Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 performing at the Live 105’s Not so Silent Night at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco Calif. on December 10th, 1999. Image By: Tim Mosenfelder/ImageDirect

Put yourself in the off brand converse of a twelve year old boy going to his first concert. Well this was me, I was going to a tribute concert of Journey at my cities concert venue. It was one of my best experiences up to that point. The original guitarist of Journey came to play with the band and he blew my face off. I never knew someone could be that good at something such as guitar. All my life I absolutely despised the guitar, it just seemed like a cliche of the music world, but after this, all I wanted to do was learn to do what he could. As soon as we got home from the concert, I pulled out my Dads old electric guitar, and that is where my musical endeavours started.

When I first started playing guitar, I had no idea what I was doing. I would just pluck different notes at random and it would sound terrible, but I loved it because I knew I was learning. I would play for hours until the indents on my fingers would start to bleed, and my mom would always tell me, “turn the amp down, or wear headphones.” I always preferred the option of  plugging in the headphones, that way I could still be close to the music. After much trial and error, I did it, I figured out a song! Of course it was out of key and I only played singular notes instead of chords but still, I did it. The song was I Miss you by blink 182 and if you have not heard it, it’s just a simple three chord song, nothing special. I was progressing, and fast too, or so I thought. There was something missing in my playing that was in every song I had ever heard, chords. I had no idea what a chord was or how to make one. For those who do not know what chords are, they are a combination of three or more notes played all at once, simple stuff. The way I figured out how to play them is probably unlike other guitarists out there, but then again, maybe everyone does this. I would watch old concerts of blink 182 in the 90s and I would mimic whatever Tom Delonge’s hand was doing on the fretboard, and this is how I learned the most basic of chords, Power Chords. From this point, I was so confident in my playing, that I wanted to start a band.

Now throw yourself into a hormonal hell known as middle school. You know, that place where you fall in love with the most popular girl in school, Alexis Miller, ask her out, get your heart broken then write 15 songs about it. Yeah, that was the birthplace of My first band that is still playing to this day, Cutting Motion. So what happened was I was looking for people to start a band with, and no one wanted to start one with me. I ended up asking my friend Stone to play drums in the band as well as my friend Cameron who apparently played bass (he sucked badly). So the first day we practiced, June 22, 2015, I had been playing guitar for two years, It was Stone’s first time playing drums, and I think it was Cameron’s first time playing bass too. We sounded awful, but for those of you reading this, when you start a band, you’re going to sound terrible, no need to feel ashamed. All and all we had such a fun time messing around with our instruments at practices that we actually started to sound good, not Cameron though, he never showed interest or practiced and eventually quit. So for almost 3 years it was just me and Stone going strong until recently, we got a new bassist named Josh. Also the Christmas before Cutting motion started, I got my first guitar, it was blue and sounded awesome, and I littered it with stickers, I still use that as my main guitar even though I now have seven guitars, this is because I have the closest connection to it due to the fact that I had to fix it so many damn times, it would not stop breaking, as well as the fact that I just love the sound of it.

  The next hurdle in my musical journey with guitar was recording. So ever since the first week that Cutting Motion started, we had been recording whatever songs we would make. Of course it would be awful quality and the instrumentation would be all over the place, but we had a pretty general idea of recording. We soon created our first album all recorded on a recording software called garageband. Once again it was not the best quality but it was getting better. By the time we wrote our second album, we were pretty proficient with our instruments, but we did not want to record our album in the old pathetic way we used to, so we decided to go to a professional studio. This was tough because we did not know what to expect, but we made it through, we had to record a full album in only 2 days because that was all we could afford. We got scared on the first day because recording a mere two songs took us so long. But luckily the next day we got used to the professional process of recording and were able to get through all the rest of our songs. That album was one of the best things we had created thus far, but it was stressful as hell. All in all this part of my musical journey was the most fun part yet, or at least to me. What made me proficient in my music was taking classes about music theory, which I am still doing now in college. These classes helped me understand further how music works and what you can do with a simple melody.

Image being great at something in the eyes of others, but still working hard to be good in your own eyes. This is me now, though people may see my playing as good and as some God given talent, I can see that I still have much to learn and know my only gift from God is my life and my free will, all the rest is from my hard work and the inspiration I have gathered from role models in my life. I thank God for this life and also for allowing me to choose my own path through it. These days I am learning many jazz chords as well as sweep picking techniques and scales. Though these seem impossible to me at the moment, I know that one day I will be able to succeed at these techniques. So the real lesson I have learned by partaking in the journey of music is that one can accomplish just about anything with practice.