I learned to play the piano at the age of 6, and I played it every day for my whole life. I didn’t know about playing the violin until I was in the seventh grade. When I started learning violin, I couldn’t imagine how good the skill would be when I got to be 16 or 17, but the skill itself is very easy to learn. The violin takes longer, but it’s worth it to me. I feel very blessed because I’ve had such a great teacher and people always ask “how did you learn all of the other things”? The violin just happened to fit.
I’m afraid that this might sound like a personal attack, but in case it was I didn’t intend that one comment. Some people get discouraged and think they’re not good enough; I have always made it a habit to always try and surpass anyone I’ve played with. I believe that when you’re good enough to play with anyone, you’re good enough to play with anyone, including other musicians.
Your guitar playing is very good, but would you like to play anything on the piano?
I don’t play anywhere near my best! I feel pretty terrible about it! The only thing that’s going better than I feel right now is playing with my two granddaughters. Both of them love piano, but they’ve never had the opportunity to practice that skill with a band before.
The other thing that’s going pretty good is that they get to experience a lot of new things in their school years.
In case your answer was any other way it was just another reason why playing on our instruments is so important, if you’re going to get to have a good time.
I can only imagine what kind of fun you’d have when you could play with all of your granddaughters!
What do you think of the way the guitar is playing today compared to when you started playing?
I’m amazed that more guitarists aren’t in the band business. What a good idea it would be if I had some of the old-time guitar players in my band and toured the country playing “live” in the stadiums. That would be an amazing experience, to have great music at our concerts and to get to meet lots of people who you wouldn’t normally talk to!
I don’t remember ever having the opportunity to play with the biggest touring bands in Chicago. That’s been one of the great things about our instrument – it’s not really geared to