So, you want to be a guitar god. You finally got fired from the Office Depot, huh? You sold your collection of Van Halen CDs, and bought that Flying V from the pawnshop, did ya? You've been shredding in front of your mom's full-size mirror? You learn every song that Guitar Player magazine tabs out, and you stuff a sock down your pants every morning? The license plate on your '88 Fiero says GTRRULZ and you live in your parents' basement?
Guitar God 101 is your answer, bub—coming to a community college or technical school near you. There are certain things every wanking, permed, pathetic, and solo-happy axeman should know, certain things the guitar gods of the future can learn from the deities of the past—so when the arena tour calls, the spandex fits. Let's begin.
• Let the blonde carry the dope in the airport.
You'd think they'd learn, but time and time again, sloppy guitar god wannabes get busted in airports holding the smack. It's happened so many times you can't even feel sorry for them anymore. If ever there were a situation where a groupie comes in handy, getting the nose candy through LAX is it. Groupies are good for more than between-encore BJs and playing hide the bottle of champagne. Utilize them wisely.
• Sleep on your side.
As a guitar god, you'll find yourself lying down to rest in plenty of strange places—fancy hotels, green rooms, tour buses, and courtrooms. It's important to keep your wits about you. The fastest way to end a career and leave your drummer unemployed (again) is a handful of big, white "feel good" pills, a bottle or two of the bubbly, and a nice long nap flat on your back. Avoid the urge. You can't breathe vomit. Trust me. Trust Jimi.
• Keep the kiddy porn off the computer.
Undoubtedly, after a long, fruitful career as a guitar god, there'll come a point, after a few shitty albums, a few bogus tours, and a few appearances with Eddie Vedder that you'll want to write a book. If this book happens to be about the way Uncle Ernie fiddled about in your pants when you were little, don't research child pornography, and dear god, if you do, don't keep the stuff on your hard drive. They'll never believe you.
• Jam on it.
If you want to run with the big dogs, you've got to piss in the tall grass. Bottom line. Part of being a guitar god is seizing the moment—any moment. Presented with even the slightest opening, the guitar god steps to center stage and lets loose. Don't worry about the rest of your band. This is where the hours spent memorizing every scale on the neck pays off. Take your time. Own it. A song doesn't become classic without an eight-minute guitar solo. The people came to see you. Remember that.
Nothing kills the moment like a pulled hamstring mid leg kick. Flexibility is key. If you're going to successfully glide across stage on your knees, you need to be limber. Music isn't good without circus theatrics, right? Many an aspiring guitar god has ended his career early thanks to a blown ACL or torn tendon. Just like those leather pants need stretching before you get into them, your muscles need stretching before hitting the stage.
• Learn from those who came before you.
It's simple. Every guitar god that the world has known stole their licks from the guitarists they looked up to when they were starving, penniless musicians. You can steal from them. If for some godforsaken reason you've chosen guitar god as your calling (lords know we don't have enough of them), use the lessons they've provided, and the tips from Guitar God 101. You'll be an embarrassment to your friends and family, but hell, that's never stopped you before.