When I was in junior high school my older sister received a Les Paul guitar copy for her 16th birthday. It was red and it looked amazing. I was fascinated by the sound it produced, even if it was one simple power chord. I had to touch it. I had to play it. I would play it when she was not home and I started playing it more than her. My step father showed me all of the songs he knew, about all 5 of them.
But then he did much more… he showed me videos of Led Zeppelin and Hendrix. This blew my mind. The image of Hendrix smashing guitars, producing those emotive wailing sounds and being a rock star on stage clouded my mind all the time. Once I saw him, being a rockin’ guitarist on large stages was all I wanted to be. But really, I was happy with anything to do with music. I would be happy playing in pubs, jamming with anyone who would give me the time. I had no idea at that time that I was a minority in this male driven industry.
In high school, there were guys playing in punk bands and I watched and thought they were amazing. I especially loved watching the drummer smashing out those drums, swishing his long hair around and making loud, beautiful noise.
There were no rockin’ chicks to jam with in high school and I could not find a gig. The closest thing I could find to being my first gig, was playing at a talent quest amongst groups of cute ten-year-olds in leotards dancing to pop tunes. Of course, the kids won the talent quest…. 🙂
We did not have much money growing up. My Mum and stepdad were great people and did the best they could with what they had, which was very little. They encouraged me to follow my dreams, while my blood father insisted I get a real job, a mortgage and did not take my music seriously.
My step dad, however, found a great affordable first guitar and amp package. I saved up with my local job and bought it myself. I was so excited! It was mine!
This guitar was soon stolen from me while on a break at a high school performance. I don’t usually cry much but I balled my eyes out that night. I had worked so hard to save up the money to buy that and someone so easily just took it from me.
There was a guitar at school which my music teacher allowed me to borrow until the end of my time at school. I think I had about 5 months of school left when my guitar was stolen. I would play any chance possible. I joined the school band amongst the clarinet and saxophone players. I called them ‘real musicians’ because they could read music. I slowly learnt to read chord charts and notation. My guitar teacher was teaching me to play all sorts of music from Santana, to George Benson to jazz standards.
Fast forward one and a half decades, various releases and collaborations and festival appearances, four European tours, various tours within Australia and playing opportunities in USA, Dubai, Abhu Dhabi, Hong Kong, New Zealand, I still love what I do, even though the hours are endless and spending time at home is a rare occurrence. Sometimes I don’t even know where home is. I love that my music takes me from town to town, although often I don’t spend there more then a few hours. I love seeing the joyful faces in the crowd, grooving to the rhythm of the music. I love playing the guitar…
I’m still a student of music and always will be. I love to learn anything on my instrument and am often collaborating with writers and producers all over the world through the web or in real life when I tour. Because music is for everyone! No exclusions. No ‘cool group’. Open for everyone. Open to YOU. For it is a universal language which is for sharing, expressing emotions, relaxation and enjoyment.
But perhaps even more importantly than all of that, it’s YOU, the listener, that makes all of it matter.
I look forward to many more sometimes hard, sometimes ugly, always worth while experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hopping that you are part of that journey.
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of this journey, click here to listen to my album, ‘Per Te’. It has hard rock and contemplative progressive tunes that I like to think would make your day. 🙂
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.