Adrian Belew is widely regarded as one of the best and most innovative guitarists in rock music. He recorded and toured with Frank Zappa, then the Talking Heads, then David Bowie. He led the prog rock band King Crimson for decades.. and he’s had an acclaimed solo career.
When he was in his teens and 20s, Adrian spent several years playing in cover bands, first in Cincinnati and later in Nashville. Years… not months. He easily could’ve given up. He certainly thought about it. But instead he stuck with it. He played the cover band gigs to make a living, but he used the rest of his time to focus on getting better at playing and songwriting.
When no one else believes in you, you have to believe in yourself.
The story of how Adrian became part of Frank Zappa’s band is the stuff of legend. How many other guitarists have been discovered because of a chauffeur? But if he hadn’t been playing that cover band gig, it never would’ve happened.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It happens because you put in the work. One gig at a time.