When I was thirteen years old and just learning how to play guitar, if somebody would have told me that playing music would take me all over the world it would have been something I could only dream about, but that is exactly what has happened in my life so far. I couldn’t be luckier than to have had the experiences that music has allowed me to have.
When I was in high school I started playing guitar in a wedding band on the weekends, and instead of doing homework I would sit in my room all day trying to emulate my guitar heroes. I always knew that I wanted to go to college for music, but I didn’t know music theory so I went to the high school band director to take a theory class. He gave me an ear training test and afterward remarked, “You have some talent, but you’re not worth my time.”
Why tell you all of this? Only to say that a bachelor’s degree in music and thirty years of buses, planes, dressing rooms, hotel rooms, catering, stages, and recording studios later, I get to walk onstage with one of the very best bands America has ever produced – and I get to watch you laugh, sing, clap your hands, and radiate joy back to all of us, which we in turn radiate back to you.
There is no better feeling as a musician than to know your craft touches people and makes their lives better. And if I could only say one thing to that band director it would be to tell him to not turn away that young kid who has fire in his eyes and passion in his heart for music. Because you never know – one day he might grow up and play guitar for a band as great as Chicago.
I look forward, in whatever part of the world you’re in, to making you smile.