david bowie espionage

Welcome to a new Monday post with 3 random thoughts on all things guitar, music, and life, including an espionage anecdote about David Bowie, “compressing time”, and more!

Here we go…


#1 – David Bowie espionage

I’m a fan of the superb guitarist, Adrian Belew.

I read an interesting story about his time playing with David Bowie the other day.

It was 1978, and at the time, Adrian was playing guitar in Frank Zappa’s band.

They were playing a gig in Berlin, Germany.

David Bowie was looking for a new guitarist for his upcoming tour.

…And as Adrian left the stage for a moment while Frank Zappa was playing an extended guitar solo, guess who was at the side of the stage?

David Bowie.

Adrian complimented David on his music, and David replied by asking if he wanted to join his band and that they should talk about it over dinner.


So, under instructions from Bowie, the next night Adrian quietly snuck out of his hotel room, and like a scene from a spy movie, got into a black limousine.

David was waiting in the limo and he started discussing plans for the tour.

Then, after a lengthy chat, David told the limo driver to head to the restaurant.

How many restaurants are there in Berlin?

Thousands, no doubt.

And they arrived at the restaurant, went in the front door, and who should be sitting at the very first table?

It was Frank Zappa and the rest of the band!


Frank wasn’t too happy about this, as he could see what was going on.

He even started using expletives…

…And started calling David names such as Captain Tom (humorously demoting Major Tom to Captain Tom).

After a while, Adrian and David got back in the limo, and David said in a dry British accent,

“I thought that went rather well!”

And the rest is history.

It’s an amusing story from a hero of the guitar, and it’s well worth checking out Adrian Belew’s Facebook page for more of these rock star anecdotes.


#2 – Do this daily

One of the best things you can do to improve your guitar playing is to make an improvement on one specific thing every day.

It doesn’t matter how small this improvement is.

…Because if you can just improve anything on the guitar each day, and do so every day, you will build momentum.

…And your motivation to practise will stay high.

When I used to practise in my early days, I’d often be aimless with what I’d practise.


I’d hop from one thing to another, learn some bits and pieces of tunes here and there, and never really conquer anything.

Instead, if I’d spent five minutes improving a certain chord change, smoothed out a transition in a song, or did some basic rhythm work…

…And done that every single day, I’d have been twice the guitarist I was after a year or so of playing.

If you ever feel a little lost with your playing, try to remember the above.

Try to improve one thing every day.


#3 – Compressing time!

I hope you had a great Easter.

Today, Archie has gone back to school after the Easter holidays.

And during these past two weeks, we had an absolute blast.

We’ve gone to a theme park, a local waterpark, a day out to surprise my mum on holiday for her birthday, my best friend’s wedding, and more…

It’s been a super busy few weeks.


At the beginning of the holidays, with all this planned, I thought, “Uh, oh, how am I going to get any work done?”

Well, I always plan for the holidays to be quieter with my work, but this time I had to really focus.

I had about 40% of the usual time available to me to do the same amount of work, but guess what, I got it all done.

It just goes to show if you set deadlines, you can achieve a fair bit.

Some people call this “compressing time”.

And I think with an instrument like the guitar, where we spend 1000s or even 10,000s of hours practising over a lifetime…


It’s well worth thinking about this…

I’ve often said we can get a superb practice session done in 15 minutes instead of the 45 minutes or so that some people take.

That’s because most people mess around a lot of the time they practise.

They don’t do this on purpose, of course, but most people tend to practise aimlessly.

If having fun and relaxing is the order of the day, that’s okay, but it’s nice to get a good balance.

…The balance between having fun and making progress.


For more help with this, you can check out the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy.

The In Focus course (only available inside the academy) features a specific routine that covers pretty much every element of what you should be aiming to improve with your guitar playing.

…And it’s all “compressed” in one short video routine where you press play and do it along with me.

Simply follow along and you will see improvements.


You can check out the academy below.

The Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy


Have a great Monday!

Dan Thorpe

Guitar Domination


P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.

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