Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Numbers; You Want A Percentage But I'm The Fool Payin' The Dues

The Numbers:

Having run a mere 90 miles in January and then again a mere 90 in February, I was in a 20-mile deficit right from the jump in my quest to run 1200 miles for the year, which I may have mentioned once or twice is a major goal of mine for this year.

I didn't set out trying to make up that deficit in one month, but for me, March came in like a lion and stayed a lion the whole time; but running-wise? I fucked March a felt gnome (in the good sense).

Because I made up that deficit and then some this month.

Today's run: 6.33 miles in 55:45 for an 8:48 pace and a 6.8 mph average. I have a 5k race in two days and it was just nice to see managing a sub-9-minute pace for more than 3 miles had not devolved into a mere theoretical possibility for me. I could still actually do it. I guess running a sub-9 six miles is like fucking a felt gnome: You never really forget how. (Though some of you probably wonder: Why?)

Running: 122.55 miles
Biking: 108.7
Walking: 47.66
Total: 279.91 

[Bolded numbers adjusted 4/1 because I was able to get my lunchtime walk in yesterday because it wasn't raining so bad]

I was never that big a Fleetwood Mac fan, possibly because, growing up as I did in the 1970s, it was pert-near impossible to escape Rumours, which got played into the ground, especially the Stevie Nicks songs; and I never particularly liked her songs or her voice.

I always liked Lindsey Buckingham's songs, though; but even more than his songs, I liked his style(s) of guitar-playing. I happen to think he's one of the most under-rated guitarists in rock. No one seems to notice his stellar playing, though, even though he is an excellent player in quite a few different styles. (He did not make the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists, for example.)

"Hold Me" is not a Buckingham song, but I've been fascinated by one of the guitar parts on it for quite some time, possibly because, musical fucktard that I am, it took me quite some time to realize it was a guitar part:

It's a good song, with evocative lyrics; it's a Christine McVie song, which I did not know till I looked it up today; there are multiple voices on it and, to my ear, Buckingham's is the most prominent and I therefore assumed it was his song.

But even though Buckingham didn't write it or sing lead on it, to me, it still is his song because of that guitar part. You don't hear it right away; this being a C. McVie song, the  first instrument you hear is her piano. The guitar part I'm referring to comes in (or first becomes audible) at the 40 second mark of the video above. It consists of a kinda "tock-tock-tock" sound; I guess I always knew it was there, but until relatively recently, it never occurred to me to try to figure out what instrument was making that sound. I guess I had always assumed it was some light percussion instrument, like a block or something.

But after I keyed on it for some reason or other (possibly because it was more noticeable when heard with earbuds directly in my ears), it finally dawned on me that this was a guitar, one of the many guitar parts in the song (there's also an acoustic guitar being played, which is prominently isolated for a few strums at the 2:12 mark; and at least two more conventional-sounding electric guitar parts). Evidently, throughout just about the whole song, Buckingham is producing this tocky-y rhythmic sound by (this is pure speculation on my part) finger-picking harmonics and intentionally deadening the sound. You can still hear that they are distinct notes, but they don't sound like they're being played on a guitar; at first blush, they don't even sound like notes, at least not to my naive ear.

This makes for a pretty unique sound, though it is far from prominent in the song; it's just one of many guitar things going on. And in fact, the only reason I was able to figure out that this is what LB was doing was because, just after the musical break, at roughly the 2:38 mark, the tock-y guitar part comes back in; at the 2:50 mark you can hear a few unmistakably "guitar-y" notes escaping for the tock-y guitar; and then at the 2:57 mark Buckingham segues straight from the "tocks" to a distinctly guitar-y wail, giving up on the "tocks" for the remainder of the song.

I play the guitar, but incompetently. I have no idea how hard that style of playing is (I know it is faaaaaaarrrr beyond my capabilities), but I find it to be inventive and entrancing and, now that I have noticed it, it is always the thing I notice  most about "Hold Me" and, hence, why I consider it a Lindsey Buckingham song.

It is far from the only Fleetwood Mac song that I think is made notable, if not outright spectacular, by the deft guitar work of Lindsey Buckingham.


  1. That's funny, I was a pretty big Fleetwood Mac fan back in the 80s. On my high school senior trip we went to St Thomas and hung out on a beach about 100 yards away from Christine McVie's house. Brings back good memories :)

  2. Seems to me, you ran that 5k just under 24 last year didn't you? (too lazy to search through the blogpost-I guess I could look it up on teh interwebs)...So, with your mileage, you should be able to match that performance - is there any speedwork to speed of?

  3. @P. Es'got: Yes. I didn't want to mention that because I don't expect to come even close to that PR time and would, in fact, be happy if I finished in under 26 minutes.

  4. I've been a huge Mac fan since their start-even before the "big" names came and joined the band! I agree with you about Buckingham-he is the most under-rated guitar player out there! He's great on "Go Your Own Way"-especially when done live. I've had the pleasure to see them live. It was pretty hilarious-after every song Stevie sang, she left the stage to change her outfit. Ha, personally, I'm convinced now that her coming out in a different outfit was just a cover to go backstage and get some blow.........just my opinion!
    Big congrats on the running total-that's awesome and I'm so jealous that people can get that kind of mileage and have no issues with stress fractures-ugh! What the hell am I doing wrong......

  5. Haven't heard that song in YEARS! Love it.

    Good luck at the 5K, G! Run like you stole something! (Like, perhaps, a poor innocent gnome's rectal freakin' deviant.)

  6. I love Fleetwood Mac. LB is a genius with the guitar. I understand your feelings re Stevie Nicks; however, one of my favorite songs is "Landslide."

    I am traveling now and have limited internet access. So, like the other time, you would have to be the first to see my post in it's less-than-complete version. That's the last time I put up a post with the intention of adding to it or modifying it later. I got away with that until YOU came along (LOL).

    My reply to your observations:
    OK, I got out the ruler and posted the length. And you're right, yours (that 15K in your upcoming Tri) IS longer. I also posted the Garmin stats that I planned to post, which also verifies that my LENGTH IS SHORTER THAN YOURS! (God, I can;t believe I am writing this).
    And the "me" thing? I'm not normally drenched and muddy, so I didn't feel like me.
    That's it. I won't be commenting much else thru the weekend. I'll be playing catch-up with your other posts next week. See you then. Ann
    PS--you are kicking ass with your running!! Keep IT up!!!

  7. Really? That's a guitar at 2:50? Amazing.

    On a good day, I can almost play a G chord (yeah...that's right, just one chord). I can't even imagine making acoustic sound like some kind of percussion...

    But I do love how it sounds.

    (yeah...that's all I got)

  8. @AQA Aleeece - I think the tocky/percussiony guitar is an electric. (The acoustic is what LB loudly strums during the musical break.) Buckingham evidently never used a pick, coaxing both chords and notes from his guitars with either his fingertips or his fingernails or both. I guess that's part of his technique for getting so many variegated sounds from one type of instrument.

  9. Addendum:

    Finding out "Hold Me" is a Christine McVie song cleared one thing up for me. It certainly makes far more sense to have a female lead voice the sexual innuendo in the line "O, no step for you to dance to/ So slip your hand inside my glove."

    Also, the "tock-y" guitar part is far more varied than I implied in the body of this post. For example, in the musical break at roughly the 1:53 mark, as the other electric guitar plays lead, the "tocks" get less deadened and sound more like actual full notes. LB is still deadening them somewhat, but not as much. Then they go back to being more fully deadened; then, at the very end, Buckingham just wails.

    There are other variations in the tock-y guitar within the song, too. The above is just a f'rinstance.

  10. A couple more things: I agree that LB's incredibily deft and creative guitar work "made" many of the FM songs. I think one of the most notable of his talents is his eclectic style and, as you note, his ability to change styles/techniques in the SAME song. I saw a documentary a long time ago on FM which had a wonderful piece on LB and went into some of his unique techniques...can't remember who made the documentary--it was that long ago (Granny excuse).
    I taught myself guitar thirty yrs ago, but haven't played for decades; would love to play, but my hands are too bad (OA). Funny, you should have a post on FM (one of my favorites) and focus on LB--when I was "into" guitar, LB's playing always WOWed me; I wanted to be "like him when I grew up" as a guitar player. Of course, THAT never happened...(sigh).....
    Have a great weekend, and thanks for a great post! I'll remember this one :) Granny

  11. How did Steve Vai and Joe Satriani not make the top 100 list in Rolling Stone? My favorite guitarist who could play in many styles is Ry Cooder, who never became popular, I think, because he'd play things like Hawaiian slack string guitar in between rockers.

    I hate Fleetwod Mac, for reasons not worth delving into, but I love Buckingham's being on Elvin Bishop's only Top 40 hit.

  12. ...and now it seems that Mickey Thomas and Donny Baldwin, both later to be in (Jefferson) Starship, were backing Elvin and not Lindsey Buckingham. When I'm wrong, I'm wrong in odd ways.