My first guitar was given to me by my grandmother, Eva Jane Thompson in 1983. It was a student level Yamaha acoustic guitar and I still have it to this day. I took lessons for a while with a guy who did show me a few cool things (I believe “I Don’t Know” by Ozzy Osbourne was the first song) and I learned to read notes using the Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method just like I use now with many of my students. I remember how hard it was to push down the heavy acoustic strings to play things like power chords and bar chords but my fingers became tough and strong.
I wanted an electric guitar more than anything else in the world. A few years later my wish was granted when my parents thought I had proved that I would stick with it and they bought me a gorgeous white Stratocaster like Jimi Hendrix played (he died the same year I was born). I still play that guitar and use it for teaching. The first band I was in was The Andy Band (named after me) and we played one show, a battle of the bands at Kent Roosevelt High School. My good friend Larry Curtis formed the band. We played 3 or 4 songs but the ones I remember were “Hollywood” (a punk song) and “No One Like You” by the Scorpions. We only knew the chorus on that one (same 3 chords played endlessly while I did a solo/no vocals). On “Hollywood” we had a lead singer who had broken his arm days ago (no medical treatment) skateboarding and he rolled around on the stage as he “sang”. We didn’t win but it sure was fun.