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What did meeting a ‘famous’ musician teach you?


:)Every dude in the Aristocrats is incredibly kind and humble. I have to share this story.

They have a track called “Louisville Stomp” on one of their records and I’m pretty sure it’s in reference to a gig I attended at a now-closed establishment called “Zazoo’s” in Louisville, Kentucky.

I found out the Aristocats were coming a week before the show and I called the place to see if they were sold out. The guy on the other end of the line laughed and said, “I’m pretty sure you can get one at the door.”

I even told my parents to come to the show because they are both musical hobbyists and I figured they’d get a kick out of the show and appreciate the musicianship.

I arrive for the opening band, some original act out of Memphis, and there were only about 30 people. When they finished, almost everyone cleared out.

In spite of this, these guys put on a hell of a show. Bryan Beller even told the audience, “this is the smallest group we’ve ever played for, but you guys rock!”

After the show they all hung around and talked, just being themselves. I chatted gear and music with Guthrie Govan! It was amazing! He was so down to earth, kind, and personable—-as they all were. In spite of such a difficult situation—-they had to have lost money playing for such a small crowd—-they were all so professional and so nice to the hardcore fans that were there...all 10 of us :). That, and I have never seen a more incredible group of musicians. They are amazing gentlemen all-around.

Danny W.

In 1965 a new family moved into the apartment above ours in Brooklyn, NY. The family name was Shaw, and the rumor was that the husband was a famous musician. One evening, the sound of a cello filled my bedroom--classical music, beautifully played. I walked upstairs and rang the doorbell. A large man in a robe and fez answered the door. He introduced himself as Arvell and apologized for disturbing me. He said he played bass, and had just taken up the cello as a hobby. I told him I was a guitar player--he laughed and said he already knew that (those apartments conducted sound through the ceilings, floors, walls, pipes and courtyard).

I stayed and listened to him play for a few hours and we chatted while he practiced. It was pretty obvious to me that he was way out of my league, despite the fact that at that time I was the world's best guitarist (amazing how much worse I have become since then). When I got back to my room I looked up his name in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz. There he was, Arvell Shaw, bass player with Louis Armstrong! Voted European All-Star Bass in 1952, winner of numerous other awards, and sideman on hundred of sessions. Played with virtually everyone in traditional jazz and swing. I had just spent all that time expounding on the great truths of music to one of the World's Truly Great Musicians. Luckily, he was very gracious about it when I apologized, and I was always welcome in his house. I did start turning down my amp when I practiced, though.

I couldn't imagine why Arvell was living in our lower-class world. It turned out his daughter Vicky needed very expensive therapy and treatment, so the Shaws lived as cheaply as they could to pay for it. I spent as much time as possible with them. As partial payment for being allowed to listen to Arvell play and talk about music (sometimes with his friends, like Teddy Wilson, Max Roach, Milt Hinton) I helped them with their daughter's physical therapy. I always felt I got much more than I gave. Arvell taught me to listen and expanded my musical horizons with his interest in all forms of music. A year later, I joined the Army. His wife Madeleine and I exchanged a few letters and then I lost track of them, but I'll always remember our time together.

Danny W.


What did meeting a ‘famous’ musician teach you?

I'm a blues fan, so those are the type of concerts I go to.

-Jimmy Thackery, I met a couple of times. Nice guy and seemed to be interested in my questions about his amp and pedals.

-Jimmy Vaughan, I ran into him in the hall after the show. He's purty short, like 5'5". I think I said, "Hi Jimmy, big fan of your brother SRV" he gave me a deep mean stare and walked on.

-Guitar Shorty, nice friendly guy.

-Chris Duarte, amazing blues player (holy crap !!). VERY nice guy. I haven't seen him play in a long time. But, I highly recommend you see his show.


Silver Supporting Member
Marc Ford:
I recently had a chance to speak with Marc Ford formerly with the Black Crowes, Magpie Salute, The Neptune Blues Club fame... we had a chance to discuss WAH selection and usage, learning to communicate musically, and how your role as a guitarist is a function of the band size. Marc is a true inspiration to me... and has a wonderful spirit about him... a real pleasure to be around, very open to sharing about his craft... total chill.

Roy Buchanan:
After seeing his live performance at 'The Bottom Line' in NYC many years ago... I had a chance to go back stage and meet Roy. He was seated, smoking a cigar and drinking a Michelob beer out of the bottle. They smell of weed was lingering in the air back stage. We had a chance to speak regarding Fender guitars. Roy told me that 'Stratocasters' were too complicated for him to play... the 5-way selector, the three pickups, the three knobs were too much for Roy and got in his way. Roy told me he preferred a Telecaster for its simplicity. The conversation left an indelible impression on this young man. At the time I was a bass player and after seeing Roy play that night, Roy inspired me to play the guitar. No surprise, that today I play mainly telecasters. That night he played 'Down by the River' and 'Hey Joe'... It is the best cover of the song I've heard to-date. It is like what Jimi did to Dylan's 'all along the watch tower'. To me Roy Roy totally owns these two songs/covers and now overshadows the originals for me. That night I swear he made his telecaster "CRY", for real...

Space 'ACE' Frehley:
Meet Ace, formerly with KISS, in a Club... or should I say in the men's room while he and I were at the urinal. Ace was going through a tough patch, as KISS booted him out of the band. Ace was playing with a guy named Richie Scarlet that night. Well Ace was TOTALLY WASTED after the 1st set, just standing there at the urinal... As I asked him, "are you Ace Frehley?".... he turned to face me and pissed all over my leg...

Digital Larry

I worked in the music biz for 4 years about 30 years ago and got to meet various famous and not so famous, including some musical "heroes" like the guys in Hot Tuna. Jorma was outgoing, Jack retiring and while not rude, didn't go out of his way to initiate any conversation. John Entwistle, not sure what was going on with him, showed him this gadget I designed and his lips moved but no perceivable sound came out. Frank Zappa I met on the street in San Francisco around 1983/84, had a reasonable exchange of witty repartee for about 30 seconds. What did I learn though? Not much. Must be hard to be approached by everyone and think of a way to deal with it on the average.


I've bumped into Nashville guitarist JD Simo twice now. Once at Carter Vintage Guitars (believe he was there to shoot some guitar demos) but that was a very brief encounter. The one I really got to talk to him at all was the second time when I caught him after a show of his in Cincinnati. Nicest guy alive, and answered any question I could possibly think of. Most of them were about his faux "chicken picking". He offered to let people who stuck around look at his rig and even play his 64' ES-335


Since my band works as local support for national acts, I've met a lot of famous musicians, including some of my personal heroes.

What I've learned for the most part, the bigger the star, the nicer they are.

I'm a huge Maiden fan and got to open for Steve Harris' British Lion at a club show in January. Steve is friendly, down to earth and very accessible to fans. He wasn't overly chatty but he signed everything anyone handed to him and didn't charge a dime for the time he spent with fans.

I had really positive experiences meeting Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard, Brad Gillis, Doug Aldrich, Jake E. Lee, Vivian Campbell, George Lynch, Michael Sweet, Robby Lochner, Bret Michaels, Jack Blades, Kelly Keagy, Jack Russell and many others.

The only somewhat negative experience was meeting Ace Frehley, who we opened for 4 times. Ace was okay but his handlers were a little p***kish. Now, the guys in his old band, especially Richie, are absolutely awesome.


A few that come to mind...

Johnny Marr: VERY friednly and down to earth. My own guitar hero, but felt like talking with an old friend.

Robert Smith: Shy and soft-spoken as you might expect, very nice guy. Taller/bigger than I expected.

Played a lot of shows with local bands that got somewhat "big" like deftones and Cake... Chino, John McCrea etc for the most part all super nice people.

Boy George: long story, but a vand I played in shared an event woth him, very interesting person, we had a bt of dinner together.

Serj Tankian (from system of a down): very supportive of other musicians/bands, seemed like someone I'd love to have more time discussing music and culture with.

Jewel: played a festival with her and a few other 90's bands (Semisonic etc.) and went on a watrer slide with her, she was super nice and down to earth.

Mike Edwards (singer for Jesus Jones): the only "famous rockstar" I have ever met that was actually a jerk.

Lots of mid-level musicians, all are for the most part normal, nice people. As others have stated, most are similar to what you find in any sample of people... Most nice, a few jerks.


Platinum Supporting Member
I have had the privilege of meeting and speaking with a few players who have recorded over the years. They have all be humble, gracious, and unpretentious about their talent. The ones I can recall are: Will Ray, Andy Timmons, Robert Cray, Toy Caldwell, and Johnny Hiland.


1990, Zakk Wylde, holding a clinic. I learned pretty quickly the dude has no “off” setting. I was 17 at that time and he did tell me “Brother, it takes balls to admit you’re a Prince fan”

He spoke to everyone who wanted a second of his time, to his credit, and signed everything that was put in front of him. This was 1990. Not sure how it is 30 years later.

Some time around 2001, George Lynch. Met him at Jaxx in Springfield, Va as a guest of ESP guitars (my best friend worked at an ESP dealer). Holy crap... I was wondering if he had more than two brain cells battling it out for survival. He wasn’t dickish at all, but also seemed aloof like a cat, like he was saying “**** you” without actually saying it.

His tech was infinitely cooler and this was around the time that the RUMINT was he was going to Peavey to use the Triple XXX as his signature amp. He told us George thought the channel switching on the amps Peavey gave him was busted and he sent them back. He didn’t know that the toggle on the front was bypassed if you had the footswitch connected or you had to have it in a certain position, or something like that LOL!

July, 2006, Peter Frampton. My ex-wife (she’s from Buffalo) and I were at the Maid of the Mist gift shop and I first notice his wife. We’re the only ones in the store and she had a tattoo on the back of her neck. I look over at him and I’m like “Holy, ****... he looks just like Peter Frampton... “

He catches me in the eyes and I instantly ask “Excuse me, weren’t you the guitar player from Humble Pie?” As soon as he started laughing, I felt better. We went outside and he just talked and talked forever about whatever you wanted and anything. Just a super insanely nice guy who knows he’s blessed and fortunate to have done the things he had. Just a good guy. A really good guy.


only time i've been starstruck was seeing Mitch Mitchell at the Exit In in Nashville ... i was like "you played Woodstock with Jimi Hendrix"

best thing i've learned from a semi famous player who plays with really famous players was "hum your solos in your head' as you are playing - kinda synchs up your mind and fingers in a melodic way

john weires

Senior Member
Albert Collins. In the mid 80's met him twice touring Iowa in Cedar Falls and Ames. The first time he invited me and my friend on to his tour bus where we talked for 15-20 minutes. The next time, about a year later, he still remembered me and we had another brief chat. He was very warm and genuine. The only specific thing I remember him saying was that he was getting tired of touring and wanted to quit. I tried to impress upon him what a great gift he had and that he should keep going. Only a handful of guitar players in the world can be instantly recognized by playing 2 or 3 notes.

Albert King: In the early 80's saw him in Little Rock, AR at a club called the Ice Box or House. It was raining a deluge out and I was the only person in the bar when he fired up. The electricity had gone out so Albert had his tour bus backed up to the building and they ran the band off the buses generator. I helped them briefly connect their equipment. I didn't really talk with him much but he gladly shook my hand, which was the size of a baseball glove, and directed all the hot black women to sit at my front table as the rain stopped and customers finally came in. It doesn't get better than this..........


I have met Eric Johnson on many occasions around Austin (Austin Vintage Guitars), once here in Corpus, and once in Bastrop at a backyard fund raiser where he was the headliner. He has always been sweet and endearing. A truly kind and nice person who is always friendly. I also met an amazing trumpet player at that same fundraiser named Hannibal Lukimbe. A true gentleman, also. As was Roscoe Beck. I got to sit at a table with them during dinner part of the evening while EJ played his acoustic set. Talking to Roscoe was like talking to an old friend. He was just a regular dude. We had great conversation. Best interaction with EJ was one time I was playing a 58 strat at Austin Vintage and was inspired by it to play Trademark. EJ had walked in, stood behind me, and when I was done he said, "Wow, you played that very well. Can I show you one thing?" I was blown away and honored, and he showed me a different way to play one passage. I was a little off, and I knew it, but I learned it by ear.

Yngwie Malmsteen: I loved him. I was already a fan. I wore a tiger striped dinner jacket my mom sewed for the concert and stood up against the stage. A girl I knew hooked up with someone from the crew so I got to go to the hotel he stayed at. He walked in and was just like his playing, fully intense and 90 miles per hour. He was funny as hell, and he made us laugh. He is very uninhibited with his thoughts, but I had two friends from that part of the world and they were both very much like that. Many think it's rude, but it's just direct communication. I thought he was hilarious. I heard before the show he can be an ass as he is focused on his performance. A second time we got to sit on the side of the stage while he was doing sound check. He played every instrument, drums, keyboards, bass, and guitar, and was equally brilliant at all of them. He was a little more intense, but was still funny. He also played some Hendrix and sounded like the record, not Yngwie.

Willie Nelson, a true gentleman. What you see is what you get.

I've met many others, all were pretty cool and nice. CC DeVille treated me like a little brother. Warren DiMartini was kind of aloof, and Steven Pearcy was an ass. Biff Byford was cool and funny. Ted Nugent was really cool, but intense. Many others, too many to address.



Platinum Supporting Member
- Randy Bachman - BTO - Was working as a function setter upper at a hotel. I was setting up tables and he was setting up his gear. I was in my late teens, early 20's, playing in bands. We chatted for a couple of hours, traded a frew licks. He was one hell of a nice, gentle and humble man.
- Ty Tabor - met several times pre/post gigs, very nice guy who seems to really love music.

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