The way I see it, it’s a big challenge to learn to play a chord progression and the theory behind it by the time you’ve reached your mid-twenties, especially at a level where there’s still so much to do in the guitar realm. There’s a huge gap in the marketplace. I believe the best guitarists in the world are making music in their twenties and thirties by now — and they’re using the knowledge they have left of their youthful energy to do that.
As I noted above, most people don’t practice guitar very intensely (and they think they do), and so you’re left with a long gap before you’ll really start getting used to it.
As musicians, if we want to keep playing, we have to go to the trouble of working on ourselves, as well as our playing. It’s a pretty important part of our craft.
You said you don’t consider yourself a musician, but in your opinion, what is the best instrument for beginners?
I’ve just been told by David Arquette that when I was young, I really didn’t understand anything about music theory, so I didn’t do that much musical research.
I think you’d have a better chance of figuring it out if you spent a while playing the guitar and getting used to the guitar sound.
So the guitar is the better way?
It all depends on what you want to do. For example, I’m still an arranger, not a guitarist. So I would say if I were to go back to school for it (to study music theory), I’d need my fingers to be trained up a bit more.
Are there any guitarists that have helped you learn a new approach to music, or a difficult concept?
I’ve had great help with music theory from a lot of different artists. I was taught by John Cage (and, later, Dvorak and others) before I met David Arquette and I’ve studied from John Cage and Terry Riley and Tom Waits all over again. These are probably my main guitar teachers, but many people have helped me out for other things.
You’ve been involved in countless different ventures, such as the Bowery Boys. Do you get to see a lot of their new projects?
One-time, I’d say over 300 different things. It’s not just a hobby. A lot of the time I’m in hotels and traveling around —
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