Guitars & God

I started playing guitar when I was 10 years old. I hated it with every breath in my body. I couldn’t stand it. My father believed in his children being well rounded and gave me an electric. I wasn’t allowed to go outside until I had practiced for an hour. I vividly remember taking nail clippers and cutting the strings while hiding the replacements so that I wouldn’t be able to play.

Eventually he let me quit. Two years later, I was back at it again. This time I had an instructor who would be on smoke breaks when I walked up. It was a wonderful influence on my morals. Soon after I quit because this man taught me about Pink Floyd and I did not care about bricks in a ‘friggin’ wall. All I knew was that the wolf couldn’t blow the 3rd pigs house down.

My third teacher was a man named Lawrence. He was an old school jazz “kat” that loved the blues. I enjoyed our lessons, but I still despised practice. I quit on him to because I still didn’t care.

Then like the brilliant moment that all soon to be eccentric outcasts have, I fell in love with Avril Lavigne. Yes. It was Avril that sparked my love for music. I was 16 and I didn’t understand “why things had to be so complicated.”

I went back to get lessons from Lawrence only to find that he passed away. He had died from cancer the year prior to my revelation. I never was able to sponge all the experience, influence and season that he had to offer.

I began teaching myself. I grew from Avril to Zeppelin, Zeppelin to Metallica, Metallica to Guns n Roses, and then Roses to Pantera. Coincidentally my darker tastes in music paralleled the darker times in my life. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was an atheist and the darkness and drive of metal felt the pain that I couldn’t convey to the world. I was a black metal head that no one understood. My mental solitude drove me to thoughts of suicide but I never would do it. I had my music to keep me. Slash, Ozzy, James Hetfield, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page were the list of friends I had that kept me in safe.

At 18, I was no longer an atheist but an altruistic intellect. I decided not to listen to man to learn about my God or follow man too closely so that I didn’t forget my music. I searched religions while finding peace in my hours of practice. I had quit most of my sports and taken up drinking and jam sessions. It was wonderful.

I had never liked talking about my music because I was always overly critical of myself. But as a got better, I started to play with the musicians at my school who inspired me to play. It got to a point where they saw the way I played and the once playful smiles now looked in envy. I didn’t try to provoke this. I just wanted to play.

So I went back into hiding to discover my “Zen Guitar.” I began playing for churches and always found it ironic how the two things I used to hate the most became the only two things that kept me going. My search for God and the boiling music inside of me changed everything about me.

There were three things that mattered when I got to SHSU. Music, religious skepticism and Jack Daniels. Those three things were my courses for my first semester. I remember sitting in my dorm room writing songs and poetry wondering if someone would hear my voice. I saw other musicians play but their self-swagger and cocky attitudes made a mockery of the talents they possessed. Your gifts can take you where your character can’t keep you. I knew I didn’t want to be like them.

I hated guitar. I hated God. But they were and still are everywhere. And now that I’ve combined them both in heart, mind and soul, my hatred has fled. The once anarchist now wants to spread love through music and positivity. To think that in 10 years all this happened to me- I made it out. I know that some people have been where I have been for 20 years and still cant see the love. It’ll be nice if one day that person tells their story and adds Lord Bradley Matthew Seu Basker to the list of friends that kept them from the fire. I believe that if I could leave this world knowing that I helped someone, then I would have done all right in this world.

Music and God. Gotta love em.

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