We all like to play make-believe from time to time. It can be fun for everybody involved, and it can be done in a lot of different ways.
Sometimes we can even find ourselves playing make-believe in a musical way, but I have to admit that I’m not completely on board with Guitar Hero. I get it — that it revolves around the desire to imagine that you can play guitar like the greats — but even though there are certainly a lot of people who enjoy doing it, I’m not likely to be one of them. (On the other hand, it’s at least a step up from playing “air guitar”, which really baffles me.)
I suppose the whole idea isn’t really that new. I remember a number of years back when a friend of mine had one of those electric organs that could be set to lay down different kinds of musical backgrounds, allowing you to plink the keys like you — maybe — knew what you were doing. After a while it began to become more obvious that it was phony, but I guess it was still fun (and I think I took my turn too).
It’s usually about here that I mention that something similar existed in Mozart’s time, but I’m not so sure I can make that argument this time. I suppose you could imagine a scenario in which a skilled instrumentalist would perform behind a curtain while someone else pretended to play, but that doesn’t seem like the same thing.
About three years ago, I wrote a piece that had something to say about the musical tastes of my generation — and it also told readers about a guitar picker named Junior Brown. I thought we might revisit Junior’s music today, because he’s one of my guitar heroes.