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Monday, October 28, 2013

The Expressive Lead Guitarist: Mindset, Motivation, And Eddie Hazel

As I rehearse the solos for the Robert Lowe-fronted Lyraka song "Entombed by Choice" I am both reminded of and inspired by the story of how guitar legend Eddie Hazel was told by composer George Clinton to play the "Maggot Brain" guitar solo "as if you just heard your mother had died". I can hear where Clinton was simply putting Eddie into a certain, motivated mindspace to enhance his performance, resulting in one of the most uniquely expressive guitar statements in music history.

My "Entombed By Choice" is a song about peeling back the stacked set of masks within the self, i.e. the handy visages that one uses (often obliviously) to suit certain contexts in order to facilitate the objects of the will. It's subject matter draws from the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's writings on "intellectual hygiene", but I assert that the masks have a spiritual side as well, and this latter is emphasized in my lyrics. To quote Nietzsche: "You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: (because) how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?".

There are three solos in my song: the first is a realization of self-deceit (pointed out by the Lyraka character the Harbinger of the Prophecy), the second an introspective look within, grasping at whatever once passed as concrete within the psyche, and the last a resigned, bittersweet-yet-hopeful acceptance. All these feelings are universal within and among us all, a form of transcendental subjectivity that exists for artists like myself to externalize.

I rise to the challenge of putting myself where the raw emotion exists, a challenge encompassing a stringently honest appraisal of my own, overplayed masquerades. Though the end justifies the means, I must admit consciousness of the ultimate futility of such a psychical overhaul; in the end the masks I convinced myself weren't will stay in place, and new ones will construct themselves, each instance both polished and colored by my newest, most direly necessary delusions.