Guitar Zero: Who's Never Heard "Copperhead Road"?

One of the joys of attempting to learn a new skill at an advanced age is that little nagging concern in the back of your head that makes you wonder how much of a dipshit your instructor thinks you are. My particular sensei - this guy, in case you'd forgotten - has, like every other person who works at Rockin' Robin, been playing since he still thought girls were "icky."

I'm 20 years past college, which makes me keenly aware how unlikely it is I'll ever achieve the skill level required for an invitation to sit in and jam with a bunch of folks camping at the Old Settlers Festival. On top of that, we had to skip last week's lesson. And thanks to a variety of other factors, I didn't really get to practice much in the interim.

Robert is nothing if not laid back, however, and we continued the seemingly Herculean task of trying to get me to learn "Blackbird" by the Beatles. I actually had the intro down pretty well, but the rest is taking a little work. Apparently the Fab Four were pretty decent musicians. If you don't count Ringo, that is.

Even so, I'm already playing better than this dude:

I'm also probably going to have to find something to replace one of my "teach me" songs: specifically, Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." I won't blame Robert, though I could, because he says he's never heard it - I'll pause while that sinks in - but I was forced to agree with him, when, after listening to it for the first time, he asked me if he needed to teach me the bagpipes as well. That would be cool, actually. And a "Bagpipe Zero" column would be ten times as incoherent as this one. And yet I'm reasonably certain that whatever I select (right now I'm leaning towards "Jacksonville Skyline" by Whiskeytown or the Dukes of Hazzard theme song) will be easier for him to put down on paper for me than, say, Lady Gaga's latest, which was actually requested by one of his (much) younger students. If he can pull of the feat of transcribing the guitar part of a song that doesn't have any actual guitars, I may have him try his hand at some Orbital tracks, or maybe early Depeche Mode. I'll make him pay for that bagpipe crack, dammit.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar