When I was in high school we only had one real artist. I don't really know how I knew that Ronald Ponce de Leon was an artist but I knew. He wasn't like the rest of us. He was a curiosity but somehow I admired him. He was a painter. I don't remember anything at all about his art. That's a different story, isn't it? When I became a musician I learned by copying my heroes. Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Louis Jordan, Hank Williams, Otis Redding. By the time that I realized that I was never gonna be Beethoven I realized that I was an artist. I had thought that the term itself was pretentious and empty. Now it was becoming clear to me that I had to follow my heart and subject myself to a certain muse that didn't follow many trends and fashions. Not a great discovery unless you appreciate some degree of poverty. I know now that some benevolent force, some kind patron saint keeps us afloat. I'm grateful for that. Kinda' like Popeye, I do what I do.