"Real life" musicians who inspired you to play?

danktat

Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
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Location
PA, USA
Hey guys, I am not sure if I have brought this subject up before on here, but I was wondering who, in the "regular" music world, inspired you to play music to begin with? By "REGULAR" I mean NOT Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck or some other rock icon. But the people around you that showed you that a regular guy could learn to play.

I know some of you probably were fortunate enough to have taken lessons as a kid. Or have parents who play something or another. I, on the other hand, grew up too broke for all of that. And the songs that were on the radio, even though I knew what I liked, seemed like they were out of reach, and just something those "stars" could do.

Until late in high school, when I started hanging out with some friends who played in bands, and that I got to actually SEE as normal people who just played instruments. There were many, but these guys are the main two (the guitar player and bass player). We smoked more, drank more, and indulged in more things together than I am sure we should have as kids, and they were STILL some of the better musicians I had heard [on or off the radio]. In fact, they both eventually graduated from Berklee. And I STILL hang with (and take theory lessons from) the bass player to this day.

Anyway, I stumbled across this video, of them, at Berklee, playing one of the more compositional Phish songs of the era (back in 1999). Figured I would put it up here to see if anyone else had this kind of inspiration in their youth. I started later than most. And never got "good"....then put it down for an easy decade and a half when I opened my shop. Back at it again for a few years now and was feeling some gratitude to the guys who made me "see" that it could be done.

Anyway, enough rambling....here is the video. Excuse the video quality....it WAS the 1990s....lol. Give it a listen all the way through (though it is a Phish song so it is a bit long for most). You'll see why I was impressed as a friend of theirs back in the day.

 
I got sucked into my filthy, filthy electric guitar habit by a guy in my high school named Garrett in the first half of the 80s.

Never actually hung out with him, but he played in our jazz and marching bands -- he played guitar and marching xylophone, and I played sax. After jazz band practice, he and the rest of the rhythm section would usually break into some Led Zeppelin or Rush, and seeing that stuff played by real people in the same room with me was just an incredible experience. After a while I couldn't not try it myself and a few years later I picked up my brother's cast-off classical guitar and started trying to figure out songs from Back in Black. It was downhill from there... He's the patron saint of my guitar collection and a huge influence on my musical tastes, and probably doesn't even know it!
 
We had a local band (Muncie) which started as Dave and the Dynamics who became The Chosen Few who became Limousine who finally became The Faith Band. They eventually signed with RCA and wrote and recorded a top 40 hit with “(Put on your) Dancing Shoes” (Also recorded by Nigel Olson of Elton John fame).

Those guys were about 4 years older than me and I followed/idolized them from grade school on. Luckily, later in life, I ended up playing at some live gigs with members of that band.
 
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When I was a kid, a friend of mine always had a guitar in his hand. As we got into high school, he started his first band, a band that ended up being called Slick Lilly. I remember being blown away watching them for the first time. They weren't very good, the drummer was a d!ck that couldn't play in time to save his life. My buddy eventually replaced them with some really good musicians. After never getting that big break they hoped for they broke up. I would still catch my friend in a few local clubs, then he disappeared for like 10 years. I finally tracked him down on FB. He tells me he's moved to L.A. and was working as a studio musician and also had another band that released a few albums. I was really proud of him for never gave up on his dream and that had a lasting impression on me.

Fast forward to a few years later, and he is touring with Bill Gibbons. Yup, Billy f'n Gibbons. He's living in Palm Springs now and he is killing it! So yeah he's just a childhood friend that definitely influenced me. It's taken him 45 years to get there but he NEVER gave up so that's what I'm most inspired about.

This one's from a couple of years ago...he's the one playing upside down and backwards. ;)

Him playing with BG and Matt Soren.

Not bad for a kid from Pinson Alabama huh?
 
When I was a kid, a friend of mine always had a guitar in his hand. As we got into high school, he started his first band, a band that ended up being called Slick Lilly. I remember being blown away watching them for the first time. They weren't very good, the drummer was a d!ck that couldn't play in time to save his life. My buddy eventually replaced them with some really good musicians. After never getting that big break they hoped for they broke up. I would still catch my friend in a few local clubs, then he disappeared for like 10 years. I finally tracked him down on FB. He tells me he's moved to L.A. and was working as a studio musician and also had another band that released a few albums. I was really proud of him for never gave up on his dream and that had a lasting impression on me.

Fast forward to a few years later, and he is touring with Bill Gibbons. Yup, Billy f'n Gibbons. He's living in Palm Springs now and he is killing it! So yeah he's just a childhood friend that definitely influenced me. It's taken him 45 years to get there but he NEVER gave up so that's what I'm most inspired about.

This one's from a couple of years ago...he's the one playing upside down and backwards. ;)

Him playing with BG and Matt Soren.

Not bad for a kid from Pinson Alabama huh?
He’s the real deal, sanctified by BFG! Way, way cool bro.
 
A high school friend got Fender Buller (one of 2 pickup ones) and a Tube Screamer and was learning how to play. He showed me some power chords and bammo! The TS sound never left and I'm still in love with that tone! Anyway I figured out a bunch of rhythm parts with the power chords (Scorpions, AC/DC) and got a Cort LP copy. Then again discovered that if plugged into my Moms Teac tape deck that had a 1/4" in, and turned the input all the way up, it would distort! I never got an amp and sold the guitar for weed.

Fast forward to age 20, woke up from a dream and it told me to buy a guitar, so I did then took lessons from a local Mom and Pop shop in Carol Stream IL named Mar-Cole music. Turned out it was a Mom operation only.

A dude named Chuck Murphy was the guitar teacher there and I took a year of lessons and bought better gear from that store. They were so excellent to me. I still have my USA made Squire strat and Yamaha GK-100 from there.

I'm still learning what Chuck taught me 30 years ago. How to figure out songs, jazz chording, triads, solo, position the whole deal. It was rapid and fun!

He started a non profit company on Chicago's south side named The Music School and still runs it to this day! A phenomenal guitar player that could also play anything!!!

So after 30 years, 5 bands and over 40 original tunes I still love this instrument. Thanks Chuck!!

Thanks for starting this thread Dankat! I hadn't checked in there for about a year and Chucks been ill it seems :( I have get with them for support he's such a great guy!

https://m.facebook.com/themusicschoolrocks
 
There were a few local artists that were around while I was in High School that influenced me. The dudes from Nasty Savage, Obituary, Death, Deicide, Athiest, Crimson Glory, Savatage....they were all local and only a couple/few years older than me.

We'd go see them play at various parties and clubs. They were cool, regular dudes. Even today, if I'm in Tampa and hanging at the Brass Mug, it's likely to run into some of those dudes. We'll have some beers, a few shots. It's cool.

My last band did a killer show with Obituary. We were a Judas Priest style metal band. We were the oddballs on the bill, but went over well. The Tardy bros had seen my drummer and I when we played in a thrash band called Toxic Shock. They remembered us from an earlier hard rock band we had called Autumn's Pain. There's just great brotherhood in the Tampa scene.

As a younger player - I started at 7 - my Uncle Ricky was the coolest. He had a 60s Gibson Firebird and used to play Southern Rock and Pink Floyd stuff through his Marshall JMP half stack. I thought he was awesome!!

He and I jammed when I was in my 20s. I was nervous, but he told me that I had far eclipsed him as a player. He told me I was "real". I asked him to elaborate. He said that I had developed my own sound and style, and while it wasn't all for him, I had accomplished something he never had. I was embarrassed at the time, but now I'm proud, i guess? Lol...

BTW - my style is Southern Rock meets NWOBHM meets jazz fusion.
 
I would name them but the names would be meaningless
to you. I am and have always been inspired by guitar players
who are out there playing anyplace and everyplace, always
giving it 105% night after night for years on end without
being rich or famous.

Guitar players who play in biker bars, coffee houses
and wedding bands. Guitarists playing in bookstores,
houses of worship and out in the streets.

You know, the ones that load in and set up their own gear
and sometimes even play events for zero compensation
other than the joy of bringing music to the people.
 
I was so young when I started playing piano (lessons started at 4), that the only people I even knew of who played music were my parents.

They were extremely good at it. I'm sure as a little kid I thought that all adults played music.

When I got into high school, I copped some keyboard parts from records, and got asked to join bands. I was under the impression that girls thought guys in bands were cool. That probably wasn't true, but it was enough for me. :p
 
The first time I saw a guitar, I was about 7. I knew I wanted to play it it, period. I believed I had something to learn from every other guitar player, and I still do. The first time I heard Albert King, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The first time I heard Eddie Lang, I couldn’t believe what incredible accompaniment he could play. Tthe first time I heard Wes Montgomery, his tone and melodic sense blew me away. After that, it’s only every other guitar player I ever heard.
 
The first time I saw a guitar, I was about 7. I knew I wanted to play it it, period. I believed I had something to learn from every other guitar player, and I still do. The first time I heard Albert King, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. The first time I heard Eddie Lang, I couldn’t believe what incredible accompaniment he could play. Tthe first time I heard Wes Montgomery, his tone and melodic sense blew me away. After that, it’s only every other guitar player I ever heard.

I saw Wes play in Detroit at a place called Baker's Keyboard Lounge. It was a jacket-and-tie kinda place. I took my girlfriend. We were too young to drink, but they gave is a seat in front and made us snacks and Shirley Temples (this was a drink made of ginger ale and cherry juice or some such that I'm sure no longer exists :p).

I was 16 or so. He was amazing. I think it was just a trio, drums, bass and Wes. Might have been keys, but it was so long ago I don't remember.

I pretended I knew a lot about jazz, when of course, I knew absolutely NOTHING. And still don't! :eek:

Many years later, the girl and I got married. I blame Wes.
 
Some of my school chums had a garage/basement band. I sat in on a few practice sessions on the keyboards. My buddy Barry played lead, Art played bass, Lawrence rhythm, and Cec on drums. I sat in for Brian on the keys a few times, mostly for the parties afterward. Did some roadwork with them (I had a van) when they managed to get a few gigs, and played a bit too, but things died off after a while. Things do change...
 
For me , in the mid 70's there were 2 bands that played in Long Island NY - The Good Rats and the April Lawton Band. Both bands had 2 outstanding guitarists and did original songs as well as cover songs - rock and blues "stuff". Both bands played at some of the larger local bars in the area and I used to get there early so I could get a table in the front row and learn from them. Then I would go home and see what I could figure out. All 4 guitarists were very inspirational to me. I have absolutely no idea what happened to the guitarists in these bands other than April Lawton, who died in 2006 at a pretty young age.
 
Told this way too many times so only answering thread topic, for those who are sick of hearing it:

I was raised in a family of musicians and singers. While we had people over to sing and play all the time, my parents are the real life musicians who inspired me to play. And our friend Rick for making guitar cool to me when I was very young.
 
My local guitar hero was my friend Stu, we played in a band together for about 6 years, he still plays professionally and was/is constantly a wonder at how naturally he plays.

I am predominantly a singer and use/d guitar as accompaniment. I enjoy a nice rhythm part and the occasional easier solo, but his fingers just played, he made it look effortless.

One of his more memorable solos was Purple Rain ☔️ and it was well received whenever we played it.

That is all, move along please.
 
I started on bass in 1969. I got to be good friends with a fellow at school named George who played bass in a local band and he was a pretty decent player. Just seeing his band made me think "wow, I want to be a part of this whole thing!" My gosh, but I really miss those days. Being young and not knowing any better it seemed like anything was possible. There was a lot of wonderment with all of it because it was all so new for me. Many have said this before and I find the phrase "my world went from black and white to Technicolor" to be the best way I can describe it because I finally found something that felt "like me." It was a very exciting time back then for music and you could feel it in the air. Local bands were everywhere back then. Music was our computers, our social media and our video games. Again, I miss those times and I miss the spirit of those times.

Played bass in bands for many years and I got into guitar around 1998. Progress was very, very slow for many years due to working very long hours. Fast forward to now where I play bass and guitar at church. We have a new musical director and this man is an amazing guitar player. He's a wonderful person, he sings great and he improvises a lot when he plays. His improvisational style has really inspired me to get to know the guitar much better. Now that I'm retired I have the chance to try and do this. Every night I kick back on the couch and play through my little practice setup which includes a loop pedal. I'll lay down a chord progression and will just start exploring the possibilities. I'm a "decent" player for what's needed at church but I admit my improvisational skills aren't the best because until lately, I never had the time to practice improvising. Thanks to him (Eric) he's opened up a whole new world for me.
 
My local guitar hero was my friend Stu, we played in a band together for about 6 years, he still plays professionally and was/is constantly a wonder at how naturally he plays.

I am predominantly a singer and use/d guitar as accompaniment. I enjoy a nice rhythm part and the occasional easier solo, but his fingers just played, he made it look effortless.

One of his more memorable solos was Purple Rain ☔️ and it was well received whenever we played it.

That is all, move along please.

Ahhh Purple Rain...I lost my virginity with that song playing in the background. TMI!!! :eek: but a true story none the less. :D
 
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