Derek Trucks knows what it’s like to be just a kid and have everybody hollerin’ about how goddamn great you are. He bought his first guitar at a yard sale when he was nine and by his 13th birthday had played alongside Buddy Guy and opened for the Allman Brothers.
Trucks’s early arrival at guitar-hero status had me thinking about the similar situation with Quinn Sullivan, the 14-year-old Strat-slinger who opens for his mentor Buddy Guy at Coquitlam’s Red Robinson Show Theatre tonight.
I’d interviewed Sullivan last week, the day before calling Trucks in advance of the Tedeschi Trucks Band show at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre next Friday (November 8). So it seemed only fittin’ to ask the elder picker if he had any career advice for the new kid on the block.
“I think the only thing you can do is keep doin’ what you’re doin’,” said Trucks. “I mean, you have to keep your head on straight. At that age there’s a lot of smoke and hype that comes at you, and I think it’s important to try and steer as clear of that as you can, and not buy into it.
“The bottom line is you gotta keep makin’ music and make it relevent,” he added, “and grow at all times. I mean Quinn’s super-talented, but I think the real work probably starts right now for him. Playin’ and bein’ good naturally is just that: it’s natural and it just happens. And that’s kind of the easy part, in a way. It’s trying to make that transition into making it a lifelong thing that I think is hard for a lot of people.”
Trucks added that’s he’s not too worried about Sullivan handling all the pressure of stardom since he’s got “a good head on his shoulders”.