“The worst thing you can do is say, ‘If I’m not a success by 30, I’m just gonna quit’”: Joe Bonamassa gives his advice to aspiring musicians

“You’re just gonna spend the rest of your life going ‘What if?’”

Joe Bonamassa on stage playing an SG. He is wearing a suit and sunglasses.

Image: Scott Legato / Getty

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Joe Bonamassa has given some pretty solid advice to aspiring guitarists, and musicians on the whole, advising that they should never put an expiry date on their journey to success.

Although Bonamassa started playing live gigs at a very young age (he opened for BB King at just 12 years old), the blues rocker says his biggest career moment, which launched the trajectory of his modern career, didn’t happen until he was in his 30s.

In an interview with Creative Loafing (via MusicRadar), Bonamassa advises up and coming players to not limit themselves to having to succeed before hitting a certain age.

“There are no guarantees that any kind of success will happen by a certain time, OK?” he states. “The worst thing you can do is say, when you’re like 18 – or in my case, 12 – ‘Well if I’m not a success by 30, I’m just gonna quit and do something else.’

“Well, my biggest moment that launched my entire modern career for the last 15, 16 years was 4 May 2009, which was four days before my 32nd birthday. Now, we’d had some success when I was in my early 30s, but not to the point where we are now, [I was] still struggling to pay the bills.”

He adds, “If you put those time limits on things, you’re never gonna get to where you want to be, especially if you bail too soon, because you’re just gonna spend the rest of your life going ‘What if?’

“There’s a lot of soul-searching internally when it feels like nothing’s transpiring, or nothing’s going to transpire, and you either get really, really down on yourself and never recover from that, or you go ‘fuck it, I’m gonna make something that kills me,’ and that’s kinda what I did.”

Joe Bonamassa is touring now following the release of Blues Deluxe Vol.2.

View all of his upcoming tour dates via his official website.

Related Artists

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.