Red Rocker

I’m taking an involuntary break from school for a while, so in order to keep busy, I’m throwing myself into my music. For the last 30 years, I’ve been a bass player. In 1996, I sold all of my gear to focus on art, and went a great many years not playing. About ten years ago, I picked up an old Fender Precision from a pawn shop for $75 and began noodling with it again. When an opportunity to play in the church worship band cropped up, I got more serious, and bought myself a Steinberger five string, which has been my main instrument for a long time now. Among the things I sold in ’96 was a Rickenbacker 4001. I’ve always regretted parting with that and for years have been trying to find my way back to one.

A few months ago, I decided to take up guitar. I picked up a candy apple red Fender Stratocaster, and have been teaching myself chords from YouTube videos. It’s actually been going pretty good. I’m not doing any solos yet, but I can play rhythm for a pretty sizable number of songs. I’m still a bit awkward with it, but I expect in the next few months I’ll be good enough to embarrass myself in front of people. I’ve been pretty dedicated with my practice routine.

I had a horrible week with news that I wouldn’t be able to continue with school, and have been feeling pretty down. In a hugely generous effort, my son Kyle bought me a brand new ruby red Rickenbacker 4003 to cheer me up. Words cannot express how much I appreciate this kindness. I certainly don’t deserve it. I’m not such an awesome player that should have one of these based on skill. But it brings a great deal of joy to my daily existence. I grew up with this sound, and my heroes have always been artists and musicians, so to have an instrument like this is just a privilege and an honor, and I am grateful for the gesture Kyle has made. It doesn’t make me a better player, but it certainly makes me want to be one. If he wanted to cheer me up, this was way above and beyond the call!

I took it onstage at church this morning, so it was broken in before a crowd a few hours after I received it. My wife and I are working on our own music projects as a duo and I have great plans for the red instruments in the years to come.

Thanks Kyle!

Random Thoughts for September

For the past month, I’ve been expanding my contacts in social media. I’ve added a few hundred folks on Linkedin and Facebook, primarily in the comic book creator and fan area. To date, I’ve had a few people who remember me from The Tick and the Malibu Comics days, but so far, I have not been asked to ink anything, or gotten any inquiries on collaborating on a project. The experiment to see if all this is worthwhile is interesting, but still remains to be seen if it gets any results. I’m not looking for full-time work in the field – just an occasional project to keep my hand in and get something fun into print or on the web in front of readers.

I left my home church after a few years there. Changes in some key positions have resulted in some drama, and my family needs stability right now, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. We’ve decided to try out a different church each week and see if we can find a place where we fit in, and where our gifts are needed. There are a few we’ve put on our bucket list to try out. I want to avoid any that are “weird” and not biblical, or have alternate versions of the bible. No snakes.

Not being in that church anymore, I don’t have a gig playing bass on a weekly basis, and that’s kind of sad.  I most likely won’t get another opening like that again, which leads me to the next thought.

I’m playing more guitar lately, trying to teach myself chords. A guitarist seems to be able to find an opening with other people fairly easily, but in this town, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a bass player, so that instrument is not very much in demand.  I’m not doing too bad for never having had any lessons, and picking everything I’ve learned up from books and YouTube. I have a long way to go, though.

Math class at AIO is almost over. These have been the hardest classes I’ve had to date, and I can’t wait until they’re in the rear-view mirror. Eleven weeks of this crap has really worn on me.  I’ve actually learned a few things, but I don’t see myself ever needing this. My next class, which starts on the 26th, is Introduction to HTML, which I already know quite a bit about. I started writing web pages about 12 years ago, having to write all the code out by hand.  This class should be a breeze.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is in beta now, and will be released soon. Money is tight, so I haven’t pre-ordered yet, and I’m not likely to have enough for the full release, so I probably won’t be getting in on the ground floor. Stupid economy.

Desktop for Today

My desktop for today – a Rickenbacker 4001 bass – sunglow finish. This is the exact one I had back in the 80s. Selling it is one of my biggest regrets in life.

Fender Refinishing Project

I got the body all painted, and then applied a few coats of varnish today.  It was coming along pretty well, until I got a bit too much on it, and got a run on the front, near the top.  I touched it, trying to smooth it out, and that just made it worse. I sanded it some after it dried, and re-painted the area, and did another coat of varnish.  It looks pretty good, but that area is not smooth now.  Oh, well.  Other than that, it’s looking pretty good.

I hope to get it all put back together this week and see if it works!  I think the metallic dark brown will look pretty sharp with the wood on the neck.