Category Archives: Sal Costa My Rock and Roll Journey
Written by Sal Costa (SMASHING SATELLITES)
SEX WITHOUT ORGASMS and EXPECTATIONS
For me, the guitar lessons with Frank Cosentino weren’t just a skill that I was acquiring and would soon forget. I saw these lessons as footprints at the bottom of a giant mountain that I was eager to climb. I just needed to start climbing… and that’s what I did.
I was constantly on a search for likeminded individuals who were ready to take on the harsh climate of the music industry. At this time, I knew nothing about the industry. It was purely about my passion and pure intentions. I didn’t care about being famous, making money or creating a business. All I cared about was making songs, honing in on my craft, expressing myself and working with other misfits like myself. I wish I could go back to those pure intentions I once had, but the music industry makes it very hard to stay pure. Whether people say it or not, you always need to fit some kind of mold (and I hate that). You are just a dollar sign to most people in the industry. You mean something to an elite group of people when you are hot, and when you are not, good luck! Luckily for me, I have had a few people in my court that don’t stop fighting for me, and amazingly loyal fans.
At this point it my journey, however, I was constantly inspired and enthralled at just playing music (even with a revolving door of band mates). The only ones who stuck around were the ones who could stand up and meet up to my extremely demanding expectations. I realized at this point in my life that there are a lot of people who WANT success, but don’t have the strength to face the music and DEMAND the best of themselves. So yes, I kicked probably 100 people out of all my bands (starting with my pre-high school bands). Many of these people saw me as a tyrant, and I kind of was. I was ride or die. Intense. Emotional. Head strong beyond belief. I wanted to be in the best fucking band you could ever imagine, nothing short of that. A lot of other musicians I began playing with were too interested in doing covers songs. I was not really into that whole thing. I was oozing with creative energy that I needed to release. I always felt like only playing cover songs was like sex without the orgasm…zero payoff!
I spent hours pretending to do my homework so my parents wouldn’t bother me. Really, I was doing was just doodling on paper, writing poetry and making logo designs for my future band names. I had all of this excitement and energy, but what drove me nuts is that I didn’t have anyone to share it with. You know, that feeling of dancing alone rather than with someone who appreciates the movement as much as you do. I felt like no one would ever share this drive and passion to achieve greatness. However, one September morning (after years of searching), I happened be sitting in front of my future best friend and bassist extraordinaire.
But that… that is another story to be told in Chapter 3 of “My Rock and Roll Journey.”
MORE “MY ROCK AND ROLL JOURNEY” STORIES
Written by Sal Costa (Smashing Satellites)
Music was a part of my life since the day I was born. My mother was a young poet. My eldest sister, Cathy, was a classical pianist, and my middle sister, Monique, was a ‘90s “grunge girl” with a ridiculous record collection and an eclectic group of friends to match. My father, although not musical, was extremely creative with his hands. He would make me toys, robots and all kinds of stuff. Music, passion and creative energy is in my family’s blood, and was passed through to me. Even before I started playing an instrument, I just knew in my bones that I was supposed to be on stage performing. I didn’t know what at the time, but I just knew that I was meant to be on stage. I felt that I needed to help people through life and music to be understood.
“My Rock and Roll Journey” is all about helping people to feel understood. We all just want to feel like we have a place. Even those of us who are hippies and free spirits at heart all want to feel like there is someone out there who understands us. We all go through the same things in life, so I felt like my journey was to write about it and share it with the world. A lot of the time, the struggles that we go through are struggles that we don’t always feel like we can talk about because of stereotypes and judgment. I wanted to put all of these subjects on the table so that no one ever feels alone.
I started off playing the piano when I was about 3 or 4 years old because I admired Cathy so much. I wanted to be just like her. She had elegance and class in her playing, and she could play anything that you put in front of her. However, when I started playing piano, I realized that my gift and talent was different than hers. I could not sight read music very well; it was a real struggle for me. My gift was being able to listen to music in my head and playing it.
I began writing my own melodies and songs, and stopped taking lessons because I felt that, in my heart, what I needed to learn was going to be learned through experience and life. A few years later, Monique bought me my first acoustic guitar (I still have it and use it to this day), and I was off to the races. All I wanted was to be the BEST guitar player I could be, so I started taking guitar lessons.
I am very fortunate that my parents found my guitar teacher, Frank Cosentino. He taught at KAOS Music in Toronto, Ontario. Frank got me. At a young age, he was able to identify that my skill was not going to be learning other peoples’ songs and tricks, but rather digging deep and finding my own. Since day one, I was never good at being (or trying to be) like anyone else, so rather than teach me, Frank guided me into finding my voice through the guitar. We would put on instrumental backing tracks and just freeform jam the whole lesson. Through all of this jamming, I learned how to play the guitar using my own expression.
MANY times, I would come home and my mom would be concerned. She would ask questions like…“Are you not learning notes? How come you never use your music book? What the heck is Frank teaching you?” Nonetheless, my mom saw that I was happy, and she kept sending me to Frank for lessons. Years later, she would understand what he taught me. He was more than a guitar teacher. He was a mentor. He threw gasoline on the fire, and we started burning down the woods.
Although Frank had me focused on finding my own sound early on, there are a number of artists from various genres that were a big influence on me. In the next chapter of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” I will be discussing these artists, and the defining moment that changed everything for me after seeing one particular video on MTV when I was 8-years old.