Friday, May 06, 2005

Seen & Heard In Harvard Sq

Two guys playing guitar on the corner. One is playing acoustic; he’s tall with long straggly hair. The other is shorter, playing an electric archtop and looks like Mikey from American Chopper. They’re enthusiastic, but it doesn’t make me want to stop and listen...
* * * *

Another two guys, also working the public, but they do it by advancing up the street side-by-side with paper cups in their hands and vigorously asking for money. I’m walking behind them in the same direction and try and slip by one of them and the other rounds on me and yells “Hey! Where you going? Got some spare change?!”

I say ‘No’ and walk faster.
* * * *

The Harvard Bookstore has “Guitar: An American Life” in stock, but they want $24 dollars (full list.) Amazon sells it for $16.32. Mental calculations ensue. Do I want the book now, or do I wait and get it next week? Since I’m going away for the weekend I decide to buy it.
* * * *

Pass the two guys again. The acoustic guy starts playing a riff that sounds a lot like Ants Marching, and I keep walking, but it somehow turns into House of the Rising Sun.
* * * *

The mice at Passim are getting brazen. Hanging out in the back with Jim, the other volunteer, I see one under one of the tables, seemingly unconcerned that there’s a concert going on around him. I tell Jim, “if that runs up my leg I’m gonna scream like a girl and run right out of here.”
* * * *

Pierce Pettis plays. Singer songwriter with a warm sense of humor. Plays an inspired cover of Dylan’s Down in the flood and breaks two guitar strings in the process.

Tell’s how Garth Brooks covered one of his songs, and how unnerving it can be to hear a familiar voice singing ‘oh so familiar words.’

“And then the big checks start coming in,” he continues. “and we go from renting to paying a mortgage. We went from nothing man, and now we owe thousands.”

He allows that musicians are kind of like outlaws, and that they think of themselves as “getting away with something. We get to sleep late, and people actually pay us to do what we love.”

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