Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The River Rat Bad Boyz Go Rock N Roll

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 7 years old. They never forgot the look on my face when I opened my Christmas present, and it was my first guitar.

It was called a SilverTone I believe and was bought at Sears.  I was thrilled and started messing around with it , but had no idea how to play although I knew I wanted to learn that guitar and be a rock n roller like all those bands I listened to everyday.

Shortly my parents signed me up for guitar lesson.  I was so happy.  Now I could learn and be able to play those songs I listened to.  I never knew how hard it was to play that guitar.  I got so frustrated because I wanted to be able to play like those rock bands. I had it in my mind, but the chords just didn't come out through my fingers.

I practiced and practiced each day.  Each week my dad would take me to my guitar instructor.  In the beginning it was fun, but as time passed my instructor would say, "here play this." As I was trying my hardest to play these notes and chords, my instructor was on the phone talking to his friends and never minded me.

Before I knew it my half hour of instructions were over and I didn't learn squat.  I wanted to learn and play songs like the big guys. I was very inpatient to say the least.  I couldn't learn fast enough and my instructor didn't spend much time teaching me.  I told my dad that the instructor was on the phone during most of my half hour lesson.

At that time the cost was $3.25 per half hour, and there were guys and gals waiting in line for their lesson. It was like a Doctors office lol. NEXT please, he would shout out.

After some time passed I said screw this, I will learn guitar myself.  He gave me the basics of music, but I had a long way to go, especially learning music and playing guitar myself.

In the meantime, my best friend, that was one of the Bad Boyz on the block got a drum set and took lessons too. Not sure how his lessons went, but they had to be better than what I learned.

Now we had one guitar and a drum set. Now, we will need one more guitar player and a singer. One of the guys at school played a mean guitar and could make it smoke. He played some awesome melody and I became good with all the chords. So we hooked up one day in my basement as started jamming and learning together.

We started to purchase some equipment, little by little, such as microphones, mic stands, and I bought a 100 watt VOX amp. We did the best we could considering our money was limited. After a few weeks we said, "Now all we need is a lead singer."

There were a few pretty young girls on our block and the surrounding blocks, but we decided to ask a girl 2 houses away.  She was thrilled we ask her and said she would love to sing with us. I said, were in, we have the musical equipment and four great people to make this happen. The birth a another rock n roll band.

The next step was coming up with a name for this new band. We decided on "Emerson." So a new band was born. We practiced almost everyday either in my basement and sometimes out in my garage. Oh yes, the neighbors just loved all that noise. We drove them crazy and had many complaints to our parents.

We got our first gig in the grammar school we attended.  The coordinator of all the 8th grade dances loved us and asked us to play at their 8th grade dance. Once everyone heard us they wanted us back for each dance. The four of us were thrilled to death.  We are on our way to music success!!

As we started to be liked by our playing, the audience began throwing coins on the stage. That was a awesome feeling. Our moms would be outside the auditorium watching and listening to the new fond band.  They were indeed proud of us.  You could just see it on their faces. God Bless you Dee (my mom) and Joan (the drummer's mom.)  

Over the years I stopped playing the guitar and got interested in the keyboard. I bought a KORG X3. That was one awesome keyboard.  I had no idea how to played it or even what key was what note, etc. My Grandmother played piano and organ at her church with never taking one lesson.. She played by ear and I did the same on my Korg X3 keyboard.  I put headphones on and listened to a song as I picked out the notes and chords on my keyboard.  I would go over it and over it until I learned the complete song.

So be it, I didn't need an instructor to teach me the keyboard, in fact I didn't need a guitar instructor either. I learned on my own.

As you may have figured out, the band Emerson is no longer.  We all went our own way in life, But the memories will last a life time.  

Thanks You, Gene, Gary and Rose for being a HUGE PART of my life.  I love you all like my own family!