Magazine article Guitar Player

Soundhole: Walking the Line

Magazine article Guitar Player

Soundhole: Walking the Line

Article excerpt

The Ancient Greeks had the concept of "all things in moderation" sussed out thousands of years before the Me Generation, dotcom crashes, and Prozac. Sadly, many of us still don't get it. We work too hard. We love too much, or we don't love enough. We wallow in despair or anger or fear. And on and on.

I'm no better than the average career-obsessed wacko. Still, I aspire to a life that gently returns to a comfy center point after veering sharply left or right. While many counsel against "sharp" zigs and zags, and suggest a flight plan that shifts slightly to one side or the other, I just can't do that. For me, "moderation" means you can always find your way back to peace, no matter how deeply you fall into a pit of passionate bliss or agony. Of course, if you slip beyond the point of no return, you're gone. Wave goodbye to emotional stability, sanity, and social acceptance. And, yeah, unless you have a Syd Barrett complex, that's not a good thing.

But here's the tricky part: Whatever your definition of moderation, the quest for balance will usually require that you at least acknowledge what lies outside the safety lines. The visionary poet William Blake maintained that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom, and, well, there is truth in his words.

As musicians, we can risk visits to the palaces of excess and wisdom without tanking our livelihoods, our families, or even our sanity. You won't die if a spasm of exploration is repaid with a bucket full of embarrassing mistakes. …

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