Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Killer Guitars

Suffice it to say that most of us don't push the envelope much when it comes to creativity. Taught from kindergarten that the sky is blue and grass is green, for many of us it takes years to really notice green skies before a hail storm or brown grass in August. For Cesar Lopez, it took a love of music and a gun to really paint his sky a different color.

A classically trained musician and composer in Bogota, Columbia, Mr. Lopez may easier be sterotyped as a tuxedo-wearing member of an orchestra than a rocker with a guitar that he invented himself -- a guitar made out of a decommissioned rifle. But this innovator has been busy shaking up the industry with a political statement about weapons. In his own words: "What we want to create is an invitation to an attitude of change. It says a lot of different things — but the main idea is that weapons can be changed from an object of destructiveness to an object of constructiveness." Read the whole article and see the pictures here.

He's also busy forming a band out of members of opposing political lines and Columbian gangs, with the stipulation that they are allowed to talk only about music, not politics. He promises that the band, Experimental Reconciliation Group, will be performing later this year.

His message is getting out. He is now designing guitars out of AK-47's, is planning to give weapon-guitars as gifts to the likes of Shakira, Santana, Paul McCartney, and the Dali Lama.

Kudos for creativity. This author's question is: with all the decommissioned weapons he's turning into instruments, will he be giving lessons to all the decommissioned soldiers as well?

In all fairness, this stand for peace may be the most ingenious one this author has ever heard of. It's not invasive, it's subtle, it's creative, and it actually causes people to think as well as provides entertainment. And think of the recycling project! Not to mention that the guitars actually sound pretty good!

Mr. Lopez has a valid concern, however. Although all his instruments are created from decommissioned weapons, he acknowledges that another person may make an instrument out of a live rifle still capable of being fired and use it for something more sinister than a killer riff.

So perhaps the world is not ready for a live performance of rifle-guitars. It would still add interest to any musicians' personal collection. Or hanging on the wall of a Hard Rock Cafe.

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