It is December 22nd - the year 2000 - the Christmas tree is fully decorated with ornaments and tinsel and little homemade popsicle stick Santa Clauses in the family sitting room; a room dedicated to guests, hosting adults and quiet discussions - no roughhousing aloud. Anyone else have one of these rooms? #sittingrooms

On this eve as we approached Christmas, my brother and our parents gathered to open our customary 'one gift' before we left on our annual Christmas vacation to Kananaskis the next day. [These were good times]. I can't remember what Ben, my younger brother, got that year. It must have been jostled from my mind when my parents excused themselves upstairs for a moment, building enough anticipation to erupt a volcano, only to return, descending the stairs together to my widening eyes at the sight of a brand new, shiny, ebony electric guitar. A Mansfield (a brand I've not seen again since) accompanied by a little 8" Squire amplifier.

To be honest, I don't remember actively wanting a guitar, or to learn music at all, at this point in my life. Hockey was my life. I lived and breathed for the ice. I hadn't really considered playing music but when a 13 year old kid gets a new guitar their priorities waver a little. I think my parents were questioning whether my chunky, early pubescent ass had what it took to play hockey at a high level. I remember my dad asking me during one of Ben's minor hockey games at the Adams Arena (now the #LoganBouletMemorialArena), "Hey Nick (awkward positioning pause) What would think about piano lessons?" To which I immediately responded with a reaction of disgust akin to a child's first taste of broccoli. "What??! No, I wanna play hockey." Why would he ask that, I thought. Looking back, he looks like a prophet.

I never stopped playing hockey, I still play on a local senior AA team but hockey is no longer my priority. Acting, filmmaking and music are my passions and my livelihood now, and I think that all started on that Christmas in Y2K.

I loved that guitar; played it all the time - I had no idea what I was doing at all; didn't even know what a chord was. Not sure I knew chords existed but I played those untuned open strings like a god and, in my 13 year old head, I was on rubbing shoulders with Led Zeppelin and Vertical Horizon #VerticalHorizon. I still remember my first song... BB BB BB BBBB BB E G GGG GG GG B A AA AAAAA AA AAAAA AA AAAA G E EEE EE EE - a masterpiece.


About a month after I got my guitar I started guitar lessons in the basement of Prugers Music on 5th Street in downtown Lethbridge with a coffee drinkin' - cigarette+ smokin' rocker named Harley. Harley was always late and, looking back, I don't think he really liked his job. I remember getting "Alfred's Guitar Basics - Book 1" and working through it as best I could at the time. I used the CD. I followed the lessons but when I got my in-person lessons with Harley I would always forget. Eventually... ... ... Harley taught me the song American Psycho by 'Treble Charge