I had the opportunity to meet BB King on Saturday night, and all I can say is “wow.” This is a world class musician who has toured the world dozens of times, played over 15,000 shows in career lasting 60+ years, met heads of state, and changed the face of music…
…and he’s also incredibly humble.
I continue to be surprised by the amount of famous and ridiculously gifted musician’s I’ve met who are the most down-to-earth, humble folks in the world. (Bruce Hornsby, Stan Skibby & Brian Vander Ark come to mind…) BB was no exception.
After telling him that he was a huge influence on my guitar playing (and decision to study music), he said “You started playing at 6? I didn’t start until I was 11. By the time you’re my age you’re going to have a lot more experience than me.” I told him that I couldn’t figure out how to make the damn things (guitars) work, and he said “me either. There are a few guys who have really figured it out…Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, but I’m not one of them.” I said “if you haven’t figured it out yet, Mr. King, that doesn’t bode well for the rest of us normal guys!”
We then took a couple pics and he signed a show poster for me. (I wanted to pick up my 335 to have him sign it but didn’t have time to get it…) Then I went on my way.
There’s a lesson in here for all of us – greatness is complemented by humility.