In his new memoir, “Guitar Godfather,” guitarist Randy Blythe (with a guitar) makes a remarkable claim: Playing guitar is more dangerous than driving a car.
I’m not sure it is. “If you were on a country road and you were driving, and you had a good head on your shoulders and no kids and no parents, you could probably drive. I really think that you could play music and you can play a lot more than you can drive,” Blythe told The Daily Beast. He added that it is “impossible to predict your musical future”—but this is the opposite of my experience.
In “Guitar Godfather,” Blythe recounts how he once played “Rhapsody in Blue” to his 12-year-old daughter at his home in Lakeland, Florida. Blythe writes, “I think this part is so beautiful that it made her cry. That’s the kind of music she wanted me to play that day.” (And now I wonder why she said no.)
Blythe had been invited to a birthday party by a friend of a friend. Instead, he took his daughter to the guitar shop and told her to come back early after listening to “Rhapsody in Blue.”
After his daughter’s party a few weeks later, he played some tunes with her in his kitchen. She told him that the songs were a mess “because she was so tired.”
Blythe has a guitar as his primary tool, but he has also used it to get his friends and family out of difficult situations. Blythe told me that his sister used to call him, screaming, “It could be worse!” Her voice, though, was the same one he uses today.
I wonder if it’s this that has made playing music so risky for me. Maybe there’s no way of anticipating what my next line might be. Perhaps I must be different.
So maybe there are “less safe” music choices than driving a car?
This is the age of the musician. We are not only talking about kids playing guitar, but also teens getting in cars and drinking—and those are the “safe” activities that are easy to get involved in. (There’s no way of knowing for sure whether “Scooby Doo” is the music my younger child sang to her dad.)
When I was in her high school yearbook she wrote,
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