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And I did a lot of things in the music business before that. So for his own soul he was wanting to write a feel-good, take-me-back party song. And everybody embraced it—all the big DJs down here in Nashville. When CMT put it up on their website, it became the single most-viewed debut video they’ve ever had.
So if there’s anything inspiring I have to say to other guitarists, what I would say without a doubt is don’t give up. And Luke Laird, who’s a Pennsylvania guy like Bret, and also the hottest songwriter in Nashville right now, reached out because he was a fan. Very “Nothin’ But a Good Time,” in terms of attitude. And we just did a Superfan concert here in Nashville yesterday and the song went over great.
They are Kiss, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister and Poison. It’s been a twisted path, and it’s ended up almost right where it started. And I’m not saying I would have ever given up, because rock and roll is in my blood, but there is that point in your life where you stop chasing that dream, and maybe I was almost there. And again, the way you do that is by not faking it.
And while I was dealing with how that event was going to affect my children, all I kept hearing over and over from people was, “Oh, don’t worry. And it just started to make me mad, to be honest with you.
And there’s a chapter in the book where I talk about the differences between being eccentric and strange—because one thing that happened to me early on in life was, I was in the Cub Scouts, and one of the leaders called me strange. And now you’re playing in a band with a guy whose music you listened to as a kid. So for fans of Eighties music, of bands like Guns N’ Roses and Poison and Bon Jovi who together sold 35, 40, 50 million, maybe even 100 million records, those people didn’t just disappear. You just have to change the way you may deliver the music to them.
The last chapter of the book ends with me hearing [Poison’s 1986 debut] for the first time in my life. At 21 years old I was all about going into some dingy bar and watching rock bands.
The song was “Cry Tough,” and over the years I’ve played that song in talent shows, I’ve played it in all my bands. I have a friendship with a guy I’ve looked up to my entire life, and we get to write and play music for people everyday. For me, as different types of music came in through the years…I mean, I appreciated grunge. And the thing is, Bret had had a rough winter, man.
There’s a lesson in there for aspiring guitarists about never giving up on your dreams. I mean, I started playing with Bret when I was 32 years old. He was in and out of the hospital a few times, we had to cancel some shows.