Hate to tell you, but there's more to life than just fishin’. There's also rock 'n' roll.
It’s a familiar story. I was going to be a star. Got my start in a local band during the late sixties and early seventies. Rock covers, mostly, with a few heavy jams just for fun. I wasn’t the most competent of musicians, but volume and fuzz (with a modicum of wah-wah) can cover a host of technical inadequacies. Talent aside, I had the look. Long hair, hip-hugging jeans, a carefully cultivated aura of indifference. Most of all, I had the burning desire to stand up on stage and bathe the masses in power chords. Good times.
Too good. My pipe dreams, and the lifestyle that came with them, drowned out my first attempt at higher education like bad feedback. A degree in mathematics couldn’t hold an incense stick to Guitar Godliness so in three quick semesters I was out the university's back door, a coiled cord trailing behind me. No big loss. The only calculus I needed was the derivation of twelve bar progressions and integrations on the five positions of the minor pentatonic. Newton dug the blues.
But the band flamed out in a blaze of personality and the girlfriend became the wife, then the expectant mother of my child, at a pace that was truly terrifying. Adulthood reared its perverse, ugly head. The Strat and the stack were sacrificed on the alter of domesticity, pawned to pay tithe to the working stiff’s holy trinity; Carolina Power and Light, Southern Bell, and the blessed Piggly Wiggly.
I must admit that I’ve not been completely fretless. Over the years I’ve been bestowed a pair of acoustics, a gift born of love and a bequeathment steeped in sorrow, and I cherish them each dearly for their origins. But I've played them sparingly, all this time, as I have always been more moved by their emotional resonance than their tonal. They've been strung with my heartstrings.
But for all of their unplugged joy, I’ve missed the hot smell of over-driven tubes and the crunch of Jensen paper. I’ve missed low action necks and sustain lasting for days. I’ve missed being coaxially tethered to enough raw power to rattle your bones and pop out your fillings and make your ears bleed. I’ve missed the noise.
So, last week, I wrote off getting that next couple of fly rods and new pair of waders to realize, instead, my neglected Fender fantasies. Beautiful things. Just the boogie-woogie kick in the pants I’ve been craving. Sure, my having this rig is like giving the keys to the Ferrari to Grandma, but goddamn it feels good. It's time to shake the house once again.
Have no fears, fly fishing is still my passion and I'll continue to write of it here for it holds a part of my soul and always will. But something older has retaken my gut and it won’t be set aside, ever again.
‘Cause, Son, even when the fish won't bite, there’s always rock ‘n' roll.