As many folks are aware, these days, and really all days that one is involved in the music industry, one has to from time to time, develop and manage a business that may be a little out of the ordinary when it comes to what that music -related thing is about. In my particular case, I had decided to turn the teaching I had always done into a much larger-scale operation by creating Hot Licks, back in 1979. I knew as early as 1973 that I wanted to do this, but I was still very involved in touring and recording, plus teaching, and was far too busy to think of having a real, bona fide business of my own.
This was an exciting and daunting task, starting my own company, but one thing was for sure, we had determination, and we simply learned every step of the way, right from the start. It of course, would never have been possible if I hadn’t had my incredible late then “wife to be” at my side, helping me all along the way. It amazed us how we started to take so much money in right away, and the need to get organized, and also to have employees started happening real fast, as well!
Hot Licks, of course grew and grew, and became a worldwide phenomenon that was the first company of its kind. My part in it was always the creative side; creating the initial lessons, and then signing other artists, many of whom I was working with and already knew from our mutual musical encounters. I also stayed deeply involved in the marketing, advertising, and other promotional aspects of what Hot Licks did all around the world.
These days, I have taken to starting up a new venture, The Guitar Hall of Fame, which will be in Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of fame, also! It’s once again going to be a labor of love, as I really see this as a lasting and necessary legacy for me to leave for the guitar and for guitarists everywhere. One thing is for sure, I’m going to need a really great staff and “team” to make this happen in the right way. Big names in the business are of course, important, but the real thing that will make the “wheels turn” will be dedicated staff members who also share my “vision” for The Guitar Hall of Fame.
It’s always been my experience that as long as your music-related business still keeps people focused on you, they will also be open to your artistry and music, and will always seek you out, and try to know as much about you as possible. So don’t worry if you get into a certain wing of the business that may not make you play or record every day…..it should still help keep the focus on what should always matter most to you…..your guitar playing, and your music!