older siblings.
So he knew about Joy Division. Matt decided that Joy Division's "Transmission"
would be our first song.
We had a drummer, a bass player, and me. Obviously we were missing the key
ingredient, the guitar player. It was decided that I would play the guitar
parts on my keyboard. That sounded like a great idea to me.
The band would be called Nemesis. I spent a lot of time drawing a mascot for
us, along the lines of what Iron Maiden and Megadeth had. I thought then that
if you were a real band, you had to have something like that. I came up with
something, a blue warty thing with long talons wearing a crown
and sporting demonic eyes. I drew it in crayon on newsprint. I was good with
crayons, having taken an art class where we treated crayons with the respect
colored wax media deserves. Then I made some t-shirts.
I don't know what ever happened to those t-shirts, but I do know what happened
to the band. We never played anywhere, and we only practiced a few times. Matt
K. quickly moved on to bigger and brighter musical things while Chris T. and I
went back to playing more and more Dungeons and Dragons instead. I guess Matt got
tired of running around playing all three of our instruments. I was unable to
ever actually play the opening guitar vamp to "Transmission" on the keyboard,
which, if you listen to it, is quite an embarrassing admission. The truth is,
just now, when it was playing on last.fm, is the first time I have ever
actually listened to the song all the way through.