Friday, October 21, 2011

love is all around

i still remember the dream i had
as clearly as the clearest real life memory i have
even now
3 and a half years later
clear as day
a young kid, maybe 21
with shoulder length wavy dark brown hair
in a brown vest over a tan tunic and loose fitting tarp pants
was showing me how to play guitar
my fingers were awkward and fumbling
yet he smiled patiently
pointing to where i needed to place them on the fretboard
to make the right chords
i fumbled for what seemed like hours and then days
he never once lost patience
always smiling calmly, nodding and encouraging me to not get frustrated
then i was suddenly on a stage
with him and his band
playing to an arena filled with thousands of people
they were on their feet
singing along to each and every word
he was at the front singing and smiling
while i sheepishly fumbled with my guitar
back near the drums
burying my head in the mess of chords i'd made
a panic came over me
i didn't know how the song went or even how to play guitar
in front of all of these people
but he just looked back at me as he played
and smiled
in his eyes i could clearly get the message
"come on - you can do it Salim...just play"
and then a montage sequence began
us playing this song over and over again
to thousands of smiling, singing kids all over the world
arena after arena
by the end i was no longer fumbling
i was smiling and singing too
right beside my young teacher
when i awoke
the song we had been playing
was still there
fully in tact - melody and words
i called it "love is all around"

posted on 4/14/08:

i hardly ever remember my dreams
it's a running joke in our household
Jayme wakes up every morning
and gloriously re-counts every last detail
of her previous night's dream
down to the minutia of what she was wearing
or what the axe of the monster who was chasing her
tasted like
and usually
i've got nothing but a bad taste in my mouth
and a rat building a nest in my hair
i know i hear music a lot
i grind my teeth to the beat
i know i hear new melodies and songs
that i've never heard before
but no matter how much the music plays on
in my dreams
the second the shutters come up
and my eyes hit the morning light
the music is gone
like a puff of smoke
in thin air
and i can't remember a thing
it's always so frustrating

so i welcome you now
my friends
to my freaky freaky dream...

a kid with curly brown hair
and really piercing blue eyes
wearing some sort of vaguely futuristic threads
kinda baggy burlappy grey duds
was showing me how to play his songs on guitar
he was really patient
and kind to me
even though i could barely play them
he would smile at me gently every time
my hands fumbled over a chord
"'s this way"
and his hands would glide down the neck
to always find the right chord
it was effortless for him
we worked on the songs for a long time
i was playing a red sunburst Rickenbacker
with 3 pickups kinda shaped like a Gibson sg
(for those non-guitar enthusiasts - sorry!!)
but i don't think there is such a guitar in existence
after a lot of practicing
he tells me
"ok - now it's time to go play with my band"
i remember frantically trying to plug all my gear in
while thousands of fans screamed
and jumped up and down
the band started playing without me
the boy looked back over his shoulder at me
and smiled
"it's ok..." he nodded
but i still couldn't get my guitar going
and was getting really upset
so then he stopped the band with a wave of his hand
and said "let's wait until Salim is ready..."
the audience was fine with it
they waited too
and when i was finally ready
we kicked into the first song
i immediately forgot everything i'd learned
i was a tangle of fingers and thumbs
he looked at me again and smiled
so kind
so calm
and said "remember...this way"
chords back and forth from high to low
and then i got it
and started playing them the right way
the next thing i know it's montage time...

we're playing their hit song
all over the world
kids singing along and smiling
jumping up in down in slow motion
the boy looking over his shoulder between vocal lines
to smile at me
while i strummed my red Rickenbacker effortlessly
over and over we play this beautiful song
a high soaring melody
so innocent and carefree
over and over again
to people all over the world
the song is so beautiful
i am in euphoric bliss
and then i wake up...

the song is still with me
all of it
the entire melody intact
it sounds like nothing i would ever write on my own
a gift from my dream friend

thank you



posted on 4/15/08:

i walked over to Billy's house around noon
only 15 minutes by foot
(it's only 2 by car)
it was another perfect day
cool and sunny
not even the slightest breeze
what were the odds that L and L would live so close
to the only guy in texas i'd want to make a record with?
when i got to Billy's house
he was playing a beautiful finger picked song
on his couch
"it's not finished..." he smiled
it was really cool
i'm looking forward to hearing it when it's done
"so what do you want to do today?" he asked
i got out the scrap of paper with the dream song's lyrics
srawled on it
and laid it at my feet
then i played it for him
quietly singing the high soft melody
my dream friend had sent me
i felt kinda self-conscious
wondering what on earth Billy was gonna think of this
was it just silly
or totally gay?
after i finished he immediately said
"i think we should record this!"
i was pleasantly stunned
so then i told him the story
about the dream and this strange kid
who taught me his songs
i also realized it was weirdly symbolic
that in the dream i was my current age
yet fumbling around nervously not knowing anything
agitated about performing
and the kid was calm cool and relaxed
teaching me how to play
assuring me the whole time that it would be ok
Billy said it was a great melody
at first he was taken aback by the high vocal
but agreed that we should leave it in the original key
and not over-think it
we could layer the vocal in a wall of sound
he also smiled and said
"guess what? i hear drums on this one!"
so then we got to it
big dumb acoustic guitar strums first
then layers of vocals
billy set up the drumkit in the control room
and played the hell out of it
then i put down some bass in about 15 minutes
which is significant for me
because i resisted the urge to over-analyze it
normally i work on my bass parts for at least an hour or two
after that billy played the castanets
some harmonies
then at the very end
added a little wurlizter bit on the last chorus of the song
we both felt very satisfied
and happy with all of our progress
so we decided to knock it on the head
and call it a day
it was a fun
totally spontaneous experience
that could have only happened here
with billy's encouragement
i know i would have normally ruminated on something like this
for months
tinkered with the key
and the words
waiting for the right moment to strike
well today the right moment was NOW
i'm glad we just went for it

it made for one of the most memorable recording experiences
i've ever had