Heads, Hands and Feet was a cool band from the UK. They were active in the early 70′s and, for me, the band was most notable as my introduction to the guitar genius of Albert Lee. I first played with him at a 1979 Buddy Holly week concert in London with the Crickets, Don Everly and our Wings line-up. A short time later at an in-studio jam with Eric Clapton (two of my idols in one place!) Since then I’ve enjoyed playing guitar with him on many occasions and I’m looking forward to sharing the stage in late April at a festival in Soave in Italy.
However, my topic today is actually some of the occupational hazards of being a guitar player. Head-wise, or more specifically hair-wise, as a studio player one has to contend with the dread ‘headphone hair’. Not mention the various 90′s-era bad-hair gigs due to high humidity and an overly-experimental barber (notice, no links here to youtube videos…..). But I can’t complain about having been blessed with a decent head of hair.
Also, I keep my ‘head’ straight on the road with a form of meditation. I learned TM in London in the mid-70′s and it is a terrific antidote to jet-lag.
My feet are well-covered by ‘Moc’-style Merrells – they are easy to slip in and out of at airport security – a major travel priority these days.
I’m amazed how little attention I paid to my hands and fingers until recently. I don’t use fingernails for my right hand picking, only flesh, so I’ve been spared the issues some fingerstyle guitar players have with acrylic nails. I do have problems with cracks in my calluses though, mostly a result of dryness. I’ve used various moisturing products and Superglue when all else fails, but there is always a residual weakness in the callus.
A recent bout with a nasty left hand index fingertip split led me to Randy Jacobs MD, the inventor of Guitar Hands, a lipid-based moisturizer. He set me straight about maintaining a healthy layer of lipids and the dehydrating effect of Superglue (Stevie Ray Vaughn mythology notwithstanding) and he treated the fingertip with a mild topical cortisone ointment. Randy’s product really does make a difference, my hands are not suffering the low humidity of the Southern California Winter, plus I feel like I’ve grown a brand new fingertip……. LJ