In the summer of 1981, Foreigner released their fourth album with the simple name of “4” or “Foreigner 4” as we always called it. I would hole up with my best friends, Andy and Kevin, in Andy’s parent’s cabins on their land and “air jam” to Jukebox Hero, over and over again.
At first, I was relegated to the imaginary drums, which I was sort of lukewarm to. After a few times through, I asked for us to switch around, and I got to be the guitar player.
There I was, a 14-year-old boy fantasizing about being a rock star, pretending to play a song about a boy who fantasizes about becoming a rock star. It was very meta.
Later, I would actually buy a beat up six string and learn how to play. I didn’t make it to rock stardom, but I was in a band long enough, that was successful enough, that I realized a lot of my boyhood dream.
But I didn’t realize all of it, and that’s what this project is about. I learned to play guitar well, even above average, but I never got the point where I thought I was great. I never learned to play like the great guitar players that I grew up listening to.
Now I have that chance. I know it will be hard, and there will be times where I want to give up, but I’ll keep thinking back to those summers in the cabins, playing a scratchy Foreigner album over and over and imagining the guitar solo that I knew I would someday play.
I may not learn Jukebox Hero — that’s part of the mystery of this blog, and you’ll have to wait and see — but the spirit is the same, and I have similar, strong connections to the songs on my solo list. I’d love for you to follow along with me and give me company on this long, interesting journey through my youth, the history of classic rock, and the talent and unmistakeable skill of some of the best guitarists in the world.