The passion to perform first touched my life with a music video. I was five, and there was Michel Jackson, dressed in leather, singing “Who’s bad?”. “I wanna run across the floor and slide on MY knees!” That same hunger returned with the dance scene from Elvis Presley’s “Jail House Rock”. It finally got me for keeps when I was sixteen. Monday night wrestling was on the TV, and “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan made his entrance to the sound of a lone “wah-wah” guitar. It was like hearing the sound of my soul.
My desire to learn guitar led me to Gerry Moss a genuine Beale St. blues master.
“Who’s playing that song? ”
“Jimi Hendrix. it’s called ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’.”
“I wanna do THAT.”
Six months later, I could play “blues box” guitar licks like the “what-a-bur-ger” and the “trip-o-let”, and Gerry asked if I would like to be part of “Guitar Fest 2000”. The event was held on a Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of “Rebel Records” an independent record store near Hardy, AR. The Mossman Band warmed up the crowd with some funky rock n roll. Then, it was time for each student to lead a song. I chose “Foxy Lady”.
My first taste of live performance… it was terrible. Sixteen and starving for attention, but so nervous I couldn’t even play, much less entertain the people who were there to see a show.
I was ready to disappear, and it showed. I left the stage shoulders rounded and eyes on the pavement. My mom and some others in the audience tried to let me know it wasn’t so bad, but the kind words didn’t do much to relieve my shame.
But Gerry Moss took a moment to share a pivotal lesson with me. He simply came over and assured me I had another chance coming. He knew that failing in front of people hurts, but, for a born entertainer, it’s not as painful as hiding the passion to perform.