My Hero’s Journey
I can remember the phone call like it was yesterday. I was driving home from work; (yes, a musician with a day job) when my cell phone rang. The person on the other end said, “Hi, this is Michael Molenda from Guitar Player Magazine.” I was a bit taken back since I was not expecting this call. Michael went on to tell me that I had been selected to participate in Guitar Player Magazines “Guitar Hero” competition in San Francisco (later changed to Guitar Superstar). With a feeling of excitement and disbelief I began talking. I cannot recall what I said but it was loud and the words “Yes I will do it” were somewhere in there. Some weeks back I had sent in a tune from my soon to be released CD, “Out of the Shell”, to the magazine on a lark. I had actually put it out of my mind and forgot about it. In an instant my day, perspective and immediate priorities had changed. I think I had 3-4 weeks to prepare. I would be performing in front of 5 celebrity guitar gods – no pressure there.
On the day of the event all the players drew numbers out of a hat to determine the running order of the performances. As luck would have it, I drew #1, which meant I would go on first. I was not happy about it, but that’s life, deal with it.
At sound check each player had a single run through of his tune with the house band. The band was great and really helped each player to shine. It was a challenge figuring out which amp, in the provided back line, to use while also running the tune with the band. The amps were all Mesa Boogies, which I am not familiar with.
On the night of the show nerves were high all around. Some players walked around running scales on their guitars, while others, like me, choose to try and relax and act casual; waiting until the performance to pick up their guitar. When I finally performed my tune “Out of the Shell” with the band it was over in an instant. The band nailed the tune and my over critical self was actually pretty happy with how I did. Preparation is always the best path way to success. Then it was time to hear from the judges: Joe Satriani, Steve Lukather, Nuno Bettencourt, Elliot Easton, Greg Howe and Mike Varney.
Joe Satriani was the first up. I have been a fan of Joe Satriani for many years and having the opportunity to play for him, and hear his comments, was an incredible “peak experience”. Actually all the judges had cool things to say about my performance and music. It was a great life experience and took my confidence as a guitarist and musician to a new level.