A lot of what was truly most exciting about my days as Producer/Creator of Hot Licks video was the pure excitement of working with many of my heroes on their instructional tapes. Hot Licks was always a natural extension of my love for teaching and for music in general, but it’s the folks BEHIND the music that really makes it tick!
This is why we had so many fans, and sold some 2.5 million videos worldwide, because we had the real folks, doing the real deal, and presenting it in such a natural learning environment. In many cases, such as when I did videos with people like James Burton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Brian Setzer, John Entwistle, Lonnie Mack, Mick Taylor and countless others, it was the first time these people had EVER sat down and explained what it was they were all about!
Myself a self-taught player, I have always understood the beauty behind the self-discovery that comes from these kinds of teaching experiences. I mean, I had never had to so dissect my style and technique as when I had to sit in front of a camera to do it, yet it always felt totally natural and relaxed for me to do. This in turn, helped me to get many of these other artists, some of them my REAL heroes as well as peers, through the experience, which a lot of them found rather daunting.
I had to always bear in mind that while it may be simple and the most natural thing for me to do, a lot of them were totally petrified to be in front of the camera! It was as if they were worried that some deep, dark secret was about to be exposed, or even worse, that they wre going to be exposed as the “fraud” they feared they might really be!
Meanwhile, I was always in seventh heaven to be working with these folks! I mean, Buddy Guy was easily one of my greatest guitar heroes of all time, and to have him there saying to me, “you tell me what to do, Arlen, you’re the boss!”, or to be backing up Junior Wells, and to play grooves to try to coax him out of his dressing room, or to have Mick Taylor, of The Stones, tell me, “man, that was the toughest gig of my life!” (Mick…you were in the Stones when you were 22, and this instructional tape was the toughest gig EVER?!) These are the kinds of incredible memories that are made in such a wonderful environment as having these folks teach on video! And like I said, it always felt so natural, and was such a pleasure to create for all the world to see! Lots more to come….!
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