I went to a party Friday night to celebrate Zeke McLaughlin’s 60th birthday. It was a very good party–good conversation, great food, bottomless drink, and good music (the very definition of great craic).
As a gift, the man’s brother hired two twelve year old musicians: one played fiddle, the other uillean pipes and whistle. The music was nice–the boys had even brought Zeke a whistle of his own as a gift (he is an Irish flute player as well as whistler.) It was good to see the young pups bringing in the music. Here they are:
I only found out later that these two young men are quite serious about their music. They have their own website The Ladeens and their own touring schedule. And two more polite and charming young men you’ll never meet.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
After the party, I went to a pub to see some friends play where I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in many, many years. He introduced me to the woman he had brought with him and riskily I asked her if he had told her about his G.A.S. She knew right away that I was talking about Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.
I met Richard while working in an advertising agency. He was in the cubicle next to me. I knew he had had some success as a musician. He had opened for some pretty famous bands and had worked as a studio musician in Nashville. And I also knew that he hadn’t touched a guitar in about ten years. I don’t know the whys or wheres, but he had just put that part of himself away and was now a talented graphic designer.
One afternoon, I took an extended lunch and bought a $300 dollar guitar that was on sale for $150. The day was sweltering and I didn’t want to leave it in a car so I brought it into my cubicle. Richard soon moseyed over and began noodling around. (It was immediately obvious that he was a very good player.)
Well a few days later, Richard asked me to go with him to a music store. We wandered around a bit, and Richard left with a very good guitar. (Much better, more expensive than the low-end Ibanez that I had bought.)
A month later, he told me he had bought another. I had re-awakened a monster. He was teetering very close to the edge of G.A.S. Soon there was another…then another…then a humidifier or dehumidifier for the basement where he kept them. He was no longer teetering. He had a full-blast syndrome.
Since then, Richard has stopped buying guitars in music shops. Instead, he is having them made for him. In our conversation last night, he mention that he has a “luthier” who he works with. I think he is down to eight, but they are sometimes different–he trades them or sells them in order to get another.
He plays very well, but refuses to play out anymore. (He had joined a band a few years back but his reluctance to play out was an obstacle to the band’s going anywhere.)
Anyway, it was good to see a long gone friend. And fun to talk music with him. Maybe, before too long we can sit down and play a few tunes together again.