Advice From A Guitar Player Who Toured Europe With His Band
Autor: Piotr Sierzputowski, 04.08.2020
Jure Golobic is a co-founder and guitar player of Slovenian heavy blues band Stray Train. Toured Europe. Over 1000 concerts played – including those for thousands of people at once. 3 pro CDs recorded. All of that during only 20 years of musical experience.
A must read for everyone who is passionate about guitar and music.
Hi Jure! Thanks for the interview. I’m sure that you will have a lot of interesting things to say for me and my students. Can’t wait to read your answers.
Playing in a band and working as a musician is definitely a joyful occupation, but there are also many challenges along the way … You need to learn how to play, create music, record it, motivate your band members to work with you (after you have found them of course)… What are some of your best character traits that helped you reach your current level in musicianship / music career?
I would say that you always have to be inspired to grow as a musician and as an instrumentalist. I see it way to often when people look at their band members and say: “Well the drummer is not practicing so why should I?” That’s not going to get you far. You always have to want to be better.
In your view, what are some of the biggest mistakes that young musicians make? What are the roadblocks that they put on their own ways to achieve what they want?
I would say that staying in the environment ‘(band) that don’t share the same dreams as you do, and not having the balls to move on. That was my no. 1 thing for a long time.
The second one is not really educating yourself on HOW to make it happen and how success really looks like. A lot of musicians have no clue what it actually take to make it, how hard it is and they think they want it bad enough but when opportunity comes, they realise that they don’t really want it bad enough.
If you could go back in time and meet the younger version of yourself, what would you tell him (on the topic of music)?
Work on yourself a lot! The way you are is the way you play. You can’t change your sound, tone, technique if you don’t really grow as a person.
Don’t be afraid to play with people that are way better than you. Don’t judge yourself and put yourself down. Work on you relevant weaknesses.
When it comes to musical aspects of playing in a band, there are many things you need to do – expanding you general musical skills, rehearsals, preparing for concerts, practicing songs, creating songs, recording, playing gigs… What are your favourite musical things to work on?
Getting ready for the tour or some big concert. This is something that really connects the whole band, gives it purpose and makes things click together.
Writing new songs and recording as well. I like the creative process and I like to do final touches on songs and make them 5-10% better and so on.
It is said that your own mistakes is the best teacher… and I think it’s well said. I bet that on your way to achieving your current musicianship level there were times when you f*** something up :) Is there any story of this kind you could share with us? What have you learned thanks to it?
Yeah, for sure. One of my biggest setbacks was definitely playing with soooo much tension. I took guitar too seriously :) Kidding. It was a consequence of playing and sitting with a heavy, unbalanced Les Paul for too long. I’ve build so much tension in my playing, that sometimes it was impossible for me to play. To tone wasn’t there, rhythm and so on. And it wasn’t enjoyable to practice and play because I was always in the pain of some sort.
Back to the future 2 – What would you tell the younger version of yourself after making the mistake you just told about?
Start from the bottom up. The deeper you can go, the more fundamentals you can put in the right place the better your playing will become. All pros in all areas of life are pros because they are amazing at basics. There’s just no way around this.
When you publish your own music, play concerts… or do anything artistic in public, you can experience quite a lot of negative unconstructive critique coming from other people. If we cared too much about this, none of us would be playing anymore. What is your view on this phenomenon and how do you deal with it?
It all starts with two things. 1st is making music you enjoy making and not trying to be something you’re not. 2nd is knowing that there’s no way in the world everyone will like you. If you do that, negative critique will not get to you. And also one more thing - being connected with the band is important. Band members have to be in this together. You have to invest yourself into your music. Your baby will not be beautiful for everyone, but it has to be for you.
If you looked for a new member for your band, how well should that person play his instrument? What should be their musical knowledge level? What other traits beside music should that person possess?
The most important thing is you have to be able to inspire musicians you work with. If I make a riff for a new song and bring it to rehearsal room. People in my band need to be able to build on it and inspire me to play something I wouldn’t have played on my own. Band has to bring the best out of you and when you play, you have to bring out the best in your bend members. That is how I look at things from the musical point of view.
Also, you have to be a cool guy so that people can keep up with you on the tour, which means no drugs and shit. This not for serious band who wants to make it now a days.
People say that you need to be talented in order to play and create music. There’s certainly some amount of truth in that statement, but from my experience, talent is very often used as an excuse by people who just don’t believe in themselves. I wonder if in your musical journey everything came easily to you or were there some aspects that you struggled with and had to work hard in order to master them?
I feel like nothing came easy to me in my life. Guitar is no difference. I had to fight for all the skills I have and that’s the game you have to play. There were probably things that came easy for me. I know it took me few days to learn the basic chords on the guitar and be able to strum simple songs, but I’ve put hours and hours into my playing ever since. Repetition is the mother of all skills for sure.
There are many wise people in Poland (perhaps in Slovenia, too). Everyone knows a lot about everything. When it comes to playing in a band, people often say that you need to play popular music in order to be successful (i.e. adjust your musical style to the public taste). What do you think about that?
No one that ever made it big thought like that. If you go back in history and really examine how people became successful, you’ll realise that most musicians just didn’t care about the current „music scene” and made their own. From The Beatles, to Rollings, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Queen… I can go on and on, but you have to be persistent and really play your heart out. Most people don’t immerse themselves in music. They are more concerned with what people will think about them and that’s where music suffers.
What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to release something new?
Yeah, working on Stray Train’s 3rd record as I write this. 12 songs in recording process. So we’ll definitely be ready to hit the road once this Corona thing settles down.
And work on myself as a musician and guitarist for sure. And teach people who want’s to learn about guitar and music.