Oct 072011

I was talking with George Mesterhazy recently and told him of a quote I had seen on a musician’s page on Facebook – here I go paraphrasing “The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously” – attributed to Hubert H. Humphrey. We both laughed as we thought about what that meant. Here, says he hypocritically 😉 I talk about the downside of blogging, sounding off on Facebook or Twitter. On the positive side, celebrities are able to tackle in the first person any rumors that are put out by tabloids while that freedom also includes the ability to post complete fiction and present it as truth!
Recently I have seen a lot of blogs appear where musicians are having a go at one another in a way that saddens me. It might take many forms, someone blogs or tweets a statement that IMO is designed to get a reaction and then appears appalled by the intense reaction it generates. Someone else might start a ‘fight’ on a thread about music or musicians start slagging off one another in writing. No matter what way they choose, they all seem to hide behind silent text, text that will often obscure the tone of its intent and sometimes not. I also feel that much of what I see written might not necessarily be spoken as comfortably as it seems to have been written, but that’s another topic with exploring. Early on in my career I got to take a lesson with Pat Martino. I was 23 and he was (and still is BTW) my hero. It was very obvious to all that I held Pat in such esteem – even he couldn’t escape my starry eyed gaze as I realized I was sitting opposite the man whose music I loved so much. In the opening minutes of the lesson he ended by debilitating awe by somehow making me feel we were just two people sharing a moment – an amazing ‘moment’ that lasted 5 hours. The manner in which he disarmed my borderless awe gave birth to a friendship that has endured to the present. I have been out of contact with him personally for long stretches but his remarkable spirit has permeated much of what I do musically. All this happened because he showed me a degree of respect as a fellow artist that, frankly, I wasn’t expecting – hadn’t even imagined it. As she showed me his octave dispersal technique on the chromatic scale he smiled at my reaction as I recognized from first hearing it on his solo on the bridge of “It’s Alright With Me”. This was LONG before he published these lines but not before he cautioned me “I’m showing you something that other guitarists don’t have – please don’t use this as a weapon against other musicians – (pause) – Never look down because if you do, at that moment you lose complete sight of ALL that is above you!”
Having experienced the above early on I am saddened when I say musicians hurling insults at one another and hope they can find the restraint necessary on their path to mutual respect – Hey! Peace and Love was not a bad thing! Can we try it again?

 Posted by at 8:11 pm