Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bosses Past and Present

I have just finished watching Bruce Springsteen perform on the Today show. Devils and Dust - capos and open tunings! Bruce was using different guitar tunings on each song he performed, from what is considered to be "standard". I don't know how much he has experimented with alternate tunings over the years, but in the time that I worked with him, it was not something that I was aware of.

What he did in the song Devils and Dust provides a simple droning aspect to the instrument, and particularly when performing solo adds a greater degree of "bottom end" or bassiness in the absence of a bass guitar, broadening the sound and adding richness and texture. In the second song - All I'm Thinkin' About - he accompanied a beautiful, and for Bruce an unusual, falsetto vocal with an open tuning which has most recognizably been associated with Keith Richards since Honky Tonk Women days.

I use both capos and open tunings a lot. The use of each on an instrument can be like changing from jeans and a T-shirt into a well tailored suit. Different looks for different moods. The key is to not get locked into unchangeable patterns of behavior. And now I'm playing harmonica onstage also - complete with Dylan-esque harmonica rack - which is a recent development and one that I am really having fun with.

The first time I was introduced to Sting was backstage at a Springsteen concert in London. Little did I know then what I know now! I have been afforded the opportunity to learn from the best and in return, to make my reciprocal contribution. Both of these artists are pushing the envelope of their experiences and challenging themselves to learn more each day and the fruit of that challenge is savored by each listener, each fan, in the communion of this offering.

The results speak of a personal quest that is borne out of effort and discovery. Something inside drives one, even ones who have seemingly attained unimaginable success, to keep learning and to continue growing. Stagnation is not an option, or at least the mere suggestion or intimation is a powerful enough "drug" that the choice then is the "sobriety" of effort channeled into the reinforcement of what one knows can make one stronger and more nourished. No steroids or Viagra here!

What could be more inspiring than to be offered Sting and Bruce's examples of ongoing personal resolve. Each day is a blank sheet tinted by our accumulated experience - not governed by it.



marian said...

Early, sorry for my english; I'm writing (and reading you) from Sonora, México, frontier to Arizona. It's so strange that the learning is a constant and natural process in the human being, but at the same time we've got a negative power to stop, evoid or destroy this value. And we look for the confort, the no-movement, the no-question, the resignation.
For this reason, people who has the passion to learn everyday, to explore everyday, to risk everyday is like the moonlight brighting into the darknest night. Thanks, Shane...

4/26/2005 1:51 PM  
Katy said...

Hi Shane! Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog--very interesting to read your thoughts while on the tour and you're quite the writer! :)
THANKS for a GREAT show in Cleveland!!--we really enjoyed it and thought you were a GREAT addition to the band (I've pretty much seen all Sting's shows since the Police days ;)..LOVED the harmonica! Take care and GOOD LUCK to you on the rest of the tour--say hi to Dom and Sting!-Katy :)

4/26/2005 3:56 PM  
Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! You're a musician on tour and you were up at the crack of dawn to watch a fellow musician, and then write a poetic reference to his gifts and abilities? That is either amazing dedication or a bad case of insomnia. Either way, I sure hope the Boss appreciated it! :) I know I did.

4/26/2005 6:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

A big 'YES' to both Shane's and Marian's poetic comments. The desire to daily learn and grow, to take risks, often struggles against fear - the fear of change, of the unknown, even of discovering your own potential, and the resposibility that goes with that; of isolation, as this can be a very solitary endeavour.

Sometimes, though, life just puts you in a place, whoever you are, whatever you do, where you continue to push through, without necessarily understanding where the impetus comes from.

At other times, the sense of connectedness, of contribution, is so obvious and rewarding, there is no question. Anne (fron Oz). XX

4/27/2005 1:15 AM  
Anonymous said...

too bad that bullet missed you
you mean, bullying bastard

8/26/2005 12:34 PM  
NaturesDaughter said...

Anonymous I am sure deep down you are sorry for writing such a horrendous statement. When you express yourself in such a montrous way it is only a reflection on yourself. Take a look inside and find out what it is that makes you so angry it's not really Shane. I wish for you to have peace and love in your life anonymous. It is time to move on. Shane I have already expressed my gratitude over the outcome of such a terrible experience via your newsletter. I wish you well in every endeavor in your life.

9/18/2005 3:06 PM  

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