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Monday, March 01, 2010


Andy discusses guitars and guitar playing - Part I

Andy looks at guitar playing and players -- Part I

Over the coming weeks, Todd Bernhardt and Andy Partridge are going to discuss Andy's approach to the guitar, examining his history with the instrument, his influences, and why and how he does what he does with it.

This conversation will be taking place over the course of several weeks, so as we said in a previous blog, this is your chance to Ask Andy your guitar-related questions. We can't guarantee that we'll get to each one, of course, but we'll try. Ask away!

This week we look back on the early days of Andy Partridge, guitarist. As for the song of the week, we're reposting "Church of Women," which Andy and Todd talked about in November 2007, and which of course can be found on 2000's Wasp Star (Apple Venus, Vol. 2). Andy's a bit proud of the solo there, so it's a nice look at how far he's come since the time he first graced the stage with Swindon "legends" Stray Blues.

AP: Whew, this is a big topic. Where to start?

TB: Let's start at the beginning: Where did you first see a guitar, young Andy Partridge? Your dad was in a band, right? I know he was a drummer.

AP: Actually, he was pretty much a multi-faceted musician. When he was in the Navy, he was in a Rock-and-Roll/Skiffle band. I've seen pictures of him on stage during ship's concerts and stuff. He's stood there, skinny as a rake, with a baggy blue denim shirt on and a guitar.

TB: Ah, so he played guitar, too?

AP: He could play guitar as well, yes. He was looking pretty cool, pretty modern! Pretty fast-looking, even for the mid-50s. So, he usually had drums around the house, which I wasn't allowed to go on, but I would go on very surreptitiously when no one was around. And he always had an acoustic guitar shoved behind the sofa.

But I wasn't really interested in it. You'd see cowboy films, and there'd be the Roy Rogers or Gene Autry type, in their shining satin shirts and fringes and totally impractical ranch wear [chuckles]...

TB: Right. Either riding on their horse singing, or sitting around the campfire.

AP: Exactly. And you can't hear the singing or playing for the chorus of farting that's going on.

TB: [laughs] More beans!!

AP: [laughing] "I think you boys have had enough!"

So, they're just playing [mimics a plodding, repeating I-IV progression], and I thought, "Yeah, a guitar's the sort of thing a cowboy would have." It really wasn't until seeing The Beatles on the TV -- or, probably The Shadows, actually -- that I thought, "Ooh, those red, pointy guitars look nice." A Fender Strat, you know. And then The Beatles would be stood there on the TV, and all the school kids just loved 'em -- boys and girls. Boys wanted to be them, the girls just fancied one or the other.

So, it was just like, "Hmm, how can I emulate being a Beatle?" As kids, we actually used to play being The Beatles, out in the street.

TB: You played a game?

AP: Yeah, just sort of a free-form game. "I'll be Paul, you'll be John" -- you know. "I'll be Pete Best. See you!" [laughs]

TB: [laughs] "I'll be Stu. Argh, my head!!"

AP: [laughing] Yeah! And your girlfriend could be Astrid. Or Asterisk, since she's always kind of a footnote to the band.

Anyway, during this game, you'd have a tennis racket, or a plank of wood, or somebody might even have a Gene Autry plastic guitar or, god forbid, a Beatle plastic guitar with their pictures printed around the edge. Four of us would stand there, one hitting a bucket with a knitting needle, and three of us with things that were vaguely guitar-shaped, and the girls would dutifully scream. We'd run away, and they'd chase us.

As the whole Beatles thing went on, I saw "Hard Day's Night" at the cinema, and didn't know whether to scream -- that was a big dilemma. Because there they were, up on the screen, and all the girls in the audience were screaming at the film...

TB: Really?

AP: Yeah! Not continuously, just sort of in pockets. I'm sat there with my mates, in my short trousers and my little duffel coat, thinking, "Should I scream or not? Is it a dumb thing for boys to scream?" I chose not to scream, but...

TB: Part of you wanted to.

AP: [chuckles] Part of me wanted to, yeah.

So, I was steeped in the Beatle thing, and obviously the idea went into my head that, "They don't seem to have any problems in life, and they seem to be able attract girls," so therefore there was this funny equation of guitar equals some sort of passport to success and happiness and girl attraction. I made that strange little illogical sum in my head -- that guitar equals those things.

This boiled away for a while, and I used to pull the guitar from behind the sofa, and try to play what sounded like songs. I couldn't play any chords, but I could try to work out the more wiffy things, like "Ticket to Ride." I would spend days and days sitting on the step at the front of the house, with my father's guitar, trying to figure out the notes to that.

TB: Had anyone told you at this point what notes the strings were, what tuning was -- any of that?

AP: My dad always kept it pretty much in-tune. He would occasionally strum old-fashioned, Skiffle-y kinds of things, or old Jazzy things -- he knew a few dozen chords, and was pretty nifty with them.

TB: But had he given you any sort of instruction?

AP: After a while, he showed me a few chords, but I think before that point I was trying to figure out these one-line things -- like I say, "Ticket to Ride," or "You Can't Do That." That sort of thing, where you can clearly hear the line to it. I had no concept of chords, really.

This went on for years, with me having no real concept of chords, and then The Monkees series hit the television.

TB: When The Monkees came on, how old were you? 13?

AP: When did The Monkees come on? '66? Yeah, I would have been 12, 13. It further compounded that Beatle equation that I'd made in my head -- that guitar meant success, friendship, girls. All the girls seemed to like the boys with guitars, and all the boys seemed to want to be them.

So it was more a social idea that I had in my head, than a musical one. I didn't particularly want to make music. I just wanted this thing that seemed to me to be the passport to having friends and being admired and getting the girls and stuff. In fact, sometimes, before I left school -- I left school at 15, so this would have been just before that -- some days I would take my father's guitar to school. I'm not sure he knew that I was doing this -- because I could get it home again before he came home from work -- so I don't know whether I got his permission. But certainly I took it a few times, and I'd wander around the playground with it.

As a strap, he had a kind of a dressing-gown cord -- you know, like a twisted, colored rope thing, with tassels on the end -- and I had this strung around my neck, and I'd walk around the playground with it. Of course, these girls were coming up and sort of stroking it, like it was some sort of -- I daren't say penis, but like it was some pet pony -- they were stroking it, saying, [high voice]"Wow, he's got a guitar! Look!"

And then you'd come totally unstuck, because they'd say, "Play something!" And all I could play, really badly, was "Day Tripper," very badly -- probably all the wrong notes. And, later on, I attempted things like "Wild Thing." But not chords -- just single notes.

I'd have this thing at school, and girls would be admiring it, and I guess it started to go off in my head that maybe I should learn this, because I couldn't take the embarrassment of not being able to play anything when they said, "Play something!"

Just before leaving school, at the age of 15, I started going to a school youth club after-hours, and they had a guitar and amplifier. It was this horrific-looking sort of maroon-red thing, probably commercially available somewhere, like Indonesia or somewhere -- you know, "Java's finest guitar." There was this little tiny practice-amp thing, not much bigger than two shoeboxes on top of each other. It was a little combo thing, all blown out -- you know, speakers were all blown out, very fuzzy. And oh, I loved these things, because I could get in the cloakroom and plug the amp in the wall, and it sounded great, because it was all reverb-y in there. It was all empty, no coats, just a big square room with racks and pegs and tiles and stuff.

We'd all be fighting for the right to play this guitar in the youth club. There was a big mixed-race kid called Paul Porter. By about '67, he started to sort of want people to think he was Jimi Hendrix or something. He didn't look too dissimilar, but he could barely play the guitar. Because he was a lot taller and kind of cooler than everyone else, he'd inevitably bully them and snatch the guitar away from them at the youth club. But then we came up with the idea of forming a band, and I was going to play this youth club guitar, with this funny little amp.

TB: If you were at the point where you felt you could play this role, had you by this time learned a few chords?

AP: I think I'd picked up a few chords. I remember knowing three or four chords -- I certainly knew E, I knew A, and I knew D. I might have known C and F, but I couldn't make it sound like the records I was hearing, so I just used to throw in the nearest chord, and think, "Well, that'll do." [laughs]

TB: [laughing] Hence your love of dissonance!

AP: [laughing] There you go! "Ah, that's near enough. Who's going to complain? It's loud, and we're young, who's going to know?"

Paul didn't have a microphone. He had his brother playing drums -- I think there was also a school drumkit, which was an amazingly rotten collection of, you know, nothing short of buckets, really. The kind of thing that the Salvation Army would have thrown away 50 years prior to that.

He sat battering away at that, and Paul was going to be the singer, and I was going be the guitar player. I don't think we had a bass -- if we did, I don't remember. I know he had several brothers -- the Porter brothers were renowned in the school.

TB: You said he fancied himself Jimi Hendrix, but all he wanted to do was sing?

AP: Sing, yeah. I was the sole guitar player, as far as I can remember. He needed a microphone, and came up with the glorious concept that the capsule in a telephone is a microphone. So he took a big pair of scissors or shears and went around the council estate we lived on, went into public phone boxes and cut all the handsets off, and brought them into the school! He unscrewed them, and took the little capsules out, and wired them up to make microphones. [laughs]

So, we're all playing through this tiny little amp, and he's got a jack socket on the end of a telephone mouthpiece -- he's just holding the little capsule in his hand -- and yelling into it. [laughs]

TB: You guys must have been something else.

AP: I can't even remember what we were called! It was something like "Human Jukebox."

TB: That's not too bad, actually. Did you ever play out at all?

AP: No, we just rehearsed. Then they stopped the school youth club from being in the school, and it moved into a house just around the corner -- like, a derelict house -- and put us in one of the bedrooms. We were allowed to paint on the walls, so you'd paint your own psychedelic murals on the walls, and set the amp and drums up in there, and it was like anarchy, like The Young Ones or something. Here you were, in a house, and you could paint any shit you wanted on the walls, and make all this noise. I really felt for the neighbors, actually, because it was madness.

TB: Was it an attached house?

AP: Yeah! [laughs] Poor neighbors. I don't remember that house lasting long, and that probably was the reason. You know, would you want a young band who were playing all the wrong chords and screaming into telephone mouthpieces and clattering away on a Salvation Army reject kit next door to you every evening?

So, my father must have shown me some chords, but I don't think I knew the correct chords for playing, say, a Blues or something. I loved the sound of lead guitar, but didn't know how to do it. Nobody showed me, and said, "You play these scales and bend these notes like this." I never figured that out 'til years and years later.

TB: What were you listening to at this time?

AP: Just Pop music. I was listening pretty much to anything in the charts -- we're talking a period from '64 up to '68.

TB: Were there any particular bands where you said, "Yeah, they're the greatest, I've got to get their next album"? Obviously, The Beatles were huge.

AP: Yeah, but you didn't like them because of the guitar. You liked them because of the material. You loved the song.

For me, it was really the band they were playing on the radio at the time. British Pop radio never existed until '67. Before then, there was maybe an hour or two per week where you could hear Pop music on the radio. The rest of the time it'd what they called "light classics," or show tunes -- which, you know, you grow to love, because if that's the diet you're being raised on, you love that stuff as well. But there was no such thing as Pop radio in Britain.

There was Pop radio if you knew where to tune in, and after a while I got the knack of this. I got a transistor radio, and I'd get under the sheets at night and try to find Radio Luxembourg, which was broadcast from the continent, and they'd be playing Pop music all the time. And then there were pirate stations, but I don't remember particularly understanding whether I'd found a pirate station or not.

TB: Right. Because you'd just be searching the dial.

AP: I'd just be searching the dial, and if I liked the sound of what I was hearing -- "Wow, that's the Small Faces! I'll leave that on."

But I remember I wasn't sitting there going, "Wow! Listen to that guitar playing!" I'd be thinking, "That's a great song," or, "That's a lovely sound -- how do they do that? That whoosing noise there." You know, it could have been anything -- it could have been an organ or a reverb sound or some phasing. I just loved the sounds on the records, and the songs -- I didn't hone in on the guitar playing in any way.

TB: You and I have talked before about how certain sounds evoke colors or moods or other things for you -- was that true even back then?

AP: Yeah, I think it must have been. Perhaps in a smaller way, because I wasn't so attuned. You know, I got much more open to sounds and the landscape or architecture or coloring of sounds, or a combination of all those things. You know, "It's a landscape made by those chords, but what color is that landscape? Well, it's kind of an orange-y, flat landscape, and that noise there sounds like a little mountain in the distance, and that's kind of blue-y."

So, I wasn't so attuned then, but as I got into my later teens, I opened up to an enormous amount of things -- drugs not being one of them -- but an enormous amount of music and art and poetry and reading and stuff.

I was kind of top of the class for a few years, or pretty near the top of the class for a few years, so I wasn't stupid, but weirdly enough I was a late reader. I had to have special lessons and stay behind after school in special classes, because I was one of the three or four slowest readers in the whole year. I never really started reading books of my own volition until I left school. As soon as I was ordered to read a book, I didn't want to read it! As soon as nobody was ordering me to read a book, I wanted to read!

TB: Funny how that works, isn't it.

AP: Yeah, really. They should try more of that reverse psychology. It definitely works.

Before I left school, I did actually steal the youth club guitar and take it home. I think I told my parents they'd allowed me to practice on it.

TB: Was this a permanent borrowing?

AP: Well, it was a few months. You know, they were asking where was the school guitar -- very Rock-and-Roll of me, I stole it and took it home. But then I felt really guilty after about three months, and I think I snuck it back in.

TB: I'm wondering if there was some kind of epiphany you had, where you said, "Now I've really got to bear down and learn something about this instrument."

AP: By the time I got to college, which was '68, I think. I was in local college, doing an art foundation class in '68. By that time, I would take either my father's guitar -- I don't know if I had my own guitar then -- or I would play somebody else's guitar. It was that sort of hippie era, and everybody seemed to have a guitar laying around somewhere.

I was the youngest kid in the art class -- I was 15, and you weren't supposed to be in college until you were 16, but they made a little exception for me, because they thought my art was a good thing. It was like, "Oh, well, he's kind of gifted, so we'll let him in a bit early."

I remember that I'd worked out the chords to "Rocky Raccoon," by the Beatles, and it became my party piece. All the rest of the class would bully me -- some of the class were in their late 20s -- they'd stand me on a desk and say, "You're not going until you play 'Rocky Raccoon'." So my nickname became Rocky, because that was my little party piece. By this time, I was creeping into getting to know chords.

I was in college for a while, and I don't remember having a guitar of my own then, but I left because I wasn't learning enough stuff in college -- I just seemed to be messing around too much, or taking time out and going over with other students to the local park and getting drunk on cider, and them playing endless Dylan songs.

And I wasn't particularly a Dylan fan at the time and, I mean, to hear Swindon kids endlessly droning on, talking in an American accent between the songs to you -- you know, you're sat there, you're drunk on cider, and it's a lovely warm day, and you should be in class linocutting or something, and there's some idiot from a council estate talking like Dylan -- [mimics him] "Hey Andy, do you want to hear my new song?" [laughs] -- you begin to think, "Oh god, what am I doing with my life?"

But even at college, I was practicing more and more, and getting half-decent. I actually went for an audition for a group. I met somebody in the college common room, and they said, "Will you come and audition for a group I'm putting together?" So I turned up -- funnily enough, about two streets away from where I live now. There were some garages, and this chap, Martin Vincent -- red-haired fellow with a beard, so he was a few years older than me. Think he works in a local tax office now. He said he was starting this band. He was a bit besotted with Jethro Tull, and desperately wanted to be Ian Anderson, so he wouldn't comb his hair, and would try to get it to stick out more.

I seem to remember having an electric guitar -- maybe I borrowed one from somewhere -- and I was pretty rubbish. But the other kids were rubbish, too. I remember there was somebody there who looked like he was in his 30s to me, but he probably wasn't. But he was fantastic -- you know, he was playing just like Eric Clapton, and had a Gibson Les Paul, or something that looked like it, and I thought, "Well that's it -- he's going to get the job. He's just brilliant, and I'm really Johnny Rubbish."

But of course the other kids were rubbish as well, and because [chuckles] he was too good for them, they didn't want to give him the job, because he would have showed them up, if you see what I mean. So they said to me, "Hey, you're in."

So, this band was to be called "Stray Blues," after the Rolling Stones song, "Stray Cat Blues." I remember playing three gigs with them. To be honest, we used to make the stuff up as we went along.

TB: So it was all original music, and you were just jamming?

AP: Largely, yeah. You know, we'd hit a rhythm, and then go.

It was appalling, make no mistake -- it was awful stuff. I really hadn't kind of grasped lead guitar, but I'd try to do it, and it was like somebody with their fingers caught in the strings. I would borrow the equipment -- I'd borrow an amplifier, I'd borrow a guitar -- "Hey! That's a nice guitar -- that Italian one that you've got, that's all shiny and sparkly -- that silver one. Can I borrow that?"

TB: So you were the only guitar player in this band?

AP: God, I knew I should have done my homework before we talked! Let's see -- there was myself. There was this Navy cadet kid who played the drums. We used to rehearse in his living room, and his older sister, who was quite nice-looking, used to make out with this hippie fellow who had a purple suit on the sofa in front of us while we were trying to rehearse. There was a fellow called Tony Hancock, who was this kind of lumpy good-natured kid who seemed to have a few spare guitars, so he could lend me one. I think he was either the bass player, or he was the second guitar player, where it was like, "Well, you just stay on the deep strings." And then there was this fellow Martin, who had a gun belt, and he had half a dozen harmonicas of different keys stuck in the loops of this belt -- you know, he thought he was a real desperado [laughs].

TB: [laughing] And did you primarily play Blues? Was it all I-IV-V, 12-bar stuff?

AP: Yeah, but usually it wasn't I-IV-V. With me, it'd be I-IV-VII -- I'd have the wrong chords! You know, we'd be playing a 12-bar in E, and I'd play something like E, A and D, instead of E, A and B. It was awful! Make no mistake. It was painful stuff.

The first gig we did was in some village hall somewhere. We were in support of a support of a half-decent local group called "Barley Mow." We did our set, then a load of teddy boys and rockers turned up in this village hall in the middle of nowhere, and vibes got a bit bad -- it got a bit bullying, so we didn't hang around too long.

And then the second one was a strange little hall, again in the middle of nowhere. You know, you're in the middle of nowhere, and then there will be this funny little baroque hall thing. I seem to remember this one was a wooden chapel, or it seemed to be like that inside.

We played our made-up set -- we were just making shit up as we went along! You know, Martin would turn to me, and he'd say, "What key?" -- because he'd want to know what harmonica to blow -- and I'd say, "A!" And he'd say, "What do you want to call it?", and I'd say -- and this would all be on the stage -- I'd say, "Uh ... just call it ... uh, um ... 'Here Come the Gods'!" I'd just grab these crazy titles.

And then he'd sing -- he'd yell out lyrics -- "Here come the gods!" [mimics harmonica playing] "Here come the gods! Take it, Andy!" I mean, I don't know what the hell the kids thought. Maybe just because there were drums crashing along, and it was noisy, they thought, "Well, that's just kid music," or something. But we really had no set songs. It was insane.

TB: That's pretty adventurous and courageous, actually.

AP: It was just stupid, really, because we didn't know to write songs, and we weren't good enough to learn other people's. During all this time, I was going to watch these local bands that would play in the local church hop, on the council estate where I lived. There was one band called Pink Warmth that had a young guitarist -- 15 or 16 -- named Dave Gregory. He was fantastic! I'd be watching him, thinking, "Wow, he's as good as that fellow Jimi Hendrix on the television -- and he's just a kid!"

But I was rubbish, and the band were rubbish. It all came to a terrible head with Stray Blues when we played a regular show at the local dance hall in the town called McIlroys Ballroom. We were due to play on a Monday night, I think, when they'd give young bands a chance. They had a DJ who, if the audience were lapping it up, would let you play on, but if they weren't liking it, would pull the plug.

I remember wangling the use of the Barley Mow's bass player's 100-watt Marshall stack. I had an acoustic guitar -- I can't remember how I came by it -- that had an electric pickup across the sound hole. I'd just discovered the bottle-neck sensation, but I had no concept that you were supposed to tune the guitar differently. So I had a normal-tuned guitar, and I'd be sliding a bottle neck, like a glass tube or I might have even had a red, plastic tube, like the center of some reel of string, but it seemed to do the job.

So there we were on the stage at McIlroys Ballroom, doing our first song, and there were these mods and skinheads in the audience, throwing money at us. Not because we were good -- they were throwing it to hurt. And those old British pennies were huge things. They really hurt you.

They were shouting, "Get off, get off!" Because we were appalling -- let's be honest. I remember sitting with the guitar on my lap, with my best Brian Jones pudding-bowl haircut flopping down over my face, and a houndstooth jacket that I'd borrowed for some reason to wear at the gig.

While I was playing I was slowly, slowly pushing with one foot, so that the chair was sliding behind the 100-watt stack. [laughs] Because the coins were hurting! We finished our first number, which was just a made-up Blues piece, and the DJ sort of grabbed the singer, and said, "Okay lads, c'mon, that's it, no more now." Because the audience were booing us, you know. But the singer was almost in tears -- "Please let us play just one more -- just one more!" "Oh, okay, but just one more. But no more after that!"

So Martin sort of leaned over and said, "Do that one, that steely Blues one that you do." As I say, the guitar should have been tuned to something like E or G, but it wasn't, it was normal tuning, so even the bottle-neck shit sounded really weird and wrong. I started in on this thing I had, which prompted a couple minutes of him leaping around the stage, doing everything to "mak shau," or put some show into it. And the audience began to actually kind of get into it, because he was desperately trying to put on a show, and I was playing feverishly. They weren't throwing pennies, anyway! But the DJ still pulled the plug, even though the audience kind of perked up at the end of thing number-two.

TB: And to think what might have been, if you'd just continued with this group!

AP: [laughs] Oh, we were appalling. But at the end of this, we were packing up and waiting for our dads or pals to pick us up, with what little bits of gear we had of our own, and Martin just wandered off. We never saw him again. I think he said something like, "Sorry lads, I think that's it," and off he went. He realized that after three gigs, and such a terrible audience reaction to the first song, and the ignominy of being pulled off the stage of this local ballroom -- that was too much for him.

But I don't think it would have lasted too much longer, because on the way back from our second gig, I was getting a bit fruity with Tony Hancock's girlfriend. So it probably would have ended in tears. [laughs]

TB: Guitar players. You can't trust 'em.

AP: You can't trust 'em. Nope. He was kind enough to loan me his guitar for the gig as well, and here's me, touching his girlfriend.

TB: Guitar and girlfriend.

AP: Exactly. Stroking the pair of them.

TB: So, how did you take the breakup? Did that motivate you? Did you then start practicing more?

AP: By that time, I'd been well-bitten. I mean, I used to fantasize about being in a group, even in the last couple of years of being in school. I used to think that my appalling non-guitar playing might get me somewhere. I remember drawing pictures in school exercise books of me standing on stage -- with a pudding-basin haircut, which I had for a few years -- I'd draw the red and orange lights on me, you know.

TB: Do you have any of those drawings left?

AP: No. They were just in school exercise books. You know, you'd get free time to write an essay -- "This week, you can write whatever you want to write." So I'd write about being in a group, and imagining how great it'd be, and all that kind of thing.

I was into it, and still really liked sounds. I'd borrow my friend Steve Warren's records, and his record player, and I'd be playing things, all at different speeds, just because I liked the sound textures. I remember he had these early Kinks singles, like "You Really Got Me," and things like that. I'd play them at different speeds -- "Wow, that sounds so" -- well, I probably wouldn't have used the word "heavy," but -- "that sounds so great! Listen to that." Because you'd slow it down to 33, and then you'd slow it down to 16, and it sounded like these weird space rumblings. Then you'd speed it up to 78, and you'd hear that frantic lead guitar, and "Wow! Listen to that!"

So I was well into sounds and, like I say, fascinated by reverb and different speeds of sounds and stuff. It was only later that I started applying it to the guitar.

I can remember when I had my first enormous breakthrough. I wanted to play lead guitar, and somebody loaned me the Pink Floyd album, Soundtrack from the film More. I knew I liked "See Emily Play," and I liked "Arnold Layne" and "Scarecrow" -- you know, stuff from their singles -- so I thought, "Yeah, I quite like Pink Floyd."

I played this soundtrack, and there's a song on there called "More Blues." It was played so sparsely and clumsily that I could imitate it. And something went off in my head -- I figured out that what he was playing patterns. Up to that point, nobody had shown me any scales -- I was just totally self-taught. I thought, "Hang on a minute -- these lines that this guitar player is doing -- this lead guitar -- is actually a pattern!"

I worked out what all the notes were in this pattern, and I could see what the pattern was on the neck of the guitar -- only I didn't know it's called the Blues Box. There's actually a term for it, but I didn't know that.

So now I could do these kinds of very laborious Blues licks, and I could see the picture it made on the guitar, and it was a huge breakthrough. I could bend a note, and understand that he was bending the note into a higher note on the scale. And in one kind of Kapow! in my head, I figured out that, to be a lead guitarist, you've got to play patterns!

TB: It's really interesting to hear you say that, because it's one of the things that's always challenged me with guitar, since I grew up playing piano, where everything is very linear, and there's one place for each note.

AP: If you want that note, there it is.

TB: Exactly. Middle C is in one place. But on a guitar...

AP: There are a half-dozen Middle C's! So yeah, that was a huge breakthrough, and to think it was just this piece of throwaway instrumental filler from Dave Gilmour and company, with him bending these notes and playing these very amateur-sounding and laborious licks. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me saying that, because you hear the track, and it's like, "Wow, is that it?"

But for me, something went off in my head -- "Wow, this is a pattern! I can play this. I can hear that when he pushes that note up, it becomes that note, and I see where he's moving his fingers from -- it's a pattern, and if I do that pattern over here, it's the same!" It was a real Road to Damascus moment for me. But when you're self-taught, I guess you have to blunder into these things.

12:15 AM

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