Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jade Harbor


"What are you doing?" I screeched as I watched Andrew yank the tuning pegs on my guitar around and around, strumming the detuned string as he went with his thumb. The guitar sounded like it was dying a slow agonizing death. "I'm tuning your guitar to 'open E' ", he replied calmly, not at all deterred by the painful expression on my face. "See? Now all you have to do is strum the guitar and hold down one of these two top strings, or both, and you're playing like a pro!" His stupid grin only made me more aggravated. "Give me that!" I started to move my index finger around on the low E string, Dave Mathews style, and realized that Andrew, much to my surprise, held wisdom beyond his years. Thanks for that Andrew, now there's the front door, I'll take it from here.

Open E, the tool that guided my first few songs, the catalyst that paved the way for my future guitar playing. If you've ever played in Open E, you'll notice it is a very sad tuning, perfect for my general disposition back in high school. Also, perfect for my playing level at that time: zero!

From there every memory flew by in a musical blur. I believe that in many situations ignorance and naiveté are a blessing, because you don't know how difficult things are really going to be, and if you don't know how difficult they are going to be, you aren't afraid to try in the first place. This is the reason my father is such a great business man. I've never known him to ever be scared of potential failure, and in the beginning, I wasn't afraid of failure either.

I wrote a few songs, thought they they were fantastic and didn't need a single adjustment, proudly showed them to my parents who showered me with praise. Their encouragement helped me find the confidence to form the first band: "Jade Harbor", formally known as Altamyra, named after the Greek God Athena's forgotten daughter. That's a lie. We named our band after our street name, o.k.?



But you see, if I decided to start a band now, I would never be able to do it like I did back then. I would never think I was ready enough. I don't have enough songs. The songs I do have aren't good enough. They will never measure up. I would come up with a million excuses…because I know better. 

I know that succeeding as a musician, as a band, is no small mountain to climb. I know the obstacles. I know where the cracks in the cliff are, the spot where the blizzard hits, the section of the cliff barely hanging on with loose stones. I know to bring extra water, more batteries, dehydrated dinners. And I still know, that even knowing all the pitfalls and preparing for all the disasters, still doesn't guarantee that I'll make it to the top.

But back then... Hell, I thought that our band headed toward stardom, I'm talking "U2 status" in under a week!

Our lead guitarist, a very talented man, soberly listened to the song ideas of a quacky teenage girl, and accepted them no questions asked. (Dia, you ought to be more like him. I'm kidding!) He always stood passively in a corner during performances and practice, happy to play his colorful, tasteful arpeggios on top of my simple chords. You could have wrecked his car right in front of him and he wouldn't bat an eyelash, in fact, in typical Juddy fashion, he'd probably make a really intelligent joke about how his battered vehicle looked like a bat late for a dinner party er.. something, and we would have laughed all night.

The charming bass player had a very convincing "Tom Sawyer-esque" quality about him. You'd be talking to him over lunch one day, and the next thing you know, you're begging him to let you clean and fold his dirty laundry. Don't ask me how it happens. It's dangerous to have one of those guys in your band don't you think? But, the girls loved him, and every band needs one of those guys, I suppose...

Sunny, kind-hearted, compassionate, would never hurt a fly. Funny, the only time you would ever see Sunny aggressive happened behind the drum set, and once the song ceased to be, the serene expression returns to his face and you could chat with him stoically about world peace over a cup of tea served with English crumpets.



The first band Dia and I started spoiled us silly. Great musicians. Amazing memories sharing entire bags of crispy bean burritos and apple empanadas after band practice. I loved them very much, wish we would have stayed in touch. This time spent with them was the calm before the storm…

Honestly,
Meg

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your good memories from your humble musical beginnings. It's nice to hear your stories from pre-MAD days =]

    I really like the pictures too. Did you guys ever make a cd or record any songs as Jade Harbor?

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    1. Yes, we did, and right now I'm in the process of digging them up.

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  2. Oh, Meg. I can relate all too well! Lately I've been wishing I could return to my former delusional self. Things were so simple back then.

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  3. Meg, you've worked so hard to get where you are now, and deserve all that comes to you in the future. Whether it's with musicor robots, I hope you enjoy whatever life leads you to do.

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  4. I love these posts! I can't wait to hear the next 'chapter' in this story.

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  5. I love this post, including these photos! xx

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  6. My favorite Jade Harbor song out of the few i have heard is Meaning To A Kiss. You had talent even at the very beginning! I love these posts, looking forward to the next one :)

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  7. You are a very talented song writer, i love your music. I really hope you do not stop making music even though, you know how easily the music industry can chew you up and spit you out. "My Monk" is a great example of your great song writing. You should definitely continue writing your own stuff besides Meg & Dia. Don't get me wrong I love Meg & Dia, but I would like to hear you sing a lot more because you also have a great voice. I hope we well hear something new from you soon.

    -Elizabeth D.

    P.S I've listened to three Jade Harbor songs online, I was wondering if there is anyway you can post all your Jade Harbor songs on your blog?

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    1. Elizabeth, that's a great idea! I'll see if I can steal one of our old cd's from my little sister. And I'm not ever going to give up. Ugh, even just typing about that makes me shudder! ha ha

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  8. Wow! I really enjoyed these reflective posts about your past. I always feel like I can learn about life from other's life experience.

    You seemed to have been confident and fearless then. At that stage in my life, I was the opposite; afraid to try, afraid to fail. With time and experience, I gained confidence. If I only knew then, what I know now. Huh...Better late than never. I wonder how much of that young confidence is because of the environment and how much is due to just individual personality? Your family seems to have been a huge factor for your early confidence and fearless spirit.

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    1. Well, I think I would like to be more like you and have confidence grow with age. Now, even though I'm a little more anxious, I still push through, so at least I have that going for me. I think that I found a lot of help from books when I was younger, particularly from books like "Atlas Shrugged" which I am currently re-reading for the umpteenth time!

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  9. This fascinates me. I've love getting inside of peoples heads and hearing their stories. What intrigues me most about this though is, "This time spent with them was the calm before the storm…" The storm...? Do tell.

    Whatever you decide to do in life Meg, please don't give up on music completely. Even if it's music just for you; maybe you'll be able to enjoy the simplicity and joy of music without all of the other BS that goes on in the music industry. Be well and please tell us more! :)

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    1. Actually Kael, I've written a waterfall of songs to be released soon, and that's more than I've written in the past three years! And I'm going to tell you about "the storm" next!

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  10. Keep the story coming, Meg...I am hooked in now;)

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    1. I'm hypnotizing you. You are feeling very .... sleepy....very ....sleepy

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  11. Thanks for sharing this with us, it is amazing to know some of your good moments, it makes us feel a little closer to you and the band.
    ;)

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    1. Of course, this is my intention. I actually have been surprising myself how much Im enjoying digging up all these old photos and memories. I just hope I can give the next amazing artist the tiny push they need to keep going, ya know.

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  12. I think you've already managed to do this.
    Thanks Meg

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  13. It artists like you and your sister that push me to accomplish all the seemingly small, but irritatingly complex creative goals that seem to never end. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  14. "Tom Sawyer-esque"? haha good times.

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