The older I get, the more I realize that experiencing the guitar at an early age should be an opportunity that everyone shares. I believe that if every person in this world enjoyed the guitar like we do, the world as we know it would be a much different place. I can remember the experience of trying to form my first band and my first experience interacting with other players. I can also recall sneaking over to the local bad boy’s house – the kid that the whole town referred to simply as “long hair” – to drink Mountain Dew, smoke cigarettes and play guitar! That intrinsically satisfying, youthful excitement generated when learning a new lick, conquering a new scale or simply copping that first groove with a band has become a lifelong addiction.
I can still vividly recall performing at my first junior high talent show and blowing up the school’s Shure Vocal Master PA during my Kiss tribute band’s performance; playing my first club at age 17 and literally having to leave right after the basketball game to get to the club in enough time for the sound check; my very first week-long tour opening for Head East; and recording my first original song and meeting my wife of 22 years while she was working as a waitress at a club where I played near Creighton University. Hang on, there is a moral to this story.
These days, as I settle into a gigging life comprised primarily of acoustic shows, I still feel the youthful excitement of that very first junior high talent show – perhaps illustrating that as we get older we tend to judge time by counting the memories, not by counting the years. I will never play Carnegie Hall or have a private dressing room at Wembley Stadium, but in my twisted mind I am a star, simply because I had the power to dream it, the courage to live it, and now, I have the responsibility to pass it on. I am sure many of you feel the same. Pass it on – give an eight-year-old kid an impromptu guitar lesson at the local music store or coordinate a local fund raising event to purchase guitars for schools. Play a benefit gig for a local retirement home, donate an hour set to the American Cancer Society or play Christmas carols at your local hospital and feel the power of music lift a spirit.
Look at it as another way to “do it yourself,” as this issue of Premier Guitar is proud to celebrate with our inspirational articles of personal tone and chops enrichment – never forget to include yourself as a shareable resource.
If you can dream it, you can live it. Life is short, play more guitar.
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