Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Lessons From Linda Ronstadt's Git Picker

July 28, 2011

Sometimes I paint myself into a corner and attempt to get out. Learned this trick from Linda Ronstadt's lead guitar player (1974, Red Rooster Bar, Tucson). This morning I whipped this study out before I came into work:

I was intending to put in a traditional rider, Mickey Free, or a trio of Rurales, but I remembered the git picker from the Red Rooster. Grabbed an art book, "Ed Borein: Cowboy Artist" and turned to page 88. At the top of the page is a line drawing by Mr. Borein for a 1916 rodeo (The Stampede: Sheepshead Bay Speedway, New York City). Amongst a trio of trick riders is a cowgirl standing in the saddle with a pistol and what appears to be a glass of liquid. Hmmmmmmm. So I did my version of this bizarre scene, changing it, of course. My first reaction was to call it "What the Hell?" but then, on closer inspection, I realized it was "Cowgirl Rides Into Hell With A Glass of Champagne and a Pistol".

Back to the Red Rooster Bar on the Nogales Highway. I was playing drums in this country band for extra money ($30 a night) and the lead guitar player was a very shy guy who was previously in the Stone Ponys, Linda Ronstadt's Tucson band. They went to LA together as a couple. As you may know she soon moved on to bigger things and he came home and picked around town. He played the weirdest lead breaks of any country guitar player I have ever played with. During a break I asked him how he came to play like that and he shrugged and said, and I quote, "I simply play myself into a corner and try to get out."

I never forgot that way of looking at things and have even applied it to my art and my business. Here is my distilled version of this invaluable lesson:

"Jump off a cliff and figure it out on the way down."

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