It all started when I split from home. I got the opportunity to go on the road and I went off with groups and trios. And I got introduced to drinking and all that. I was rebelling really and although I wasn't influenced by knowing that other jazz players were onto it, there was a point where there was a definite identifying with that, because it was part of the whole scene. It's just part of the environment and still is; but that doesn't mean that you have got to get caught up in it. But I thought that was the way to go, and I went from one thing to another and that's how I got started. I got heavily involved and people were saying, 'You'd better cool it, you'd better stop.' But I mean - I couldn't hear anything they said. Everybody, people close to me, my family; I didn't hear them; you never do.
I was there for two and a half years. I didn't do a lot of playing then. In fact, when I got there the guitar had absolutely no meaning for me and they said, 'OK, the guitar, put it in the corner and forget it!' Like, you don't play the guitar, because that's something that stands in your way. So I didn't play the guitar for a long time, I did other things, like straighten out my head and my person. Later, I maybe played the guitar on Saturday and then perhaps Friday and Saturday.
But the most I feel I've accomplished has been after that scene. Using drugs didn't help me to play, all it did was to hang me up for about fifteen years. - Joe Pass
( Sometimes a musicians personal struggle and triumph over adversity is as inspiring as the music they created. - Ed)