Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The best guitar I never did buy

I didn't buy it but I owned it for about six months in 1975. This sunburst Telecaster was to be the bed-rock instrument in a band of Jocks doomed to failure before it even got started. The guitar was brand new at the time, needing played in and stretched and the truth is I wasn't much of a player. You could say I was improving,very slowly. Had I know my rate of improvement was to be as turgid as it turned out to be I'd probably have taken up the saxophone or retired and practiced deep cleansing meditation. There is nothing worse than having unbridled enthusiasm and buckets of ideas but no obvious work ethic or discipline. The concept of the band was therefore more attractive than the reality and of course it foundered, eventually broken apart on the rocks on the beach at St Oeuns on Jersey. I recall the rehearsal processes, long and feeble versions of songs by Poco, Blind Faith and Little Feat, all done at a clattering and unrelenting pace, punctuated by arguments, as if we were inventing punk rock by pulling balmy West Coast songs through a relentless distortion mangle, framed in a smoky haze. The good parts go down as lessons almost learned, how not to overdo reverb, how not to communicate, prioritising work and the dangers of terminal shoe gazing. Had I kept a hold of the guitar (I'd have had to steal it to do this), I'd probably have sold it on soon after and that would've been that. Now it lives on in the back of my head as a ghostly, frustrated memory, the symbol of a failed effort, wasted time and some good fun. I've never owned another Telecaster either, you can't replace what you never had.

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