Sending the Elevator Back Down

spacey

I teach guitar in a music club.

This isn’t a subject that I’ve written about a lot before, which is odd, considering that it’s been a major part of my life for the last few years. I suppose it’s something I’ve sometimes taken for granted.

But there are times when something happens that you stop and realise – actually this is a wonderful thing. A few nights ago, the club where I teach guitar (Klub Muzik in Tramore, Co. Waterford) won a Waterford Community & Voluntary Award, which is a great honour.

This set me thinking about what a wonderful thing it is for me – and for my fellow tutors – to pass on the gift of something we love to the next generation. Kevin Spacey has this great quote: “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” And while I’m not appearing on “House of Cards”, or onstage at the Old Vic, I think the same applies to anyone who has mastered their craft (to whatever extent).

I had a conversation to that effect on Twitter with YA novelist Dave Rudden recently, and I hope he won’t mind me quoting him here. As Dave put it, you’re “facilitating other people getting to experience something you love. You’re literally re-experiencing your own introduction to an artform you love. It’s amazing.”

And Dave’s not wrong – it really is. I teach guitar to kids ranging in age from 9 or 10 to teenagers. The common denominator with all is a love of playing music. And there is nothing like it.

And yes, as I’ve said, sometimes you take it for granted. Until that is, you teach a song to a young kid and you can see the excitement in their eyes and they say, “I’m gonna go home and play this song all night.” Or you hear a parent say how much their child is loving their guitar class. Or you watch a student of yours get up on stage with their first band and belt it out. And it may not sound perfect but it doesn’t matter because they’re doing something creative, something that they love, and they’ll eventually get there. And, after all (cliché alert!) it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. (And that’s one cliché that’s actually true.)

One of the many things that the club where I teach does is to bring together various students of different instruments to form bands. Recently, I was lucky enough to be responsible for forming one of these bands. They don’t have a name yet (and we still need a bass player) but we have two guitarists, a drummer, and a male and female vocalist. And they sound great. And they are loving it. It’s such a buzz for me to stand in that room and watch them give their all – singing and playing their hearts out. Because I remember when I was their age, listening to Springsteen or U2 in my bedroom, trying to play along on my crappy electric guitar, and dreaming of getting up on stage or recording an album like them.

But the thing is – and here’s the kicker – I never had a music club like ours. I never had a place that could teach me guitar, and then, when I was confident enough, could offer me a practice room to play in with my band where all the amps and drums, etc. were provided. That would have been like Nirvana for us! (The state of mind, not the band. Although, I’m sure the band would have appreciated it too.) And that’s why we need to see more of these kinds of music clubs. Every county, every parish has their GAA club. And that’s a wonderful thing. But not every kid wants to play sports. There needs to be an outlet for the ones who just want to sing, or play their guitar, or bang their drums.

I’ve been lucky enough to get up on a few stages, and record a few albums, and I want to send the elevator back down. But the elevator’s not going down without me on board. Because I want to see their faces when they figure out how to play that song they love, and they think “Yes. This is what I’ve been waiting for.”

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*New Music Monday* My Version of the Beach Boy’s “I Can Hear Music”

257. I Can Hear Music

This week’s new music is a Beach Boy’s song that’s not a Beach Boy’s song. It’s their cover of The Ronette’s “I Can Hear Music”. But the Beach Boy’s version is my favourite. And this is my version of it:

I Can Hear Music

This is the way
I always dreamed it would be
The way that it is, oh oh
When you are holding me
I never had a love of my own
Maybe that’s why when we’re all alone

I can hear music
I can hear music
The sound of the city baby seems to disappear
I can hear music
Sweet sweet music
Whenever you touch me baby
Whenever you’re near

Lovin’ you
It keeps me satisfied
And I can’t explain, oh no
The way I’m feeling inside
You look at me we kiss and then
I close my eyes and here it comes again

I can hear music
I can hear music
The sound of the city baby seems to disappear
I can hear music
Sweet sweet music
Whenever you hold me baby
Whenever you’re near

I hear the music all the time,
I hear the music all the time, now baby
I hear the music all the time
I hear the music all the time, now baby

I can hear music
I can hear music
The sound of the city baby seems to disappear
I can hear music
Sweet sweet music
Whenever you hold me baby
Whenever you’re near

Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector

*New Music Monday* My Version of Blondie’s “Call Me”

257. Blondie

Welcome to New Music Monday! This week, it’s my stripped down, acoustic version of the Blondie classic “Call Me”:

Call Me

Colour me your colour, baby, colour me your car
Colour me your colour, darling, I know who you are
Come up off your colour chart; I know where you’re coming from

Call me on the line,
Call me, call me any anytime
Call me I’ll arrive,
You can call me any day or night, call me!

Cover me with kisses, baby, cover me with love
Roll me in designer sheets, I’ll never get enough
Emotions come, I don’t know why; cover up love’s alibi

Call me on the line,
Call me, call me any anytime
Call me I’ll arrive,
When you’re ready we can share the wine, call me

Ooh, she speaks the languages of love
Ooh, she speaks the languages
Ooh, she speaks the languages
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, anyway!
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere, any day!

Call me on the line,
Call me, call me any anytime
Call me au revoir,
Call me, call me for some overtime

Call me in my life,
Call me, call me any sweet desire
Call me, call me for your lover’s lover’s alibi, call me

Written by Debbie Harry and Giorgio Moroder

(Click on image for credits)

*New Music Monday* Derek Does Cole Porter!

253. Cole Porter

It’s New Music Monday! This week, a classic Cole Porter tune covered by Ella Fitzgerald and Kirsty McColl, amongst others. This is my version of “Miss Otis Regrets”:

Miss Otis Regrets 

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, madam
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
She is sorry to be delayed
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed, madam
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today

When she woke up and found
That her dream of love was gone, madam
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray
And from under her velvet gown
She drew a gun and shot her love down, madam
Miss Otis regrets, she’s unable to lunch today

When the mob came and got her
And dragged her from the jail, madam
They strung her upon the old willow across the way
And the moment before she died
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today

(Written by Cole Porter)

(Click on image for credit)

*New Music Monday* My Version of ’90s Classic “The Rhythm of the Night”

252. Rhythm of the Night

The Rhythm of the Night

This is the rhythm of the night, the night, oh yeah
The rhythm of the night
This is the rhythm of my life, my life, oh yeah
The rhythm of my life

You could put some joy upon my face
Oh sunshine in an empty place
Take me to turn to and babe I’ll make you stay
Oh I can ease you of your pain
Feel you give me love again
Round and round we go, each time I hear you say

This is the rhythm of the night, the night, oh yeah
The rhythm of the night
This is the rhythm of my life, my life, oh yeah
The rhythm of my life

Won’t you teach me how to love learn
There’ll be nothing left for me to yearn
Think of me burn and let me hold your hand
I don’t wanna face the world in tears
Please think again I’m on my knees
Sing that song to me no reason to repent

This is the rhythm of the night, the night, oh yeah
The rhythm of the night
This is the rhythm of my life, my life, oh yeah
The rhythm of my life

Written by Francesco Bontempi, Annerley Gordon, Giorgio Spagna, Peter Glenister & Mike Gaffey

(Click on image for credits)

*New Music Monday* My Version of “My Funny Valentine”

251. My Funny Valentine

It’s #NewMusicMonday! Today, it’s a timeless jazz standard that has appeared on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists. No pressure then! This is my version of “My Funny Valentine”:

My Funny Valentine

My funny valentine
Sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable
Unphotographable
Yet you’re my favorite work of art

Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentine’s day

Is your figure less than Greek
Is your mouth a little weak
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

But don’t change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine stay
Each day is Valentine’s day

Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart

(Click on image for credit)