During my 5- to 7-year hiatus, I ran into a band featuring a guitarist named Mike Vanhoy, and I was blown away by his playing. He had a finger-picking style with a full-on rock-and-roll attack. Mike had melody in his solos, but they were also blistering. I was amazed that I was catching such an amazing player in the little town of Albemarle. I actually knew the drummer in his band pretty well and asked him if he thought Mike would be willing to come and jam with me.
They were more into playing covers, and you never know what it will be like to jam with someone while playing original music. With that said, if you hit it off playing originals you know there’s a chance for something special to develop.
Man, we had one hell of a time. It was absolutely amazing. I was even further shocked by his playing and what he was bringing to the table to add to my originals. You see, Chip had moved up to the D.C. area, and I essentially felt lost musically. I don’t really enjoy playing by myself; what gets me fired up is when I hear other people killing it while jamming with me—no matter what the instrument—including but not limited to vocals. I just love sharing music at that level.
When I jammed with Mike, it was like being back home again. My rhythm is kind of different, as I don’t always play on the quarter notes. I strum sometimes on the eighths or the sixteenths, and I also play really behind the beat sometimes. Chip played a much tighter rhythm, which worked great with my playing. Mike, on the other hand, plays more with his fingers, so he fills in the gaps and adds tons of melody to my songs. Lindsey Buckingham has always been one of my favorite guitar players, and it felt like a dream to me to be jamming with someone who had a bit of the same style.
It’s always a great compliment to have someone as talented as Mike wanting to jam with you. In fact, when I first started playing guitar during college, the only thing I hoped for was for good musicians to want to have a few beers with me and pick and grin in the living room. I had no idea it would end up going where it went with Satchel Foot, and jamming with Mike ultimately brought things back full-circle, to the beginning of why I started playing guitar in the first place.
Even though he and I had the best time jamming and I was inspired again, something still didn’t feel right with me personally, and I wasn’t ready to commit to anything. It would take me almost four more years to take the stage with Mike, but the groundwork had been laid, and I could at least see a path for us moving forward.