Just saw a great open post thread on Lifehacker: “What’s your side project?”. It got me thinking: what is my side project? What is the thing I do that I am passionate about, that I would give everything else up for, that I will do no matter what?
I have plenty of “side stuff”, “interests”, “hobbies”, “activities”… call it what you will. I like to fly fish, I play at golf, and raising twins with my wife certainly occupies a lot of time. We attend church together, watch baseball, take care of a yard, and have those darned day jobs. But when I look back at all the things I’ve done since my teen years, the one thing I keep coming back to, over and over, is music. I can’t imagine not having at least one guitar somewhere around me; I even have one stashed under my office credenza (a beater nylon string). I bought a trombone so I could play with my kids’ group at church, and my wife (two music degrees) plays piano on a near daily basis. Our home is constantly filled with music, and if I lost it all in a disaster tonight I would probably borrow a guitar from someone until I could buy more.
Even when I stray from music, I don’t go far. Getting interested in acoustic guitar led to electric guitar, which led to guitar amplifiers. Part of immersing yourself in a hobby is the learning, and learning about good tone on a Stratocaster or Les Paul immediately points you back at what you plug it into. I started out with a cheap solid state amp that sounded pretty sterile, so I started looking for a vintage, late 60’s Marshall… and discovered it would be cheaper to buy a new car! Next thing you know, I am researching plans to build my own tube amps, and six amps later, I am addicted to burning solder and building/modding/repairing the tube stuff. That led to having too many amps, and after trading in and out of amps, pedals, and acoustic and electric guitars more times than I care to remember, I started helping a buddy out with his music store as time allowed. I never get to spend enough time there, but when I do it’s always a relaxing, low-stress time, even if we are loading and unloading the heavy stuff. The next guitar show is in just a couple of weeks at the Dallas Guitar Show: I will be assisting Charlie at the Backstage Guitar Gallery booth, so come see me!
So: the side project? One way or another, it will involve music. You can bet that sometime today, tonight, or in the wee hours of the morning I will be cradling a guitar, searching for the perfect tone, the lost chord, or whatever you want to call it, but I will be chasing the dream. Nothing is sadder than an un-played guitar: I’m making sure mine are happy on a daily basis!