“Could you play it a little less ‘white bread’?” Forrest asks, his eyes kind, but steady on mine, his fingers, as always, delicate in their grip on the neck of his newest guitar, a beautiful instrument that sounds as exquisite as it looks.
We’d just finished a run through of ‘Cheap Sunglasses’ and, despite it being a challenging piece for me rhythmically, I’d done a pretty darn near perfect, note-for-note performance of it.
I blinked, stared, blinked again. “Ah…oka-aay,” I said, hedging. “Which part?” I asked this because, honestly, I know I’d just done it as written.
He tells me.
He’s talking about two embellished notes, same pitch, the first three-sixteenths in length coming a sixteenth after the fourth beat and a quarter note coming on the one beat of the next bar.
He explains what he wants, then demonstrates it vocally.
I nod. He starts the riff; I come in when I should, mimicking his vocalization.
“Not really,” he says, stopping, again.
I laugh. “Okay. What, then?”
“Feel it more.”
He starts moving his fingers, playing out the riff, his head bobbing in that just-off-the-beat kind-of-way that seems pervasive among rock musicians. He looks at me, his eyes urging me to come in.
He stops …shakes his head. “Feel it. Don’t count it.”
“Oka-aaay.” I try again.
A huge sigh answers that attempt. “Could you try not playing it like a classical musician? …Try playing like a …a….” He shrugs. “…LIke you don’t have a rod up your backside.”
By now, I’m practically giggling in gleeful hysteria (Very inappropriate!). Damping down my giggles is taking supreme effort. “But I am a classically trained musician.” Then, more soberly: “And I’m really trying, here.”
“I know….” He groans. “…But it’s just so…’white bread‘!”
He’s getting exasperated. Perfectionist that he is, I know how serious he means this. Still, I can’t help myself: “I like white bread,” say I.
His eyes flash. “You don’t even eat bread.”
“That’s true.” (I’m grinning, and I know that exasperates him even more, but, honestly, I can’t help myself.)
“Then, don’t play white bread!” he practically bellows.
I sigh. Watch him fondly. Finally, I shrug a bit. “Hon-, I can only do me. I’m not a ‘bro-‘. I ain’t got no rhythm that way. But I did play with Santana for a few weeks long time passing, and they loved my playing.”
“It’s too ‘white bread’,” he repeats. Emphatically.
“Yes, dear. I’ll work on it.”
…Anyone know how to make white bread brown?