Monday, December 05, 2011

Bill Tapia's Advice

Lil Rev was kind enough to give us permission to publish his poem and tribute to Bill Tapia.

Bill Tapia’s Advice
© Lil Rev/Patchwork Poems 2011

When out on the road, or flying the friendly skies
A man needs a standard that he can live by

There’s 10,000 Maniacs banging away
Playing louder and faster than Jake ever played

Now speed is a wonderful and curious thing
Likewise, the notes, that one can make ring!

But, then there is taste, some call it soul
Listen to Lyle Ritz, perhaps then you’ll know

It was at the New York Uke Fest, Bill Tapia said to me
Sitting so cool, at 103!

He said “Rev can you tell me, cause I don’t understand
Everything sounds like a scale! What’s going on man?”

He said “first there’s the melody, you gotta play it once or twice
Then play around it, as that’s always nice!”

“Then it’s back to the melody in a few different ways
Then go on and take it to some other place!”

“Now it’s back to the melody so people can hear
No matter where you go, it’s always near!”

I’m not talking about this Steve Vai sort of thing
I’m talking about taste if you’re gonna make it swing

Now the great James Hill is one who would know
Sometimes you gotta say…Go Cat Go!

But after a while even James would agree
Ten million notes, makes you a one trick pony!

With all due respect that’s why I say…
…Thank you Mr. Tapia for showing us the way!

1 comment:

Ron Hale said...

Well done, Rev...

Now...Jake. There are toddlers out there slinging their Kamakas and KoAlohas and ripping off note-perfect versions of the Master's tunes as mere warm-ups for their real playing.

(You don't see the really young guns with Martins. I'm guessing they see them as old people's instruments. And they may be right.)

One day these Children of the Damned will be released from their incubators and wreak havoc on the rest of us. Be very afraid.

Now, taste is all very well in its place. Lyle certainly exudes it.
But too much of it and it's lights-out time. Taste is one of those things to be admired in the abstract, but to be endured in the concrete.

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