Just thought I’d mention that I’ve been employing a variety of stalling tactics in recent months to avoid the stomach-churning agony of actually completing “…signifying nothing.” So what have I been doing? Well, let’s see…I had already put down a couple of theremin tracks on the song “Building” with a single-antenna model borrowed from my pal Jud, but then decided maybe I’d be better off building my own. So I got the plans, got the parts, and built my own theremin. I’ll post a picture here later; it’s a thing of beauty. So that killed about three weeks of time I could have been finalizing those guitar parts and fine-tuning the lyrics.
So what’s this month’s delaying tactic? Wait for it….I bought a fucking mandolin.
Before you start imagining I’m planning to get all Wilcofied on yo’ ass, let me just mention that I picked it up on something of a whim, with no real thought toward actually employing it on the record. (At least, not on THIS record…) It’s a super-cheap model made by some Korean outfit called Rogue, which I picked up from Musician’s Friend for $50 as part of a two-fer with another acoustic guitar…which, naturally, I need so I can practice my alternate tunings (can you say, “delaying tactic #3”?). I was dubious as to whether I’d be receiving an actual instrument or a wall hanging, but in fact the mandolin and the guitar both have proven to be not only playable, but actually they both sound really, really good. I guess the Korean manufacturing sector’s adoption of Six Sigma and other quality improvement methods over the last 15 years or so have really paid off when it comes to their cheap-ass instruments. I mean, for the price I am stunned.
Anyway, I’ve been teaching myself mandolin for the last week or so. I’ll never be a Bill Monroe, but I’ve gotten enough down that I can play it without completely embarrassing myself. So, what did I figure out first? In order:
— Peter Buck’s mandolin solo in the Replacements’ “I Will Dare”
— Peter Buck’s mandolin part on “Losing My Religion”, a song I really can’t stand but what the hell
and, of course:
— what’s-his-face’s mandolin solo at the end of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” another song I really don’t like but again, what the hell.
But I swear this week I’m going to get back to buffing those guitar parts to a sheen that makes the sun pale in comparison.