“. . . While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

imgres-1This past January was very hard for us guitarists.  In just a month we lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey (The Eagles) and Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), guitarists all.  These men all died rather young and I’ve been trying to determine if there’s any connection (a la any crime show you’ve ever seen) that runs though their lives and deaths. Had they all been visiting the same fortune-teller; were they all doing the same juice cleanse; or had vast amounts of cash been regularly siphoned from their bank accounts?  Okay, okay maybe I’ve watched too many of those cop shows.

I’ve been listening for the last several weeks to retrospectives and memorial musical tributes to these guys with close attention.  It has left me with a  strange amalgam of nostalgia, sadness and sobering reflection. These guitarists were all in my age range which, not surprisingly, adds yet another level of interest/concern on my part. Their deaths beg the question: Was there something in their lives that could have signaled their early demises and, more to the point, is there some similarity in my own life that should give me great pause; something I should be on the look out for or do differently?

The good news (for me) is that, almost certainly, these three lived much harder lives than I have.  A lot more drugs and alcohol (although I think I’m starting to play some serious catchup). So it seems that, for now, I’m in the clear on that score.  From their obituaries, I learned that each of these guitarists was gentile. Which means any plans I had for converting have been permanently scotched.   Also . . .and this is important . . . they all played the guitar–to a man.  Now, you may remember that last year I had set out to learn to play. Fortunately (it turns out), it was beyond any skill set I have. I may have really dodged a bullet there. But the truth is,  I hadn’t completely abandoned the hope that I could yet play some simple three chord song.  The guitar sits against a wall in my bedroom and occasionally I’ll pick it up and strum a bit. That is, I used to pick it up and try some stuff.  I’ve moved it to storage.  Only a madman would ignore the consequences of too much guitar playing.

Yet, I still have this longing to play an instrument. But for now I’m going to be much more selective in my choices. I know that Pete Seeger lived to well into his 90’s.  Anyone know where I can pick up a nice banjo?


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5 Responses to ““. . . While My Guitar Gently Weeps””

  1. apt3f Says:

    you might only have to worry about the guitar if it turns out you play it really well – which you might, you do have that hand/eye thing going for you (does that even apply to non-sports?)

    • iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

      From what I can tell, the eye/hand thing works against playing any instrument. It’s the same thing with dancing—-the better the eye/hand, the more of a doofus you look. (you’ve seen me dance!)

  2. Don Says:

    Pete Seeger played guitar too. I think the common denominator that did those 3 guys in too early was cigarette smoking. So let that be a warning to you kids out there!

  3. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    This is good news—so if I’ve never smoked cigarettes, I should be an awesome guitarist? Time to reclaim the Yamaha.

  4. Dr. No Says:

    It’s interesting how age changes one’s perspective. Who of us would have thought, 30 – 40 years ago, that the early seventies was rather young. Having attained that status, I don’t feel a day over 80.

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