Friday, April 3, 2009

The Player

Bizarro is brought to you today by Cat Zombies.

As a teen, I worked as a busboy in a restaurant with a piano bar. I was fascinated by the old drunks that sat around the piano every night "singing" to the show tunes coughed up by Morey, who wore a tux and had a phony smile cemented to his face. At the time I was in a band, a typical teenage rock star wannabe, and felt sorry for Morey. I imagined that when he was my age, he dreamed of throngs of appreciative music lovers at Carnegie Hall, or a theater on Broadway. He likely taught music lessons to dopey kids during the day to make ends meet.

Making a living as a musician is a nearly impossible task and most people give it up eventually and get a "real" job, maybe play in a hobby band at night. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, music is one of those things you do because you love it.

After a few years of playing weekend nights around the Southwest, I gave up my band to concentrate on becoming a cartoonist. It worked out well for me, I beat the odds with a lot of luck and a bit of hard work and have thanked my lucky stars ever since. I still love music, however, and though I was the singer and never learned to play anything, I still long to be in a hobby band. I recently started to learn to play guitar for reals, as the kids say. It's monstrously fun and I wonder why I didn't do this years ago.

The guitar in the cartoon is fashioned after my own Gibson ES-137. It is tied for my favorite inanimate object that I own, the other being my '82 Vespa. The thought of drunks resting their cocktails on it (my guitar, not my scooter) as they blather out the words to "That's Entertainment" (the one by Schwartz and Dietz, not by The Jam) makes me cringe.

You're welcome to rest your drinks on my Vespa, however. It's waterproof.

15 comments:

FIDO said...

BORING, RING, RING, RING, RING, RING

Karlo said...

:)

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Jeremy said...

You nailed it on the head, FIDO, I could barely keep my eyes open through that.

No offense Dan, just not that into music or rock and roll bands, etc.

I know it annoys people, but when we talk about religion at least you get some conversation on here!

Waldo said...

My question is at what age do you finally give up hope to be a rock star? I have hit 42 and feel the desire slipping away? But then again, having no talent makes it easier...

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Karl said...

Are you guys hinting that Dan should give up his day job, and form a rock and roll band?

Jezzka said...

d, you did? awesome. i was just thinking this today, i've been playing the piano for six months now and i was messing around on my keyboard this afternoon, thinking, 'gee, i finally got around to full filling this childhood dream of mine, so so many years later.' Just for the fact that i can read the notes and play music now, has been an absolute joy.

my favorite lately is this appalachian folk song called "the gift to be simple" by aaron copland. i love playing it. i've also been learning to play a little bach and chopin, and of course some mo'town...can't forget the soul! ;)

i know, i will probably never get to play lincoln center, but well as they say it's never too late. i play now not for anyone else, but just because i love how the keys feel under my fingers and how the sounds touches my ear; its a beautiful thing.

congrats d in finally starting to learn the gee-tar! keep on pluckin'!

Dave Stratton said...

I guess The Doo didn't. (I'm sure you've heard that one before.)

Hey, whatever happened to The Ralphs?

I'm not going to be as harsh as FIDO, but you could have enhanced the story by saying that as an adult you realize that Morey was living his dream by beating the odds and playing music for a living -- and that he was regularly banging the hot cocktail waitress.

b0b said...

Next step, pedal steel.

PIRARO said...

@ Dave Stratton...
Believe me, there was no hot cocktail waitress. I was the only one who worked at that restaurant who was under 50.

Dave said...

The guitar is drawn half-backwards. The cutaway (the pointy side) should be on the same side as the pick guard (the black thing). Here the pick guard is on the correct side.

Sorry to nitpick. To a guitar player, this just looks *very* weird.

But it is funny! Thanks for sharing.

doug nicodemus said...

you should form a cartoon band like what dave berry and steve king?

Jezzka said...

d, how dare you! has the golden girls taught you nothing? if that show has taught anybody, anything, it is, that even women over 50 can be sexy, uhm, hello rue mcClanahan?! that woman had more stds than a crowd of mtv spring breakers in cancun!

tsk, d, tsk. hehe.

PIRARO said...

@ Dave...
Yeah, I drew it backwards to form more of a platform for drinks. It does look weird, but most readers don't notice things like that.

@ doug nicodemus...
We've done that very thing at our annual cartoonists conventions on a few occasions. It's a lot of fun, but we all live in different cities so it's just a once-a-year kind of thing.