Inside the Hard Rock Café, I find it very comforting and alluring with the background playing upbeat, heart-pounding metal music. “It’s my lucky day today,” I told myself as I grabbed a couple of booze. As the beer settles in my nerves, I noticed someone similar to me; style, even mannerisms.
I don’t know how we started our conversation but after a few pleasantries, we talked until we reached the topic of him wanting to be a rocker, which is very much like my frustrated dream. The conversation went like this:
Me: Given your chance to be a rock star, who would it be?
The other one: I never wanted to be a Santana or Slash. Given the chance, I’d rather be Kirk Hammett.
Me: I thought you’d say Axl Rose, or even James Hetfield…
The other one: Nah. I won’t take the lead roles you know. I’d rather be support – a valuable one. The one like a foundation of a house. The house won’t stand if not for its foundations.
Me: I presume you can play base, rhythm or lead. And you chose Kirk Hammett, wow! May not have been given sole exposure from the rest of the band but I mean, his skills are just…
The other one: Wicked! Damn wicked. You won’t be able to define thrash metal leads without Kirk Hammett. I tried to play base earlier but I would rather develop my skills with leads. Well you cannot discount the contribution of bases on the overall track. In fact I find bassists Duff McKagan of GNR and the one from Red Hot Chili Peppers – what’s his name again – oh, but yes they play very good base. Even Cliff Burton, got to give him credit. Love that base on For Whom the Bell Tolls.
What I want on leads is that all those wannabee rockstars like me is to play that lead guitar and make it scream, yes, which gets the crowd all pumped-up shouting and jumping, and gets the babes on tears. You know what I mean? Haha.. Like they want to get their hands on you and they let your fingers lead them… Haha… Sorry…
Me: Don’t worry, this will appear on my personal blog, and I mean, it is part of rock and roll. How ‘bout drums and vocals?
The other one: With vocals, I don’t think I’m talented at that. I can sing yes, but I never got to try to develop my full potential so I don’t really know. I wish I can growl effortlessly like that of Slipknot and Jonathan Davis. Then I would have considered it.
With drums, I never got the chance to play but if I do, I think I’ll like it. I believe I can de-stress myself with all those banging. It’s like boxing a punching bag and thinking that punching bag is someone you hated so much in the past… Haha… Good riddance.
Me: So have you had your band?
The other one: I’ll tell you my story. I just learned to play the guitar as a freshman in high school. But my love for music flourished when I was introduced to a broader horizon of metal music by my classmate Jonathan David – not the Korn frontman! He introduced to me Metallica of course, Greenday, Silverchair… That’s when I bought my first Metallica album Reload. We used to kid each other by calling each other Ozzy. Ya, Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.
One of my classmates, Francis, is someone you’ll rate 9 out of 10 during our time. His whole family is a virtuoso of the six strings. I learned a lot through self-study and mostly observation. I would try to imitate him playing OPM and love songs – hell man don’t give me that look – we’re fuckin’ highschoolers that time.
Our… mine rather, my break came one time during my junior or senior year I think, when we got to play on our social night. How I loved that night! That was my chance. I’m going to be famous, fucking famous! I was never a genius at that time but I know I’ll learn and improve and make good thrash music and years later I’m going to be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…
The other one: Oh well, I’ve had my chance and that was all. Never got to meet band people and never improved except for knowing a few more songs and leads of slow rocks. I’ve tried tablature but I figured I’ll learn faster through constant exposure and observation. I just never met a good rocking soul to imitate.
When I went to college, I never got a chance to play. Maybe opportunity was nowhere, maybe I just didn’t show up, maybe it’s not for me… Fuck man! I’m sour-graping again… Haha…
I took up engineering, civil engineering, but my love for my guitar and my dream to be a rockstar never left me. I never played often though after that until now, engineering school is a busy one, not much time to pig out. But during drinking sessions with friends, I’m the lead singer; I play the rhythm and the lead guitar all at once!
Fuck… I am missing those times again.
Me: You’re not giving up are you?
The other one: No. Haha… But there are more restrictions now. I now have a family, a three-year old kid. And maybe, times made me wiser now and a bit more considerate for others.
With a full-time work that requires full-time concentration, it’s virtually impossible. I want to excel in my field and make a good living for my kid, my wife, and mine.
Next, it’s more of moral values. When you’re in the music industry especially thrash genre, it’s inevitable, well maybe not, but you’re much exposed to vices and drugs. I want to stay clean and I just want to drink a few beers once in a while when I want to.
And I want to instill the same to my son. Study, get a decent job for his future family and all that…
Me: But you still love music particularly thrash metal music don’t you?
The other one: Hell man, love’s an understatement to it. It’s me, an extension of me and more than just a coping mechanism. There is no me without it. There are times when I go home from work that I’d imagine myself in the place of Kirk Hammett on one of Metallica’s gigs. I got a couple of videos saved on my phone so I could watch whenever time allows me to. Maybe it will always stay just like that – just a dream.
I’m not an expressive type of person but I’m a full-pledged, red-blooded fan of rock and roll and metal head bang. You just have to believe and be one. That’s me, a rocker…
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll have my time and chance someday. And who knows, I’ll be the best lead guitarist and rocker out there in the near future?..
As I was deep in my thoughts pondering on his words, I realized that Metallica is still playing on my phone. And I’m no longer in Hard Rock Café but at home with a liter of Redhorse beside me which is already bare.
And the one I’m talking to is… Oh shit. Just like one of those days…