The world changed when I turned 11
It all actually started the year leading up to it. I distinctly remember being in my room that I shared with my 13-year-old brother Andrija. I heard KISS blaring out of the store room at the back of the garage. There was something different about the quality of the sound. It sounded like KISS was IN MY GARAGE. I had to go and inspect. I was drawn to the sound like a floating cat towards a tuna dinner.
When I opened the door to the store room I was instantaneously and simultaneously underwhelmed/overwhelmed.
What I saw was my brother and two of his mates behind some rudimentary instruments making noise. What blew me away was that to my 10-year-old ears, they sounded pretty much just like the KISS I knew from my older brother Josip’s records.
My bro in the store room with his red glitter drum kit he painted himself.
This moment changed me forever because I thought “If these young dudes could sound like KISS, then surely I can do this”. It took away the mythology of music only being for certain kinds of special people like rock stars on TV.
From that moment on, I sat in on every rehearsal these guys had, every Saturday morning for a year or two. I commenced my nagging campaign directed at my caring and nurturing mother for my very own guitar. We went looking at guitar stores over the following months and I got enraptured by the possibilities.
On my 11th birthday I received my $150 Torch Vintage Series Stratocaster with an Eddie Van Halen copy paint job on it and a whammy bar. Nothing would be the same again.
That's me, pretending to be on stage with my new guitar.
I got a few pointers from Brett, the guitar player in Andrija’s band. I would spend countless hours playing the same thing over and over again until it sounded like music. I started having lessons, writing songs, singing, writing poetry, starting bands, making records, touring Australia and Europe, playing with Gotye and my childhood guitar hero Tommy Emmanuel. A lot sprung out of that moment in the garage.
I trace it all back to a Saturday morning where three teenage dudes got together to rock.
It makes me now feel that playing my own music is a part of that ripple going out and that maybe it might inspire others to pick up an instrument, write something and express themselves.
If I kick start one person on that journey, the ripples continue and the world gets better for it.
My gratitude goes out to my brother Andrija and his band Taurus. Also to my mum for yielding to my incessant nagging and buying me that guitar and paying for guitar lessons for 6 years and driving me to and from them.
I’m so grateful I have music in my life. It has saved my life many times and brought me deep and profound joy, as it will for decades to come. It is a precious experience that I cannot imagine living without.
If you play music, tell me in the discussion below how you got started? What was your ignition moment?
If you don’t play an instrument, get one! Tell me the first piece of music that moved you to love music.
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