You have to be interested in playing guitar. No matter what music he’s playing, there has to be something to the sound. So the best way is to ask your parents. You have to get your friends involved in the scene. If you’re just going to be yourself, you don’t need anybody else to motivate you to do cool stuff. It’s the same with music… You should have a song you really like that you want to play. That’s the easiest way to get your feet wet. The harder way to get noticed is to play guitar. Just play. Don’t take that first step into the music world. Get into a band, learn every song you can, and then the next thing you know your band is going to be touring around the world. That’s the easiest way to learn.
How could a person have an easier time becoming a successful guitarist than those who grew up watching the Beatles or rock & roll?
Most students who got into music from the ’60s to the ’70s (before rock & roll and after jazz), they’re pretty much all a product of the music culture. Their parents were musicians too, so they all learned from their parents. All those things just don’t mix. There’s no time for introspection. It just never occurred to most of them that there’s a little thing you can learn about yourself in the music world. It’s been like that for the last 50 years. When people learn by watching, you don’t get into any kind of headspace. You just watch and then you can’t think of anything else. You only think, “OK, well, you’re going to start playing now.”
Do artists like Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan ever disappoint you after the first guitar lesson?
There are those and then there are those, and I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a lot of guys play the same thing, play the same song like a thousand other people and be very successful. If you take a band like that, the guy starts thinking, “I’m just going to do the same thing as everybody else.” And if the song is good, then he’s happy. But if what they’re playing is just crap, you know it’s just gonna be a long time before the band hits a note that you’re satisfied with.
When you’re working solo, what do you usually get up to?
I like to write. I’ve always written very well. I like just
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