Generally speaking, American teenagers like to hang out with friends, go to shopping malls, go see movies, just spend time at home or be on Facebook. Often I see them walking around with their eyes on their mobile device and fingers on it’s keypads. Other than going to school and doing their home work, this may be a typical teenager’s life style; but there is one 13 year old that I came across recently in Phoenix, Arizona whose response was very different when I asked him about how a typical teenager spends his or her day. “I’m not sure what a typical 13 year old’s life looks like. I can say that my day is packed with music, going to jams and managing the business side of my music”, said Gus C., a 13 year old singing, songwriting, guitar playing music phenomenon of the city.
Right from his birth, Gus C has been enveloped in music. Thanks to his Father, who always has had a great collection of classic rock and blues records, a guitar player himself; thanks to his mother, who is an avid music enthusiast; and thanks to his brother Bo. Baby Gus was largely influenced by his brother Bo, who practised playing his guitar at home and jammed with his father and friends, and was also a guitar player in a local band. “My family loves music of all genres, it’s always playing at home, car etc.. Always had a guitar laying around. My older brother and my dad play guitar, harmonica and sing. My brother would invite his friends over and they would jam in his room, I would sit by the door and listen. For my 9th birthday my mom bought me 1 months worth of guitar lessons, I WAS HOOKED!!!”, said Gus C responding to my inquiry as to how music came to him. Gus C goes to Explorer Middle School in Paradise Valley.
Gus C got his first on stage experience at a Rock Band Workshop. He was only 10 at that time. Since then he has been consistently performing and gigging around town. On one hand, Gus C plays shows with a little help from his friends TJ and Kit on bass and drums respectively. On the other hand, he jams regularly with the more matured blues players of the town at various Jam Sessions that take place quite regularly in the Valley. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and George Thorogood are a few to name from the list of celebrities who have influenced Gus’s guitar playing, singing and songwriting, but Jack White of The White Stripes has a special place in his heart. “…my wish is to go toNashvilleand meet with one of my biggest inspirations, Jack White, and maybe cut a track at his studio, Third Man Records and get that track on a 7 inch Vinyl. That would be my dream Christmas gift!”, said Gus C.
At a very young age Gus C already has some great accomplishments to his name. He has a tune that Ruby Cheeks plays as a title track for her radio show on FM 93.3 KDKB. A collaboration called ‘Purple Sleighs’ is going to be released at Zia Records around the end of October for Christmas 2012. He may have only 4 original tunes now, but the very fact that he is concurrently working on creating 3 new songs only goes to show that he will have a lot more very soon. Besides music there is another activity that interests Gus C, and that is reading biographies. When I met him at Barnes & Nobles, he was looking to buy Eric Clapton’s biography. At 13, he has already finished reading the biography of Martin Luther King Jr. This kid has a wise head on his shoulders and I am very glad to have his acquaintance.
Just as B.B. King’s guitar is known to the world as ‘Lucille’, may Gus’s guitars ‘Sally’, ‘Shunyquah’ and ‘Gretta’, his 2 Fender Stratocasters and Gretsch may one day, through his music, be known to the rest of the world. But then, he may end up having a plethora of guitars and give each one a unique name. Gus C is enjoying what he is doing right now and I sure hope he will continue doing that and influence the world with his music and positivity.
Gus C is on Reverbnation at http://www.reverbnation.com/gusc/. You can also follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/guscmusic/.