“Electric guitars are proof that Satan loves us.” – Some Guy

I’m a whore for musicians, let me just get that out of the way. Some girls like painters or writers or construction workers; I like musicians, specifically guitarists.

I love hearing about guitars, watching guys tune their guitars, explaining why one is better than the other, why these pickups are better than those, what pickups even are, how this pedal favors this style of music, etc. I also enjoy hearing men talking about cars, motorcycles, beer, football, and all other things I don’t have a true interest in until some handsome, knowledgeable man begins telling me about them.

The way a guy plays guitar will give you a good idea how he behaves in bed. The faces he makes when he is in fierce concentration mode are analogous to how he will look at the height of orgasm. The dexterity of his hands as he rips up and down the fret board mimics the way he will touch you later, maybe in his car or the men’s room or in a broom closet behind the bar. But I’m a romantic.

I feel like there is a thread running through classical composers of yore leading right up to modern musicians and their groupie infested green rooms and idol worship. I imagine there were a lot of painted ladies in their tawdriest bustles waiting outside the concert hall for Mozart and Beethoven and Bach, looking for the source of that exalted sound, the kind of music that makes you feel high even when you haven’t done anything yet.

Music is the only thing even approaching spirituality in my depraved life, so when I witness people like Lil’ Wayne, a barely functioning human being, picking up a guitar and playing it badly and not caring, I became enraged. When I hear people declaring him to be a decent guitar player, I start looking for ammo.

There is a vast space between being an accomplished yet unspectacular guitarist and literally not knowing how to play. The least Wayne is a proud inhabitant of this musical dead zone. He is joined there by people like Madonna, Rihanna, and any other performer who thinks holding a guitar makes them look cool. Running around town with a flame thrower might make me look pretty bad ass, that doesn’t mean I should do it.

I blame reality TV. People were reluctant to put the work in before, now they are downright opposed. Why spend years of your life honing a craft when you can saunter up to some producer with your dick in your hand and an interesting back story? Why sing when you can auto tune? I’m going to hang myself with a guitar cord as a political statement.

Every teenager who’s gotten high in their room and discovered something about themselves while listening to whatever classic rock opus is indebted to the electric guitar. What kind of epiphany will you have listening to Blood on the Dance Floor? What kind of drug even goes with that parody of party culture and alternative lifestyles? Cat tranquilizer? Date rape pills? Dust Off?

As an aside, have you ever huffed Dust Off? I have, it’s nothing to be proud of. It was a confusing, painful experience that ended with my passing out mid-sentence and subsequently being groped by a desperate lesbian. That’s a pretty good summation of today’s musical output; dumb girl huffs Dust Off, gets felt up.

I’m tired of getting felt up by shitty musicians and record companies pushing their bland, hackneyed rock. I’m tired of trite, supposedly shocking acts, like Lady Gaga, who was conceived in a lab after the industry realized Marilyn Manson had turned into someone’s mother. I can’t abide all the shows dedicated to professional karaoke, looking to make stars out of fry cooks and accountants, all because they can carry a tune in the shower. Like Hicks said, I want to rock out to the artist that died in a pool of his own vomit, not the one who only became famous because they were pre-packaged for consumption by some record company.

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STACIE ADAMS is a drinker with a writing problem. She's currently working on a novel and hopes to complete it before the world ends in 2012. When she's not reading or writing she's at the bar telling people about the time she saw Queens of the Stone Age in a fortress in Germany. Her alter ego can be found at The First Church of mutterhals

64 responses to “Amplifier Worship”

  1. “The way a guy plays guitar will give you a good idea how he behaves in bed.”

    NEVER thought of this before, now I will never be able to watch my boyfriend play his electric guitar/acoustic guitar/piano/accordion again without nodding to myself and going “That’s about right.” (In a good way, OF COURSE.) Music face=Orgasm Face=Priceless.

  2. Greg Olear says:

    Funny as always, SAA.

    There must be some analogy connecting Hicks, whose material that all was, to Dennis Leary, who tweaked it ever-so-slightly in his own act. (Although, to be fair, “You could lock Motley Crue in a room with a closet full of cocaine, and they’d probably release a double-live album” is not a bad line).

    Guitar players are too loud and too selfish. They just like to hear themselves play and watch themselves preen. Bass players have stronger fingers.

    • SAA says:

      Most people think that Leary borrowed pretty heavily from Hicks:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Hicks#Denis_Leary

      Although that’s apparently common in the world of comedy. As to your other point, oh my. But now that I think about it, loud and selfish is a pretty good description of myself. Thanks!

    • SAA says:

      I’m pretty ambivalent towards her. I get off on the idea of Lady Gaga, but I’m not too into the music. My boyfriend, however, loves her because she’s always naked and he read that she dated some death metal dude.

      • Greg Olear says:

        We only started listening to her because our kids, my daughter especially, love her stuff. She’s pretty awesome. One of the interesting things about her is that, despite her near-nudity and killer bod, she’s really not sexy at all. She’s like a guy in drag who happens to be female.

  3. James D. Irwin says:

    There are so many lines in this I love to list them all would border on simply re-posting the entire piece in a comment.

    I can’t sing, and I can’t be bothered to learn any instruments. I still want to be a rockstar though… Although I’m sure it would actually become quite dull after a few weeks. At least that’s what I tell myself when I sing along badly to Skynyrd or the Stones.

    I wrote about it last year actually. The more I think about it, the more it appears that I just want to live in a villa in the south of France like Exile-era Stones. And at least if I make a living from writing I probably won’t have any old friends dying in my pool.

    I liked the line about music and spirituality. I’m not into music in a huge way, but there are few things that feel quite so good as hearing the opening notes of a favourite song on the radio…

    • SAA says:

      Thanks. I’m the same, I can’t sing or play an instrument, I have to live vicariously through others. I hope to go on tour sometime before I die, fingers crossed.

  4. dwoz says:

    contrary to popular belief there are no groupies as awesome and completely awesome or even quite as awesome as Stacie.

    just reading your piece made me want to sell my basses and buy a guitar and an AC30.

  5. Art Edwards says:

    Jesus, do I love music, guitars, and Satan.

    Thanks for reminding me, Stacie.

    • Gloria says:

      My mom can’t pronounce the word “satanic.” Never could. For whatever reason, she has always said “santanic.” Which, if you think about it, is music, guitars, and Satan all rolled into one!

      • Art Edwards says:

        Oh my God, Gloria. Forgive the big greed play on my part, but can I have “Santanic”?

        I’ve been told by the guy who’s producing the movie version of my first novel (long story) that I need more “taglines” in the script. Something the characters repeat a few times that becomes a sort of take-away for people who care about this stuff. “Santantic” may be just the ticket. This second I’m about to watch Clerks for examples of taglines.

        Thanks be to your mom either way!

      • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

        holy shit, that’s funny!
        I need to use that in a sentence today.

    • SAA says:

      That’s just good, clean fun. Thanks for reading!

  6. Joe Daly says:

    Satan and guitars keep coming up this week. A lot of that has to do with the black metal I’ve been listening to, but apart from that, I’ve heard… no, wait- it’s just the black metal I’ve been listening to.

    Temporal piece, Stacie- what began as a productive writing day was derailed at 2 p.m. when a friend showed up and we passed guitars back and forth for two hours playing Iron Maiden songs and discussing dream guitars.

    So when one of you hits the lottery, I’ll take a jet black one of these motherfuckers, please:

    http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Explorer/Gibson-USA/Explorer.aspx

    • SAA says:

      I can’t believe that came out in 1958, that’s like some Back to the Future shit.

      • dwoz says:

        One of the interesting things about that guitar, is what it did to the look of the ensemble on stage.

        Bands and guitar players used to sit down while playing. That guitar is a complete pain in the ass to play sitting down.

  7. Gloria says:

    “The faces he makes when he is in fierce concentration mode are analogous to how he will look at the height of orgasm.”

    Fuck.

    I will never be able to fantasize about having sex with John Mayer ever again. Jesus. Thanks for that, Stacie!

  8. I have this theory that Lady Gaga IS Marilyn Manson. I mean, have they ever been spotted in the same room at the same time? I don’t think so.

    I wholeheartedly concur with this, Stacie. I spent pretty much all of the nineties obsessing over Jerry Cantrell.

  9. pixy says:

    dear stacie:

    i have nothing coherent or thoughtful to say about this except this:

    there’s no thinking in it, i do love you. and i’m not a lesbian. except when neko case is around.
    and i think we’d get on like a house on fire. like a burnin’ house of love. in a way only musician whores can.

    that’s all.

    pixy

  10. jmblaine says:

    Don’t trust those dudes
    who collect guitars either
    real guitarists need one guitar
    two at the most
    & that depends on who he is
    & what he plays.
    And by who he is I mean
    the same thing as you mean by
    the faces he makes while he plays.
    If you want to see what a Guitar Player
    should look like while he plays
    watch any clip of Prince from
    the Purple Rain era.
    Prince lost a lot when he went to the axe
    shaped like a symbol.
    Before that, with the Hohner Tele – he was a rock god.
    If you want to know what guitar players should
    never look like watch any bootleg clip
    from the Satriani/Malmsteen/Vai jam sessions.
    Guitar gods never jam, they just play.
    Would Angus jam?
    Also this: While I admire the tone
    of a vintage Les Paul
    they are far too heavy for rock and roll.
    I don’t know how Slash & Ace Frehley do it
    but I’m glad they do.
    If I’ve got a Gibson, make it an SG, please.
    Other than that, any Strat from the 70s back
    with EMG pickups.
    OK, I like your post, as you can tell.

    • SAA says:

      I couldn’t agree more about the whole ‘jam’ thing. Thanks!

    • pixy says:

      dear jmb:

      yes.

      pixy

    • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

      Really?
      one or two?

      My grandfather always had only one (1956 Martin but after it was stolen he settled for an acoustic Fender) but he is a singer/drummer professionally and only played his guitar for us kids.

      Slash has several.
      The one and only Jimmy Page had a few but that was because he was always getting each of them to do the impossible.
      Clapton has lot’s but has said that he has 2 favorites.
      Reno has “gobs”.

      I guess it depends on the person.

      Speaking of Reno and guitar faces, I asked him last week (ironic, right?) if he made them and he said, “No. At least I don’t think so. That is mainly for show.”

      I disagree and REFUSE to believe that sexy guitar faces are only for show. I choose to believe that a guitarist will make those faces bc he is feeling the music…whether or not there is an audience there doesn’t even matter. For those few seconds, he wouldn’t know anyway.

      what do you think?

      • Reno Romero says:

        Gang:

        Ok, “gobs” means:

        1. Acoustic/electric – main guitar.
        2. Two Fender Squier (One red and one black one).
        3. Nylon string classical guitar.
        4. Another nylon string classical guitar.
        5. Kramer Eddie Van Halen authorized guitar.

        For the most part I only play my green acoustic/electric guitar. She’s my baby. I want to marry her but she’ll have none of that shit.

        Now the guitar faces: I’m sure that some guitarist do feel the music and make those hysterical faces. But I asked Mrs. Kern: “Do guitarist make those faces when in their rooms practicing?” The answer is probably not. I’ve had millions of band rehearsals and I can’t say rock faces were made while rehearsing. But that night when we hit the club they moved their hips and twisted up their faces. So I guess it simply depends on the person, but I think it’s part of a live show. Sorry, Mrs. Kern.

        • jmblaine says:

          I meant two electrics.
          Of course you can have some more
          but really, you only need those two.

          As for acoustics you have the whole
          Taylor/Martin thing and it’s a matter of taste
          and what you play.
          Yeah, you need a good classical
          and one good acoustic.
          My vote goes for a Gibson J200.

          watched the chick guitarist video &
          while she shreds and is darling
          she looks completely bored
          while playing Bark at the Moon.
          What’s up with that?

        • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

          Ok Moose, first, how long did it take you to find this?

          Second, it’s not my fault you said “gobs”. Six isn’t that many but you never give a number, only say “gobs”. It’s cute so don’t start getting defensive. Also, I still want to see your green guitar I’ve heard so much about. I’ve only ever seen the neck. Is that the correct terminology? Neck? Anyway, get on that.

          Oh! One other thing, Jess. Stop calling me Mrs. Kern. Idk why but I don’t like it. So.

          JMB: I thought the same thing about Bark at the Moon! What was she thinking about? Did she have NO feeling. It was a bit creepy for a sec. but she’s hot so I forgot about it until you just said something. Pffft! Hot girls, man! They can get away with ANYTHING!

    • I saw Prince a few years ago, and my abiding memory is of him walking around the stage, looking out at the audience as if he was just seeing who was in the house, while he played these insane lines that literally nobody else would have matched with the song – and which, of course, matched perfectly.

      His guitar was, if I remember rightly, an unassuming light blue Strat.

      Although he is, at least in part, from the Satriani-Vai-widdly-diddly-fretwank school – witness the colourful pointy guitar and difficult solos – , Living Colour’s Vernon Reid also created probably my favourite riff ever in Cult of Personality.

      The Gibson SG is, I think, the most no-nonsense, most rock-and-roll guitar. Ideally in dark red with a black scratchplate.

      Here’s Living Colour (for some reason they used the British spelling)*, with the added bonus of singer Corey Glover’s yellow lycra onesie.

      And here I was going to link to Electric Chair from Prince’s much-maligned Batman soundtrack, but he’s fussy about his stuff being freely available. If that song had been used as the
      theme for Minority Report…it would still be a shit film.

      *Just looked it up. Reid (who formed the band) was born in England.

  11. Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

    oh. my. fucking. god!

    LOVED this piece and agree with everything you said. Except the Dust Off, thing. Never even tried it once I witnessed a scene strangely familiar to the one you just shared. So, yeah, none of that for me.

    Musicians. Yummmm.
    I am the same. Especially guitarists. Just something about them.
    I can’t help myself.

    Oh, recent discovery, my attraction is not limited to men only. I saw a youtube clip of some chick playing and developed a crush within 30 seconds. Seriously hot. I’m not saying it was only the guitar but it definitely helped.

    see for yourself…

    http://youtu.be/jCwVGHSqQ7A

    • gloria says:

      Oh, man. She’s smokin’.

      Girl chubby.

      • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

        I know right!!
        Albert was TOTALLY jealous yesterday bc I watched each of her videos at least twice. He wasn’t amused but I didn’t care…

        • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

          Actually, what he said was,
          “You must have a crush on yourself because she looks just like you when she looks up.”

          I said, “yeah, but I can’t play guitar like that…”

          He replied with, “ughhhh……careful you don’t choke on your drool.”

    • SAA says:

      She’s the prettiest girl guitarist I’ve ever seen. Also, I fucking love that song. That was cool, thanks.

      Speaking of girl guitarists, I don’t know what kind of music you’re into, but Electric Wizard are a fucking awesome stoner metal band with a girl on guitar:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO7VP34n2Ps

      I didn’t even know there was a girl in the band for the longest time.

      • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

        I listen to almost every genre of music and my selection depends on my mood. I’m kind-of a moody person so I’m kind-of digging Electric Wizard. I can see a place for them in my life…

        Thanks!

        Oh! The guitarist is a chick?! I need to see her. Especially after hearing them!

        • Ashley Menchaca (N.O.Lady) says:

          wait wait wait…
          their sound is ok…

          lyrics, not really my style.
          I’m a softy.

    • Becky Palapala says:

      Did you see the one of her playing “Bark at the Moon” in a plaid dress?

      Win.

    • pixy says:

      man, she makes pretty girl gitter playing orgasm faces too! when she just looks up at the camera like “yeah? you wanna eff wit this?” it’s the equivalent to the “it’s ok, but is that the best you can do” sex challenge face. yum!

      i second and third gloria’s girl chubby. woo!

  12. Reno Romero says:

    Stacie:

    Great quick write. But I already told you that your writing simply does it for me. Guitarist, eh? They loom.

  13. Hey, I have that Boris album.

    In case that’s just a coincidence, this is what I’m talking about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s_qJ3jLZ9w

  14. Sharon Wilks says:

    I am partial to drummers but I totally get it. And amen to your rant on the reality “let’s make a musician out of thin air” shows..

  15. SAA says:

    Reality TV is the worst thing that ever happened to entertainment. Thanks for reading.

  16. pixy says:

    another entry in the girl chub contest:

    dayum!

  17. […] STACIE ADAMS is a groupie. […]

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