Recently, I had to have a long sit-down with myself and assess some things in my life. As some of you know, music has always been a constant (well, I still enjoy old school video games). And like anything else, you get frustrated dealing with something you’re so passionate about. Doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, fireman, painter, dog-walker…you get down on yourself about trivial things.
That happened to me a while back.
I’ve been a guitarist longer than I care to admit. Have had amazing opportunities, and giant disappointments as well. Musicians by and large want to be seen more than heard sometimes. This is why most are in 34 bands, just for the sole purpose of “If I look really busy, people will think I’m awesome!” I was guilty of that too. When I walked away from everything in 2019, I swore off live shows. And well, when you have a hit album in 2021, suddenly there’s interest in you again, albeit with mixed feelings.
When you hone your craft as much as I did and still do, you hope people will come around and say “You’re a legend” and “You’re a guitar god”. I became obsessed with wanting to hear these things, and honestly they rarely happened, if at all. The same people who praise me are the same ones who think a wanna-be Pantera band are “killing it”. Are people genuine with me, or are they talking out of their asses?
I’m thinking 20/80 for this one.
Trying to be a guitar god was too time-consuming for me. It was becoming more of a heart break than anything else. As a kid, I would see pics and videos of Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Ritchie Blackmore…and think “I can be like that!” When you’re a scrawny kid from North Arlington that gets bullied all the time, you have lofty goals. I wanted to go from Clark Kent to Superman overnight.
I came damn close, didn’t I?
I sit here typing my fingers off and have to give something up. That something is wanting to be a guitar god. It’s just not in the cards. Being a teacher has always been my niche, and my students love me. They can’t wait to see what I have up my sleeve for their next lesson. Can’t say the same for guys who stand in the room with folded arms wishing I would poorly cover Metallica. And once I told myself, “Self, you can let go now”, I felt a giant weight lifted off of my back. I still love playing the guitar, still want to perform (not as much as in the past), and am working on rough demos for a 9th album.
I think being a creative musician is more fulfilling than trying to be someone that I was not meant to be.
But it was fun trying!