There comes a time in many of our careers when we do at least get a little chance to play with a true guitar great, or at least someone who’s playing we’ve admired for a long time! I can recall that in my early career, I was sometimes just so impressed when I met anyone who even actually made a record! The fact that they did this seemed to elevate them to a supernatural state in my inexperienced eyes, and I was always literally star-struck by almost anyone!
Obviously, over time, that changed, but I must admit, that to this day, there are still some “greats” I am truly in awe of when I play with them, or of course some, who I’ve yet to play with! Some of the most exciting times like this that happened for me, really occurred by default, since I was documenting so many of these “greats,” many who were my heroes, on my company Hot Licks Video! So, before I knew it, I was there with folks like Buddy Guy, Tal Farlow, George Benson, Joe Pass, Brian Setzer and countless others who I really admired and under most circumstances, would never had met, let alone played with!
Of course, the most happy time is when you can see that they have a similar appreciation for me, and my playing; an extra “perk” that one cannot really expect when you’re playing with someone you’ve admired and looked up to for years! To have one of my heroes, Buddy Guy, sit there and tell me; “hey, you’re the boss, just tell me what I should do!” is pretty wild when I am literally in the presence of a man who changed the way I played the guitar forever!
The ultimate next step was being able to play with many of these artists on my albums, such as Toolin’ Around and Toolin’ Around Woodstock. Then, it became a beautiful thing to actually see what it would be like to really interact musically with my fellow players, and what that would sound and feel like! The exciting thing is that no matter who is there with you, each experience is unique unto itself, and the outcome is always a pleasant surprise!
So I hope that you have some of these kinds of encounters in your collective futures, and you also get that special thrill you can only get when playing with the greats!!