Rich Engle

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I do some kind of warmup piece pretty much every day, rarely miss that. I do that with whatever is around, just blowing out the pipes. So, if this is a creative writing place, putting up freewrites seems the decent thing to do. I just spit this one out, it is a memo to my music director, regarding accordions. Feel free to tear up the grammar usage.



Chuckles,<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> This whole accordion thing has managed to get me fired up, again, along with a related issue having to do with your recent, publicly-disparaging comments (made, of all people, to my wife) regarding your general distaste for guitars.<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

After a great deal of contemplation and soul-searching, I have come to believe this is my own fault, in that I have not been sufficiently forthcoming, or at least reasonably illustrative, about all of this. So, I am viewing It as an Educational Issue<tm>, more or less--I am willing to take the heat. We've done a lot of good work in this Music Ministry, and the last thing we need is to get ourselves tripped up in mechanical issues. That being said, I shall Proceed:<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

First off, I am from Cleveland, Ohio, which, despite what other cities may propagandize, is the Polka Capital of the Universe. Two words: Frankie Yankovic, OK? I won't even go into the foul work his son did, or his group called The Saints, and for sure the beating that Weird Al put on my City, which was already known as The Mistake On The Lake--when the place of your Origin is one where the only way national news gets made is either through accordions, or your river catching on fire: there is no rising back up, if you really think on this. John Rockefeller knew this long before it happened, and that is why he left Cleveland. <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> And don't even start up on me about the Rock Hall of Fame; I have run through that place like a pirate, many times--the last excursion was a Christmas party I did for Compuware Corporation involving an expenditure of over 50K, and the related fouling of both the Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon exhibits (I won't tell you what I did in the Peace Bed, but let's just say it now has even more recalcitrant DNA than it used to). The design of the place is horrible, and for that alone I.M. Pei should be thrown into a dumpster, set on fire, and have whatever is left of that scattered across the North Shore of Lake Erie; he should swim with the fishes--and I mean the ones that have several eyes due to leakage out of both the Perry and Plum Brook nuclear facilities.<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

By now you might think I am simply digressing, or going off on some kind of rant. But I am better than that, Chuckles--much better--I have a way of tying things together that is far more complex than you find in your Average Dumb Guitar Player. <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

Historically, accordion players are bitter for a number of reasons. For one, they have always tried to legitimize their instrument, and as far as I am concerned, results have been variable in this department--in a nutshell, they tend to overcompensate. That they have annual conventions is enough to put a man like me off his food. It is a Miracle that you escaped being forced into an expensive contract for an instrument you hated and then being forced, concentration-camp style, to play "Lady of Spain" over and over until you got it right (at gunpoint). Probably, this is because it didn't penetrate far enough, into Iowa, but I bet you could smell the hot sick wind of it. And plus, frankly, any time you design something with keys and buttons facing vertically, interfaced with what resembles a set of human lungs, there is a certain innate wrongness. <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

And then the Beatles came, and the Guitar came and swept that whole scam away. Why did this happen?<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> I am sure, Chuckles, given that part of you is a well-rounded musicologist, you realize that there were many instruments resembling a guitar, and that the Spaniards are mostly responsible for the damn thing in the first place. Do you know what the Actual Criteria for what Is, and what Is Not a Guitar consists of? The final, distinguishing quality is that it must "Resemble a Woman's Figure." 36-24-36. say.<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> Guitars were cheaper, and not only looked like a women, but at the same time were quite phallic (in terms of how they are normally played). <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> Accordions simply cannot compete with this simple type of Man-Tool. If you were trying to get laid (and let's face it, that is a prime driver for males as far as music ed goes), you stood a lot better chance if you were a guitarist, rather than an accordion player (although I have met a few that pushed through this problem with great success). <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

So this bitterness 'twixt guitarists and accordionists remains, and we even try to interface. That has been interesting, in terms of my close friendship and musical collaboration with Jerry B., but on the other hand, I keep getting these damn accordion CD's. I mean, they come in my mailbox when he is away on travel. I have one that is so powerful that it even makes my hillbilly neighbors run in fear; you haven't lived until you have heard 2001/Space Odyssey done in realtime by some dude that plays carnivals. <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> In the end, as much as you say guitars are too complicated, electronic, I cannot take this seriously, because you allow accordion players. And for that matter, Count Chuckula, if you count the parts in an average Baby Grand Piano, they far exceed that of an average electric or acoustic guitar. Plus, you have even provided me with videos of setting these things on fire--a trick you pianists got from, hmmm. who...Jimi? See? There is no escaping my logic on this.<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

Now, only last night my friend Jimmy the Bass Player and I designed these new sustain devices that we have clamped on the headstocks of our guitars. It makes them scream! <b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

My current plan involves scouring the retirement trailer parks for accordion removal. As soon as I get them, I am going to start leaving them in your car, and other places you frequent. It is only fair, Chuck--only fair. If I am lucky, there will be ones that you see where moths will fly out of them, like rockets out of the tomb.<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b> On to happier matters: I'm supposed to play Lady of Spain next Sunday, no? I don't understand that chart--what are all those little "b" things and why are there so many of them?<b><br style="line-height: 17px; "></b>

Best Regards,


Plays guitar to get chicks and it worked.

Edited by Rich Engle
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