If you have read either of my previous columns for Guitar Nine, you may see that I am all about self-promotion - whether it be making videos, fancy business cards, or taking a gig with a pop/rock band that has major management. I have recently joined a band whose music is a style that does not exactly fit the criteria of my ideal band. My solos are very modest and the focus is on the vocals, not the super rock guitarist. I have decided to sacrifice showing off virtuosity for more exposure to the music business. In the popular music scene in the United States, displaying of guitar virtuosity at this point in time is very uncommon. I do believe that it will be highly regarded again. Judging by the crowd at the G3 concert in Orlando, it may be sooner than many people think. So in the meantime I am going to work as hard as I can on making contacts and making a name for myself in the business until this happens.
So this column is more of a challenge to all of the serious guitarists who visit this website. Try and put your ego and your chops away for a moment and play with a band that has more commercial potential than your solo project. This is not saying that you cannot still possess insane chops and work on solo music. Continue to play and practice all of the mind-boggling stuff, but also open your ears to what will get your name out there more than just being another shredder. I mean let's think about it for a second. If Steve Vai had never played with David Lee Roth and played music that was pop, he may not be who he is today. Although the music showed off Vai's virtuosity immensely, it was certainly less serious music than what he is able to create today. I like to shred just as much as the next guy and I hope one day to be a highly regarded guitarist. But trust me, playing to larger crowds and get radio exposure can only help you later on.
I am not suggesting finding a band that is something you cannot stand or would never be happy playing with. But if you hear about an audition for a band that is going places, check it out. You may learn a lot of things that will only make you a more experienced, traveled, and well known guitarist. Good luck, and maybe we will all one day read about one of you guitar virtuosos who is playing music that is less self indulgent, but in your interview with Guitar World, you mention your real heroes.