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Buck Dharma Taught Me How to Play Guitar

October 19, 2017

Well, not personally.  I was pretty much sold on learning to play back in the dark ages when my brother received a shitty Sears Kay guitar and amplifier from Sears for Christmas.  Santa was good that year. I noodled around with it often and taught myself some rudimentary stuff (I'm sure the neighbors loved hearing me bang out the verse chords to "25 or 6 to 4" with my bedroom window open approximately 5 billion times in one month).  I think I was in seventh grade. 


Anyhoo, "25 or 6 to 4" morphed into pretty much every rhythm guitar track on KISS "Alive" which at that point was the baddest, hardest, "my parents HATE this music", music I had ever experienced.  I loved playing along.  Then one fateful day I heard this song on the radio unlike anything I'd ever heard before. If you could bottle up "cool" this would be it.  Some guy with a smooth voice singing over a haunting guitar line with lyrics about 40,000 men and women buying the farm every day and Romeo and Juliet.  And the lead break...what the actual FUCK was that?  I immediately bought Blue Öyster Cult's "Agents of Fortune" and subsequently their entire backlog.  


It was at this point that I sat down with my first copy of their live album "On Your Feet or On Your Knees".  It took a long time but most of my favorite tracks were eventually scratched to the point where they weren't listenable any more. Well, only the lead tracks were ruined.  If you're of a certain age you know that if you wanted to play something over in those days you needed to lift the tone arm on your stereo and move the needle back to the approximate spot where that something started.  To learn guitar licks I did it over and over again.  Do it enough times and the grooves get scratched and, well, wrecked. Regardless, I learned Buck Dharma licks out the wazoo.  I learned how to play variations of mixolydian mode and phrygian scales before I knew what they were called. 


Oh, about the time I started woodshedding "On Your Feet..." the guy I was taking lessons from said "I don't know where you learned that but you don't need me any more".


Thanks Buck Dharma for a lifetime of guitar happiness. 

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