LoNero are a heavy metal rock band that gave birth to Guitarcore with their first release “Relentless” in 2007. They shred their guitars unlike many other guitarists in their space, so we thought they were the perfect candidates to tell us what making a Bucket List life of being a musician was really like. It’s an awesome, honest interview, and we are TickTheBucket.org – hope you enjoy it.
- What do you think the biggest barriers to being a musician are?
Well, being a musician and playing an instrument are two different things to me. Anyone can play an instrument. All you have to do is pick one up and spend a little time and learn a few chords. However, to me, being a musician is a whole other animal. Being a musician takes time to practice. Dedication to your art. Perseverance. Passion. Focus. Not letting anything stop you. And I think that right there is the biggest barrier. People get frustrated and quit. They have the passion when they first start out but then quickly realize it isn’t the cakewalk they thought it would be. I’ve been playing guitar for nearly my entire life (I started when I was 10) and I still get frustrated from time to time but I don’t let it stop me. I see each stumble as a challenge and that is the way I approach my life. If I can get through this challenge I can move on and past it. If I ever encounter that challenge again I will know how to handle it. However if I just throw in the towel at the first challenge I encounter, then I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I have a motto that I have put on the face of every one of my guitars and painted on my studio wall, and that motto is “No Regrets, No Excuses”. I live my life with no regrets because what has happened in my past has helped shape me into who I am now. If I regretted my past I would be insulting who I have become. Life is too short for regrets. Things happen for a reason. And I make no excuses. What happens happens. I make no excuses for anything I’ve said or done. I try to live my life right here and right now. Nothing in the past is going to change by regretting anything you’ve done. The only thing you can do is accept things and learn from them and move on.
- Do you think it has become easier or harder to start a band in recent times?
I think it’s become easier because there is more information available to those that want to learn. You have YouTube and countless apps for your phone or iPad that will help you learn to play. But one thing none of those websites or apps will teach you is passion. You have to have passion if you want to succeed. And I mean really succeed. Anyone can make money. To me, money does not equal success. When you die, no one is going to say at your memorial, “wow he sure had a lot of money”. No, what they will say if you lived your life with passion is “wow he sure knew how to live. He went after his dreams and he never gave up”. That’s what life is all about. So starting a band today is easier but the fundamental and underlying element of passion and dedication are still needed to be successful. There are a million bands out there. Anyone with a computer can now record a song and put it on iTunes. The hard part is for the serious musicians that make it a career, like myself, that have to fight through the noise to be heard because Little Johnny’s mom bought him a computer and a keyboard and he thought it would be cool to record some songs and get them on iTunes. Now the challenge falls on us to be heard because there are more and more part-time “musicians” flooding the channels. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing from their point of view. I understand where they are coming from. All I’m saying is to spend a little more time perfecting your craft before you decide to go public with it.
- Have you ever hit any walls in your career? What were they and how did you overcome them?
Oh, absolutely! Walls are everywhere. It’s how you climb over them that defines your character. Record labels are a huge wall for independent artists. Labels today want prefabricated pop music. They don’t want serious musicians that play instrumental rock lol. They want the “package” of autotuned vocals and lipsynching. So, for me, fighting past that garbage and still getting my music heard is a huge challenge that I readily accept, because I know I have put the blood, sweat and tears into my music and I know people like it. Our audience are people that appreciate passion and dedication. They appreciate musicianship. That’s who we play for. So to overcome anything in life, you have to understand what you’re up against and find its weakness.
- What’s been the hardest part of being a guitarist?
Challenging myself everytime I play. I don’t want to be the same guitarist I was yesterday. I want to be better today. Even if I’m only better by a tiny little bit. At least I have grown. I think that should hold true in everyday life as well. To me, music is a microcosm of life. As we write music, we do so one note at a time. We run into challenges and some notes may not sound good with others. So we learn from that and we try other notes. Before too long, we have a song that is harmonious and pleasing (for the most part lol) to the ears. So it is in life. One day at a time. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Before you know it, you’ll have a life that others want to hear about.
- Best moment you look back on and why?
I’ve had many, many moments in my musical career that I look back on and think “how did I get here?” One of my biggest musical inspirations growing up was guitar legend Joe Satriani. His was the guitar music I held above everyone else’s. Joe and I have become friends over the years, and one day I was at his house sitting with him in his home studio. It was just him and I alone in the house and for 2 hours he sat inches from me just playing guitar, trying out a piece of gear I loaned him. And I thought to myself “how did I end up here with my hero watching him play guitar?” I’ve played on stage and recorded with a lot of my heroes as well. I’ve traveled all over the United States many, many times from coast to coast and beyond to play music. I sat and played “Sloop John B” from The Beach Boys on acoustic guitar while Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson sat two feet in front of me intently watching and smiling. I will never forget that. I’ve played onstage with Cliff Williams from AC/DC (my favorite band of all time). I’ve toured with some of my guitar heroes as the opening act. I grew up ripping photos of rock stars out of the magazines and I used to always look for photos from one particular photographer, Neil Zlozower. My walls were plastered with his photos. Now he’s one of my best friends and I stay at his house whenever I’m in L.A. or he stays at mine when he’s in San Jose. All of these things, I’m saying, are not to impress you but to impress upon you that you can make any of your dreams come true. You just have to go for it. Get rid of the fear. Get rid of the negativity. Get rid of the inhibitions. Life is an amazing thing and no one has any more hours in the day than you do. It’s all about what you do with those hours that will define how your life goes.
- Three pieces of advice for anybody looking to do what you do?
NEVER give up. No matter what! I don’t care how difficult it gets. I don’t care if people tell you you can’t make it. The Beatles were turned down by every record label. They did pretty good for themselves I think.
Do it with passion! If you aren’t going to be passionate about it then don’t do it. You’re just wasting your time.
Believe in yourself! No one is going to believe in you if you don’t. The only person stopping you is you. If you want to be a successful musician, you have to visualize it. Picture yourself walking on the biggest stages every night. Picture yourself playing to the largest crowds. I am a huge proponent of visualization. Your brain can not tell the difference between you actually doing something and just imagining it. So every night imagine yourself accomplishing your dreams. They will come true but only if YOU don’t give up on them. Graveyards are filled with dreams that never came to fruition. Is that how you want to be remembered?
I have a quote that I came up with that I live by: “Success can only be achieved when effort exceeds desire”. You have to put the effort into it. You can only wish for so long. So no matter what it is in your life that you want to accomplish, you have to work for it. Own it. Make it yours!
And that’s it, that’s a wrap from Lonero. We at TickTheBucket loved speaking to them and we love what they’ve produced. If you want to get more from them, visit their website http://billlonero.com/mainindex/bio/ or visit their Twitter: @LoNero.
If this has inspired you to play the guitar, head over to our guitar forum and share your findings with the rest of the TickTheBucket clan.