How Doctor Who fandom led me to get serious about guitar

How Doctor Who fandom led me to get serious about guitarA long time ago, at a PBS station far, far away…

The Gallifreyan Embassy, an intrepid little group of sci-fi fans (guess which show was our favorite? lol), was manning the phones for Doctor Who pledge night. But unbeknownst to them, a secret meeting was in progress: a crisis was at hand–if the Embassy did not supply a musical act for the upcoming sci-fi convention, the only recourse would be (gasp!) The Band From Last Year’s Con! OH NO, NOT THAT!

So it was that I and my friend Bug found ourselves “volunteered”.

Bug and I had done a bit of filking at parties, but we weren’t a band as such. Just the two of us on an auditorium stage? Yikes!

A word about filk music, for those who are used to the newer terms wrock, trock, etc., well, filk is what it was all called then. Music, parody or original, about your favorite shows, movies…whatever.

How Doctor Who fandom led me to get serious about guitarSo I called on the Force (and on the phone) and recruited a couple more friends, one old and one new, and with barely a week’s rehearsal the Fellowship of the Makeshift Band set out to conquer the con cabaret.
Of course, as in any proper quest, there were obstacles. Like the laryngitis thing that made the rounds during rehearsal, and the biggest spanner in the works: someone had dropped the keyboardist’s drum machine while they were setting up our gear, and it had a nervous breakdown in the middle of “Walk Like A Gallifreyan”. I had to add-lib while he furiously tried to get it going again, which it did, finally, albeit veerryy slloowwly. Fortunately this was a good enough tempo for our last number, “The Morbius Mash”, and we not only made it through with flying colors but we liked playing together so much we decided to keep going.
And so, I suddenly found myself the only guitar in a band. Self-taught on these instructions for holding a pick, and so content with playing rhythm up till then, I decided it was time to go for lessons, so that I could also play lead. I had the blind luck to stumble across a session player, co-owner of a store, at a time when he had time to teach. I didn’t know the session player part at the time; I found that out over the next few months, as well as what having taught at Musician’s Institute meant.

The later came into sharp focus when my teacher had to go off on a major tour and the other guys at the store took over his students. So when he got back, I bugged him to start teaching again every chance I got.
Eventually, he gave in. But he was only taking on a few students, and it would be different from before…it reminded me of the scene in every kung fu movie where the sensei was telling the would-be student about how hard they’d have to work to master kung fu.

A few months into the new lessons I realized why. The lessons were geared towards doing session work. By that time I knew a lot more about what that entailed, and the work he’d done, and I decided if he thought I could do what he did I’d give it my best shot.

And that’s how Doctor Who fandom led me to become a professional guitarist.

Oh, I still write filk songs. I’ll be performing some at LI Who in November. Which reminds me, back to work… 🙂


I'm a professional musician.. I trained as a session player and can do jingles, soundtracks, game music, etc. as well as my own music (including filk/trock :) ). I'm a lifelong fan of scifi and fantasy including, of course, Doctor Who.

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