11 September 2010

A Tale of The Sage (a like letter to Greg Lake)

When I was 14 I wanted to graduate to a real guitar from the $20 model I had bought two years before in a market in Juarez. My parents weren't keen on this potential investment since I had recently quit taking piano lessons so they thought I wasn't suitably serious about music. (Really, what was left to learn after Bach's two-part inventions?) Besides, in their minds 14-year-old girls only played the guitar at campfire singalongs and my $20 special was good enough for that. 

To convince them that I was serious I put my new "Pictures at an Exhibition" LP on the turntable to play them the song "The Sage" and promised to learn it, because in my teenage mind Emerson, Lake and Palmer passed for serious music. They relented and I signed up for classical lessons to do this thing right, but unfortunately my teacher convinced me that Classical Gas was a better choice if I had to go pop. (He obviously wasn't an ELP fan. Fool.) 

I haven't played much since my carpal tunnels started screaming* at me around the turn of the century. But when one of my jam buddies posted to her Facebook wall a video of The Sage played by a young and quite adorable Greg Lake, that riled up my old Emerson, Lake and Palmer obsession all over again. 

Carpal tunnels be damned, I think it's finally time to keep my promise to my parents and learn The Sage. And I'm going to learn it on that very guitar

So thank you, Greg Lake, for sharing your great talent with us over the years...and thanks, too, for helping me get my first real guitar. (Please send tabs.)

* update: After he told me that "The Sage" wasn't that hard to learn, Greg Lake and I discussed our various hand surgeries and post-operative attempts at using voice-recognition software. This isn't a remarkable soundbite for the normally eloquent Lake, but I do love his description at the end.

And if you've read this far ...

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