Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Grow Up Already!

February 9, 2013

Literally a page out of the book of my life

When I was a young blood I had a jazz/ rock/ fusion band called New World Rising. We were starting to become well known around town and I was a little full of myself. I had two private guitar tutors at the time - one for classical (Julio Prol), and one for jazz (Ted Dunbar), both were major influences on me as a musician and as a human being.

One day I told Ted Dunbar of the disdain I'd had for having to play Top 40 Pop songs to make a living. He asked me why I'd felt that way? I basically told him, "That kind of music was beneath me, my training, and my eclectic taste." My jazz guru stopped me dead in my tracks. He said, "Any record that sells more than a million is great. What makes you believe you're the ultimate consumer?" I've told this story a thousand times and won't belabor it, I'll just jump to the punchline: this lesson opened my eyes to a much larger world.

I ultimately became a funk / dance/ pop / (etc.) composer, arranger, and instrumentalist with a personal style who's made multi-million selling records. I evolved. Ted Dunbar was one of the tastiest players I'd ever know and maybe the greatest teacher too, because he taught me about music, style, individuality, and above all taught me about the wonder of life and exploration.

I appreciate when people want to work with me regardless of genre. I always believe I have something I can teach them and they have something they can teach me. This doesn't mean that I like every piece of music that I hear or play, quite the contrary, what it means is: I'm open enough to stop, look, listen and learn. Snobs like to believe they're living on some higher plane.

When I was a music snob, until Ted put me in my place, I was a scared little boy just trying to prove that I was good enough. By looking down upon some million selling artists I could pretend that my purity of taste was above the level of the masses who hadn't caught up to me.

I'm honored to play on any record that I can fit into my insane schedule. Over the last year and well into the next I'll play on more live shows and records than at any period in my life. Considering my music has already generated more than 3 billion US dollars, this is amazing.

Maybe it's taken this long to finally Grow Up Already!


New World Rising's Village Voice ad for our stint at Unganos

Julio Prol, Classical Guitarist and one of my fine teachers

Ted Dunbar, Jazz Guitarist and a great teacher and mentor

The cover of my memoir, "Le Freak"

Adam Lambert and me doing what we were born to do

Me and David Bowie during the "Let's Dance" sessions

Me, Mark Ronson, and Quincy Jones hanging at one of my many live shows

Mike Myers and Dana Carvey with me and 'Nard in "Wayne's World"

CHIC back in the day on TV's "All My Children" with Darnell Williams

Me and Duran Duran

Me nightclubbing w one of my fav artists of all time my girl Grace Jones

Me and my biggest artist ever Madonna at Live Aid

HerbieHancock, me and Mick Jagger - recording at the Power Station

Hiram Bullock, Rick James, me and Jean Beauvoir at China Club

Diana Ross and me. She was the 1st superstar I ever produced

Maybe it's taken this long for me to finally accept myself