A responsible, coke-free life would follow a little too quickly and I was reduced to a lame life at a desk with a pad of Stic-It notes, two pens (one blue and the other black) and a phone that was blocked from dialing 1-900 numbers. I had to shower, shave and reduce my swearing. Finding the avenue for my animalistic exertion would prove difficult. I got my gym membership revoked for causing a guy to bleed in a towel fight in the locker room. I drink Metamucil and crap three times a day. What a fantastically normal life I lead.
I got a ring from Matt Elders the other night and he extended an invitation to play a game called "Guitar Hero" at his place with the boys. Since I, being a former guitar slayer, had been out of the game, but not so long that I couldn't drop some science on some youngins, I decided to take up Elders on the offer. Plus, it would get me out of Guitar Center for the night.
I show up and, much to my surprise, it's a stupid video game. I thought "Guitar Hero" would be the game in which everyone would sit in a circle and detail how many stages they left in complete disarray by their mind-twisting guitar ability. Of course, I would win in that contest, but since the last game system I actually purchased was a Sega Genesis which I named "Yngwie," I was setting myself up for disaster.
They take rounds replicating the performances of rock's great bands (including Wolfmother and the Sword) while I watch from the corner--studying their methods and techniques. I was impressed. I quietly wander to the back of the line and wait patiently for my turn.
I grabbed the guitar, pulled the strap tight so that the small Fisher Price guitar sat right under my chin (like real pimps do it), put my large left hand around that tiny little neck and then followed Elders' lead as he queued up our song. I'd play bass, he'd play lead. What the song was, I can't remember. I just remember killin' it.
Through the careful guidance of my platoon, I found my comfort with the contraption. So much so, I rediscovered my "power rock moves" which used to make me the target of about 3,000 pairs of flying panties. First, it's the headbang. Now, my headbang is not simply up-and-down. That sort of jarring is simply brutal on my neck that has weakened from years of tearing down coliseum walls like Joshua at Jericho. I resort to smaller, but just as effective headbanging. In standard 4/4 time, I tip my body back and go up and down up top, then bend over and go up and down down low, then back up top, up and down, then down low up and down. It's much easier on the body and rocks the crowd just as hard. It's best exhibited by my dear friend and mass murderer with his hard rockin' sounds, Angus Young.
My second favorite move is the "leg up." Usually, it would involve me finding a monitor speaker close to a lovely lady on the front row, putting my left leg up (right leg if you're going to the "Statue of Liberty" lift) and rocking out like a crazed madman. Below is my next door neighbor, Stu, showing how it's done. Only difference is I do it to an arena that seats about 17,000 and Stu does it in a trailer that seats, comfortably, about six. Nonetheless, he always has Pearl Light iced down and he's the only cat within walking distance that has extended cable. Here's Stu. Give him a hand.
My third favorite power rock move is the "taunt." It absolutely screams experience and proves that you're a seasoned performer. When perfectly placed, it can turn the arena into a violent, roaring frenzy. I'm a fan of two different methods, but tonight, I'd only be employing one. The first method is when you come to the end of a murderous guitar lick, you look into the crowd like you're concerned that they didn't hear you. It's much like the look that your deaf grandma might give you after you tell her, "The grocery store was out of whole milk so I got skim instead." It's basically the non-verbal method of saying to the crowd, "I can't hear you. You better scream for me and my guitar here." Even better is doing a little back and forth with the crowd. Play a lick, taunt the crowd, play a lick, taunt the crowd, play a lick, play a lick, play a lick. Extended solo.
Tonight, though, I'd be using the "hand taunt" in which you extend your picking hand above your head after a tasty lick and flutter your fingers not holding the pick (your middle finger, ring finger and pinky) toward you as if you're inviting the crowd to come on stage and join your rock fest. Even better if you pout your lips like, "Ooh yeah, that feels good." They fall for it every time and won't be able to help themselves. Depending on how distant or domant the crowd is, you might have to give them some arm action to engage them. Tonight, I wouldn't have to go to this length because the digital crowd would be so enthused just to see me in action again that the finger flutter would suffice. Joey from the Guitar Center (ask him to tell you the story about when he met Don Henley backstage as a roadie for Robert Palmer) exhibits this method to a crowd of me and two other shoppers at the store. We didn't scream, but I approved his approach with a subtle, "Amen, brother."