I sort of fell back on music when I was 13 years old, while trying to figure out a better way to "fit in" with other kids at school and maybe even become a little popular. I remember approaching my dad and telling him I was ready to learn how to play guitar now. He pointed me to the dusty acoustic guitar that had been in my closet since I was 5, and set me up with a Mel Bay book. I learned to play things like "Old McDonald Had A Farm" and "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star," and even with those simple single-note exercises, I struggled mightily with my timing. I understood the concept of whole, half, and quarter notes no problem, but couldn't tap my foot properly (as my dad had shown me to do) as I played the songs.
To this day, timing is not a strength of mine, though I continue to improve more and more with each song we write and record. I also was not melodically inclined-that part of my repertoire didn't really come about until my early 30's, as I spent most of my teens and 20's learning how to shred like Ywngie Malmsteen, and play the blues like Muddy Waters (not that I succeeded in that mind you, but that seemed to be the general goal). My melodic deficiencies were overcome mostly by patience and listening to tons of music-and opening myself up to the concept that the song itself is what really mattered-not showing off my personal skill. I started to listen to music I would never have listened to in my youth, and started paying attention to patterns and how these songs were structured.
Learning about song structure and melody was all very mathematical for me initially-hardly a creative process at all. I'd pick random CD's from my collection and play them all the way through, trying to count the measures and jot down on paper how many measures made up different parts of the song (intro, verse, bridge, chorus, etc), and noted how these structures changed for different types of music.
At some point in my ongoing quest, my affinity for-and natural inclination toward-literature and the writing of words gelled with the musical skills I had slowly refined over time, and a bit of creative magic starting flowing. This was many years before Atomic Honey was born, or even my last band Pitfall (for whom I did a large amount of the songwriting). Even to this day, I'm more inclined to write a poem, short story, or journal entry than I am to write a song-I know this may sound strange to some of you, but it's the truth. You may have guessed by now that many of our songs (I write them all) have stemmed from writings that were never intended to be songs.
My point in all this is that I overcame weaknesses through hard work, dedication, and an open mind, and learned how to merge my learned skills with my natural inclinations. I believe this is something all of us can and should do with our lives. I believe we're creative beings-intended to create things. No one should ever tell themselves "I'm just not artistic," and use that as an excuse to not pursue any sort of creative endeavor that person might enjoy. You don't have to be good at something in order to learn how to do it (kinda defeats the purpose of learning, huh?)-all you need is some patience and dedication. If you work at it long enough, you'll develop a sincere passion for your activity, your learned skills and natural creative inclinations will merge, and you'll someday be making awesome and fabulous art in its truest sense. Always believe in yourself, and never be afraid of failing.
Thank you all for amazing love and support, and have a great week ahead.