How do you spend your leisure time? What do you like to do? :)
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I have a couple of hobbies; I find a lot of enjoyment in a lot of different things, and when I have the time to spend on each one I'm delighted. But, the downside to having a few different hobbies is that sometimes some of them can get neglected from time to time, especially when I just haven't got the free time to spend on them.
I had the intention of writing about a few of them but decided to stick to just one for this post.
Me and the lads went out a few days back to do a photo shoot, we needed to hand in a photo of us for something I'll be announcing soon here on Hive.
My parents were both in punk bands when they were younger and then when I was a kid they formed one together, with my uncle and some of their friends. So for me, there was always music on growing up, not just punk, but all sorts of stuff as well as instruments laying around.
I got my first guitar when I was about 10 or 11, it was a little acoustic and I learned a few cords, but sadly I didn't become the next Jimi Hendrix, instead, the instrument sat in the corner of my room gathering dust.
When I was about 14, my parents bought me an electric guitar. It was a black Marlin flying-v and it was pretty cool, I had a small amp and was practicing on it more than the little acoustic, mainly because a bunch of my friends at the time were getting into music and we would be learning tabs, showing each other stuff, and eventually, we started to form bands... that rarely got past the second rehearsal.
I didn't stick out the guitar, I never done lessons, and teaching yourself can only really get you so far, especially if you haven't got that drive to keep learning and practicing.
Then at around 16, my dad came back from the music shop after buying a rake of stuff, a small desk for home recordings, a new Gibson, and a Bass guitar which is a Cruiser by Crafter for himself.
Well, I was checking out the stuff, picked up the bass, and instantly I was able to get something out of it and just enjoyed the sound and feel of it. So, he saw I liked it and gave it to me, and to this day it's my main bass. It's a little bit smaller than the average bass and has active pickups - which have let me down in the past, nothing worse than going on stage after neglecting to change your dead battery.
I've never had lessons, but stuck it out, especially in the early days. I joined a few bands with friends, formed some bands, played a few gigs and when I got to about 18 or 19 I joined a Ska Punk Band with my dad, which I'm still in, and I have another band on the go at the moment with some friends of mine and we do cover songs and play around some pubs.
Me and the lads back at the end of January when we support Bad Manners up in Dublin.
Learning An Instrument
It can be hard to pick something up and stick with it long enough to get decent at it, and getting good at an instrument is the best motivator to keep pushing yourself to learn.
After about 14 years of playing the bass, I don't think I'm as good as I could be, but in the last few years I've really seen myself getting better and that gave me the drive to push myself to learn more.
Also, I think the best thing for learning an instrument is joining a band with some other people who are in and around the same level as you. Together you can learn a hell of a lot faster than you can on your own, while also building confidence in playing, as well as learning timing... one thing I will say though is, sometimes you can play with people you don't jell with, that's normal, and if after a few weeks, it doesn't feel right, you may need to find some new peeps to play with.
Once you get to a comfortable level, the best thing to do is play with people who are better than you or know more than you, because you can't help but learn from people when playing with them regularly.
Here's us when we supported Paranoid Visions for their 40th anniversary up in Dublin and we played alongside Subhumans, The Nilz and Meryl Streek.
That's My Main Hobby
I've loved music from an early age and it's one of those things I have never grown out of. Any chance I get I'm either listening to a pair of headphones or playing something.
I think I spend more time listening to it than I do playing it though, and if it was the other way around I can only imagine how good I would be.