Over the years I have been very fortunate to have had some terrific “international” guitar happenings. It’s simply amazing how easily being a musician crosses all borders, and how music being the” universal language” is so true! Every time I’ve gone to another country, in fact the more foreign, the better, I have always been given the “red carpet” treatment by those musicians and their fellow countrymen.
There was one time that really stuck with me, when I first came to Finland. I had been playing with my own band, including a big performance we did in England, and then we had to part ways. The band went home to the U.S., and I went on to Finland, where some gigs had been set up for me, and a band was already there waiting for me, having learned my material. Well, to my utter shock, these guys were better than my own personal group, right from letter “A”! It was such a freeing experience, which completely took away any musical fears or trepidation about the performances in Finland, and I was instantly able to put on the kinds of shows I like to do!
Needless to say, I was actually able to return to Finland 2 more times, and each time the music I would play with this band got even better and better! I’ve had similar musical times in Japan with bands that are of the highest musical ability and quality, but who most of all, took my music seriously and who always went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and “at home” in their country, and in their band! This has proven true also in other far-flung parts of my own country, where it seems like there are some players that are just as proud as they can be to play with me, and who take the gig so seriously! I guess maybe the secret is that sometimes it’s just better to have a “fresh” bunch of players, as opposed to the same folks you always play with. That “freshness” can also find its way into the recording studio too, as any true professional can make the experience sound “fresh” regardless of how many hundreds of sessions, or how “jaded” some of the players may be; you always have to keep it new and exciting, and there’s definitely an art to doing that properly.
So, this is certainly something I hope, if it hasn’t happened already, happens to you. There is absolutely nothing that can compare with the experience of an “international” musical encounter, and it’s something that will teach you, and stay with you forever!