Forward or please read me first.

Dear reader,

Just who do I think I am to tell you how to get rich and famous in the music business. I believe that I know the most important thing in any successful business adventure. Yes indeed, playing music for fun or capital gain, must be handled like all other successful business. The most powerful secrets that you must know, to make it, become more clear when you know what not to do. Knowing what not to do is half of the battle. And I have made all of the mistakes. I also have seen the best at their worst, and learned which path not to take.

I have performed live since I was fourteen years old, making enough money each year to be able to do it again the next year. My experiences range from never having enough equipment to play, to owning my own recording studio. My first paying gig the whole band got only $8. We had one amplifier, an old Sears Silvertone. We had to move the mike each time someone else sang.  But we had a great time and we would have paid to play anyway.

I also had the opportunity to be back stage with, AC DC, The Almond Brothers, Arrow Smith, The Band, Blue Oyster Cult, Devo, Eddy Money, Foreigner, Fredy Fender, Hall and Oats, Head East, Jefferson Star Ship,John Cougar Mellencamp, McCoy Tyner, Pat Travers, Peter Frampton, The Platters, Santana, Super Tramp, Van Halen, Van Morrson, Wang Chung, Jonny and Edgar Winters, ZZ Top, and 38 Special, . During all this time I was in school. Without being a pest, I would ask everyone from the roady to the sound man how they did what they were doing. I took in every possible detail because I was used to doing all this by myself.

I was back stage when someone dropped a hammer form the lighting scaffolding and watched Bill Gram fire him on the spot. He was the best, and he took no slacking from anybody. I learned just how important every person on stage was. And that the show did not revolve around any one person. Bill used to MC all his shows from the Filmore and he had a real way with dealing with hecklers. He just booted them out. Back in those days you could see the best top acts with out standing in any line. I remember having to look for the man to take my money so I could pay to get in. Those days are really gone.

One time at a McCoy Tyner concert I snuck back stage. It was easy. Everybody was so mesmerized by his performance that I just walked right past the security guards and stood right behind him. When he was finished I popped out, shook his huge hands, and ask him how he could play like that. He took my hands
and look at them with some disappointment. Then he told me that I could never play like him because I was too small. I convinced him that I was determined to learn the notes he played. He paused, then put his hand on my shoulder and said “Thesaurus Of Scales”. Scales were a part of my steady musical diet and I knew this was the secret to life in music. It was still, “practice makes perfect”, but I now knew what to practice.

This was what I had come for that night. I had received all that could be expected and then, I got more. McCoy looked again at me and said ” I know you!”. I was not sure what he meant so he explained ” you saw me the last two years I played here.” And I replied that was true and asked him how he even knew I was there and remembered. He said ” you were the only honkey in the audience !”. Now this showed me you never know when you are making an impression on someone you least expect. And how by not doing the wrong thing you can end up, maybe years later, with the right thing. This is what I will share with you.
WHAT NOT TO DO. Thanks for listing,

Ronnie Lee



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