GUITAR PLAYER AWARD NIGHTgive kudos
I had such a blast on September 11th. It was the first night of Guitar Player Live! in Livermore, CA. The show was so great. Michael Lee Firkins was awesome! Then my pops, Serrana and I went on stage to receive the first Guitar Player Jason Becker award for Creativity, Courage and Inspiration. Mike Molenda said some sweet and embarrassing stuff about me. Ha ha. Mike Varney read a letter from Marty Friedman. My dad read something I had written. Chris Duarte played a fantastic SRV set! Then Richie Kotzen was amazing and soulful! It was so much fun hanging with everyone back stage. So sweet to see Steve Lukather, too. I am grateful to have the coolest, nicest and most talented musician friends. Thank you so much to all of my friends for coming to share the night with me. Thanks, Miko, for forcing me to write this blog. Here is what I wrote that my dad read on stage:
20 years ago I thought I knew my purpose in life.
I could hold it in my hands.
It had six strings and a body made from a tree.
It was alive like a storm.
It flooded all my pleasure and pain down a river of music.
It was my friend and my very Soul.
It was my Guitar.
Then one day
it began to leave me.
It got heavier and slower
until I could not even pick it up anymore
and the music died.
Until I realized
the music was not just in my guitar.
It was in my heart.
I just needed a way to let it out again.
Fortunately I had great friends
who helped me learn new ways.
Thank you Mike Bemesderfer and Dan Alvarez for making it possible for me to continue composing music.
Thank you Mike Varney for taking a chance on me in the beginning, for encouraging and releasing new projects, and for hooking me up with David Lee Roth.
I thank Marty Friedman for being my biggest musical inspiration and letting a high school twerp join his band.
I am grateful to all the great musicians who played on my albums when I couldn’t (except for that pesky Michael Lee Firkins).
Thank you Guitar Player Magazine for schooling me when I was a little kid, and for your support over the years.
Thank you to my brother, Ehren, for singing Bob Dylan songs with me when we were tiny boys, for being my hands when I was writing the intro to ‘End of the Beginning,’ and for cracking me up and reminding me that I am just a butt hole.
To my uncle Ron, for teaching me the pentatonic scale, for always jamming with me, and for letting me have all the cookies I wanted, as long as I had celery afterwards.
And huge love to my family and friends who are the reasons I am still alive! Especially Serrana, Marilyn, Mumzie and Oh Mine Papa.
This is a great honor for me. I've read Guitar Player since I was a little tyke. To have this cool award named after me means the world. Knowing that I inspire people to go beyond their limitations and keep creating, makes the hard stuff worth it. Of course, ALS and the challenges of making music without being able to move wouldn't be my first choice, but if it shines a little light in this world, then I don't mind. I love that my musical crap still moves people. I can't wait to see who the future recipients are.