For axe man and lifetime Santa Barbara resident Alastair Greene, the best stuff truly is worth waiting for. Since picking up his first guitar as a freshman at Santa Barbara High School, the now 39-year-old Greene has pursued music with a vengeance, fervor, and unbridled talent that few possess, making a name for himself throughout the Central Coast as one of California’s leading shredders.
Raised on a strict diet of rock ’n’ roll classics (the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Elton John) and big band (his grandfather was a well-known trumpeter in the 1950s), Greene first began his music career behind the keys and the sax. As a high schooler, he recalls his tastes growing with his newfound love for guitar, which included “the hard rockers, like Van Halen, Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, then the classics, like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.” In between gigging around town with garage bands and schooling at SBCC, a post-graduation Greene was snagged up by the Berklee School of Music—and awarded a partial scholarship—to come play guitar with the big boys.
“It was very humbling,” Greene recalls. “When I was there, there was a really big guitar thing happening. [Berklee grad] Steve Vai had just put out his big solo album, and he’d already been in David Lee Roth’s band. He had a very powerful presence; even though he wasn’t there, his legacy as a guitar player was.”
Following his stint at Berklee, and realizing that his musical heart lay less with jazz and more with rock and blues, Greene returned to S.B. for more “real-world experience.” Since then, he’s been gigging around as a solo artist and in bands, playing amplified and acoustic, and dishing up originals and covers (check out his Eric Clapton tribute outfit, Slowhand) for the world to hear. Even still, it was just last year that Greene was rewarded with the gig of a lifetime: touring the world with the legendary Alan Parsons. (They most recently hit Israel, Paris, and Russia.)
“There’s definitely a different mindset between wanting to save the world with your bros and be a rock star and wanting to play music for a living,” explains Greene. “I just feel really blessed that I got to experience both of those things simultaneously.”
For all things Alastair Greene, visit myspace.com/alastairgreeneband. And to catch Greene live, he plays this Saturday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at El Capitán Canyon’s Summer Concert Series. Visit elcapitancanyon.com for info.