When my main gigging guitar of the last decade — a sunburst Reverend Charger 290 with Jason Lollar’s famous P90s in place of the stock pickups — slid out of the back of a sloppily packed van in a soft gig bag and bounced, vertically bounced, on its bottom, sounding a clear, almost tuned crack (everything about that axe is clear) and sustaining an impressive but functionally meaningless gash around the binding, several inches long and well past the glossy finish into the soft, blonde korina wood underneath, I remember feeling quite all right about it. Quite all right indeed.
An aging musician’s pride in battle scars, sure, but that wasn’t it at all. More at: “Now I’ll really never be able to sell this one. Now it is really mine for all time.” It felt as though the damage, and the instant gutting of all collector value, had sealed a relationship that I could not assure by values of loyalty, attachment and service years alone.
We’re terrible, music-gear addicts, literally the worst, utterly without higher values. When a flashy thing (or, more likely, a vintage old thing with gold foil pickups or Telefunken tubes) catches your eye, your own children are liable to go up on Hudson Valley Craigslist: “Good functional condition. Some cosmetic wear and tear.”
Recently, my main writing gig became a Covid causality. I posted about it on social media the way one does, partly for the pity due, partly for the work opportunities the news might coax from the friend pool. Within minutes, I received several back-channel messages: The first, a lyrical reflection on my accomplishments at this particular place of employ; the next, a request from a long-ago colleague for my (sorely unprofessional and stale) resume; the third, a local music cat, Orange County guy, asking whether I was looking to sell any effects pedals.
No offense intended and none taken. I know how shameless we are.