September 2005 (v8 i1)
Having Fleeting Delusions of Grandeur Since 1997
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Guitar still unlearned in junior’s closet
'Stairway' tabs, power chords are only evidence of past play
by JJ Hermes, Managing Editor

Closets are great for storing
wanton hate.
WEST CAMPUS — Reaching for a pair of old tennis shoes, Pete McDison struck a glancing blow to his acoustic Ibanez, sending a noisy jolt reverberating through the apartment. Th edetuned twang echoed in his ears, reminding him of more enthusiastic days.

"I wish I had stuck with that thing," said McDison, a third-year biomedical engineering student. "I haven't played a tasty riff in months. I was going to be the next Mike McCready."

McDison received the guitar from his par ents for his sixteenth birthday, along with several self-paced lessons on VHS. Within two weeks, he had already mastered the token hooks to four Nirvana songs.

"Some of my friends who play the guitar told me I was pretty good for the short amount of time I had been playing," he said. "After a couple of weeks I figured out how to play 'Jimi Th ing' - at least that little 'du nu nuh na, duweet et duwattet et, wooaw.' I kept trying to get the tabs down to some of the harder Dave Matthews songs."

While he never paid to take lessons, dreams of rock stardom fluttered in the high schooler's head. Every couple of days after school he would retreat to his room, door closed, and strum a simple repetition of three or four notes, rearranging them for the basis of a song. But he often got side-tracked by hours of playing Everquest; songs were left unfinished at two or three verses.

He was never able to sing over his playing, so he would invite friends to sing over his frequent C-A-G progressions.

"We only wrote a couple of songs," said Marcus Harmon, a government junior and high school friend. "Most of them were about diarrhea or necrophilia. We would've been called The Crotch Blisters."

As college began, interest in the guitar waned. At home, no one could hear his hid eous miscues; in the dorm, with a roommate a bunk above and neighbors all around, his minimal repertoire was mockable.

With two hallmates who played in a band with a couple of gigs under their belt, what might have been enthusiasm turned to shame.

"I would take [my guitar] out every once in a while when I saw old friends or some chicks came over. I never forgot 'Whole Lotta Love.' " But he added: "I had to stop playing on a regular basis because of classes — and I kind of sucked."

A stark resurgence of interest in stardom came last summer, as McDison became more familiar with Bob Dylan and other folk singers. Fixating on learning the harmonica, he again left his guitar behind.

"I wrote a ballad about [perennial local candi date] Jennifer Gale," he said. "It was pretty deep."

By the end of the summer, McDison had again lost interest in music, focusing his primary efforts in July on his PC copy of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He brought his guitar and harmonica along to his new apartment on Nueces Street in case his musicianship re surged, but it remains tucked behind the collared shirts in his closet, missing a string he hasn't replaced for over a year.

"Did you know you can bang a prostitute in that game?" he asked. "How cool is that?"

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