Friday, March 21, 2008

Chuck Taylor and Rock'n'Roll

On the Guardian's web site, there was an article marvelling over how many musicians wore Converse Chuck Taylor's. Locally, we called these sneakers All Stars and not that many could afford them back in the day. The writer said Nike owns Converse now. The article left out these shoes give grip on wet stages and offer some electrical shock protection.

Stages are safer these days and I'm glad as one header is enough for me!

Years ago, my Chuckies got stolen in gym class, so I went to Addias and Nike, because they were less well known in our area and cheaper.

I was also way ahead of the curve on wearing warm up jackets to school. Everyone would say, "That's a great idea; why didn't I think of that?"

I must confess I did get tragically hip in the 80s between the movies Flashdance and Purple Rain. However, what else was going on at that time? I still like those little ZZ Top socks, because I have legs and know how to use them...

First Guitar Story By Request

Like most anyone in my age group, it was the Beatles that got me started on guitar. Mom, however, was less impressed partly due to our financial situation.

Eventually, I got a $32 Stella by Harmony in a natural finish. Over the years, I've noticed most whites had the Sear's Silvertone "cowboy" version of this guitar.

My first guitar teacher was a blonde folkie who had a Martin with pickups and a T-bird. As I recall, she appeared some with the New Christie Mistrals.

I took lessons off and on with her for a number of years and a local teaching legend.

Over time, I got frustrated with my 3/4 size instrument with its heavy gage strings. Every once and a while I would buy strings at a store called Band Box. The salesman let me play a Telecaster and suggested I bring the guitar in as it probably needed a whole set of strings. "If one's worn out, its probably time to replace them all." "I've never wore out the bottom strings," I said. I added, "But, the bridge is worn out." The salesman was skeptical, but I'd had the guitar five years at this point.

Later, I rode my blue Huffy Wheel 20# bike down to the store with the Stella tied to the sissy bar. He didn't have a new wood bridge to replace my ebonized maple one, but he had an adjustable black and white plastic one. This bridge didn't sound as good, but I found with this bridge and Martin Silk'n'Steel strings the guitar shedded its old time boxy sound and gave me decent intonation up to the fifth fret.

Later, I started playing again in a bluesier style to support our comedy troupe on going parody of radio. In addition to being rusty, it was apparent the tuners were worn out so I put on a set of used Gibson's.

As it turned out, I played this instrument for ten years until I got a new one. The next year I finally got an electric guitar which the family wasn't too happy about either. It took another year to get an amp. Until then, I used one of the original Panasonic boom boxes as an amp or plugged my guitar into the stereo.