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Buckethead 2017 Interview
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Buckethead 2017 INTERVIEW for the Coming Alive Podcast by Barry Michels

Brian Carroll who performs under the name Buckethead is one of the top 10 fastest guitar shredders of all time, a world-class guitarist he has produced close to 300 studio albums primarily he works solo but he's also performed with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Iggy Pop, viggo mortensen and was a member of Guns n Roses from 2000 to 2004. Brian's YouTube videos regularly top millions of views and personally I can tell you that for anyone who loves music or is even remotely interested in the guitar, they are truly mesmerizing. Really check them out search youtube under the name buckethead. What his legions of fans may not know is that he is also one of the most generous soulful human beings I have ever met. For more on buckethead go to .

Brian Carroll thank you so much for joining me today.


Well thanks. I want to say thanks for what you just said that's, I appreciate that a lot.


You're welcome. so let me ask you a question that I usually get to at some point in every interview which is what have you found in your life that has held you back the most? in other words in the parlance that we use. What is your part X how would you describe it?


I have definitely let fear stop me. I definitely have been cowardly. There's a lot of things. Because I'm scared and I think that that fear has just kept me kind of paralyzed from doing a lot of things I know I should do and I'm constantly trying to battle that.


Can you give me an example specifically of what fear has kept you back from, maybe if it's not current, maybe something from your past?


Well, my goal is to make an amusement park. I definitely think just trying to call people and develop relationships, I've had some tough times with business so, I know that I'm gonna have to get it going and even on the small scale it's hard just even to call anyone, you know? So it's like, how were they gonna make the park if I can't even call one person, you know? But that's what I want to do.


It's really interesting, I just want to make a point here which is that (I never would have realized this until I became a therapist) making phone calls particularly cold calls to people you don't necessarily know that well is one of the things that almost everyone I've ever treated dreads. They dread it. It wouldn't seem like that big of a deal to just pick up the phone and call somebody but for whatever reason that feeling of being exposed to imposing on someone a feeling like they're gonna think I'm an idiot, they're gonna feel like I'm taking advantage of them or something. Whatever your projection is it really scares people and it's very interesting because the most successful people in my practice are not necessarily the smartest or most talented they're the ones who make the most phone calls. So is there anything, are there any tools that you've used that have helped you overcome that fear and allow you to do what you were afraid to do?


I mean the first time we spoke you told me about identity being inside of the outside. Which still is probably the greatest lesson. When I think about that it's definitely given me courage to do things. Because I see myself thinking 'oh, is this person gonna say this?' or 'are they thinking that?'. And then when I go to the inside, meaning my identities on the inside, I feel the power of that. I can just do it then and I'm not caught up in wondering what people think. It's quick, like I don't even have to think about it. I'm not really thinking about it anymore. But when I look back on it I can tell I was able to do that because I wasn't where I was on the outside.


That makes sense. let me see if I can explain it to somebody who's never been exposed to what we're talking about and you tell me if I'm getting it right.

I think what I recognized about you immediately is that you're an extraordinarily talented musician and that if you weren't willing to make phone calls to advocate for your music or to advocate for the amusement park you wanted to make, that in a sense you were devaluing what was inside of you and you were putting other people's reaction to you or reactions by the way, that you didn't have the courage to actually experience but you were just imagining in your head. You were putting their opinion over this god-given talent that you were born with.

So what I tried to explain is you can either organize your identity about what comes back to you from the outside, or at least what you imagine is going to come back to you from the outside, i.e-criticism, rejection being put down etc...or you can over organize it around what is already within you that you have to bring to the world. And when you organize it around what's inside of you then you're more willing to take action on those things and not care what the reaction is. If it's good, fine, if it's bad, that's fine too I'll just move on to the next action step that I have to take.


That was a huge thing to learn, so thanks for teaching me.


Help me understand how that helped you. Did it give you the courage to to make the phone calls? Exactly how did that help you? I want to understand. And I want them to understand internally the shift that took place once you understood that.


I mean it just seemed like a freedom. Like a real big freedom of not worrying about things and really doing what I felt from the inside.

Like when I was little I'd just play and create all these worlds and I didn't have any knowledge of what I was doing I just did it. And it almost reminds me of that same thing of opening that door back up to the world of flow. Like when you first said to me 'the flow is what you want to honor'. I don't do it enough but I wish I did. I do notice like 'oh I'm out' I'm worried about something.


I think that's really important what you're saying now because what it says is that to a large degree we're not even aware that we're making a choice. We just get worried or inhibited or stuck inside and what we don't realize is that there's a part of us that's actually putting more value on the response we're gonna get from somebody than on what I have to bring to them.

It's not necessarily a conscious choice, it's just kind of like a default mode that we go to. And at least if you know, wait a minute I made a choice right now and it's not a choice that honors me. It's a choice that gives everyone else way too much power over me. Power which most people don't actually want to have, it kind of then enables you to make a different choice.


That's amazing, still mind blowing.


So I've known you a long time I know that you've gone through some hard times. What's the hardest thing that you've ever gone through? And the reason I'm asking you this is that the one thing I've learned as a therapist is no matter how well put together a person seems, on the surface every single human being I've ever met, including myself, has gone through hard times and

it just helps people to hear about them.


Yeah well really recently I have a heart problem where my heart beats out of rhythm and it's been doing it for a long time but recently it's become really intense. I really didn't know what was going on and I just tried to deal with it and let it do what it did and then eventually it would stop, but it got really intense.

So I went to the doctor and they said 'oh you're on the verge of having a stroke' and I'm like, 'oh' because I felt so good prior to having it, I was just doing pretty well and everything.

So they suggested I have this thing called an ablation. They freeze your heart and it's supposed to do something with nerves. They said my heart was fine, it could just be a genetic thing they didn't really know.

So I had that procedure and it didn't really stop it and I'm still dealing with it. I take medication which is tough because I never took any my whole life, I just tried to not ever take any. But it's been really difficult because it's scary and it comes on. And even walking across a room is difficult.

Luckily the medication, I'm thankful for it, because it's kept it from going berserk. But it's still pretty intense though, I mean honestly having all the tools is helpful.

Like using the reversal of desire and the times it comes on. And even the thing we just discussed about writing in the journal. Because I like to write in a journal a lot. It seems like now I'm letting this thing exist in me now and I can't really escape it.

I'm aware of my heartbeat or aware of the intensity of my heartbeat or whatever, it's just never something that I had ever experienced. So now it's like, it definitely kind of scares me. But it's also doing a lot of good because now I'm like doing a lot of stuff. Like even doing this podcast, I feel like I should do it just because I would regret it if didn't.

I don't know I just feel like, an urgency now. Which I should have felt anyway but you know.


So the reversal of desire helped you because you were able to use it to get through the fear that you were experiencing?


Yeah when it happens I'll use it so that I can calm the stuff down. Because if it's intense, which it can be really intense, it helps. I don't want that to ruin my life.

I don't want to be sitting around thinking 'when is it gonna come back?'.

I'll practice guitar lighter now because if I exert myself then it's definitely not good. It's almost like it's training me to play lightly, you know? in a lighter way. It relaxes me, when I play that way, It relaxes me.

So I'm just trying to use it. Trying to get positive things from it instead of just looking at it like 'Oh here it is again who knows what's gonna happen'. It's definitely taken me down pretty good.


It really sounds like you're making an incredibly concerted effort to turn what would freak anyone out into something positive. Which is really the basis of a lot of the work that Phil and I do. Negative things are gonna happen to everybody. And particularly events in your body are so reminiscent of mortality and death that they freak us out completely and have the potential to stop us in our tracks. But what you're doing what I'm hearing you're doing is, number 1, you're not letting it stop you. You're using the reversal of desire to plow through it and keep taking action. Number two, you're actually learning to be observant about your own thinking and if you get too fixated on your heart you turn away from that fixation and pour yourself into whatever it is that you're doing. And number three, and probably the most important of all, what you said was there's something about this brush with mortality that is actually made you more alive.

It's actually made you realize. oh my god. my time is limited. I think all of us live as if we had all the time in the world and something like this says 'no I don't, I have to use every moment. Every moment matters'.


Totally. I mean the day after I had that procedure, I recorded a record with my friend. I just lied in bed and I recorded it. Because I felt like 'I'm here still, I don't want to sit around and mope' you know?

And that really came from you. Like you've given me so much over the years just building that up. Like that kind of strength of 'don't let this take you out' you know?

Just do it in the face of it. Because it could be gone tomorrow, anybody could be gone. But for me that was a heavy experience and I was like 'I want to play right now and I wanna play that experience you know? Because I've never experienced something like that and I was so wiped out too.

And it's weird because I've never really played in that state before. But just to play in that state, there's feeling in that state, you know? And I just tried to play that feeling you know?


I could imagine even though you were still probably under the influence of the anesthetic that there was still a lot of emotion given what you were going through?


Yeah yeah.


You know something about what you're talking about right now makes me want to ask this question, even though I have no idea what connection it has to what we're talking about.

When I watch you on YouTube you almost get into an altered state. When you're playing it's so clear and I'm just wondering what does that feel like on the inside? like what are you thinking? what are you feeling? When you're in a flow in a concert and you're just really gone you know?


I don't know how to put It. I love the feeling of it, I think that's why I like rides because it's sort of reminds me of a ride in a weird way.

Like you're not really thinking. You're just trying to ride the wave or ride the feeling and it just kind of builds on itself and if you really are gone you can really get... it's a very incredible state. For me it is, I can't speak for anyone else. But I know that it's like you're away from your physical self, you're just kind of, I don't know...


You really should look at these videos because they're phenomenal. It looks like your fingers have a life of their own. Almost like you're having an out-of-body experience and your fingers are moving by themselves and they're moving so fast, it's incredible. Is that what it's like?


I'd say it is. And you've helped me a lot with that.

I know the last tour I was playing alone and so everything I did I felt like I was getting it back. It was like a complete loop from the crowd to me, it was an incredible experience. Like one of the best times I've ever experienced.

And then a couple nights later everyone's just standing there and I heard some guys talking really loud, like off to the side, and it was like 'oh man'.

But what was so great was I had talked to you and you said you're giving to them you don't want anything back from them.

And that experience I remember the most. Because usually I'd be like 'let's just get through this one' because we got seven more shows and whatever.

But I really pushed out you know and was like 'don't worry about them' you do what you do and you don't want nothing from them. Like you taught me. And it was incredible.

I remember that show more than any show, because I felt a shift from myself that I didn't want anything and I got deeper and deeper into that out-of-body experience.

So I felt like 'wow this is just awesome' you know? I didn't know I could do this under the circumstance. I felt like that was definitely a step. Like something changed after that show because I wasn't thinking like 'oh they're not into me'. I'm just gonna go for it you know? I mean, I really didn't think about it, I just did it you know?


That's great.


So that was really incredible.


It's interesting because as you talk I really get the arc of the time that we've known each other from the first session where it was really just phone calls. About how your identity is inside of you, you have something to give, don't pay attention to the feedback that you get from the outside. Keep your identity inside.

And the reason I'm saying this is that anybody can practice this and get to the point where they're standing up on stage alone in front of however many people you were in front of and nobody's responding to you and some asshole was talking you know, in the middle of the performance and you're just in a flow state.

So to me that's like the the pinnacle of any creative experience, is that you are just in a flow and you really don't care whether people are taking it in or not. And by the way, sometimes people are taking it in but they're just more quiet about it than the other audience.


Yeah I mean, It could have been that's their personality or whatever.


A lot of people assume that it's fairly easy to become successful. When in my experience it takes a tremendous amount of hard work. I mean, if you look at that Brian's YouTube videos and see the level of technical expertise. You can see that it reflects tens of thousands of hours of practice alone in a room. Just practicing over and over and over again.

So you know, it's a cliche but, most musicians seem to suck at self discipline you know? self discipline, meaning, just getting themselves to do hard work.

How are you with that? How are you, I mean obviously you must have been very very good at that with with learning music?


I just love to do it. So I didn't think about it you know? I would just be in my room playing, that's it. When I look back on it now I'm like 'wow that's crazy' in a way but I'm glad I did. I still don't think about it that way, It just goes back to what you're saying about losing yourself, like, it's still sort of that same flow you know?

And since you taught me I feel like I've gotten better at getting back to being more present in the moment. So recently I've been trying to play like classically and i'll hear it as it's happening and I try to play very subtly and then very intense and dynamically in those pieces.

It's almost as if I can play my life through a song you know? or like play Bach. Like I was playing this bach thing and I played it for a long time, but now it's like, it's different for me to play it and I don't know if that makes any sense?


It makes total sense. Just elaborate on that, on what you just said. Playing my life through a song.


It's like having experiences of whatever somebody has in their life. And for me the last 10 years have been really intense. Like emotionally. But because of that I feel that it's deepened that part of my playing you know? It feels deeper to me. I really can feel things more intensely. And as I'm playing I can see things in my mind or have memories. And those things I can put them through the music you know? and it's just different than it used to be.


This is, I think, such an important point and it's so hard to articulate so forgive me if I don't say it well but there's a difference between technical expertise, which you definitely have and the feeling with which you play. And that feeling requires life experience. It requires probably more than anything else, adversity, you know? Which we don't like. And I think what you're saying, correct me if I'm wrong, is that the longer you've lived the more of that feeling comes through in your playing? a kid who doesn't really have that life experience can play very well technically but it's almost like he doesn't have the substance in him to give it the feeling that an older person can.


I know I had such a good childhood and such a good life that I didn't experience a lot of stuff until more recently and it's definitely more intense for me now than it used to be. And especially if I'm really immersed in it and present in it.

Afterwards I'm like 'wow I feel like I just went through something'. I don't know if that relates to it?


Yes a hundred percent because you're actually having an emotional experience even though your quote-unquote 'just playing music.

Do you want to say more about any of the experiences you've gone through in the last few years that have really deepened the emotional quality of your playing?


My mom and my father passed away, so that's been the only time.




So I feel like when I play they're in the music you know? Because they used to like when I would play to them you know? So...


So in a strange way you can kind of feel their presence in the music?


I feel like it's a communication to them. I feel like its a gate to them. I don't know, it's hard to explain but it's comforting you know? it's like a very comforting thing.

And maybe it reminds me of those times when I was with them and I'd play for them and stuff you know?

That's definitely changed things and then I hurt my back pretty bad. And that was another pretty scary thing at the time. But again, your tools I used a lot of that to help me get through it. Because I was in pain and I never got anything to get myself out of pain. But I knew that what caused it had to on a deeper level you know? Likewhat caused this? you got to unravel.

And then I saw a shooting star. I was like praying for guidance you know? Like 'what do I?' I can't even move. And then I got a sense of 'there's an answer' you know? and I kind of just dealt with it and the greatest thing was, I found this book called foundation.

And I went online and found the number of the writer, Eric Goodman and I called him and luckily he answered the phone. Then I met him and immediately within the first 20 minutes of seeing him I felt strength. I felt stability again, through his teachings and his exercises. And his partner Peter Park they both helped me so much.


and these were exercises that literally strengthened your back?


Yeah and a lot people go like 'oh it's yoga' but it's really specific. Like, if you're off by a half of an inch or something it changes the exercise so I honestly felt like that gave me a confidence too because I was always weak in that area, I just didn't know it.

And I learned about posture, which I've had really horrible posture my whole live. I'm shy and tall and they don't really go together very good.


It's hard to hide yourself.


So that just forced me to stand up straight you know? and it's incredible. And that's helped my playing a lot to. Like playing classical. Because the posture is so important.

That actually helped my hands because then my neck, all the compressed nerves opened up because I wasn't hunched over anymore.

And then that also makes it easier to play and let that flow happen because I'm not constricted by 'Oh this this is bothering me' or 'this hurts' or all that kind of stuff.

I really found that my back issue was the one of the best

lessons I've ever had. And if I would have taken another path I wouldn't have changed my habits, so I'm so lucky that I changed. I didn't get a quick fix or something like that.

And as for my back, because of that way he devised those exercises, it strengthens all the muscles.

So those three things the heart, my mom and dad and the back, those are all in the last 10 years. And 2009 was the year that I talked to you consistently. I showed up for myself I never missed a day of working out I even when I got off to tour I kept my disciplines really strong. And then I hurt my back and then it seems as if ever since then it's just my consistency hasn't been the same. And that year is still like the blueprint for me like, okay I gotta get back to that place.


It's interesting because you remind me of the change that I've seen in you. When I first met you, you were almost bowed over like, I wasn't sure I could see your face even because you were looking down at the floor and you were kind of hunched over a little bit And now when you walk in you're tall, your chest is out, your face is showing, like everything is upright and strong. And there's obviously a physical component to that, where your posture was you know, terrible on your back and it's so much stronger now. It's so clear that your body is actually supporting your back and your back is supporting your body. But there's also a psychological component to it where you're not hiding from the world, imagining you know, what its gonna do to you and being afraid of it. You're like, out there. You're just kind of like, your posture declares your presence in the world in a much more confident way than when I first met you.

Well, I mean, I think that all happened because of you because my mind started to change. Like all the stuff that you taught me or are teaching me.


So it was like your body said 'hey I want to catch up' to where your mind is going

The other point I want to reinforce because you made it so beautifully. Is that your back, really broke down, I mean, you were in a lot of pain and nobody likes to be in pain but sometimes adversity can be the best thing that ever happened to you if it kicks your butt and makes you make changes that you really need to make in your life. I mean, in a weird way it turned out to be a really good thing that it happened.


That was a huge thing you know having that just to look back on and go 'there is an answer' you know? I mean the shooting star thing, that was pretty powerful for me.


That was like a sign for you.


Yeah that's what it was for me. Because I was so in that moment I was really like, I was just defeated and I was like what do I? I don't know what I'm gonna do and I have no confidence in my movement anymore I felt like I was just gonna

crumble and then I saw that and it was something to just give me like a 'don't give up'.


Yeah it's like encouragement, move forward, do it.

Obviously you've achieved a degree of fame and I'm just wondering if there have been people who have suddenly felt entitled to rip you off or take advantage of you and if that's ever happened how have you handled it?


Well, I like Texas Chainsaw massacre....

Some of my friends are famous, I don't know if they would care either way but I'm not ever recognized really so I don't really feel like I have any of that going on. So I see how they have to deal with stuff.


That brings up a question that I wouldn't normally ask but I just know your fans would be pissed if I didn't ask it. so you your nickname is buckethead and it is buckethead because you

originally started playing on stage with a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket over your head. Explain the genesis of that. Like how did you come up with that idea?


It wasn't something that I really thought about. I was eating with my father. It was actually a different chicken company, it was jelly chicken, I don't even know what it was. And I was eating it and I had that mask, kind of like Michael Myers. So I just put it on my head and

I looked in the mirror and was like 'that's buckethead'.

And my friend was in college and he had video class and he saw me as Buckethead and I knew this guitar player called Joe Gore and he really is the one that I feel I owe a lot to. Because he encouraged me to do as that, like “you should just go be Buckethead' like, “go play”. Because I was always like super scared to play and I didn't really link that together. I just thought 'oh this is weird like a weird horror guy. I'd like to make a movie about it or something' and then he was like 'you should just go for it' and I was like 'oh yeah that would be cool'. Because I could do everything I liked doing as this character that I'm totally scared to death to do otherwise. And then applied like all the stuff I liked like Disneyland and martial arts and dancing all that kind of stuff I liked. And I was like 'I can't do it just as me' you know. So it was easy to use it all. Like that was a great expressive way for me to like get all that stuff out.


That's so interesting. So really in a way you were like playing a character on stage?

But in a way I'm more myself. So it's almost like I was more that than I was me


So it allowed you to actually express yourself in a more uninhibited way?

Yeah. And it funs to me.


It's just it is amazing to watch because it's hard to understand how you can even play guitar. I mean did you have eye holes or something. It's like your hands know what they're doing irrespective?


I mean I have a long way to go so I don't think it's that far out there but it's just like you turn it off and like anything that you're probably when you're writing, you just don't have to really think about it. Like what we were talking about earlier, the flow and that stuff. But I blow it a lot too so. And then I can't see because I have these eye things on and it's hard to see but I kind of like it because, it's you talked about dusting the audience and that's almost like dusting audience without dusting the audience. Because I can't really see, everything looks ghost-like you know? I like that actually.


Just so the listeners understand dust. Everyone gets scared around performing and I'm using the word performing very very broadly. Performing can be getting up onstage like you do and playing to you know tens of thousands of people. Or it can be something as simple as talking to a girl who you're attracted to, or you know, just talking about a new subject or you're a little nervous about expressing yourself or whatever.

What inhibits us in those situations is exactly what we're talking about at the beginning which is we care too much what the audience think, and the audience could be 10,000 people it could be one person but we care too much what they think and the moment we get into caring what they think we get inhibited. Because you'll never know what they think and your mind is too occupied with scrutinizing them to find out what they think.,and you lose touch with the flow that you need in order to perform well. So dust is a tool where you cover the entire audience with a thick layer of dust. It's almost like they're dead. What it does is it renders the outside world non-emanating. There's nothing coming from them because they're covered with dust. And then the second step of the tool is once you've dusted the audience just see a fountain of light, but it's inside of you, it's inside your heart and your job is to go into the room and light up the room.

So its about you putting out rather than you getting anything back.

Who are the people, either in the music industry or outside of the music industry, who have really inspired you and what is it about them that that inspired you?


I mean you.


Oh thank you


I mean in in the humungous way you've inspired a lot.


Thank you


I just don't know how you know you know, it's totally insane, like I can't really comprehend it you know. I think just seeing you and being around you it's changed me and the way that I'm happy about. Like having you, I'm amazed to know there's really nothing I've ever asked you that you didn't have an answer for.

I just can't kind of comprehend it. You've inspired me a lot since I've known you. I think about the things you've taught me. They run through my mind a lot. And it's sometimes really randomly you know? Like I won't even know and then a light bulb comes on and then I can handle something. I don't know if that applies to being inspired.


Thankyou, I really appreciate it.


You're one of the greatest people I think there is.

And then Bootsy Collins. He's been like a mentor to me and I was a huge fan of his as a kid. And then my friend brain got him videotape of me and he gave it to Bill Lawell and he gave it to Bootsy. And that really changed my life because I got to meet Bootsy and he guided me through so much stuff you know? And it was always from a place of feeling you know? not a place of like “you should do this because then you can get this”. It was always from a heavy kind of place, like a magical place. And I always felt intense spiritual feeling with him. Even now when I talk to him. it's always been there and and it's hard to believe because that's like one of my heroes and then he befriends me and looks out for me.

And then I really love Michael Jordan. I have this poster in my room, I still have it on my wall. He just talks about how in his career he's missed all the shots and 'over and over again I fail and that's why I succeed' and that poster, I love that. because it just gives you that feeling like you just go for it. Don't see the failures as like a red light.

And then there's a guitar player I love, Paul Gilbert. The first time I saw him play was at the Namm Show. And this is the one memory that I always go to. He was at the Namm show and he was in a booth and he was playing and I went there to see Yngwie Malmsteen at that time his album had just came out and he was you know, the baddest. And then Paul was in some booth and it was insane, he was just ripping you know? And he's just sitting there in this booth. He just had so much control. You said to me a long time ago, the best way to plant a seed or inspire somebody is by flowing in front of them. And I think that's what that was. To o this day it's still the most intense memory I have of anyone playing and that makes me want to rip you know? and it's like I wish I had a video of that you know?

Craziest thing was is that I got to know him and he taught me and I have every lesson. I still have all the lessons. And he really gave me a belief in myself that I needed because I wasn't around a lot of that. So it was incredible to have. I mean my parents are super supportive but...


But you weren't around a lot of musicians?


More than anything it was just seeing him and he dealt with his environment. Because he lived in this tiny little apartment and it was just nothing touched him, he wasn't even aware he just was so focused on playing and that was so huge you know? And he was a great teacher he is a great teacher and at that time I was lucky because he accepted me to take lessons from him and luckily my mom and dad drove me to him he was pretty far away. But just being around him getting to see that, like when you talk about momentum and that, that was pure momentum like he was just like a laser focus and it was incredible to have been around him at that time you know?


it's so interesting to go back to the discussion of identity because it sounds like what really inspired you is that his identity was organized around the music, not the apartment he lived in?


Yeah! And seeing him at that Namm show in that booth it was like he was gone you know? I don't know what he would say about it but to me that was the baddest thing I've ever seen.

Because it was just seeing somebody at their peak of what they could do and they're just doing it. Like seeing Michael Jordan or Bruce Lee or to me it's like there's those moments, they don't leave because at least for me they don't leave my mind, because that was seeing somebody in that flow state.


Yeah you're seeing someone give their all to something. It almost doesn't matter what it is, but when you see someone give everything that they have to someone, to something, it's inspiring.

It makes you want to be that good.


Yeah it did seriously. I mean I tried to get my fingers to look like his fingers you know? I think my fingers grew after because he has crazy fingers you know?




And there's another guitar player, Shawn Lane. He passed away but he was beyond guitar, he was like from outer space. He was probably the most incredible musician I've ever seen or heard and totally it's beyond what I even can understand.

I got to hang around him a few times and he took so much information and I've never seen anything like that like where he could just read many books in a day and he had like a memory where he could remember everything. And that's a long story to get into but he was and is an insane inspiration. It's sad he's gone but he's not gone in a lot of ways you know? I think people like that their energy is way beyond their physical self, I think he'll be around forever. Because it's just too big. Like Bruce Lee's around like there's a certain people that transcend, like Jimi Hendrix, like they're just their energies bigger than their physical. That's how I see it.


Well it goes back to what you said about when you play you feel like your parents, in a way, their energy is playing through you in a certain sense.


Yeah that's true.


You have any questions for me you wanna ask?


I wanna know, what are the things you see that I'm not doing? Or that I could be doing better. And the thing with my heart. It definitely rattles my cages. It's pretty intense. I guess just how to handle that.

I get scared sometimes of a stroke or dying or whatever. And I guess that's when I'm pretty weak but like I'll work out now and my heart, I feel pains that I've never felt and those things are just there now so. I know we talked about it a little before but those two things.

I don't know if they're good questions?


They're great questions. I'm not an MD so you've got to consult with a doctor about the medications and what you should be doing for your physical part, but beyond that yes, there's something that I really want you to do in the most disciplined way you possibly can. Which is worrying about your heart won't help your heart. In fact it'll probably hurt your heart.

So when you find yourself interrupting a flow state, like you'll be playing guitar or writing in your journal or something. And thinking or worrying about your heart when you're not really going to do anything about it at that moment. Number one, I want you to give part X a resounding fuck you and number two, I want you to immediately turn your attention to what you were

doing and throw yourself into it as if your life depended on it. Because it does. Know your spirit dependence on it, your music depends on it, everything that you were born to do depends on. And there has to be almost like a little bit of a sense of urgency about that. And I think part of what you brought up earlier and what you've said to me before is that this whole decade of dealing with physical problems but especially this heart thing has given you more of a sense of like life is

precious. And I want you to put that into this decision to turn your attention back to whatever it is you were doing and not let your mind fall prey to worry. Again take care of yourself but worry

isn't taking care of yourself it's just fucking with your mind. So I would say that and I would say that in in general you had that year in 2009 which for a lot of different reasons everything came together and you were disciplined. And sometimes that's easy you know it's just you have a year where that just happens. You're closer to it now than I think you've ever been before but be tougher on yourself about everything. Just tougher. Catch yourself quicker when part X gets you to worry about your heart. Be more disciplined about how you organise your time. Bring the kind of focus and urgency to it that says I'm taking my life really seriously I know I'm gonna die at some point so this moment matters does that make sense


Yes it does, thanks.



Interview conducted by Barry Michels October 2017 for the coming alive podcast.


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