This week I’m looking back at why I started playing music and how I’ve evolved over the course of 15 plus years of playing. That being said, I’m not a ground breaking guitarist or songwriter and never planned to be, but I think I’ve got enough knowledge together to share a little bit about why I started and how I got myself into writing relatively listenable music, at least my parents think so anyway.
It started in year 7 for me. I had just started fresh at High School and I didn’t really have a lot of friends there. Due to travelling into the City, most of my mates went to more local high schools so I found the best way to meet people was either join a sporting team or join one of the school bands. As I’m not really what you call a ‘social butterfly’ I decided to join both and made some great mates.
The first instrument I played was the Bass, the reason, one person – Cliff Burton. A true legend of the bass guitar and still to this day, the best I’ve seen. I remember listening to guys like Les Claypool, Victor Wooten and Flea completely own the bass, but Cliff made me NEED to play Bass. I never thought the bass could outshine the guitar, but ‘Anesthesia (pulling teeth)’ by Metallica showed to me it could.
After trying to play in the Jazz band at school, I decided I probably would need some kind of lessons to get things moving a bit better for me. I got my first lesson and the main thing I got out of it was ‘Don’t use a pic’ and idolizing Cliff, I never used one for Bass. As I got older, and the original bass player of the Jazz Band finished high school it was my time to fill the void within the Jazz Band and in year 9 I finally did. I had been playing bass for just over two years and had been studying music the whole time I was at High School so I was confident I could do it. And let me tell you, I was WRONG. It’s all well and good playing by yourself in your bedroom and learning how to read music so you knew what was going on, but playing it with a full blown band is a completely different story. You need to take in the dynamics of the ones around you and be in the same head space. Something I learnt the hard way..
As I went through High School I eventually switched to playing guitar so by the time my HSC came around I had completely become a ‘guitarist’ and even started a shitty three chord punk band as a way to express how I was feeling. I used to write lyrics all day at school, jotting down my thoughts but never really putting any music behind them. I did write my first full song when I was about 15 or so. It was terrible and a complete Green Day rip off, but I learnt one thing from it and that was the easiest way to express myself without actually having to speak to anyone about it.
I’ve written a countless amount of songs since high school. Lot’s which no one will ever hear but it was more of a therapy for myself, well and truly realising no one would give two shits about the majority of what I write but it helped me get through some tough times.
Writing music now is basically a way of life. I write lyrics down at least once every day and play the guitar every other day to try and craft music. I don’t try to force it, if it isn’t working I simply stop playing and do something else. But when it is working, the songs come naturally which is the best way to approach it. There is no point sitting yourself down, setting yourself a goal and then failing to reach that goal cause it only hurts you. Instead write when you want to write not when you think you need to write. Write after you’ve had a shit day, or when you’ve had the best day you’ve had in years. Write when you feel like you’re alone and desperate for some kind of connection. Write when you want to write, don’t let writing become a chore cause as soon as it does you won’t want to write anymore.
Playing music live now with my band, not a lot can top that. Sure we aren’t selling out any venues or producing music that appeals to the masses but when we get up on that stage to play we play with everything we’ve got and have a hell of party doing it. That’s what playing music is about to me. It’s about putting 100% of yourself in to it and making it matter to you. Doesn’t matter if others don’t like it, financially that might matter but deep down if it helps you get through some shit, then you’re doing music the RIGHT way.
Like I said, I’m not anyone famous, or even that great of a songwriter but I am someone that writes music on a regular basis and has for a long time now. I use music as a therapy, a way to express myself cause I’m useless any other way. I hope when you write music you feel the same way I do when I write it, if you don’t that’s cool, do what works for you but just don’t let writing music become a chore.
What made you want to pick up your instrument?
How and Why do you write music?
Song that made me play music: Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) – Metallica
Song that made me want to write my own music: FOD – Green Day
Local track I’m spinning this week: Don’t We All – Raised As Wolves