The music business can be a place fraught with danger and problems at every turn. Not to mention the sheer belief in one’s self and courage it takes to put yourself out there, into the mix of things, and into that dangerous environment! With that said, there always comes a point for most guitar players to finally make that decision that will take them into the real world of music. And this is something you’ll have to do sooner or later! I have seen far too many brilliant players fall by the wayside from a lack of confidence, which holds them back from really taking the chances one must take if they expect to succeed.
I was very young, only 18, when I actually moved to Woodstock to begin my musical career in earnest. And this came after playing the guitar for 8 years already, and also having gigged in and around the Woodstock, NY, Philadelphia and New York City areas for 3 solid years. I certainly wasn’t lacking for confidence, and already felt that I had something “new” and different to bring to the table in regards to the world of music, and more specifically, the guitar. So, before I knew it, I was jumping onstage to play with many famous musicians in and around Woodstock, such as Paul Butterfield, Happy and Artie Traum, Eric Andersen, John Sebastian and the like. It wasn’t all roses of course. It was a trying time for me, also. I was there, with a tiny apartment, didn’t drive yet, had to hitch-hike everywhere or catch rides with friends, and the band that I supposedly moved up there to be in, quickly disbanded, as we couldn’t deal with the ego of the guy who really just wanted to make our group his own “back-up” band!
So, with not much else really happening for me, I ended up moving back home to the Bronx, and after having tasted “real” professional music and players, had to settle back into being part of a pretty bad “cover” band that was just doing whatever gig we could find….and some of them downright unbelievable!
Still, in retrospect, I even look back on that rather dark period as a learning experience, and even though I was playing a lot of music I thought was pretty lousy, it helped teach me about just that; being able to play well and to be creative even within music that was less than appealing for me! It also has so much to do with the players you are working with, and how you get along. Several band members knew I had much more talent than them, but mostly they seemed to be glad I was there, since I elevated the entire band with my abilities, and helped them all to play better! There was probably an underlying envy as well, but they were smart enough to know that if they had started to give me a hard time, I would’ve just left.
As it was, Woodstock and the “bigger” music business still beckoned, and I ended up doing so much work that was based in Woodstock after that that it didn’t matter that I didn’t live there again; folks strongly associated me with that scene since I was recording and touring with so many Woodstock-based artists!
So, if you’ve got the talent, and especially the will, you’ll see that if you’re willing to get “out there” and really show your stuff it’ll eventually pay off, and the waters of your true career will eventually be able to seek their correct, and deserved level!