So I’ve got a musical instrument as my most treasured thing. When I was 16, I went to Mexico for study, and I was given some cash to spend on souvenirs. I was given about $35 to last me for quite a few weeks. You could buy a lot of souvenirs for $35 in 1964, but I spent all of it on a guitar, a $30 guitar, which I was hypnotized by. I played it every day while I was down there. I learned more guitar in a month than I have learned since. I came back, and the callouses were huge because cheap Mexican guitars are really hard on your hands, just awful. I mean it’s an awful thing. The strings, oh, it’s just terrible. My parents thought I might be serious about it so my dad said, “Well, let’s get you a better guitar,” and he took me to the music store, and he said “Well, what do you want?” There was one beautiful Gibson Classic guitar there, but it was the most expensive one in the store: $280. He said “Sure, get that one.” I could not believe that he was going to buy me the most expensive guitar in the store, and I still have it, and it hangs on my wall.
[Do you still have the other one as well?]
No, I wish I did, just to compare it. It would probably be broken into sticks by now. And my dad’s been gone for 40 years, but that guitar that he—and he was a thrifty guy, so that he would fork out $280 was amazing.
[That’s like $1000 in today’s money.]
I can’t understand why he did that.
[Was he musical, then?]
No, not at all.
[He just saw it in you.]
I think he just saw that I was serious, and that changed my life, and then I started playing everywhere I could.