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What did meeting a ‘famous’ musician teach you?


I used to manage a Starbucks in Nashville on 21st Ave two blocks from music row across from Vanderbilt University, every big Nashville musician came through all the time as well as other artists in town to record.

Keith Urban - Awesome dude, just a regular guy. Super nice! Nicole Kidman as well! she's about 5 inches taller than he is.
Taylor Swift - Lived in a high rise a block from the store for a while. So friendly, loved talking to the baristas and was alway complimentary to whomever helped her.
Kelly Clarkson - The BEST. Awesome human being. Funny, charming, I used to jokingly offer her a job when I saw her, she used to work at Starbucks and I always told her I had a green apron ready for her whenever she wanted. She always said she'd come work with us "anytime!".
Billy Gibbons - So ****ing cool I could hardly even fathom it. Nice, engaging... Always buying drinks for everyone on the session he was working on. Had a badass leopardskin wallet full of $100 bills he used to pay with and Always tipped ALL of the change from it.
Phill Collen - Def Leppard were playing Bridgestone Arena in mid-August one year, super hot and sunny outside. He came in for a Soy Chai and then sat on our front patio shirtless, tanning himself. ha ha ha! He was super nice as well.
Jakob Dylan - Wouldn't say anything to any of us except "small americano."
Ben Folds - Super down to earth, family man, used to bring his kids in for hot chocolate. Nice, quiet dude. The store has two colleges around it so of all the people that came in he got bothered the most unfortunately.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw - The most humble, decent and friendly stars I have ever met. Just good people.
Brad Paisley - Great dude! Loved gear talk. We had each acquired a Suhr Badger around the same time so we chatted about that a lot.
Brent Mason - An absolute gentleman. I went to see him play a gig with The Players and between sets brought me up onstage to walk me through his rig.
Ricky Skaggs - Just an everyday regular guy, super nice, knew all our names and loved to chat.

thats off the top of my head from that time.

As far as my Main guitar influences/heroes

Steve Lukather - I started seeing him play at the Baked Potato in North Hollywood when I was 16, it made me want to become a guitarist. From the start he was a class act, I used to see him every time he played there for a couple of years straight in the late 80s.
I remember shaking his hand after the first show I saw and saying "You were ****ing incredible!" and he smiled and looked me in the eye and shook his head as if to say "no I'm not" but said "Thanks.. thanks, man. That Really means a lot."
In the ensuing 31 years I have seen him countless times at all kinds of shows and he Always remembers me, even in backstage situations where really famous people are present. Never a rockstar attitude or any B.S. just a really good dude.

Michael Landau - Almost the exact same as Lukather. However I went about 9 years without seeing him live at one point when I walked into a gig of his at the, now defunct, Hollywood Blvd. Baked Potato in 1999.
I was too nervous to talk to him even though I had seen a TON of his shows in 88-89-90 (He played with Karizma a lot at the Baked Potato back then) and chatted with him at that time.
So the girl I was with went and asked if he would chat. He walked over and I stuck my hand out to shake his when he stopped and looked at me and said "...Dan? Man! I remember you! You were always in the 'heater seat' at my gigs!"
I was absolutely floored!

None of this is about me, I am not that memorable! They are both just Really Awesome Dudes. They really appreciate their fans, especially at their smaller gigs that are more musically challenging.

Dann Huff - I met him first in a Nashville studio on a session my father was producing in 1982-83 (kinda fuzzy for me, I was 10-11). He came in and played so great everyones jaw was on the floor.
He was rather unknown at the time around 21-22 years old and was already an absolute monster. I still listen to those tracks in awe.
I met him again in an LA Studio session my father was producing in 1988-89, I had just started playing at age 16 and I remember talking to him and saying "I just started playing and I am 16, I feel like I am too late"
He told me "It's never too late to do anything you really love. Don't quit!"
I met him again in Nashville a few years ago and I related that story to him. He responded with "Please tell me you're still playing!!"
He was so genuinely invested in that moment with me.
Of all the guitarist I witnessed playing in a studio environment Dann was just in a different universe. He once told me that he Loved when he got to work with Landau, back in the day, as they work so well together.
I have never seen anyone play that cleanly on Clean electric, Heavy electric and an incredible nylon string solo I saw him shred off the top of his head for one song's solo spot.
He is absolutely a genuinely great guy.

All three of these set a tone for me. They all had specific commonalities.

They all made great eye contact and were Really listening, no distractions no matter the surroundings. Invested in the moment they were having, with everyone they spoke to.
They all were more interested in talking about the guitarists They considered the "really great" guitarists (Huff was Effusive about Lukather, funny enough) as opposed to their own playing.
They all operated as if my time was just as important as theirs.

They all taught me that no matter what level my playing my humanity mattered more... and how I related to the people around me, especially on a session or live gig, as equal humans,
was of greater importance than how good a player I am.
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Actually I had a friend who told that joke and always put me on the floor with it. Didn’t know it was a Rickles joke. It blew my mind to see, 20 years after I first heard the joke, Rickles tell it on Carson, on YouTube. Isn’t Frank sitting on the couch with Ed when Don tells it?

I believe so, thats where I first heard it. I laughed for a minute straight the first time I saw that clip.


Silver Supporting Member
Thanks so much to all who have shared!
It has been great to read each comment!

I had forgotten to mention meeting Johnny Hiland a number of years ago.
He played a 20-30 minute set at NAMM and stood around to chat with whomever came up to him.
Incredibly warm, humble and friendly. Really a great gentleman.


Platinum Supporting Member
Not a huge name in the US, but meeting Mattias Ia Eklundh at a freak kitchen show is one of my favorite memories.
He and the band were incredibly nice to me, and all their fans. I also watched the opening band standing next to Ia in the crowd like he was just any old guitar nut happy to be at a show.

Bob Womack

I'm like Lawrencedesign - in the broadcast/recording biz but I'm a newcomer, only 40 years. I've worked with so many that I can only pull up a few standouts. Firstly, though, a general principle I've learned: the artist's managers are often an extension of themselves. They often send in the managers to do their mean work and then float in all smiles, looking like good fairies. After a while you figure it out. The nicer the artist, quite often the nicer the manager.

Now specifics:
Amy Grant. I've worked with her more than once. She has always been nicer than she has to be. The first time she was at her peak in 1991. Her manager was incredibly nice and she was nicer. The second time she came into my studio to record right in the middle of her divorce. She got my name as she came in the door and looked me in the eye and called me by name every time she addressed me. She was kind and nice and I had no idea she was up to her ears in the pain of that divorce until afterward. Learned: be nicer that necessary.

Rick Wakeman. I was offered the option on the promo package for one of his solo tours and took it. As a result I created the master radio promo package for the tour for his promoter. As a reward, besides seats ten feet from him at the local stop of the tour, the promoter asked me to entertain him for an evening. We talked all night and he regaled me with hilarious, self-deprecating stories from his life on the road and in the studio, long before he started the "Grumpy Old Rock Stars" books and radio show. Learned: be self-deprecating. Laugh at yourself and invite others to join you.

My first encounter at about fifteen years of age was with Tony Peluso, the guitarist who played the solo in the Carpenter's "Goodbye to Love." It started with a chance encounter at a local guitar store in my college town. More, HERE. I had no idea who he was until near the end of an afternoon together. I learned how kind a pro could be to a teen who was just starting out when he went out of his way to be nice.



Frank Sinatra: long story short...I was in Lost Wages for a trade show in 70's. It had been a long day on the convention floor and some of the guys and I were having a drink at table in one of the casino bars. I had to excuse myself to use the 'sandbox' so to speak. On my way back to the table I happen to glance over and there sitting on a bar stool was Old Blue Eyes himself, alone, having a drink. I couldn't believe it! Should I dare bother him? I decided to take a chance. Cool as a cucumber I sat down at the bar stool next to him and introduced myself,"Mr. Sinatra, you don't know me from Adam but I just wanted to say that I have admired your whole career from Tommy Dorsey going forward. I especially love your Only The Lonely album. In fact, I have worn out several copies." I waited breathlessly for a response. I was surprised when he turned to me and said,"You don't have to call me Mr. Sinatra, you can call me Frank and I appreciate all your kind words kid. Nelson Riddle was my favorite arranger". Wow, I must have caught him on a good day. I pushed my luck: "Frank, could I ask a favor?". "Sure kid". I replied,"If you would walk up to my table and say 'hi' to me it would so impress my business associates and might even help me get a raise." Without blinking he said "Sure kid, what's your name?". "Tim," I replied.
"Thank you so much Frank".
I strolled back to my table, high on a cloud. After about five minutes, the most iconic singer of the Great American Songbook strolled up to our table and said, "Hey Timmy, how it goin'?".
I slowly raised me head and said , "F*#k off, Frank. Can't you see we're talking business here?".

If this is true, this is the best thing I have ever read.


Back in HS, a friend and I went to see our hero, the alto sax player Phil Woods, at the Jazz Museum in NYC. My friend (who could be a PITA) kept bothering him on his breaks. At the end of the concert, my friend barged into Phil's little makeshift dressing room, and said, "Phil, this is my friend, he's the greatest jazz guitarist in the world!"
Phil took one look at me and yelled "GTF outta here!", and threw a beer can at me.
What did I learn? How to duck.
I've met and worked with many well-known jazz musicians since then, and I learned a lot from just being on the stand with them.
went to a Phil woods clinic at north Texas back in the day...this guy wheels out a damn oxygen tank onto the stage he was so old...and fills an auditorium w the absolute most beautiful alto sax tone I’ve heard in my life w no mic. I’ll never forget it.


Gold Supporting Member
Sat next to Punky Meadows on a flight from Newark to Charlotte 2 years ago, he was just finishing a mini 2-3 week tour of the East Coast and heading home, I was going as part of my IT job , I had no idea who he was, but he walked on the plane with his guitar, we started talking before the plane took off didn't stop until the plane landed, great guy, down to earth, and his life was a fascinating journey in my opinion ... Told him I'd see him next year, and he actually remembered me when a friend and I were at the meet and greet ... was surprised that he really didn't put much emphasis on gear, had an old Tubecreamer, and a new one in case the old one broke, mentioned he played through a Splawn amp, but I don't even think it was his ...and played the same Carvin guitar for years ...actually bought his solo CD the next day, and it was really good ....

Also was at a backstage 'party' with Godsmack, about 15-16 years ago, which was really just Godsmack, my brother's musician friend who used to open for them, and my brother ....and a few girls, in the dingy basement of the venue ..... two rooms, the guitar player and another guest player in one quiet room, Sully, Robbie, and the drummer in the next room, Boston music cranking on an old boombox, and beer flowing .... Robbie and I talked about his Schecter bass, he told me he liked it, but was really sponsored by Ibanez at the time, so had to be careful ...was a really nice guy .....

Yam the BOMB

Platinum Supporting Member
I’ve met Justin Johnson, Derek St. Holmes, Andy Timmons and Vince Gill. All of them were fantastic and willing to talk to fans that recognized them.


Silver Supporting Member
I lived and worked around Hollywood for almost 2 decades, so I interacted with lots of 'famous' musician and actor types in all kinds of settings, from casual to professional, and almost all of them were simply decent human beings through the course of time that we were together. I don't know what they taught me other than that they're just people going through the same life as the rest of us.

Some of the best...Dave Mustaine, Dweezil Zappa, Steve Lukather, Steve Morse, Paul Gilbert, Steven Wilson, Ronnie Montrose, Steve Perry, Robert Townsend (actor/etc), Lindsey Wagner (actress), Graham Nash, all of the guys in King's X, the guys in Skynyrd circa 1991 and 1995, Ashley Cleveland, Gordon Kennedy, Vivian Campbell, Vinnie Moore (a neighbor and friend since H.S.), Peter Scolari (actor), Mel Gibson and family (pre-meltdown)...and [edited because of memory] I've had a couple of cool phone conversations with Donny Osmond and Alan Parsons and both were kind and a bit humorous.
Donny seems like the kind of guy who'd be a cool friend.

The only guy I was really put off by was Neal Schon, but I've heard from countless other people who've had similar experiences with him. Maybe he's just not a people person?
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Met Joshua Bell after a concert and he was done to earth and funny and took the time to have a small conversation with me and the family.

I met Steve Morse, his wife and son and sat at the same table with him for dinner. Super sweet guy and had a great conversation about guitar, flying etc..

Steve Lukather-
Met him in passing and went to shake hands with him, but he gives me a big hug instead and we have a quick conversation. Totally genuine guy, funny as hell and very welcoming. Nothing but positive vibes from Luke.

Greg Marra cool guy who I had a terrific conversation with for quite a while. He even invited me to the studio to hang.
My only meeting up with a famous musician were the two guys from Anvil. They looked/dressed exactly how they looked/dressed on the cover of their book (Anvil: The Story of Anvil). We were boarding a plane (don't recall where, but I'm thinking it was Paris) and I recognized them... couldn't remember their names, and so I said "Anvil," and waved as I walked past their seats. They waved, did the devil sign with their fingers, stuck out their tongues, etc. It was a 'fun crossing paths' situation.


The comedian/actor Martin Short told how early in his career, he saw Sinatra standing alone at the bar at a party, worked up the courage to go up to him & say "Mr. Sinatra, you don't know how much your music means to me."
Sinatra: "Nah, I think I do, kid. Whataya drinkin?"

Matt Sarad

Carl Verheyen plays Bakersfield every year with Chad Ackerman and friends from LA. They call themselves the Cranktones. They do covers for a Christmas show and the proceeds go to the local Cancer society.

The promoter of these gigs is a friend.

One night at dinner in our neighborhood restaurant the friend gets my attention.He’s having dinner with Carl and his wife. Carl is smiling and friendly. We shake hands and I say, “Carl, Crazy Leslie says you need a haircut.” He cracks up.

We get our haircuts at the same place. Leslie told me to tell him if I ever ran into him.


Gold Supporting Member
My Steve Morse experience: I went to see Steve's band with Dave LaRue at a nearby club. I was in the men's room when some other guy said, "so, what do you think of the show?"

I thought, "What do I think? Does this guy not realize who it is he's seeing?" but I just said, "Steve Morse is a f*****' god in the world of music". And the guy said, "Aw, thanks, man. I appreciate that."

I wanted to choke a friend of mine who opened for Deep Purple a couple of times... he got to hang with Steve, they played each other's rigs, had dinner, etc. But my friend had never heard of Steve before DP... never heard the Dregs or anything else. Probably better him than me, because I would have embarrassed myself with idol-worship.


Fun thread.

Dunno if Tuck Andress is famous enough. I took lessons from him in the mid 80s. He is the nicest guy in the world. I caught him and Bobby McFerrin in SF and hung out with them at a late night jazz club. I thought I was the coolest 20 year old. :cool::p

Met and had a drink with George Benson. He was pleasant and I wish some talent rubbed off on me. Nope!

Michael Hedges came to my house and gave me a lesson. Michael was a very kind person. Seeing him play was religious.

Chris Cain gave me a lesson. Our schedules and relative distance made it difficult to get more. He hugs me whsen we meet. May be the nicest guy ever.

Briefly met Ice T in passing He was polite, a woman on each arm I think.

Robben Ford after a gig doing CD signing. He seemed to be having a bad night. I was speechless so that didnt help.

Mike Stern at a clinic. We chatted a minute about gear. I got a little too nerdy about gear and he acted like, "I dont know man". Not mean though.


Staff member
The many clinics I've attended have taught me a couple of things.

First, you can't "be" a guitar player, you either play or you don't.

Second, if you want to play and play well you must:


Sing (Solfeggio)





Use a metronome


Play with the best musicians available
While I do not necessarily disagree with your premise based on the clinics you have attended, I am not sure that tack is necessarily right for every guitar player.

As an example, I have a longstanding friend (known him since 1975) that was a first-call session guitar player in a major city. He is on pretty much every beer commercial you heard on TV and radio in the late 80s, throughout the 90s and into the early 2000s. He's done hundreds and hundreds of sessions. He's also sat in with Los Lobos, Robben Ford and others. He is a very well-known quantity in the industry from multiple perspectives - player, live sound engineer, studio engineer, NAMM participant going back decades, et al. He's made a very healthy living in the music business. As a guitar player, he cannot sing, read, transcribe or transpose.

I have another very good friend that supports a family of six from his playing. KILLER vocalist and songwriter. He opened for a major artist on his 60+ date U.S. tour (playing 2,000 - 10,000 seaters). My friend taught himself how to play guitar simply so he does not have to depend on another guitar player - everything he has done as a guitar player is by ear. He has never taken a lesson and cannot read, transpose or transcribe. He will play a G barre chord or E+9 or a Cm7 -- and have absolutely no clue what the chords are. He is - without question - one of the absolute best rhythm guitar players and finger picking electric players I have ever witnessed. He averages 300 - 350 gigs/year.

In a perfect world, being a well-rounded musician is excellent. But - at least based on my experiences - it's not always necessary (not saying that having the knowledge is a bad thing - just saying it doesn't necessarily apply as a "must" for everybody).


Gold Supporting Member
I met Howard Roberts when I was a teenager. He was a friend of my dad's. He played a concert and I learned that jazz could be loud. People asked him to turn down and he didn't even flinch -- loud and clean, stuck with me.

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