To many six-string players, the Dallas, Texas-born Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of if not the greatest electric guitar player of all time.
The man’s fingers were like octopuses, capable of moving and dancing and jumping like a horned frog on his fretboard. Songs like “Pride and Joy” and “Crossfire” remain standards when it comes to shredding, even after the artist’s death—at just 35 years old—in 1990.
But what about Vaughan’s thoughts regarding life and art outside of what he expressed in his songs? What did he have to say about life and love, his craft, and his audience?
Let’s dive into the 16 best Stevie Ray Vaughan quotes, shall we?
1. “You see, we are here, as far as I can tell, to help each other; our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our enemies. That is to help each other and not hurt each other.”
2. “The way people come into your life when you need them, it’s wonderful and it happens in so many ways. It’s like having an angel. Somebody comes along and helps you get right.”
3. “I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn’t have any drums.”
4. “I’ve put my life back together, but it’s all a growing process and that’s neat, too, because if you stop growing, what good is it musically? So that is what I am looking forward to—growing. In some ways, I felt stagnant in my life and it showed.”
5. “I’m just doing the best I can now to keep this going… trying to grow up and remain young at the same time.”
6. “Some of us can be examples about going ahead and growing, and some of us, unfortunately, don’t make it there and end up being examples because they had to die. I hit rock bottom, but thank God my bottom wasn’t death.”
7. “Ya know, right now the most important thing in my life is to make sure you understand that, first of all, I thank God I’m alive today, and I mean that. I spent too many years of my life thinking that the big party was the whole thing.”
8. “Lots of times I’ll play lead and rhythm together.”
9. “Jazz changes and all. But I don’t know the names of what it is I’m doing.”
10. “What I am trying to get across to you; is please take of yourselves and those that you love; because that is what we are here for, that’s all we got, and that is all we can take with us. Are you with me?”
11. “And sometimes to help them we have got to help ourselves.”
12. “But between sets, I’d sneak over to the black places to hear blues musicians. It got to the point where I was making my living at white clubs and having my fun at the other places.’
13. “I got a lot of paradoxes in my life. I guess I’m a real confused person, but there are some focused parts to my life now, and I’m slowly trying to put all the pieces back together.”
14. “I kept listening, kept going to see people, kept sitting in with people, kept listening to records. If I wanted to learn somebody’s stuff, like with Clapton, when I wanted to learn how he was getting some of his sounds—which were real neat—I learned how to make the sounds with my mouth and then copied that with my guitar.”
15. “I was taught to think the next week or month or year will only get better than it is today. So I just keep waiting to see how great it will get!’
16. “I’ve been trying to grow up some myself, in my heart, and it’s happening quickly and I feel good about it, and I want that to come out in the music.”
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