Friday, November 14, 2014

Mr. Scary

A while ago I was presented an opportunity to do a little George Lynch/ESP Guitars thing which for my part meant that I was to perform (or as I do things, rather jam or improvise) my version of George Lynch's instrumental anthem from the Dokken days, "Mr. Scary", live in front of a video camera to a backing track actually provided by Mr George Lynch himself. My immediate natural reaction was of course to decline. Because: 

1. It's impossible. I mean, for me to do a new version of the perfect song with the perfect performance and above that blend in my style in it, yet keep some Lynch elements, melt it all together into a great piece of flamboyant action entertaining guitar work worth tributing one of the greatest musicians ever. I mean, Mr George Lynch is after all one my Top 2 (!?) favorite guitarists and influences. So totally impossible for me to nail.

2. I hadn't really played guitar that much at all the last year (years?) so my chops weren't really what this would take. Not even close. I mean improvising this hard fierce piece of music in this tempo in real time isn't easy.

3. Getting into the mode, that mood, that feeling, that is absolutely necessary to improvise through such highly technical intense fast riffing, nailing it all in one take, well it's really easy for me to get into that mode live on stage, but in my work-room in front of video camera? Not so much easy at all.

But then I like challenges, so I decided to do it. 

So with not as much time as I'd have wanted for preparation of my technique, to get it into the shape that this would demand, I sure hell played guitar! More than in a long, long time - and it was such fun! Loved it. If nothing else I sure ended up a better guitar player technically today than in years. I just wish I'd have had some more hours to put into my playing before I had to nail it, I was so close of getting my chops into a really, really good condition. But what can you do? My constant dilemma, lack of time. It is what it is.

Then, to be honest, I was afraid to run the song through too many times as well, it's a risk when you're improvising something and you do it many, many times in a row you start finding patterns, melodies, phrasing etc that you really like and feel comfortable with and you automatically, unconsciously, start performing more and more parts the same way every round, loosing the improvisation, turning it into writing instead. That was definitely something I did not want.

So I was going for a version of this song with my style all through the thing, yet trying not to loose Lynch completely, which probably is impossible since he's such a huge influence. I was going to improvise it all (except then some of the main theme riffs and some of my licks that might have managed to get stuck when jamming it though all those rounds), as I almost always do,  it had to be there and then.

I ended up with a couple of pretty different, since I'm improvising it all, takes of me doing it and I decided to put out two takes. These might not be the tightest and most perfectly performed ones but they have the flow, the feeling, the wild improvisation and my licks and fills, my style (coming along with the wrong tones, wrong timings and unwanted noises).

Rather wild than flawless. Rather soulful than clean. Rather groove and intensity than timing. Rather punk than progg.

Loads of fun, loads of love, loads of improvisation, loads of guitar playing.


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