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Ever think about how it all started?


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Since July 2019, I have been on a writing streak. Something opened up in my head, and the creativity started flowing. 

(I have no expectations or inclination for anything other than to amuse myself and a few family and friends, but I’m enjoying it immensely!)

At any rate, it seems a lot of my ideas show up in the early morning hours. About a month back, I had a restless night and was laying there in the early morning hours just letting old memories flit around when I began to recall where my musical roots originated. I began to realize what a debt of gratitude I owe to so many who have encouraged my musical growth and endeavors through the years. Particularly some older cousins that used to get together at our family reunions and play guitars, harmonica and sing. As a wide eyed kid, I fell in love with it and have pursued music ever since. Those memories quickly inspired a song.

I moved away from my home town in the mid 90s. Between work, raising kids, job moves etc, to my detriment, I neglected those relationships.

I decided to record this new song, do a YouTube video and reach out to my cousins for input - pictures etc. The results have been terrific! I have been corresponding with a number of them again - swapping pictures - even getting some great positive critical input from one that happens to be an expert in the communications field.

Bottom line - this has proven to be one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever done.  

I’d love to hear how some of you got started in your musical pursuits. I’d encourage you to go back and thank someone that helped you along the path! Might be surprised what happens.

If your interested - here is the YouTube link:  https://youtu.be/mmppQSs1Fho


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Very nice BT. I cant say that I ever played in a band before, my cousin taught me how to play the guitar at 13. Fred played in a popular band. I loved his Gibson and always wanted one, He taught me some Venture songs and when I graduated high school we played together on top of my parents garage patio with my other cousin who continued guitar lessons when Fred went to Vietnam. 

We had lots of requests and play certain songs over again from many neighbors. It was a fun time. I continued till about 28 years old and sold everything. About 14 guitars, a steel guitar and a banjo. My amp and a 12 string were the last to go.  So I picked it up again at 60 in 2013 when I retired with a full pension from the Railroad. I learned more than ever and play around 40 songs but I just play at home for my own entertainment. I have 7 guitars with a 12. As for my 2 cousins, they both have been dead for a long time. Steven has been gone for at least 25 years ago or more and Fred went about 15 years ago. I have an Uncle that plays guitar but he is strictly Country. I only play 4 country songs and not often. I prefer the 60's & 70's. Told my wife to put my one Gibson Gold Top Standard with my amp in the coffin so I can play in heaven, Haha.  Think they have electricity there?  Just joking. 

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Very nice.

I think about it all the time.  I have tried to thank some of the people that helped me start out those 48 9 odd years ago.  Last year a few more passed away, seems to be less and less every year.  Some of us still say hello, still get out guitars and have fun now and again, catch each other up on what those folks are doing that we haven't each seen in the last few years.  Couple guys are touring most of the time and don't get to see them as much, some have moved on to far away states and only get back when, well, somebody dies.

I'm lucky to have talked to and thanked Betts, Hughie Thomasson, Whitlock of the great Dominos, couple others.  Whenever I put on a guitar and I'm 17 again I think of all them peepss and what they've done for me, whether they ever knew it or not, whether I ever got to tell some of them or not.


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What a great idea for a tune, I enjoyed that, the pics offered a real nice way to back up those memories.

No one in my immediate family played anything.  What got me interested was watching the Glenn Campbell show on TV as a kid.  I was probably 8ish?  I can't recall, but that was my first influence.  My first guitar was given to me for my 8th birthday, a start and fail with a lessons but the interest to play remained

 Once Jimi H. came along, that was it, I was all in, I guess I was around 11 by then.   

I worked a paper route to get enough to nuy my first guitar..  blonde fender telecaster and I tried lessons again, but this time, I found the right teacher.  The guy was awesome, I mean the real deal.  He probably could have easily gone pro, but he was just too laid back to leave his home town.  

He was expert at all the stuff I waned to play.  I took lessons from him till I was about 18.  He's the guy that taught me how to improvise, use my ear and just go for it.  

He was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet and always a monster player.

Lucky for me that we remained friends until he passed in 2013, quite unexpectedly.   I played a few tunes at his tribute/memorial celebration show the next year with all the other guys he taught and played with over the years.  It was quite the memory to be part of that.


Edited by kidblast
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Good afternoon all! 

Lunch break - finally had a chance to check in. First - thank you for the encouragement! This has been a really enjoyable effort. Actually it's still ongoing - there is some likely hood of resurrecting a video of one of my cousins bands playing a gig in Ohio as well as some additional pictures.  More editing!

I am really enjoying everyones commentary! It's fascinating to read the various stories and memories. Obviously many of us have similar roots. 

I guess that's why I particularly like this forum - having been "lurking" and reading about all of you for quite a while, I had a sense that many of you had similar interests and backgrounds. I've learned a lot just by following.

I still work full time so it's really hard to get back up north to our hometown and catch up with everyone, but since re-connecting via this effort I will be going this year Lord willing! My wife and I were commenting on how we used to be the "go to" wedding band but it seems to have shifted more to memorial services.....whatever.....

Keep the stories coming!

Thanks again!

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Real nice BT!  I suspect that lots of pickers who grew-up in the 50’s and 60’s can identify with much of your story.   My first concert wasn’t a big event, ,but it made a big impression on me.  I was 8-9 years old and my dad took me to a Johnny Cash show at a bar named The Chesnut Inn.  My dad was good friends with the guy who owned it.  This was 1956-57.  It was still JOhnny Cash & The Tennessee Two.  What got to me the most was all the women screaming for Cash.  By junior high I was understanding the link between guitar pickers and girls.  In high school I’d sit on the school steps after school let out and play PP&M songs.  Girls that wouldn’t give me a second look or I was too shy to talk to  would stop and talk with me.  I got a lot of confidence from playing on the school steps.   .  I was mainly into folk music, so lots of Cash’s stuff, along with Donovan, Ian Tyson,  the folksy stuff from The Beatles, Kingston Trio, and most anything folksy.  Played in a couple folk trios in college.  We made a few bucks at times,but we were in it for the ladies......Started writing short stories and poems.  Eventually started adding some chords to the poems, played my songs at open mics, then started playing libraries.  My songs are simple and each one is pretty much a story about some aspect of my life.  I write about dogs, parents, grand parents, cousins, and anything to do with my old neighborhood.  Everything I write revolves around that theme.  Been in this rut for decades.  ......  I’ve played in a couple church bands.  Good experiences to have, but I’m primarily a solo artist.  Never had a  problem getting-up in front of people and making an *** out of my self.    Lots more to tell, but it’s real late here and at 72, chronological order and accuracy start to roam.....lol

RCT mentioned something that’s very real for all of us.  Two months ago, I had a longtime friend from our songwriting group die after a  short battle with cancer.  Yesterday, another old friend informed us he had 4-6 weeks to live........Life sucks, then you die....The passing of years and friends weighs on one’s mind.  Seems we reach a point where there are more funerals to attend than weddings and birthdays...  I guess there’s a song somewhere in this.......Anyway, I’m rambling.

Edited by MissouriPicker
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My story is quite different....I bought my electric guitar when I was a teenager but never did more than strum away and play a few basic songs the way I heard them (no effort to really understand how they were played)...and that was it for 20+ years - the thing basically gathered dust...until I was in my early 40's. Then a guy I'd just recently met said he had learned a bit of bass and was jamming with a few other locals and I should come along. I did, only to find I'd hardly heard any of the songs these guys (5-15 years older than me) played and I couldn't keep up. But I enjoyed their company and kept going along even though I knew I added nothing to the jams. Then a gig was offered at the local pub - the pay was 3 beers and a BBQ sandwich for each of us. The friend on bass was going to be overseas and the band leader (guitarist) said he'd only do it if I filled in on bass...problems for me were A) I had never played a bass...ever. B) I had just had carpel tunnel surgery on my left hand and couldn't use it yet and the gig was in a couple of weeks...so I said 'sure - let's do it!'

so I borrowed a cheap fake P bass and took some painkillers and figured out a bit of bass that sounded like I was doing something at least (no time, let alone talent, to try and learn how the original bass players played the songs) and showed up to the gig and played with my wrist bandaged. Even jumped on guitar for one song which I learned the correct lead for (Dead Flowers) and sung on another (Loving Cup) and basically it was a blast - even though we were pretty terrible I learned that people watching didn't care and enjoyed it. I played about 20 gigs with them in the next 3 years in a rhythm guitar position they created for me and accumulated many great stories and fun times. We improved a lot.

...so now a few years on I have my own originals alt-rock band performing songs largely written and sung by me - we aren't anything special, just middle aged blokes rocking out...and the buzz just gets stronger!!! Rock n roll!

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I don't owe anybody a thing. 

I wanted to play guitar at 8 years old. My dad was against it. I had to wait until I was 16 to buy my own guitar with my own money paid for by money from my 1st job.

The only person to show me anything was a 'friend' who explained how chords were constructed. I ended up paying for that, because a couple of years later he stole cash from my home.

No lessons. 


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Hey merciful-evans - glad you hung in there in spite of the obstacles! 

I do know a bit about the objectionable parents. Mine made me take clarinet lessons and wouldn't even consider guitar. I spent an entire summer mowing lawns for that first Framus acoustic guitar.  By the end of the summer I still hadn't made quite enough for it and they finally relented and covered the balance. 

Probably a whole new thread on this......

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My mom and dad were 100% supportive.   They would even show up at bars and clubs when I was gigging all the time back in the 80s and 90s.   Which the guys in the band and the friends of ours that followed the band thought that was just about the coolest thing ever.    My wife has been incredibly supportive too.  I'm lucky.


When I was like 50 or 75 bucks from having all the cash to pickup the Tele I had on layaway where I took lessons, my dad just gave me the rest, "pay me back later" 

I was like 13,, so that never happened..


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Nice job with the song and video. Good story you have.

For me? I was an only child (adopted) and had to entertain myself a lot. I really got into music as early as I can remember. I had a record player in my room and would constantly play records. Went from kids 45s, then around 2nd grade started playing stuff like Cliff Richards,  Glen Campbell, Barry Manilow, Beach Boys. A little older and it was KISS, then Van Halen. By Junior high I was a metal head.

Got a guitar about age 14 and took to it pretty quickly. At least the hand dexterity part. I was never any musical prodigy. I took some lessons for about a year. I walked to them. But then teacher moved a little further away and it wasn't until I started driving that I took up with him again. He really laid the basic foundation for me . I just noodled with guitar for years. Got married pretty early and had kids, but still managed to find a few minutes here and there to play a little. Some time in the early 90s I started jamming with some people from work. That eventually led to somewhat of a real band. From then on, a series of relationships, introductions, and chance encounters has kept me playing in various bands to this day. 

I've never written much of my own material. Mostly I play covers or contribute to my friends original songs. 




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I started when my elder brother started a band with two kids next door. I was 11. They messed about and I sat and watched then I started messing with an acoustic (which I still have. An Eko). So I started doing Beatles songs with them in their front room. This went on and eventually I got a Les Paul copy and a Vox AC30. When I was 14 we did a gig and it flopped.  Some kids at school were in a band and I joined them instead. That was my first proper band. I was dong pubs and clubs at 15. Started work at 15 too, so bought a Les Paul custom.  Eventually got a Marshall and that was that.  I stopped playing at around 30 as I had kids , so I needed money and work was more important. In hindsight I should have carried on and not had kids as I don't speak to the now anyhow. I look at many players ad know I was better than them. It's just that lucky break At 61 I wish I could find a band to do something with. I set up a recording room, but can't get my head around it. 

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Thank you Kelly.

I am very appreciative of the encouragement and am thoroughly enjoying everyones stories and commentary.  I have a difficult time connecting with other musicians locally due to logistics of where I work and what I do.  This is a great forum to learn and see what others are up to. The recording and YouTube thing is about all I can really do until I retire someday - Lord willing! I still lead a worship team band occasionally, but it is very hard to pull off rehearsals. My wife and I manage a condominium association on an island in south Florida and it is nearly impossible to get anywhere in the evenings due to traffic. Really a bummer because there are a lot of great open mic venues and opportunities to connect on the mainland - you just can't get to them!

FYI - I just received a short video of one of my cousins bands playing what appears to be a rather large dance in 1966! I will be revising a clip in the video at some point soon. 

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Started the first time I heard a distorted guitar. I was probably five at the time.  It was like a light switch went on. 

My parents bought the whole Satanic Panic BS of the early-to-mid-Eighties (which seems inconceivable now), so I had to be sneaky for a while... 

First real six-string at 13 or so. By then not only had I devoured Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica, but the punk scene as well. Along came death metal, and it felt like I imagine it felt for people who grew up when Elvis or the Beatles broke through... Only this was on a considerably smaller scale! 

But it wasn't unusual for me to listen to Elvis and Carcass back-to-back back then, and it still isn't. I even like a bit of hip hop from time to time. Mainly though... It's guitar music I listen to. 

There have been longer and shorter periods when I haven't been playing, but I've usually been involved in music in SOME capacity even when not playing myself. 

Got super serious about playing again sometime around, God, 2013? It's yielded a bit of touring and gigging since. Currently on a bit of a hiatus, as far as "the biz" goes. 

It's just something that's always been with me, in one form or another. I would, with the benefit of hindsight, describe hearing a distorted guitar for the first time as a religious awakening. Some people find religion in the Bible, some find it through music. Or the occult. Their kids. 

If I were to wager a guess, I think that when we die, we'll find out that it was somehow all the same thing. And that's from someone who's never done acid. 

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