Words of Wisdom from John McLaughlin

Written by on September 29, 2014

Guitarist John McLaughlin’s resume reads like a Who’s Who of Jazz. Born in 1942, McLaughlin had joined drummer Tony Williams’ highly influential fusion group Lifetime, performed on Miles Davis’ seminal albums In A Silent WayBitches Brew (which also features a track named for him), Jack Johnson, and Live-Evil before he turned 30 (shortly after he turned 30, he also appeared on the influential Davis album On the Corner).

As if that were not enough, McLaughlin is also responsible for one of the most beloved jazz-rock ensembles of all time, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and has for decades now remained at the vanguard of influential guitarists.

He shared with us the one piece of advice he wants young musicians to know. McLaughlin writes:

You all know the proverb: genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. It’s true.That said, to be a musician is the greatest of all privileges, the greatest of all honors.

Are you just going to blow it away because you don’t care enough? love enough? The feeble hearted will fall by the wayside and become accountants or equivalent. No matter how much you put into music, music will give you back tenfold what you’ve given.

As the great Ali Akbar Khan said to me once: Music ‘saved’ me. Me too… Just stay true to yourself.

Guitarist John McLaughlin

Guitarist John McLaughlin