Orphan Musical Instruments

Hello my fellow miscreants,

I was listening to some random music (something I do a lot) and drinking my ‘Author Juice’ (something I also do a lot) and had a funny thought, that I decided to inflict on all of you.

Setting my Ipod on random always creates moments. Sometimes I jump from Beethoven to Primus. Sometimes I go from Allison Krause to Amy Winehouse. Needless to say these jumps tend to be hard for me to follow.

Today the jumps were easier, Theory of a Deadman followed by AC/DC, and some Jackal.  The trick today was it started me thinking about orphaned musical instruments & their players.

If you know Theory of a Deadman, you know they have a song called ‘Truth is…(I lied about everything)’  it starts out with the lead singer, and a ukulele player, who has a solo in the song.  Then we jump to AC/DC ‘It’s a long way to the top when you wanna rock and roll” complete with the greatest bagpipe solo ever recorded in Rock and Roll History. End with Jackal and the ‘Lumber Jack Song’ and suddenly I realized that we should have a moment of pity for the performers on these tracks.

I submit for you, the following image.  Your young, and you want to play the guitar, but your parents instead sign you up for Ukulele lessons. An obvious move to prevent you from ever having a job in music, or at least one that involves groupies!  So now you’re a renowned Ukulele player, and you get that call.  A big name, or semi big name, or someone you have never heard of before want you to lay down a track for their upcoming album.  You dust off your bus pass and stuff your instrument into its case. Blaze a path across the public transport system to spend the next few hours shining.  Your moment has arrived. And for all your years of practice, you can now tell everyone that you have played your Ukulele on a rock and roll album. Granted your odds of scoring a groupie have gone exactly nowhere, but still…

Now shift your attention to the poor bagpipe player, and instrument that even when well-played sounds like cats being disemboweled. In order to get there, you have to start out bad and get better. I’m not really sure how you would know, bagpipes seem to hit one of two extremes; terrible or Ok.  Not really much room between those points.  It becomes painfully obvious that they aren’t scoring any groupies, except maybe the octogenarian Scottish crowd. I can’t help but wonder how many days were spent thinking “if my parents had only let me practice the Tuba, I could be popular!”

I’m not even touching the guy with a chainsaw, although I suspect they didn’t need anywhere as much practice

A few dozen years ago I would probably have listed Harps and Violins in this list, but the harp twins (Camille and Kennerly) the harps are cool, or at least performing with them is.  Lindsey Sterling and Vanessa Mae have made Violins viable options as well.

So I am unsure about the future of Tubas, Ukuleles and Bag Pipes.  There have been some attempts to integrate them to Main stream, but none have seemed to stick. I doubt that even if you get a comely lass to dance and play them (and to be outstanding performers like the ones listed above) that these poor interments will ever escape the ‘not optional breeding stock’ pile.

My only conclusion:  This is why I shouldn’t set my Ipod to random and my author juice to ‘gone’

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