Author Topic: Q & A with guitarist JOHN JAEGER by Donna the barefoot DJ  (Read 1703 times)

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Q & A with guitarist JOHN JAEGER by Donna the barefoot DJ
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 11:37:09 AM »
Hey there folks this is Donna the barefoot DJ. Awhile back a guitarist named John Jaeger sent us some of his music and a lovely letter.
He's into country life and reconstructing old cabins. I've visited his farm and had a wonderful time chatting with John and learning about his cabin project. It's a true labor of love. John's guitar playing is obviously another of his loves. His eyes start to twinkle when the subject turns to music. It was a little too hot that Missouri day for an onsite interview but I emailed John a couple questions later on and got back some interesting and insightful answers. Enjoy!

 Q: At KWBC.FM we are striving to be "The Home of the Independent Musician" which means that while we play many older artists we are also encountering many younger artists. Do you have any advice for younger artists regarding your craft?

 A:My advice to kids is to follow your passion. If you love the guitar don't give up. Find a teacher. Slow down records and figure things out. My guitar heroes are considered "unschooled". Basically self taught. But you do have to know the basics. Write your own pieces. Even if you think its awful! Every guitarist has their own unique voice. No one will sound quite the same as you. That's fantastic!

I started playing guitar at age 9. One of the sisters at my Catholic grade school taught me some chords and in a few years I was playing in church. I was in a band for a while. We called ourselves the Purple Shack!

At age 20 I was living with a community of volunteers at Covenant House in New York. We worked with young teens who wandered into the Times Square area. One day a guy walks in with a stack of records someone donated to our community. On top were several albums by Leo Kottke, John Fahey and Peter Lang. All of it was solo acoustic steel string guitar - 6 and 12 string. When I first heard it I was dumbfounded. It was like I didn't have a category for the sound I was hearing. But the more I listened the more I was hooked. That's when I started pursuing finger-style guitar. I began with picks but eventually gave them up.
 
Its strange how doors open when you go after something you love. I eventually met John Fahey and even shared the stage with Leo Kottke. In fact, I was so fascinated with Leo Kottke that I showed up for a 9pm concert of his at 2 in the afternoon! I was sitting outside the theater in Philadelphia planning out all the things I would say to him. I imagined him inviting me in for a sound check and playing my guitar pieces for him. Well...... about 4 pm a taxi pulls up and out hops Leo Kottke with two guitar cases. He starts walking straight toward me. It was like a crescendo with Leo getting closer and closer! Then I blurted out "hows it going" ! He looked at me as if to say...surely your not sitting here for a 9 pm show? I was too scared to say anything else!
 
About five years later I met him at a workshop in Connecticut and played some tunes on stage with him. I even played his guitar. I was thrilled to get advice from him. He said " I am going to give you the same advice Chet Atkins once gave me........find the pocket". He was talking about the right timing of course. I've been searching ever since.
 
There is a threshold to guitar playing. I didn't reach mine until at least 15 years of playing. Most people get there a lot sooner. When you hit your threshold you are about as good as you will ever be. One day you can't play and the next day you can. You just have to stick with it until it comes. And it can take a long time.
 
To me the joy of being a guitarist is creating a new piece. It seems to come from somewhere and flows through your hands. I usually get started on a lick and it starts evolving. Sometimes it comes all at once. A song I wrote called "A Simple Life" was like that.

 
 Q: What type of venue might our listeners find you at when you're performing?

 A: Since high school I have been a solo guitarist. I have played lots of weddings and some funerals. I was featured on a local TV program called Pepper and Friends. The station is KOMU channel 8 in Columbia MO. I was on the show about a dozen times which helped my CD sales.

And of course you can hear John play on KWBC.FM!