My first guitar was a 1963 Fender Telecaster. I was 18 or 19 when I started playing, and I learned it fairly quickly. In fact, playing was the only thing keeping me out of the woodshed. I just wanted to explore the whole genre. I started at the guitar school. The teacher was actually a big fan of Elvis — he really liked it when I was a kid — so he got me a guitar and gave me the opportunity to play with him. The guitar is my guitar. Everything else, I learn on.
You’re not afraid to show off.
Yeah, it’s not all about what you show off — you’ve got to show it off. When I was a kid, I got so excited when I saw Elvis. Now I see more of Elvis than I ever did, especially since he’s dead. That’s always fun. It’s all about having fun and letting your play do the talking. I don’t really care what anybody thinks, because I don’t do that. At least not in front of anybody. I can’t stand that kind of reaction.
How often do you listen to different genres of music?
Whenever I’ve got time. I don’t listen to a lot of music, because it’s too distracting. For my listening time, I’m a big fan of the ’90s, because everything was just exploding around that time. I’m also a big fan of the new stuff: hip-hop, R&B, and alternative. It’s all great. It’s just a matter of picking things up. And when I feel like it’s time to move on, I can turn it on — and then I can listen to it for 10 seconds, then I go back to something else.
You have to pick up on something quick and then make it sound very, very good.
To be honest, there was a point when I had to decide whether I was just going to be a producer or a songwriter. The answer was obvious because I really like songwriting. I’m not a producer but I’m a songwriter, and I always feel like I can do a better job when it comes to songwriting than I can when it comes to producing. If I can’t sing a melody to make it sound good, I’ve got to make it work. It takes some concentration and persistence, but once you get it right, it’s a lot better. I’d go back and forth on that one.
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