Riding The Music Business Roller Coaster

My name is John Drew, leader and songwriter for the JD Project out of Canada. We are a jazz/funk/fusion group out of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I have been in the music business literally all my life. You know, musical family. Everyone plays, dances or sings. I believe it was mandatory at one time or you were let go by the elders. My
sister, for example, was just seen in "Rat Race" with Cuba Gooding, so it`s that kind of
'go for it' family.

I have been writing all my life and playing many instruments with guitar being my passion and strong suit. I have been a side man for so many years
with big and small acts and at 40 decided it was time for me - hence my first CD
called "Better Late Than Never". It received enough critical acclaim to attract heavies
like Alain Caron, Rik Emmett and Dave Young (Oscar Peterson) to play on my
current offering which appears on the Guitar Nine site. Thanks fellas! There is so much more but I am trying to be concise and not bore you.

To date, I have had such a blessed musical journey due to the fact I have toured,
been a guitar tech, worked for a guitar luthier, helped in the development of a new
string company as well as write, orchestrate, pay and give birth somehow to two all
original CDs to date. Not to mention keep a wonderful family alive and still be
married to my wife of 21 years. There is so much more but again it would take

I always like to inspire younger or newer musicians with the reality of the
business. You don`t have to be younger however. I started my personal recording
career at 40 as I say. Bearing in mind, with my genre, I don`t have to put the max.
psi into a pair of spandex pants. I also don`t have the Jeff Beck hairdo. We share
the same birthday by the way and our passion for the guitar but it may end
there. So, music, music all my life. The one blessing I learned early on folks
is that putting all your eggs in one basket is a crap shoot at best. Working in
music stores early on taught me how to multitask.

I could sell a drum set by playing it live and knowing the drummer mentality. I
could hook up full 3 way PA system and then run it. I learned all styles of guitar
playing (some better than others so I could get the gigs and pay the bills). In
other words, I tried my hand in many areas and eventually found my strong suits and
got paid for them. I worked really hard at my craft, paid my playing dues, listened
to people I respected and who made it, so to speak, and learned. The wise man
learns from other's mistakes instead of his own, as they say. Now some of this success is God given but there is no substitute for hard knocks either.

As time rolled on, I became sought after for my jazz/fusion/funk style. After all, I
grew up across from Detroit, Michigan where R/B, funk and Motown infected every
musician young and old. Survival for me always depended on the fact I could ride the
roller coaster. Not every gig was stellar. We all know that. Remember the Blues
Brothers chicken wire gig? When the gigs were sparse, I didn`t hide at home and say "why don`t they love me?" I instead swallowed my star guitar player pride and found a
sound gig or played drums with a legion band. No matter how you look at it, it still
wasn`t flipping burgers. Although having said that, burger flipping is a noble craft
done correctly. I got on the coaster. As you progress and work hard you get to
better coasters too! You start at kiddy land and can end up at Cedar Point. (Please
free to substitute your favorite theme park here.)

What I am getting at is the pinnacle of your individual musical career may be the playing at the best club in your town. That`s great man. Go for it. But, also realize you can`t play there every week of the year. New Years Eve there will be the top of the coaster and the annual false teeth exchange may the lowest. So again, relish in the great times and get through the bad.

In closing, I like to tell this little story. While managing at an awesome guitar store in Canada I was asked to perform at Caesars in Las Vegas. Well, the whole thing was first class. Air fare, rooms, food, roadies - as well as an awesome gig. The top of the coaster man. Two days later a customer at the music store had my attention for two hours on what guitar pick to choose. That`s the business folks... today steak. tomorrow Kraft dinner, but remember - just playing music is a gift and even a bad day with the guitar in hand is priceless.

John Drew is a Canadian guitarist who has been in the music business literally all his life.

The JD Project's latest CD is entitled "Tangled Web", featuring good ol' funky grooves and highly melodic tones.

John Drew

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