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Life & Work with Jeff Kollman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Kollman.

Hi Jeff, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I started playing guitar at 12 years old. I’ve been playing, studying and recording music for 41 years now. In hindsight, it was quite an inspiring story. My brother and I grew up in a broken home with an alcoholic mother from nearly day 1… We were truly poor and our living situation changed every few months if not every month. I realized reflecting back on those times having gone through such adversity of entering 14 grade schools within a two years period built great strength in my brother and I. It all changed when my Father Tom gained custody of us. My father always wanted us to live with him but he had remarried shortly after my parents had divorced when I was 2. My stepmother had some challenges with Manic Depression and Bi polar disorder. The disease became so unbearable for her and she took her life one morning in May 1979. As tragic and traumatic that it was at the time, it opened up the opportunity for Tommy and I to move in and bond closer with our father. It was life-changing for us. It was really stabilizing. Our father could afford the time energy and money give us the tools of education and musical focus.

Dad bought Tommy a drum set and me a guitar and some lessons. Dad also took us to our first concert which was Kiss. I was blown away by the sheer power of rock. I realized at that moment that music and the guitar with be my singular focus. I never took anything for granted. It was sort of no looking back. The year was 1979 and I can say that I’ve only played music for a living and have managed to raise a family being a professional musician.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There’s always challenges but I think the first realizing them, overcoming from and learning from them is part of the growing process. I think I’ve learned along the way not to worry so much about the financial side of things. Many go in for the kill with a high number and a high opinion of their self-worth. It’s really not about that. There’s a way to go into a new organization or say a band situation, gain trust in others, prove yourself and improve the overall situation for everyone involved. At that time, you might go in and ask what you are NOW worth. Meaning we always put a price on ourselves and sometimes the ego cloud things up. We have to realize that more often that not we can be our own worst enemy. This happens too when emotions get away from us. It’s always about self-improvement and learning how to manage situations. Communication and real human relationships are the key. You have to be honest, respectful and understand that your actions can really affect and throw a wrench in a good working situation. For the younger generation, I would say don’t be afraid to talk on the phone or face to face. Don’t hide behind texts or worse throw your opinions out on social media. The miscommunication happens quick and it’s hard to resolve. It doesn’t best represent who we are.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I feel like I have found my voice on the guitar and with writing for instrumental guitar music. I think there are great players all day long or every street corner and every YouTube channel. I think the difference is to find your voice as a player and a songwriter. I am proud of the fact that I’ve been releasing records on my label and inspiring guitarists worldwide for three decades. To teach and inspire others to create is a great love of mine. I have a new instrumental release coming out May 21st called ‘East Of Heaven’. It’s the 22nd release on my Marmaduke Records Label.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
These days it’s easy to reach out on social media and collaborate with your favorite players. It seems everyone has a home studio and we are only a click away from reaching out to those artists that inspire us. I’m always open to co-write. I’m always on the lookout to write with singers that inspire me and writers have something to say lyrically. If you want to reach out, my information is on my site at www.jeffkollman.com.

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Image Credits
Photos by Naoju Nakamura

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