Monday, March 24, 2008

How Eric Johnson changed my life and made me who i am

Hi! i wanted to share this story about someone special with you all, well there is no story behind the composition of the tune SPACE GUITAR currently available at but I would like to share how I discovered ERIC JOHNSON and his music and went on to get to know him through his work and eventually correspond with him.
In 1986 I was strolling down a dark dingy corridor in one of the oldest and erstwhile shopping malls of CALCUTTA (INDIA) called NEW MARKET when I noticed this magazine peeping out from a corner in a news store. The magazine had a very strange title-it read WHO IS ERIC JOHNSON AND WHY IS HE ON OUR COVER.I felt intrigued and I went up to the store and purchased what was my first guitar player magazine . I had already been playing for several years and was in that phase where practice was a personal war against the establishment and everything that was discipline oriented (school) and guitar magazines just added to the fuel to fight on.
I remember going back home and poring over the magazine and then discovering that it came with a floppy record that you could play on your turntable. This was the defining moment of my musical life(and I really mean THIS)my whole idea and concept of what a guitar should do and sound like were turned upside down when I put on the sound page and my ears were greeted by CLIFFS OF DOVER live at AUSTIN CITY LIMITS.I have since that day read ERIC'S interview from that magazine a million times and it has been like an inspiration to me when I have been in a rut and in times of darkness and sorrow it has been like a beacon on the bay showing me the way almost like a healing touch and a kind gaze.
His music has left me with no words to express what joy and inspiration I have got from him, but along with that I have tried to imbibe in me what he stands for,LOVE,JOY,SHARING,KINDNESS,HEALING and MUSIC amongst so many other great things.I have tried to understand and follow ERIC not only musically but also in his attitude towards life and that is why i have kept his interviews so close to my heart and i follow them almost like rule books to life.
I have tried to read between the lines and follow every word that has been printed on his album sleaves to grasp every bit of inspiration and that special something that i cannot find a word to define.Maybe a term called ERIC'ISM will come about someday.
Well through the years my impatience to actually know the man got to such a degree that i finally put pen to paper in mid 1988 and wrote a letter to ERIC JOHNSON care of GUITAR PLAYER MAGAZINE.It took me a major part of a day to craft my masterpiece of prose!!!And I remember writing it down in a rough format in my notebook and after intense proof reading and then neatly writing out the letter in my immature hand writing. I think I managed to really scare ERIC out of his wits, he must have thought this is one hell of a demented fan and maybe a stalker for all you know. The letter was a very heartfelt commentary on how he had changed my life for the better and how his music had lifted me out of this morbid daze I was in!!!!I received a nice thick padded envelope in a couple of months with a sticker label from JOE PRIESNITZ,i knew the name from reading all his album covers and I could not contain my excitement remember running around mad for about 5 minutes before even opening the envelope to see what was in there. My brother finally coaxed me into opening the envelope which I did very gingerly and hey presto!!out came a cassette tape of TONES and a personally autographed photograph of EJ with the following written-ALL THE VERY BEST WISHES VIKRAMJIT LOVE ERIC JOHNSON.I almost fainted in happiness that he had actually put pen to paper and written my name.
I have since framed that photo and it hangs in my living room wall much to the amazement of my friends and students. The tape is in my home studio cd shelf and stands proudly with all the other EJ cd's.
The tune SPACE GUITAR is my humble effort to say thanks for everything to ERIC and I hope he will remember me from 1988 as the strange fan from INDIA.