My early guitar heroes still have a lasting influence.
When I bought my first KISS record - Love Gun (along with Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever”, and Queen’s “New of the World”) I had no idea of how I would be involved with playing guitar, and making music for a living. I didn’t even know what a guitar hero was in 1977 (I was 7). As an only child, my guitar player discoveries were completely untutored. Finding Ace Frehley and having fleeting glimpses of them of TV (Kiss meets the Phantom of the park) was like being transported to another realm. The smoking guitar, the choreography, Gene’s fire, blood, and stage lights was, for me, a glimpse into what was possible on the instrument.
Soon after came EVH, and then much later, Holdsworth. Sure, there were also my home town heroes: SRV, Eric Johnson, Freddie King, Jonny Winter, and Billy Gibbons, but Ace, Eddy, and Allan always brought things into focus. Then came Stern, Scofield, McLaughlin, Wes, Metheny, Gatton, Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian, Paco De Lucia, Albert King, Hendrix, Hedges, Tony Rice, Sonny Landreth, Cooder, etc., not to mention the pantheon of others who didn’t play the instrument - Coltrane, Brecker, Miles, Jarrett, Berlioz, Stravinsky, Haydn, Duruflé, Szymanowski, Vince Mendoza, and many many more.
Now, I’m at a phase where after playing, composing, and recording for almost 35 years, learning all the things that I have, I’m realizing that the mountains I used to want to climb, I have reached summit on all of them. But new ones are there. Only this time they are the mountains that I choose to create (scale and scope) instead of traveling the paths mapped out by others but still linked to what has come before me.
Now I ask no questions, stay in the moment, disregard the rules, and never worry about marketing, or genre, or even sales! At the moment of creation, letting go is the best way to really have a journey and the joy of knowing that you get to keep the experience.