The Dream Remains the Same
It’s been about thirty six some-odd years now, but the memory is still crystal clear. Circa 1981; I was a freshman, and the kid that would soon change the direction of my life forever, Terry, was a sophomore. We attended Olympic Highschool located just outside a medium-sized shipyard town called Bremerton in Washington state. Although only a grade apart, there was a two year age difference between us; my parents had “blue shirted” me, so I was a year younger than my ninth-grade peers; nonetheless, we became fast friends. A mutual passion for music was central to our new friendship. Terry owned a baby-blue Fender Stratocaster (affectionately named “Steve”)and was into all the bands popular among the highschool rocker set at the time: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Rush, The Doobie Brothers, etc. For my part, I was green and without a clue about the musicianship exemplified by these bands, but that changed over a period of many lunches together as my naivete gave way to enthusiastic adulation under Terry’s tuteledge.
We’re all trying to figure out who we are right? Here I was, basically a middle school student in highschool trying to decode myself. There was one thing I had figured out though: I was not “cool”. Matter of fact I wasn’t much of anything. My grades where average, I was socially inept (many would say I still am), smaller in stature, and without any sort of athletic talent. To say I didn’t fit into any established school culture or social circles would be putting it lightly. Hope, however, was not lost as the elder Terry would soon guide me to salvation.
A few of his tenth-grade friends where members of a band called “Character”. It was a pretty darn good band too as I recall. Problem was, they already had a guitar player which left Terry on the outside looking in (this is where I come in). One day the suggestion was made that I acquire a bass and a band be formed. Now you have to remember that at this time I wasn’t even sure what a bass was let alone pick it out of a mix. It didn’t matter though as my musical mentor was very persuasive: “It’s like you’re playing a lead through the whole song” he said. “Just listen to Geddy Lee from Rush, he’s a bassist”. Before I knew it, Dad and I were at Guitars Etc. in Seattle staring up at a wall of dozens of instruments. I wound up with a cherry burst Rickenbacker 4001 (the same bass Geddy Lee played of course) and a crappy little Peavey Amp that must’ve been about 50 watts. It didn’t take long before we began gleefully “jamming” in Terry’s basement. From that point on, the visions of grandeur grew stronger everyday: sold-out arenas, screaming adoring fans, pretty girls… Daydreams aside, I now belonged; I was a musician!
Last Saturday I turned 50 years old and the dream remains the same, only more intense. In all honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever “make it”, but is “making it” what it’s really all about? Or is it about Terry and the other great people I’ve befriended along the way and the peace of mind that being true to oneself brings? This blog was originally created to drive website traffic to www.theapme.com , but as I write, it feels like it may prove to be more therapeutic than anything. Who knows, maybe I’ll sell a few downloads or receive donations for future recordings, but if nothing else my hope is that this blog/journal will serve as inspiration (or a warning) to other budding musicians with stars in their eyes. -Mike. www.michaelreitz.net www.theapme.com .