Gary Clark Jr. had his priorities straight from day one: Music came first, then school.

In a new Words + Music Audible production, the guitarist remembers frequently nodding off in morning classes as a kid, exhausted from the previous evening's gig.

"I had a teacher, and I don't want to put him out," he recalls. "But Mr. Waterson, first period of the day, he was my English teacher. And he would kind of give me a break a little bit. If I was tired and I was laying my head down on the desk, he wouldn't really call me out like other people would, because he knew that I was out, basically working until two o'clock in the morning. It had become a job to me and that was what I was going to do with my life."

You can listen to an exclusive clip from the Audible Original below.

Born and raised in Austin, Clark picked up a guitar at age 12 and hardly put it down. As a teenager, far less interested in school than in his guitar playing, he played as many local shows as he could, immersing himself in the scene.

"I had spent so much time hanging out with older folks that I was just kind of over it," he says.

All those late nights eventually paid off for Clark, who met promoter Clifford Antone, the man who helped launch Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, at an Austin music club owned by Antone. The meeting served as a springboard for Clark's career.

You can listen to the full episode at Audible.

 

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