Got this great comment (full post really and a nice story at that) from Chris in the UK, and it keeps the "British rock giants" theme going here, so it's comment of the week:
Congrats on your daughter and handing down the guitar habit. I look foward to doing the same in due course.
This is as much a comment on the "Pete Townsend is not only human but reads select blogs and posts comments", which came to mind yesterday. I was walking down the street pushing my 8 month old son on Notting Hill Gate, London ( where I now live, after growing up in Chicago and living in DC). I stop to look in a window, look up, and there's Jimmy Page standing next to me.
First, a quick background note, I'm 37, and a guitar geek since 11 years old. I was born just too late to participate in the 60s and 70s, but they still were a potent backdrop to my youth. My earliest musical bedrocks were the Beatles and the Stones, inheritances from my parents. But my first peer-influenced discovery was Led Zeppelin, and at 11 years old I was obsessed with their records. When John Bonham died, I was holding my first (cancelled) rock concert tickets courtesy of an uncle, a chaperone right out of "Dazed and Confused".
At the same age picked up a guitar and started pulling these records apart trying to figure out where all the weird sounds were coming from. My musical journey continued swiftly from british blues rockers into blues, old R+B, jazz, then punk, post-punk, country, I got into all sorts of open tunings, fingerstyle, slide, etc, and the art of underplaying in service to a good song, and I left the slightly embarrassing stadium heavy-rock far behind in pre-adolescence.
Jumping back ahead over two decades, so there's Jimmy Page next to me.. Instead of ignoring him NYC Celeb style, I proceed to gently initiate a conversation. He asks my name. I tell him that he's responsible for my having picked up a guitar for the first time. He asks if I still play. We talk about Chicago and its music. The cancelled tour. He asks after my son, wondering if I still play with an infant in tow. I tell him that I have a guitar in open D for him to plonk a chord on. A very genial few minutes of chat, then we move on.
It was jarring to be brought back to the state of mind of that age, the hero-worship stage of youth in which these towering figures, whether giant rock gods, or maybe, baseball stars, could no more be human than Odin or Thor.
Because, later came true adolescence, when under the DIY, punk and indie influence, rock gods, like all father figures, were very uncool, and heroes abandoned for a more human lot of influences, and books, and peers. You literally forget what one's 11-12-13 year old mind is like. But then something cracks a back window view into it.
I laughed afterwords and thought that if you had told my 12 year old rock-loving self, "oh, one day, you'll chat with Jimmy Page on a street corner", that would have been as weird to me as saying one day you'll walk on the moon.
But then I thought it was probably the same for these British kids, who felt the same way about Chess 45s, when they got to meet Willie Dixon and Howlin Wolf as adults. As kids they didn't imagine bluesmen walking down the street, or worried about the bills, or maybe buying some ribs and beer in Chicago. They too must have at some point spent so much time immersed in the sounds from a flat plate of vinyl that their imagination had no room for mere mortals behind them.
Anyway, keep up the good writing, and teaching your daughter.
Tags:Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend