what you did with your newly-acquired skills was up to you. For me, it was right back to playing blues, but with a whole different level of awareness.
When I graduated in 1978, GIT was already growing fast and needed teachers, so I began teaching there part-time while playing around L.A. in different bands. I also started working under Howard's guidance to develop new curriculum, which was a priceless opportunity to learn directly from him about organizing complex ideas and writing clear, concise prose (turns out my Humanities degree came in handy after all). I got my first on-camera experience in an educational TV series on guitar produced by Howard and bassist Ray Brown; unfortunately, it never aired, but publishers started coming around to GIT looking for experienced player/teachers and before too long, I wrote my first book (actually more of a booklet), Hot Lines: Blues, which led to a book/cassette collection called Pro Licks: Blues, and in 1989, my first video, Rockin' the Blues.
Being at MI gave me the chance to play with some of my early idols, including both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, and meanwhile I was working regularly around LA with James Intveld, Juke Logan, the Dime Bags and others in the decade before I joined the Blasters in 1996. In the early '90s, the instructional video market took off, and I also started directing videos for other players, which mostly involved making sure the cameras were aimed properly and the teacher was making sense. My most memorable experience from that time was interviewing and performing with Albert Collins, who was one of the most original and powerful guitarists of his generation. Off stage he was warm and casual, but the minute he strapped on his guitar he was absolutely focused, and he played with unrelenting energy and intensity right up to the end of his life. He was a personal and professional role model, and the brief time I spent with him remains one of the highlights of my own life.
Throughout the '90s I kept writing and teaching instructional videos and eventually did more than a dozen on subjects from blues to rock to beginning guitar. My last full-length video was a beginning guitar DVD for Fender in 2000, just before "file sharing," i.e. piracy, began "disrupting," i.e. destroying, the video industry. For several years after that I wrote a monthly blues guitar column for Guitar World magazine that evolved to include short videos and even smart-phone, app-based mini-lessons. Ironically, old-school books on paper also survived, and MI Press/Hal Leonard published books based on courses that I had co-written for the school (Harmony and Theory and Ear Training) along with Blues Rhythm Guitar and most recently, Blues Guitar Soloing.
In 2014, I finally left MI and right around then, by lucky coincidence Paul Gilbert, a former GIT colleague and genuine rock guitar hero, hooked