As time goes by, especially during your most formative years, who your key influences are start to really take shape, and become of great importance. It’s hard for me to imagine my playing as being influenced by anyone else, but I guess it’s sort of like imagining being raised by different parents…pretty much impossible! I do know that if I had been influenced by different players, it would’ve meant that my “tastes” would’ve also been completely different, and my choices in music would be wildly radical from what I chose to do after all.
Again, the taste you have in music I believe, is sometimes even pre-determined, and is certainly decided by a lot of what kind of music you were exposed to at a very early age, for sure. Today, for example, my daughter had to fill out a form for her upcoming audition for that TV show “The Voice.” Many questions were asked about influences on her singing and on her music in general, and also about her family. With us and our backgrounds, it’s obviously easy to come up with tons of major influences, but it’s harder to really narrow things down to a few, as they want it. Of course, it can be done, but it takes a lot of thought, especially when your influences and musical upbringing has been so eclectic, as hers has been.
It’s the same thing with me, her father, but when many people ask me about my influences sometimes it’s just easier to say “everything I’ve ever heard!” This also is very true, as all I have ever heard has gone into what I process through me, and what comes out! It’s kind of the way I describe how I come up with my instrumental versions of songs that normally have lyrics. It’s not like I sit around saying “darn, how will I ever come up with a new version of that song….” rather, it’s simply the way that song that I once heard before now comes through me, and how it is literally “translated” by me onto the guitar.
This takes a lot of experience to have a good handle on, but again, everything I’ve ever heard, and all that I ever heard in that song’s original version somehow manages to find its way into the final version that I put forth.
So when you are making your musical choices, be sure to always be aware of the true musical influences you have, and how they have affected you over time. There’s nothing like being able to cite major influences, while at the same time being able to completely sound like yourself!