Well, this is basically what I am doing these days, and it takes a lot to “juggle” so much at one time! I have been working on a terrific new personal album, as well as working on my daughter Lexie Roth’s second solo album. I have been doing sessions on the new Lou Pallo Les Paul tribute album, along with major artists such as Steve Miller, Jose Feliciano, Bucky Pizzarelli, Billy Gibbons and Keith Richards! It’s a very exciting project I am honored to be a part of, and my daughter even got to sing “Via Con Dios” on the album as well! My contribution is a lightning fast version of “Mr. Sandman”! On top of this, I’ve been recording solo acoustic pieces for a Burt Bacharach Tribute album, as well as a Lieber and Stoller Tribute!
There’s certainly nothing like being busy as a musician, and especially in the very creative realm I’ve been occupying these days. There’s no question that making a living as a guitar player can be a daunting task, and you certainly may have to work at what will feel like several jobs, while putting it all under the one heading of being a “guitar player!” This means you can be teaching, touring, recording, writing, songwriting and Lord knows what else! Regardless of how much you may have to do, as long as it fits under the basic heading of “guitar”, you can at least feel like you’re progressing in your career. Many folks in other artistic fields such as acting, etc., may have to do more of your typical “other” kinds of jobs, such as waiting tables or whatever, while as guitarists, we actually have many options of what we can do to support ourselves and our families.
I can vividly recall just what it was like when I decided that with the phone not ringing for any work on the road or the studio, and my money down to basically nothing, it was time to start that taped instruction business that ended up being called “Hot Licks”! This enabled me to teach literally millions of people worldwide, and to keep on coming out with new product for the voracious appetite musicians have for more knowledge! Sure enough, I was able to do something that was an entirely new thing within the music industry, while turning people onto my playing and my music. I was also able to keep writing books, doing Guitar Player Magazine columns, occasional tours such as Simon and Garfunkel, the “Crossroads” film and so much more. Most importantly, I was able to continue in music ad guitar, while being able to be there for my two daughters, and to watch them grow up.
So remember that as you pursue the inevitable “juggling act” one must do to remain in music, you have to weigh everything, and how each move you make affects your overall career “profile.” Thanks to the internet, there are many more possibilities for spreading the word about your music much more quickly than in the old days, so take advantage of that for sure! As long as it all adds up to a better, fuller reputation as a player, you’ll be doing the right thing for sure!