playing is "purely emotional.
I can switch
on automatic and play, but it sounds terrible, I've
got to be wound up,
in the right mood." -Jeff beck
"Suddenly you feel a certain mood and you just give vent to it... It's the spontaneity onstage that’s important, because how I feel now, I've never felt before and I'll never feel again." -John McLaughlin
"You can't really pre-plan true playing. It's dependant on the individual musician and the surrender of his or her experience, knowledge and technique to the mood of inspiration." -John McLaughlin
You have to be in the right
state of mind, but I don't know
what that state is, "even after
you've played something....
don't realize what it was that made you play like that." -Jeff Beck
“B.B. King doesn’t seem like a guitarist to me, he seems to cry and play the blues…I don’t even hear a guitar, I just hear this cry.” -Carlos Santana
"I can't play unless it means something. I surround my self with players that are in the same frame of mind and feeling." -Larry Carlton
"Why make music if it's not a personal involvement?... Even if it's one note, it's that important." -Larry Carlton
"You have to "throw yourself into the music and not be distanced from it." -Vernon Reid
"I try to get to my center, to what I'm really feeling. Guitar playing is a sort of feeling analysis that tries to strip away all the crap." -Vernon Reid
"You can get jaded a lot easier as you get older. A lot of the fire is gone, so you have to stop and take a breather, even when your onstage, you can do it." -Eric Clapton
“I put on a record and if it hits me, my face contorts and I start crying… If I can’t cry to something that is moving, I’m not going to cry onstage… A lot of musicians become very callous and after a while they can’t feel pain. That’s not what music is about.” -Carlos Santana
When B.B. King plays “I could see that he’d make a certain face and then hit the note… I figured he would go back somewhere in time to a certain place or somewhere inside himself and then hit the note.” -Carlos Santana
"I’ve been involved in yoga and meditation and everything like that, I still am. But a state of receptivity is…a state of awareness. I want the music to come form the deepest possible point in me so that I speak from my soul. It's a magical dream when that happens. When your inspired you can do anything." -John McLaughlin
“Music becomes like an empty glass, and whatever you put inside is the consciousness. If you play country…or whatever, that’s just the shell. It’s how you feel, what you put inside the music that’s really significant.” -Carlos Santana
“It's all about the portrayal of the feelings and the soul in a medium other than words... You can say heart-break or jubilation, but you can also set it up in music to make people actually feel it without ever saying anything about it. That’s the grace of music, that’s the blessing.” -Duane Allman
"Tragedy is part of everybody’s life. But it's more or less inspiring because it's a natural part of life. If you took the pain of life away, you'd take away more or less everything." -John McLaughlin
"The blues is more than a structure it's a feeling... It's a matter of expressing the blues in ones life." If you listen "to Muddy Waters or Lonnie Johnson all the time; your listening to their lives. The only things you can draw from them are things that resonate in your life... Is the music an expression of your state of being, or is it something you’re just taking on." -Vernon Reid
"Most people who like us like the spirit of the music. We're dealing with more of a life approach, as opposed to just more notes, yet another chorus." -Pat Methany
"When I hear a great musician, I can feel his life and his elegance inside the music." -John McLaughlin
I preach "economy. There’s a certain construction that's based upon the feeling controlling the technique. I think that has to be the case. If you really want to do something tricky, just do it once... it has to be an expression of feeling." -Eric Clapton
overcome feeling can be a problem.
playing all habits.' I'm doing these
things because I practiced them so much.
My fingers do them and I'm not even there.
I get bored with my playing and I
change myself somehow... You
to be able to absorb the technique and let the musicality be the thing
that comes forth." -Jerry Garcia
"You have to use what you have, but hope for inspiration." -John McLaughlin
"There are players who don't really hear everything they're playing. They're just letting their fingers do the work without letting their head or their feelings get involved." -Pat Methany
To get back to the essence again "you just have to stop, really. It's like doing anything over and over again. It becomes meaningless… I find that if I ban myself from playing for about a week, when I pick it up again I have an idea.” -Eric Clapton
The new guys have "their razor-clean playing, but it's like a clock. It's about as musical as a metronome. It's easy to play like a machine, and when a guy gets to playing like a machine it's frightening. You've lost all the feeling in it. We can appreciate how hard he practiced, but what is lacking is that the guy is not saying anything. And that’s what music is all about." -Les Paul
Technical skill won't block the divine inspiration "when the artist is wholly integrated in himself. I'm alive. I have an intellect, a heart, a physical side and I want to integrate all three to be whole. You may emphasize one more than another, but that is normal because you have to live life in order to integrate yourself." -John McLaughlin
I try to make myself ignorant and go only by sound and feeling. When things are going right, it feels like the music is happening because you finally got out of the way." -Jim Hall
"I don't think about anything when I play. I think about how lucky I am to be playing music; I think about anything but what I'm playing." -Pat Methany
spend almost all of my energy now as a
player getting to the point where I can let go of my thoughts, and
absolutely the most difficult part of being an improviser."
"If I can get out of the way, if I can be pure enough, selfless, generous, loving and caring enough to just abandon... my silly notions of what I think I am..., then the music can really use me. Therein is my true fulfillment. That’s when the music starts to happen... it's selfish to impose yourself on the music." -John McLaughlin
“If you remove your mind, you can…scare yourself. You just have to go inside yourself. If you spend your whole time thinking about what your going to say, it’s gone.” -Carlos Santana
“When you close your eyes…and
you start removing your
surroundings…you remove your mind out of the way.
To me the heart is always in tune with the
time and the melody. But if you
think about ‘I wonder what key he is playing in?...you spend so much
calculating and fabricating and criticizing that by the time you get to
song they’ve finished already.
you just feel, it’s the most natural thing to do.
If you just feel, you can create.”
John played a brilliant solo on
"It was one of them where you close
eyes and just happen to hit all the right notes."
"As soon as I pick the guitar up, I'll have that, like, presence. It just comes out of me." -Yngwie Malmsteen
inside of you that is uncontrolled wishes to express itself
where you begin… Then
the minute you
start to polish it and hone it, it's gone again. I need
let the thing express itself
without controlling it. It's
outside influence and self conscious approach to your playing that
ends up destroying it." -Eric Clapton
Sometimes I perform and I feel
before I even hit the stage. I feel
a presence of love in me, and I
feel the wonder and awe of life."
you feel forgiven for whatever things we do as
monkeys, imagination comes back." -Carlos Santana
Einstein said imagination is more important than knowledge
When you are clean, then you are not blocking the flow of creativity your playing becomes like a telephone. Your just monitoring what wants to come through you. You become a pure channel. The most beautiful music goes beyond the musicians who played it...Sometimes you tap into it…It’s like putting a leash on your mind and all the things it brings, and making them work for you... The things that hold you back are “your mind, self doubt, insecurity, deception, ego. Those are the things that block pure creativity.” -Carlos Santana
"The biggest thing to me is keeping a feeling, regardless of what you play. So many cats lose their feeling at various times and it causes them to build up and drop down, and you can feel it." -Wes Montgomery
"Every once in a while they start going like a wave, they get into each other within their personalities." but then... you can hear it start to go away. Then it starts getting together again. It's like a wave coming in and out." -Jimi Hendrix
When I get into the zone "it
outside as much as inside. I'm
influenced by the band.
If everyone is playing really well, you can't help being
that, and that drives you on. You
get to what seems like a peak. But
suddenly you start thinking
about what a great time your
then it's gone. Or...hit a wrong note, and it's all over…
But if you can get to that, you can get back
up there in the space of a few minutes...you
can just fly."
for injecting any human quality are only valid at
the moment they arrive." -John Mclaughlin
"Musicians have a
vocabulary of modes, scales
and ragas and must learn the color of each one in relation to their own
Turn the volume up "loud... Then you start finding some nice interesting things." -Jeff Beck
"I feel music needs the
content of a
consciousness that is an ascendant attitude.
This is so difficult to put into words,
because as soon as I say something, it's not that.
What I just said
implies you have to be
religious, which is not true." "I'm talking about
consciousness and a mutual
acknowledgement of God, the creator of us, the creator of music,
the one who's given us the capacity to realize these gifts. It's
part of the divine
plan. I hate to
sound holier-than-thou, because religious
judgment is nonsense." -John
"Spiritual and artistic
levels are the same,
there’s no difference."
"Music is my voice to God. I pray and
God listens to
me, and I try to
listen to God." -John
longing for His presence pushes me
forward. I have to
give everything to
I'm doing is basically
a musical prayer.
of it as playing this line or that line, of
coarse that happens, but
the only thing I live for is this presence of
“When I walk out onstage,
I want inspiration to
take everything I have, everything that
is me. I want to be
at His own disposal."
"I don't mean that technical considerations are irrelevant. I have to practice. I have to do my best. If I didn't, then how is it going to happen?" -John McLaughlin
"I'll be working till I
die, because everyday
given strength and power to work and to be in harmony with the
place inside of me."
the same time, everything
have is at the disposal of the divine
in the form of true inspiration,
the possibility of complete artistic and
"If onstage I
can manifest spiritual liberation,
then the music will be full of it, and I believe whoever
with the music will enjoy the same experience."
“I become like a child who doesn’t know anything, except that I’m crying for spiritual values.” -Carlos Santana