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John Roderick is the singer and songwriter responsible for Seattle's The Long Winters. He tweets @johnroderick .
The following question is an excerpt from John

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Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton to John Roderick: "Should I Learn How to Read Music?"

Thumbnail image for johnroderick550.jpg
John Roderick is the singer and songwriter responsible for Seattle's The Long Winters. He tweets @johnroderick.
The following question is an excerpt from John Roderick's Answers & Advice column, which will appear in the August issue of SW's Reverb Monthly, out Wednesday.

Should I learn how to read music?

--Tom Hamilton, bassist, Aerosmith (The band plays the Tacoma Dome on Wed., Aug. 8.)

Roderick: This is a really good question--one I am often asked by members of Aerosmith. I think you should absolutely learn to read music, Tom, because staying young is a continual process of learning and growing.

I'm not trying to flim-flam you with a bunch of hippie spirituality; I'm sure you've heard more crackpot New Age health gibberish than almost any man on Earth, sitting around hotel lobbies half-listening while stoner girls in their early 20s try to impress you with their alternative health remedies. The wheatgrass-juice enemas you've had in the past 10 years alone probably make you shudder every time your tour bus drives through alfalfa country. Still, it is undoubtedly true that learning new things can happen at any age, and that a limber mind is the secret of youth.

I can't help but notice, as I peruse my extensive library, that the shelf marked "Aerosmith Rehab Memoirs" doesn't contain a Tom Hamilton title. It is also apparent to even the casual onlooker that you are the only member of Aerosmith who doesn't look like he's wearing a Freddy Krueger mask. So I have to guess that you have managed somehow either to avoid selling your soul to the Devil, or at least got a halfway-decent price for it. But just because you're the only one not to end up looking like a shrunken apple doesn't mean you're in the free and clear. You're at that age when a man takes stock of his life and thinks "Sure, I wrecked some Ferraris and burned down a mansion or two and had a threesome with Cher and Richard Simmons, but is it enough? Did I do good? Does my life have meaning?"

Everyone, even someone who has probably shot cocaine up his nose with a crossbow, needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I'm sure your memories of hordes of long-haired teenage groupies ripping off their bell-bottoms in a frenzy to have gang sex with you in your underwater fetish grotto--back before this country got so moralistic about rock musicians mentoring crazy teenagers in this way--must keep the blues away on most rainy mornings. Even so, imagine the great satisfaction you'll have as you sit down with your "Beginner's Music Notation" lesson book and start practicing your scales. It warms the heart, and think of how proud it will make your grandparents.

 
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