'I quit the lessons, but never gave up guitar'

'I quit the lessons, but never gave up guitar'

Greg Boerner (pronounced "burner") grew up in Augusta, Ga. He moved to Wisconsin and then to Chicago, where he currently resides. He travels to Rochester the first full weekend of every month to perform Friday and Saturday nights at the Canadian Honker.

1. Music background

Greg found an old electric guitar and amplifier in his attic. He brought them down and started playing. Greg took two years of lessons and hated them. "I quit the lessons, but I never gave up on the guitar."

2. Workaday life

"I am a guitarist, singer, and songwriter — in that order. This is what I do for a living. I know a lot of guys who talk about being a musician, and they sure do a lot of talking. But this is what I do, so I figure I better go and do it."


3. Firsts

"My first gig was a place in Augusta, Ga., called the Fondue Cafe. I got paid $10 and all the fondue I could eat."

4. Well, that’s odd

"My strangest requests are when people ask me to do songs by female singers. They ask, ‘Do you do anything by Jewel?’ or ‘Do you do anything by Heart?’ It just throws me when people ask for that."

5. Philosophy

"If you are playing music for the money, for the adulation, for the girls, for the drugs, forget it. You have to do it because you love it. The only thing that gets you through is the music."

6. Song of the South

"People think I am offering something different — not better, just different — because I am from the South. The way I word things and say things is different than in the Midwest."


7. Ramblin’ man

When Greg was playing at the Redwood Room years ago, Joe Powers, owner of Canadian Honker, heard him playing there and invited him to play at his restaurant, which Greg has been doing ever since. "Joe appreciates that I am making the drive (from Chicago). He shakes my hand and thanks me for coming."

8. The great escape

"With Mayo being across the street, I play for people who aren’t from the area, people who need to get away for a while. The music really helps to take their mind off what they are going through."

9. Musical style

"Blues, folk, country, roots rock 'n' roll, and all that comes in between."

10. Where to find Greg

Greg will be playing at the Canadian Honker on April 1 and 2 and on May 6 and 7. Or find him online .

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