Call it a rough patch, call it a dry spell, call it whatever, but let's just say a while ago the relationship between my guitar and me got a little stale. Now of course I loved that thing dearly but, well, you know how it is: sometimes it just seems like the two of you are stuck in the same old routine. Now the electric guitar is a tricky instrument, there are so many variations, effects, and styles, and it's so overly saturated in the mainstream consciousness that while it can be the most primal and cathartic sounding of instruments, it can also be the most horrendous, self-involved sound known to modern man. At this particular juncture, I just wasn't hearing anything new that was compelling me towards the former sentiment. In an attempt to revive our relationship I pulled out this guitar magazine I had from high school that was all about rockabilly and the late '90s neo-swing revival. In it was a picture I always found striking but was never sure why: five young men all dressed in white, wearing dark, floppy caps. I thought to myself: it's finally time I really dug into Mr. Gene "Be-Bop-A-Lula" Vincent and His Blue Caps. I learned a couple of riffs out of the magazine, all attributed to Gene's original guitarist, Cliff Gallup, then I went to the record store and picked up their second album (thinking it was their first), Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.
I put the needle on and right out of the gate the band is swaggering and in full swing. My toe's tappin', my hand's snappin' and my hair's getting greasier by the second. Gene finishes his first verse of "Red Bluejeans and a Ponytail" with the order to his band to "Rock!" and the next thing I know Cliff Gallup's guitar struts onto the scene and picks up the lead while someone lets out a banshee wail in the background. Gene comes back into the second verse, singing like he's crooning and panting at the same time, a cross between Dean Martin and that cartoon wolf from the droopy cartoons whose mouth drops to the floor at the sight of the cute redhead, and before I can finish that thought the second verse is ending and Gene calls out, "Rock again!" and Cliff's back with his plunky, shimmering, echo-y tone.