Bill’s Bio – Chapter 5

March 1, 2008

The Answer

Posted 3-1-08

You know, flying can be an adventure…  I flew this week, and it was not an adventure, but it was somewhat interesting, in a masochistic sort of way. 

The interesting thing about my hometown airport is that you cannot get anywhere from here. You always have to go somewhere else to get where you want to go…

Of equal interest is the fact that the reverse is also true – you can’t get here from anywhere else, either, without going somewhere you don’t want to be before you can get home… It’s not unlike the concept of Purgatory…

I had been sitting on planes and in airports since early afternoon, so imagine my elation when, after a 3 hour layover in Las Vegas, 11:25 PM finally rolled around and it was time to board flight 2791 to Fresno (my home airport)! Woohoo!  Everybody boarded and we were all ready to take off.  Then came the wonderful news that the 1 hour 10 minute flight could be done in 30 minutes because the route could be changed due to the lateness of the hour. (I was soon to discover that this was a lie.  Oh, the flight time could be reduced, but not – really – for the stated reason…)

This, indeed, was wonderful news and was greeted with great joy by all of the passengers – The entire plane was abuzz with excitement…  Then the pilot announced that we would be taking off at a speed of 150 miles per hour – I have never heard that announcement in my entire travel life, but was happy to know that we wouldn’t be just-a-moseying down the runway and attempting to launch into space at 5 MPH.

11:55 PM:  We push back from the gate and begin to taxi to the runway.  The anticipation starts to build…

12:10 AM:  We are still taxi-ing to the runway.

12:15 AM:  We are still taxi-ing to the runway.

12:25 AM:  We are still taxi-ing to the runway.

Keep in mind that we are actually moving this entire time. The lady sitting next to me asked “Shouldn’t we be going faster than this?”  I think we were taking a few warm up laps around the city of Las Vegas.

To say that the people on board were anxious would be a severe understatement…  To say the flight attendants were probably considering taking over the cockpit and getting us off the ground before Global Warming is declared dead is probably a lot closer to the truth.  (The flight attendants were not immune to the frustration.  The one in the back of the rather small plane turned to one of the passengers and said “come on – take off already!”)

Finally, at 12:35 AM the wheels went up and we were actually flying!  And we DID make the flight in 30 minutes!

At some point during the “Sunday drive,” I figured out the trick for reducing the flight time:  You can’t do it by changing course in the air. You have to do it by driving ¾ of the way to your destination before you take off.  Really – it works!

Right about now you are probably wondering what this has to do with the Central doctrine of Rock and Roll.  Well, absolutely nothing.  But it has EVERYTHING to do with keeping you in suspense…

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Many of you clicked on the ‘Mystery Link” at the end of Chapter 4.  I applaud you for your industriousness!

For those of you who didn’t go that way, the link led to a once in a lifetime opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the Great Secret of Rock and Roll.  Those who went there got a chance to guess at what the Secret is, and, I must say, there were some good guesses.  For example:

  • “To make the music easy to dance to” – that was really close, but not quite right.
  • “Good beat to dance to and simple lyrics” – That one was even closer, but still a little short.
  • “To channel Elvis” – this was my personal favorite, but not even on the same stage as the real truth. Sorry…

To those of you who got it right, you are either guitar players or incredibly good guessers.

Anyway, now that I had become enlightened, I was stunned at how simple Rock music really is (or was at that time, which, of course, was the time when I was discovering how simple it was).

Once I figured out “Cupid”, it was just a matter of listening to other songs I wanted to learn to play and adapting what I had learned in “Cupid” to those pieces.  If my new-found knowledge wasn’t so exciting, it would have been really boring and I may never have progressed beyond “Cupid.”

OK.  Are you ready?

Really ready?

You’re not just saying that to make me get on with it, are you?

If you’re not ready, you had better say something RIGHT NOW, because if you don’t I’m gonna tell you and spoil the surprise…

So if that’s where you are, you better shut your eyes before you read the next line…

Not this line – a couple of lines down…

The “Real Secret” of Rock and Roll is…

90% of rock songs require the use of only 3 chords… 

OK, those of you who weren’t ready can open your eyes now…

  1. Ms. Kathleen Ann Margaret Kammerer Marsh! Says:
    March 4, 2008 at 10:23 am   editWell, I hope the last episode of “LOST!” isn’t as jaw-dropping. I don’t think my heart can take it!

    On another note, at least your plane took off and landed safely!

  2. Shawn Kammerer Says:
    March 20, 2008 at 9:39 pm   editI’d just like to say that rock music has evolved substantialy since my father’s musical enlightenment; that 90% is now down to 85%. 10% of the remainder figured out how to include a fourth chord, and the other 5% forgot how those first three chords went, and abandoned the whole concept of chords.
  3. Patrick Says:
    August 4, 2008 at 8:18 am   editShawn’s right, but I wanted to add that (so far as I know), the first well-known rock groups to use more than three chords were The Beatles and the Beach Boys.

    Not that the three chords have ever really been eclipsed. Think of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” for example. Three chords, and it still waxes lesser songs on radio station playlists everywhere.

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