Dubois: New Age music and Captain Kirk?

By By Carl Dubois / Special to the American Press

If you've never heard of evil Captain Kirk, or you've forgotten about him, here's a quick synopsis of an episode of the original "Star Trek" television series:

So, that's evil Captain James T. Kirk.

Now, meet George Winston.

What do they have in common? Well, probably more than meets the eye, but not long ago someone asked me what my favorite "Star Trek" episode was. I mentioned the one in the first video above. Later, I recalled a Keyboard magazine interview with George Winston from January 1984, not long after I discovered his music. Here is the relevant excerpt:

"When I play a fast piece, I'm adapting to a part of myself that's more impish, and when I play the slow stuff it's more from the introspective side. Did you ever see that "Star Trek" where Captain Kirk went through the transporter and got split into two bodies? The mean half was killing himself by getting in trouble and making people want to get him, and the other half was so nice that he couldn't do anything. I the end, they both concluded that they needed each other to survive. That's the thing with me. If I was only doing slow songs, I'd be bored. If I was only doing fast ones, I'd need some introspection. I want to please myself as well as my audience. I want to do the pieces they know, like "Colors" or "Moon" [both from "Autumn"], but I also want to try new things."

It's a long and wonderful Q&A, conducted by Bob Doerschuk, with lots of insight into his creative process. There is much discussion about the left hand and the right hand, with Winston comparing the left to a band and the right to a singer.

Or, as you can see in this video, they are like cat (left hand) and mouse (right hand):

A special thanks to Debbie at the GPI Group, who faxed me a copy of the George Winston interview many years after I originally read it in the magazine, which has long since disappeared.

I was privileged to see Winston in concert a few times, go backstage and chat with him a bit and interview him on a few occasions. When I mentioned I played guitar but did not have any frame of reference for the style known as Hawaiian slack key guitar, he asked for my address and shipped me a box full of cassette tapes of that style. If he stumbles upon this blog post, I hope he forgives me for using the term New Age in association with him. He told me long ago he dislikes the term, but it felt like the best fit for this headline. Sorry, George, and thanks again for the tapes and the interesting conversations -- and above all, the music.

Oh, and I'll leave you with this video, which shows the transporter malfunction that split Kirk into his good and bad versions: