Today, I’m going try to make a point about the rhythm of life and how I think it’s a lot like a song. But I’m going to try to do that using a song you’ve probably never heard from a band you probably don’t know and playing an instrument that I’ve hardly touched in months.
What could possibly go wrong?
Way back when I first decided that I would try and learn how to play a little bit of guitar, I didn’t start with the acoustic How-To books strumming along with traditional tunes like “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley.” No, I took the non-traditional route because I wanted to get right out of the gates and try to learn how to play some of the lead lines of my favorite player, then, now, and forever, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme.
Why’s he my favorite? Lot of reasons. But one of them is the groove. Slow song, fast song, or somewhere in between, just like life, he always seems to be able to find the groove. And I think about that as our days come and go, ebb and flow. And sometimes we feel like we should be doing more or doing less. But either way, we’re always trying to find that rhythm.
I thought I’d take a song from my favorite Extreme album, “Three Sides to Every Story,” and see if I can show you what I mean.
Just Right?[Kevin plays along with the song. Click here to hear it.]
Not bad. That’s a tune called “Peacemaker Die” from this: “Three Sides to Every Story.” [Kevin shows a CD] Ah, this, this is a compact disc. They’re like the 8-tracks of my generation.
“Peacemaker Die,” yeah, that’s a bit of a rough title, but it’s a brilliant song. It actually has part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech in it. And the song essentially is exploring why do we continue to destroy the things that are good for us? But that’s another video blog.
Anyway, that was one of the songs – because of the groove, the feel of it – that I wanted to learn how to play right out of the gates. But, even when I got it down, I could play it at the same speed, but like life, when the tempo changed it would sound wrong.
[Kevin plays the same speed by the beat is off. Click here to hear it.] I can’t even do it!
Or maybe the tempo, which for that song is round about 90 beats per minute, stays the same, but you’re not quite up to the pace of the day.
Too Slow![Kevin plays much slower than the beat. Click here to hear it.]
And then there are times when you’re just trying to do too much. The tempo stays the same, but you’re racing way ahead. That doesn’t sound very good either.
Too Fast![Kevin plays too fast, ahead of the beat. Click here to hear it.]
I think the trick is trying to settle in and stay with that groove. It’s easier said than done, especially when it switches in the middle of a song or the middle of the day. But for the most part, like music, in life, some days are fast songs. Some days are slow. Most of them are somewhere in between.
But the real question is, either way, how in sync are you with your rhythm section?