Bill’s Bio – Chapter 3

February 16, 2008

The Adventure Begins

Posted 2/16/08 

Now that I was, once again, gainfully employed, it was time to attack the second of the things that weren’t great at the end of chapter 1 – somehow I had to convert noise into sound and then into – dare I say it? – MUSIC… I had to learn to play the guitar, if for no other reason than to keep the Fentons calling me back to baby-sit.  What does my ability to play the guitar have to do with remaining employed?  Well, the logic goes like this:

1)     Their kitchen window was just opposite my bedroom window.

2)    My bedroom was the only place in the neighborhood where my parents would allow me to “play” my guitar. 

3)    The only actual “music” I knew how to play were the first 8 notes of the Johnny Rivers version of “Cupid” (that was THE part of THE song that made me finally decide to give up the drums – to become a real musician).

4)    How much of the first 8 notes of “Cupid” could you listen to before you started to wish that the electric guitar had never been invented?

5)    What would be the best way to make sure the guitar went away?

See my point?

Up to this time, I had pretty much relied on Professor Harold Hill’s “think system” to learn my chosen instrument.  It seemed the most convenient and economical way to get the job done…

So, I thought…  I thought a lot…  I thought day and night…  I thought about all kinds of things… Winnie The Pooh had nothing on me – I didn’t even need a tree to think…

Here is a sample of my thinking:

          That guitar of mine, that guitar of mine

          I cannot play that guitar of mine

          Could I play it if I had the time?

          Yes I could play it if I had the time,

          How I could play that guitar of mine

          Could I play it if I felt so fine?

          If I felt so fine, if I had the time

          Yes I could play that guitar of mine

          How I could play that guitar of mine

          Could I play it if I walked the line?

          Could I play it while my parents dine?

          While my parents dine, if I walked the line, ,

          if I felt so fine, If I had the time,

         Yes I could play that guitar of mine

         How I could play that guitar of mine

        Could I play it if I broke my spine?

       Wow… I don’t know…

So, as you can see, I (and the Fentons) was stuck with “Cupid.”  For the first, though not the last, time in my musical life, I was in a rut… I was in a rut… I was in a rut…

          I’m in a rut, not in a hut

          I have a dog, but he’s just a mutt…

Uh… Sorry…

Anyway, I needed some sort of help. I went to a music store. I asked if they had some sort of “this is how you play the guitar” book. They did. I took $1.59 plus tax out of my “severance pay” and invested it into my future as a rock star.

I was so excited – really, I was! All the way home I was salivating like Pavlov’s dog – hyperventilating in anticipation of learning the deepest, most profound secrets of all of my personal guitar heroes. I had in my hands the Mount Everest of rock and roll knowledge – this was surely the best $1.59 plus tax I had ever spent – or would ever spend – in my life… I was almost in tears…

I got home… I stole away to my bedroom “studio,” closed the door and the window… I went to the closet and  pulled out my life’s most prized possession… I plugged it in and turned on the amplifier… I fought to control my emotions and my breathing… I took a deep, cleansing breath and closed my eyes for a moment of thankful prayer…

I was ready…

With a quivering hand, I opened the plain brown paper bag, in which the sacred document was wrapped… I set it down on the drum and stand my father had bought me in an earlier, misguided time… I was about to lay eyes on the Hope Diamond, the Arc of the Covenant, the actual Ten Commandments of guitardom… After another moment of self-preparation, it was time… It was the moment I had been born for, and for which I had waited my entire life…

I could wait no longer… With my eyes closed, I opened the scroll… I took one more breath… I opened my eyes and – behold!  There it was… The song that would launch me into Music Immortality… “Mary Had A Little Lamb”

What??!!! What the-? “Mary Had A Little Lamb”?

There must be some mistake. I turned the page… “Oh My Darlin’ Clementine ”!!!

And what are all these dots and lines???  Come on!!! Where’s the music???

I had been bamboozled by some phony music store clerk who probably didn’t know the difference between a guitar and a rhinoceros. 

This was humiliating… What was I going to tell my friends? “Hey guys, come on over and let me regale you with some heart thumping ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ – bring your own milk…” ?

Where’s “Johnny B Goode”?  Where’s “Peggy Sue”? Where’s “Pipeline”?

And where, in the name of all that is Holy, is the rest of “Cupid

  1. breakouteagle Says:
    February 16, 2008 at 1:16 am   editHa maybe you could play Mary Had a Little Lamb in power chords, that would rock! Good story.
  2. colleen Says:
    February 17, 2008 at 4:23 pm   editstill waiting to hear about the band i remember…
  3. Debbie Bronson Says:
    February 17, 2008 at 7:37 pm   editBill- I printed out all three chapters and read aloud to Brian and the boys as we drove up to Disneyland yesterday! We laughed so hard we cried. We’re not sure what we enjoyed more, Space Mountain or your story:). We are looking forward to more family entertainment! As your youngest sister, there certainly is a lot of information recorded that I did not know. It does explain a lot. Actually, now I’m feeling a little bit jipped on my infant and young childhood naps. As I’m sure they were shortened by your early introduction to “music!”
    I love you, your stories and your music,
    Debbie
  4. billkammerer Says:
    February 17, 2008 at 8:36 pm   editHey Mary C – I’m just getting reved up – The band comes in a couple of chapters down the road… B
  5. billkammerer Says:
    February 18, 2008 at 2:08 am   editHi Debbie – Hopefully, nobody was drinking Root Beer while you were reading… B
  6. Tim Kammerer Says:
    February 18, 2008 at 3:34 pm   editI did not know Dr.Suess played such an important role in your reasoning.
    I can’t wait for chapter 23 when you learn to light your guitar on fire and play it at the same time.
    Seriously, I am enjoying reading your bio.
    Tim
  7. Corky Mitchell Says:
    February 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm   editHere I am, supposed to be working, and reading an amazingly funny story about an amazingly funny guy. It was nice to break up the day with some humor. I am looking forward to the next chapter. Thanks for sharing!
  8. Ms. Kathleen Ann Margaret Kammerer Marsh! Says:
    February 19, 2008 at 9:52 am   editYou know the sad thing is, I don’t remember hearing you play your guitar in the bedroom. I guess there was so much commotion, what with 10 other kids, a plethora of various pets, the TV and the various transistor radios broadcasting the latest Beatles music, who would have known you were playing your guitar?
  9. AlexM Says:
    August 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm   editYour blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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