Get Out And Play Part 1

SMG_King_Leonidas

Dude, you gotta get out and play. Get away from the computer. Get outta your mom’s basement. I’m not talking about going to Guitar Center and showing off how well you can play “Seek & Destroy” either. Nobody wants to hear that. Those robots behind the sales counter are sick of you. The next time you walk in they’re going to call security because you never buy anything. Time to move on. Step up your game. Be a man…or at least mannish. You gotta get out and play with humans. Sure, you can wait until somebody posts the perfect ad on Craigslist. Good luck finding a bunch guys who play at your level and like the exact music you like. The do-it-yourself home cloning kit is too far off in the future to think about. You gotta get up.

First, pat yourself on the back. You’ve come a long way. Look how far you’ve come. Remember when you couldn’t even tune your guitar? Remember that? Huh? It wasn’t easy learning how to finger those add9 chords either. Remember that? Remember how tough it was memorizing all those pentatonic patterns up and down the neck? It was frustrating. You thought you were retarded at first, but you worked hard and now you can figure stuff out and play actual songs. Give yourself a big atta boy.

Ok, now get over yourself. There comes a time in a guitarist’s life when he needs to escape the safety of the pre-recorded jam track. If you want to take your playing to the next level, you need to play music with sentient beings. You need to stand up, put on some clean underwear, dab on some Old Spice and leave Madison Square Bedroom.

How do you accomplish this without getting stuck in a band with a bunch of malignant narcissists? The answer is simple. THE LOCAL BLUES JAM. It doesn’t matter if you hate blues. You gotta go anyway. Just go. Blues is a vehicle. It’s your first car. Think of blues as “Playing Music With Humans 101.” If you’ve never been on stage with people and tried to make music, this is the place to get your feet wet. The blues jam is a rite of passage, much like when the young boy and future King Leonidas was sent out into the snow half naked carrying only a spear in the movie 300. It might take a while to become victorious, but if you stick with it, one day you’ll come home draped in a wolf skin and be cheered by hot Spartan women.

Until that time there will be public humiliation a’ plenty. Yes, you will experience anxiety, sweaty palms, loose bowels and possibly an uncontrollable nervous tick. Jerks will sit in the audience with their arms folded and abuse you with chronic eye rolling. They may even decide that your time onstage is the perfect opportunity to go to the bar and order another drink. It doesn’t matter. You’re there for you. At some point in a guitarist’s life he must move forward and take a break from his nerdish study of chords and scales and get out in the real world. Call it “First Contact.”

Know this going in. You will suck no matter what. You will suck hard too. If you accept your sucktastic place in life it will be easier to move on from suckatude. You’re guaranteed to get better. Musicians who do well at blues jams are highly revered. They know a lot of performable songs, they have a good on stage persona, they know how to lead a band and they know how to express themselves within a limited framework. These are the lessons you must learn.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll discuss objectives and strategies to make yourself invincible.

  • Good stuff Oscar! Couldn’t agree more. There is no substitute for the jam. Even if you hate the blues hehehe 😀

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1c2RT4df0g

    (It is so much fun to tease blues dudes)

    checkout the blues cruise link (top right)
    that is gonna be fun

  • “Give them nothing! But take from them everything!”

  • Oscar- Absolutely true. Great article!

  • SVH

    A GREAT post! I totally agree that people need to just step outta the house and play somewhere, anywhere, just PLAY! I played to 4 people at a chinese restaurant bar 2 weeks prior to landing my spot in my current band which 6 months later had me performing to 18,000 in a sold out arena in Vegas! You just gotta keep focused on your goals and in the meanwhile get out and PLAY!!!!

    Nice work Oscar, Thanks.

    SVH

  • Rock n Roll! Play that blues baby. Gotta show some skills when you’re out.

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