Duda, a self-made guitar hero
Every parent for every child has something in mind they want their child to do. They put their child in soccer, dance lessons, piano lessons, you name it. They hope their son or daughter will like it and hopefully continue with it.
Louis Duda, a student at NIACC, plays the guitar for the NIACC Singers.
Duda has played guitar since he was eight years old.
“I was forced into to it by willing parents,” he said.
He said he received a guitar for Christmas and as they say, it’s been history ever since.
Although Duda has played for the majority of his life, he has had virtually no formal training.
As a child, Duda said he took lessons for about two months and has played by ear ever since. To learn songs, he simply listens to the track.
When learning a song on the guitar for the first time, Duda said it doesn’t take him very long to know how to play it. He said he can typically pick it up right away.
“I can usually play (along) before people are done playing it,” Duda said. “I’ll step in the second verse and I’ll be fine for the rest of the song.”
Not only can he learn other people’s songs in a short amount of time, he can learn his own songs because he also likes to create his own music.
Since the day he’s known how to play a guitar, Duda has written music. He said he doesn’t know how many songs he has written because there is an infinite number he’s written, but hasn’t finished.
For the songs he has completed, Duda said there could be 150-250 songs.
Duda said it’s somewhat hard to know the exact amount of songs he has written because he doesn’t keep track of them all.
“I’ll play a chord (from a song) five years later and just play where it goes,” Duda said. “It’s like, ‘oh, I remember playing that.’”
One of his favorite songs he has written is called “A Situation,” co-written with one of his good friends.
“It’s a really simple song,” he said. “It’s got a lot of freedom in the way that I play it.”
As for the genres he enjoys playing, Duda said he plays many different genres.
Genres that pique his interest include rock, progressive and indie.
Duda said he also likes to dabble with jazz chords and inverted chords.
“I like different elements of different genres (when I play),” Duda said.
Some of his favorite influences are all over the board. They range includes Radiohead, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer and Pink Floyd, to a name a few.
Duda said one of his first major influences was Mike Einziger of Incubus.
“It was the first music that I noticed that was different from the rest,” he said.
The type of music he’s been into more recently is music by John Mayer and progressive blues.
For more experience with this type of music, as well as a larger scale music experience, Duda went on the road with a modern blues band.
The summer of 2008, he traveled with the Iowa native band Sean Bright and the Evicted.
This was Duda’s first encounter with touring the country with an actual band.
“It was my first tour so it was good experience,” Duda said. “I was just kind of thrown in with it and I learned a lot about them.”
Duda said they toured for about a month in Tennessee and Georgia with a show almost every night.
The tour, however, was sadly cut short due to high gas prices.
Besides the Evicted, Duda said he also plays with about eight other bands.
Champagne Thursdays, a jazz band, consists of Duda on electric guitar as well as other college students he knows from high school on drums, bass and saxophone.
They’ve played at a variety of small events including the Clear Lake Harvest Festival.
Duda also plays lead guitar with Lucas Frein and the Smoking Guns, an indie rock band.
They can be seen playing various shows at Toast, a local bar in Mason City.
For show listings, visit http://www.myspace.com/lucasfreinandthesmokingguns.
Though he is in many bands, Duda said he has also had his struggles with finding people to play with.
Duda said he wants to find people who have the same vision he does, but added that he can’t do that in Mason City. He said he wants to get more into “the scene.”
“There’s no one in Mason City who wants to make something new,” he said. “It makes me feel like I have to move to find people.”
When Duda isn’t playing with a band, he’s usually practicing. He said he can practice from two to five hours a day.
Duda practices on both acoustic and electric guitar.
There are different things he said that he enjoys playing about each.
“With acoustic, you get a full bodied, natural sound,” Duda said. “With the electric, it’s easier to express myself on (it) because it’s easier for me to play. It helps me express my mood.”
Besides the guitar, Duda has had experience in piano, violin, cornet, drums and bass. He also said he would give the accordion a try.
“It’s something else to learn to play when I get bored,” he said. “It’s something entertaining.”
For the future, Duda said he hopes to be playing guitar for as long as he can. He said he hopes to be in Colorado, California or touring the mid-west in a blues-binged, six-member band.
In all, Duda said he said he feels like playing guitar is his job, which ultimately, he wants it to be.
“Playing guitar is the one time I feel like I’m doing what I should be doing,” he said. “I want to do it for the rest of my life.”