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(While in Bulgaria, I wrote a lot about my life and so here is an insert about me getting with the guitar that I hope you find interesting. It was really a life-saver for me and still is.)
After Jerry (my guitar teacher) left, I laid low on guitar lessons. I now had a lot of Beatles music and others that I listened to and could play along with. Before I ever got a four-track tape recorder I used my two tape deck player to back me up. I recorded a rhythm part on one tape and then played that rhythm tape while playing solo guitar and having the second side of the tape deck record.
I spent hours in my room alone. Often, my little brother would be banging on the door, trying to come in and I believe he must’ve thought his name was “get out.” My mother often told me to “join the family.” Sometimes my friends came over and we would make up songs. My best friend was a drummer but he never had drums. So he would use some of my mother’s pots and pans for percussion instruments. Often the pans were dented. We hung them from the ceiling and played until well into the wee hours of the morning. One time we set up the living room as a recording studio and hung heavy bed blankets to block out the sound while my mother and brother were trying to sleep. Our favorite artist was Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I found a music book of his and we’d sing and play his songs. We also loved to do the Doors music. But when we did the songs, we put our own words in. Our “stoop lang” as we called it.
In my later years of high school I became more and more into the guitar and it was my stress reliever and I remember particularly in my English class and during a Chemistry test I could not concentrate because I had these Beatle guitar solos going off in my head. School to me had become a drag. I didn’t see what the point of Algebra 2 was or Chemistry. It was about he time of the first Gulf War and I remember thinking it would be cool to sign up for the Army or something. I guess I felt out of place at school.
By 16, I had grown shaggy sideburns and wore keen zip up boots I bought at my church garage sale for two dollars. I thought they were cool. After all, Peter Brady wore them. I was into the Brady Bunch and thought Greg Brady looked so cool with his “side boards”, as Paul McCartney would say. My hair came over my ears and eyebrows. I became infatuated with the Beatles and how they looked I wanted to be. These people had never let me down.
My dad had told me about the Doors and I remember hearing his Diner soundtrack in the car that I really liked. There was one great song where the singer sang like a frog. It was “Ain’t Got No Home” by Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry. Another record I listened to was dad’s “American Graffiti.” My dad rented the musical “Beatlemania” for us. The weird psychedelic scenes scared me and creeped me out. The house electricity went out during when I was watching it and that freaked me out. We all got in dad’s bed. That was when I was probably nine.
In 1990, I heard Paul McCartney was playing Texas Stadium. I asked my mother to see if she could get tickets. She found some guy in the newspaper want ads that came to our house and sold her three tickets. The long-haired man came to the house and scalped her. But anyway, we all went and I was nervous and shaking. It was my first concert and he was one of three surviving Beatles.
The first song they played was “Figure Of Eight.” It was one of their new ones. I wasn’t too big on the new songs but the old was awesome. Paul, George, John, and Ringo were the tops to me. My father was born in 1942, the same year that Paul was born. I sometimes questioned my dad about being the 5th Beatle. He said that in 1964 he saw the Beatles over at Fair Park or something like that. He said it was mostly screaming girls. Earlier he turned down going to see Elvis. I think he later regretted that.