Monday, March 29, 2010

Michael Gulezian: From Tears to Giggles and Screams!!

So I finally finished the next 2 GH's and delivered them to my pal Michael Gulezian for approval.

There's something that happens when you move past the ambition to sell something... to be a "Luthier" for the sake of sounding cool and important and magazine worthy; into just letting the work serve your friend and his passion. The core of building for me is my own passion (that same passion I think) and the connection I have with my friends. God knows they aren't just "customers" when it's this much fun and so connected to myself.

Michael and I met at a college concert Booker's convention when I was a Sophomore at St. Olaf. I was a "serious" Fingerstyle major and "Hot-Shot-Snot" to match my playing 6-10 hours a day; I was the coolest and knew it all (according to me). I came across Michael's booth when Michael was not there and I started reading his press that was out on the table and I came across the quote "A great Guitarist, my kindred spirit" - Michael Hedges.

Now, Hedges was my God back then (still is really) and to find a Hedges quote saying that this guy was good, well I needed to meet him. So I stood around and waited and Michael came up and we, started. Now with Michael you don't just "start." He is a man with passion and quirks that range from a laugh that shakes the walls of any room he's in to crying hysterics that rumble through his core when speaking of something that's just not as it should be... or right with the world. There's no level 1-7, it's 8-10 all the time on every subject; in every setting.

After a few minutes talking he ordered me into a stairwell, serious a stairwell! He grabbed his guitar case in one hand and my arm in the other and ordered me to come with him. Now we we're in a large civic center so the stairwell was the closest private space (obviously) and upon arrival he ransacked his guitar case and threw his guitar to me, sat down like a 4 year old waiting for story time (expectant grin and all) and asked, "Play?"

I tuned and started to play...

Remember, there's something that happens when you move past the ambition to sell something... past the point of acting cool- cooling out your audience because your "the best," playing the hardest thing you know because you want them to think, "man that's impressive" and you just let yourself play. He heard me. The core of my playing and my abilities. Half way through the first tune he screamed and laughed and our stairwell rang; through all 4 flights of concrete and steel and for what seemed like minutes or pure hysterical reverb. Shivers down your spine sort of thing.

There's nothing like that connection, person to person, spirit to spirit. That stairwell conversation shaped my life the same way my best mentors have always shaped my life. Just 20 minutes, player to player and I was affected in a way not many ever are.

So now, 15 years later, I built 2 guitars.