Mike Ragogna: What advice would you have for new artists?
Steve Howe: Well, everybody’s tried to give advice. People just don’t usually take advice. (laughs) I can be light about it. There’s one thing that makes a professional guitarist stand out–particularly on an acoustic guitar–is that you don’t squeak too much. You’ve got to squeak occasionally, but not when you change a chord and not when you change a position. When you’re actually playing and you can’t avoid a squeak, then bless you, we’ve all got to live with that. But squeaks should be kept to a minimum. I think your career should really be about pushing on and not being distracted. Your playing won’t keep ascending in a straight line higher and higher. You get to a point and you think, “I can do this a bit more,” and it climbs another step of the ladder. That’s how things grow. To have an interesting career, you have to be pretty determined; you’ve got to find a way of making a living at it. That’s the third part of my advice, is as soon as you can, don’t be free, because that is not a career. You’ve got to charge, you’ve got to realize that at some point, you have to feed a family off of music, and that’s a very tall order. There’s a lot of quick roots to success, and we really see there’s just one, and that’s determination. I don’t think you should step out into the big wide world unless you’ve been playing for at least 10 years. Some people get on very rapidly; but at first, don’t try to be everything.