It’s always an interesting story (at least to me) when it’s about how someone learns what their passion is. That moment when it occurs to them what they’re crazy about and will probably end up obsessing over for the rest of their life.
I started playing guitar when I was about 13, and of course my goal was to play as much Aerosmith, Kiss and Led Zeppelin as I could each day (of course at an impressive volume). But, I still didn’t realize it was something I would want to pursue that seriously.
My moment happened when I was 15 years old. By then I was starting to play more R&B, groove stuff. Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chic, Parliament, etc… Then I was home one afternoon at my parents house in Anchorage, Alaska trying to find something to watch on television. I think we had a whopping 5 channels to choose from! I stopped on the local PBS channel when I saw three guys playing jazz guitar.
It was Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd and Barney Kessel. All wearing their blazers and slacks (of course Barney Kessel was sporting a snazzy ascot). They were playing tunes like Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Green Dolphin Street and There Will Never Be Another You.
Man, I was hooooooked!
I had never really heard that kind of stuff before. My household was not particularly a musical household while I was growing up. My folks listened to an “easy listening” station in the mornings and I remember my dad listening to country music in his truck. My older brother, Mike played guitar, but not jazz and he was pretty much moved out before I was ever really conscious of anything in life. My older sister, Vicki listened to the current pop tunes at the time, so I’m not sure how, at 15 I would be naturally drawn to jazz.
When I heard these guys playing, I loved the phrasing, the lines, the changes, the colors and the textures. I loved the way the guitars looked and I even thought, “These old guys look cool in their jackets playing this cool music with these awesome guitars!”
That’s what I want to do!
Over the past 30 years I’ve played pretty much all styles of music professionally, but jazz is still my first choice and the only music I really care to keep studying (as it’s an endless joyride).
What’s Your Story?
This story isn’t particularly amazing and I don’t see it being made into the next Clint Eastwood movie, but I like stories like this and I would like to hear your story. When did you find your passion? What was it like? Still waiting to find yours?