Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I remember seeing a white guy that played guitar like Jimi Hendrix....

Because of my radio show at a college station (CiTR), I was exposed to all kinds of music that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. One of my favorite guitar players was Roy Buchanan, mainly because he sounded just like Jimi Hendrix, all bendy and trippy....yet plain as day on the cover of his album, he was a grey haired white man. I loved the paradox this presented to me!

When I heard he was coming to town, I bought a ticket right away. I figured when I got there, I'd run into all the other people I knew...but as I entered the main area of the Commodore, I realized I was wrong. The club was full, but not of my scenester friends. I was surrounded by a club full of men, men with short-cropped beards, men with jean jackets, men who had no fashion sense at all. I was surrounded by blues fans! It was quite funny! I think there were about 800 men, and maybe 6 women. I had entered the blues universe.

It was an amazing show. Roy Buchanan played guitar in some other dimension, he was a complete master of his instrument. I never noticed anything else until the lights came on at the end of the show, he really took me somewhere, I tell you. Once the show was over, I hightailed it out of there...too much testosterone for me to handle, even though apparently I was man enough for the blues.

The next year, I heard that Mr. Buchanan had hung himself in his jail cell. I felt very sad about that, he had seemed so happy when he was playing guitar on stage...it made me wonder about happiness and the things that bring it, and why is it so fleeting? Why is happiness unable to penetrate to the dark parts of our soul? It didn't seem fair to me.

6 comments:

from_gortex_to_stetsons said...

I have often thought about this too - happiness. How, in the moment it seems so elating (is that a word?), as if it will never end, but then it is actually so fleeting. And then when you are glum it is so hard to remember what happiness felt like and feel as if you never will. That's sad about Roy!

Lounge MD said...

It sucks that there are so many brilliant musicians who've destroyed themselves over the years. I wonder if artists are given to self-destructive tendencies. I often wonder that about myself.

Spoke said...

Kurt Cobain said he "was tired of carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders". Performers sometimes BECOME the performance. When that suddenly isn't good enough, there's literally nothing left. All the money, fame and glory still pail to " you really suck at this now Kurt".
Another beautiful lie from the pit of Hell!

Kim said...

There are several points I think of while reading this blog. One is something that lounge thought of which is the whole artistic tendancy's towards suicide. There are two ways it can be looked at, psychologically/biologically, that artistic persons have more of a tendancy towards suicide because their mind works in different ways and the downside is destruction. Or spiritually, there are certain spirits that signal out certain groups, artists seem to get the suicide temptations more. I personally actually believe it's both.

The other thing I think about which is more positive is how cool it is, Paula, that you're willing to go to a concert completely alone, just because you love the music. Yeah, you thought your friends would be there, but you stayed and enjoyed it even though they weren't. I have never been to a concert alone and don't know how much I would enjoy it if I did. I would be too self conscious. I think it's cool that you did and you enjoyed yourself.

There are more, but I fear taking up too much space with a comment.

Amber said...

I have self-destructive tendencies. Booze-filled-chocolates!

Leonard Sadorf said...

Legend has it that Roy Buchanan turned down Eric Clapton when Eric asked him to join "Derek and the Dominoes" in 1970. Roy told him he had his own band, "The Snakestretchers".