Wozniak Prefers Shopping In-Store

During Saturday's "Breakfast Session," Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will speak about innovation and creativity with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. Music Inc. got the chance to speak exclusively with Wozniak and got some insight on his musical background as well as how he likes to shop.

MI: How does music play an important part in your life?
SW: I grew up with music. I went to a couple concerts early on in my life, and when you go see live music it really touches your soul. I played guitar for 20 years. So, whenever I go to a concert I like to look and see how someone is strumming and what kind of effects they are getting out of their guitar. Music has really affected my life.

MI: What was your first live concert?
SW: Simon and Garfunkel. It meant so much to me; they are one of my favorite groups. Another early concert for me was Junior Walker & the All Stars at the Fillmore. When he played that saxophone — the first few notes — I remember thinking, 'Oh my gosh. This is what live music sounds like?'

MI:You said you play guitar. What kind of gear do you play?
SW: I only played guitar for myself. I didn't read music or anything like that — I played by ear for 20 years. When I first started playing I had no money — I was in college — so I bought a $25 guitar down in Tijuana, Mexico. That was a starter guitar for me. Eventually I got a Les Paul custom. Now, I have a bit of a collection, and I favor the mellow sound out of a Les Paul.

MI: You will be speaking to a crowd of music retailers on Saturday morning. How do you prefer to shop?
SW: I would prefer the face-to-face experience of shopping in a store, especially for something like musical instruments. People are so specific about their instruments, like guitars, where they will switch their guitar every song because they are looking for a specific sound. And that's not something you can put into words online. I am a strong supporter of the local music store. You walk into them and they have knowledgable people. You can't buy something that is going to make a sound online if you are semi-professional in the least bit.