Milwaukee’s Daryl Stuermer made it big – as the lead guitarist for Genesis. But he still lives here, and he’s helping young guitarists live their rock-and-roll dreams.
Would-be musical stars from around the world are bringing their guitars, and their hopes, to Southeastern Wisconsin this week. The Sharon Lynn Wilson Center in Brookfield hosts its first Guitar Competition and Festival Thursday through Saturday. The competition will be tough, and the judges tougher.
Stuermer will be on the judging panel for the rock category, along with Greg Koch. Stuermer says it's important for him to pay it forward to the next generation of guitarists to give them some feedback.
"They just have to be themselves," he says. "You can tell whenever your watching a guitarist: Do they mean what they're playing? Is it part of them? Is it something that comes out of them?"
He says it's never too early to be able to tell when a guitarist has talent - even if it's raw.
"When I listen to recordings of myself when I was 15 and 15, and believe me, I still have those, I hear promise in those," he says.
While YouTube helps many young musicians get discovered, Stuermer says it's harder today to get the performance practice in.
"I think there's a lot of great young guitar players out there that have no forum," he says. "I mean, I think about myself when I started to play in my early years, I got to play in nightclubs in Milwaukee. I had a band called Sweet Bottom. We played five nights a week in one club. I don't think that's even possible today."
Stuermer currently fronts his own quartet, called the Daryl Stuermer Band. They're playing Saturday night as the close to the guitar festival.