Even Famous People Can Have Doubts

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,349
Plymouth, MN
James Hetfield shared at a recent concert that he had doubts about his ability to play guitar any more.

https://www.guitarworld.com/news/james-hetfield-guitar-playing-insecurities

That may be one of the few things I share with James Hetfield, except that I’ve never claimed I could play the guitar even moderately well in the first place.

On a serious note, it does show that the so-called imposter syndrome is a real thing, even among highly skilled people.
 
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Desirsar

Gretschie
Jun 9, 2021
251
Lincoln, NE
On a serious note, it does show that the so-called imposter syndrome is a real thing, even among highly skilled people.

I'd expect that to be more age catching up with him. Can't wait until they pull a Guns N' Roses and bring in a 20-30 year old woman to play guitar for him and he just sings. (Of course, Guns N' Roses didn't replace anyone, they just decided they needed a synth player.)
 

BCRatRod73

Synchromatic
Sep 1, 2020
748
Mississippi

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,929
Tucson
No matter what I learn to do, there are always people that can do something I cannot. I think that this applies to players at every scale. Different styles demand different techniques. My technique is influenced by the demands of Jazz, and this comes through in my playing. As I’ve learned other genres, I’ve had to learn different techniques, and at times these are in direct conflict with one another. I had been playing for more than 30 years before I ever made an serious efforts at Rock soloing.

When I first started, my Rock soloing sounded stiff and it’s taken years to learn to step into the Rock techniques at appropriate times. There is positive bleed-over; learning Rock has brought some benefits to my Jazz playing, for example. I would say that Country technique has been even more beneficial, finding application in Jazz, Rock, Blues, etc.

Even at that, I’m not a Heavy Metal player, and never will be. In that world, I would have little advantage over a rank amateur. I would imagine that someone immersed in that world might feel limited in other genres.
Sounds like fishing for compliments to me.
You may be onto something.
I do wonder why some "famous" people have a need to expound on anything and everything, as if their fame makes them experts on any subject, like politics or medicine.

Hasn't stopped me, though.
I’ve wondered the same thing, myself.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,715
Petaluma
I do wonder why some "famous" people have a need to expound on anything and everything, as if their fame makes them experts on any subject, like politics or medicine.

Hasn't stopped me, though.
I thought there was a term of art for it, but it is a well-established concept that a person that experiences great success in one area tends to think they will be succesful in anything else (usually unrelated) they do. Simply put, success can be bad (or good, depends on how you look at it) for the ego.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,929
Tucson
I thought there was a term of art for it, but it is a well-established concept that a person that experiences great success in one area tends to think they will be succesful in anything else (usually unrelated) they do. Simply put, success can be bad (or good, depends on how you look at it) for the ego.
Good observation. The thing is, being good at one thing may actually be a hinderance in other pursuits.
 

Byron

Country Gent
Sep 4, 2009
1,176
uk
Yeah, but playing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, selling shed loads of records and earning a small fortune.....there must be a little voice at the back of his mind saying he must be getting along ok.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,929
Tucson
Self doubt and fishing for compliments are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There might even be a strong correlation there.
I’ve met any number of famous musicians, over the years, and more than a few of them have struck me as lacking confidence, being insecure or just plain needy. I’m not going to mention any names, but the musicians I’m talking about are names that most of us here would recognize immediately. Being gifted as a musician doesn‘t automatically give a person an air of confidence, or make them capable public speakers.

I don’t say this as a put down; these are people I respect, but in spite of playing for huge audiences and having appeared on notable recordings, these people didn’t come across as all that confident. So, when you see someone wearing a tuxedo, collecting a Grammy, remember that same person might be twitchy and nervous in person. I speak from direct experience, on that one.
 

mrfixitmi

Country Gent
Mar 20, 2010
1,931
Michigan
I may be one of the few that believe this,...but it really is possible for some of the greatest artists to have some degree of self doubt, even if they carried a facade of complete confidence. We could also consider this as being a perfectionist.

When I was young in the studio days, I was told that the posers think that they are talented, and the talented ones think that they are posers. For me, I found that to be very true.
 

drmilktruck

I Bleed Orange
May 17, 2009
19,349
Plymouth, MN
I’ve met any number of famous musicians, over the years, and more than a few of them have struck me as lacking confidence, being insecure or just plain needy. I’m not going to mention any names, but the musicians I’m talking about are names that most of us here would recognize immediately. Being gifted as a musician doesn‘t automatically give a person an air of confidence, or make them capable public speakers.

I don’t say this as a put down; these are people I respect, but in spite of playing for huge audiences and having appeared on notable recordings, these people didn’t come across as all that confident. So, when you see someone wearing a tuxedo, collecting a Grammy, remember that same person might be twitchy and nervous in person. I speak from direct experience, on that one.

In my line of work I see many highly successful people who struggle with depression, anxiety and a sense that they should be better. Nothing they do feels like it's good enough.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
25,929
Tucson
I may be one of the few that believe this,...but it really is possible for some of the greatest artists to have some degree of self doubt, even if they carried a facade of complete confidence. We could also consider this as being a perfectionist.

When I was young in the studio days, I was told that the posers think that they are talented, and the talented ones think that they are posers. For me, I found that to be very true.
That last paragraph is profound. Chet Atkins used to quip to his band; “well, we fooled them again”, after concerts. I think that there was an element of truth, because Chet had it down to such a science that he could make it sound difficult, even after he had worked a song into being fairly simple to play.
In my line of work I see many highly successful people who struggle with depression, anxiety and a sense that they should be better. Nothing they do feels like it's good enough.
I’m never satisfied with my own success. I wouldn’t describe it as rising to the level of pathology, because it doesn’t interfere with my ability to function in life, but I always want to do better and always am my own harshest critic.

In my youth, there was a man of my acquaintance who was very successful. He lived in a fine house, drove a luxury car, and came across as a person that had life by the tail. I later found out that in his personal life, he was somewhat insecure and almost a pathetic figure. Had you met this man, you would have felt like you were in the presence of someone with infinite self confidence, but that was all a front. At core, he was just the opposite.
 


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