Revealing the Guitar Man

July 26, 2021

     So, perhaps you’re wondering why a guy like me, who is not a professional musician, will sometimes blog about his guitar playing experiences as if he’s somebody special? It’s not what you might think. This website is not to attempt to promote myself as some semi-famous rock star. It’s also not because I think I’m better than anybody. Shit… I’ve seen some freakin’ talented guitarists absolutely shred circles around my playing. But, my reason for ruminating on issues like my underground career in rock bands is because, quite frankly, it was my life for over half my time on Earth. To say I was just a guitar player doesn’t do justice to the decades of work, sweat and dedication I had invested.


     So, I can’t help but to reminisce about anything from concert-touring horror stories, to show nightmares, to recording sessions at the peak of exhaustion… basically, I got stories. I got memories. And I am sentimental nowadays for the things in life I never took the time to appreciate when they originally occurred. In addition, I’ve not had the platform, like a website, to go into any detail about my band experiences before… yet perhaps now this is it? I hope by writing about it, other people will relate and it will satisfy an interest some have had in my career.


     As far as my musical past, I don’t believe I could ever fully explain things in a short blog. But I can continue to write about it, revealing more with each effort. Maybe after a while of doing this, perhaps a theme will emerge? Or I might even feel a sense of accomplishment from it all?


     Right at the moment, I’m not sure what all my adventures in the music business mean?  When I was young, I took advantage of my freedom and in return learned a lot of hard lessons. I did not have an assortment of milestones to brag about, like so many people dig to hear. Sure, I got to audition for some bigger acts in the biz, but what I finally utilized for my survival was my ability to play in multiple bands at once. I learned, in Los Angeles and Phoenix of all places, that if I was constantly practicing and playing shows with more than one band, I’d almost always have a place to sleep. Without these bands, I was homeless, couch-surfing, with only my guitar and a gig bag.


     After I got out of that funk, I found my friends again a few years later… my tribe of people from Cochise County, Arizona. I soon played in groups with them that produced original music, but simultaneously, I also played in cover bands that helped pay my share of the rent. So, I’d keep a band doing originals, and have a cover band to get paid.


     That’s how it went for years until I finally attended Northern Arizona University for my Bachelors in 1994. I dedicated myself to just one band, Anyface, and so that’s what I poured my musical energy into for several years.


     I’ve played in several other bands since then, but never had as much fun. I appreciate those times with my buddies making music best of all.


     I guess what I’m doing with this post is paving the way for my stories to come forth. To say to you, "Hey is it cool I talk about all this stuff?"  Not all my experiences were positive. I didn’t end up being some famous dude that forgot where he came from. I eventually came back to friends, family and hometown to create music. So, there’s the history of everything before Anyface, and then everything during and after Anyface. This all took place before I ever even knew I was going to end up being a teacher in public schools someday.


     Haha. It almost seems like I lived a completely different life back then. In many ways, I did. When I speak to old, band-scene buds, many can’t imagine me as an English teacher. When I talk to people in the teaching profession, many can’t believe I was ever as neck-deep as I was in the music scene of the 90’s and early 00’s. I suppose I’m secretly hoping, by embracing this past part of my life, while I am fully in the process of my current life, that I can somehow merge my two selves and accept ‘me’ entirely.


     Sounds stupid maybe, but I remember losing track of ‘who I was’ when I had nerve ligament/muscle damage in my left hand. I believe it was the year 1999 and 2000 that I had medical work done on my first two knuckles. I lost the ability to move my pointer and middle finger without excruciating pain. Soon, my left hand was in a cast, and I felt so unlike myself. My identity was in jeopardy. I didn’t go to music venues or concerts during that time because it would really bum me out. I felt like without the guitar in my life - was I even Spiderdan?


     This became part of my experience as well. This detachment from playing guitar was difficult for me. I later worked to gain access to my playing ability again, but it took a few years, and I never did regain full control as I once had. I recall needing to overcome this major depression I had during that time. I had to not just relearn the guitar, but I had to reinvent Spiderdan. I had to become the rest of me. And that’s about the time I went back to college.


     Redefining myself is another story for another time, but it’s interesting how these phases of my music life, negative and positive, all became me today.


     I do have things I regret. I have things during those days I’m not proud of doing. I was a rascal and hyper as heck. And I’ve been low, real low before. Yet in my 40’s and now 50’s, I’ve wizened. I’ve had the opportunity to make myself more whole by amassing and accepting these sides of me. I teach my daughter Ella to play the guitar. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that for me. And now in my teaching career, I use the guitar to connect and entertain my students. We’ve had several kickass, after-school guitar clubs in the schools where I’ve taught since 2009. They were extremely successful and I love that part of my life too.


     So, onward… I’m making progress these days as a human. Not just as a guitar player. I realize Spiderdan can be many things, and doesn’t necessarily have to carry along his past failures and successes in order to be a good father and a good teacher. I’m still learning what it means to be me. Thank you for letting me share all this stuff with you.


     More later…


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TAGS: Spiderdan, guitar player, rock music, musician,  

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