Playing for almost two decades on national television is just one facet of jazz guitarist Kevin Eubanks' long career.
Eubanks visited campus Friday afternoon for an interview with KTCU and talked about his headlining set for the Fort Worth Music Festival on Saturday night at the Will Rogers Memorial Cener.
He is best known as the leader of The Tonight Show Band. For 18 years, Eubanks played and led the band while host Jay Leno entertained millions of viewers with his jokes.
Eubanks said he grew up in a musical family, and that his mother was a music teacher who brought home instruments all the time. He began playing piano and moved to violin for seven years. Instruments were like toys as he grew up, Eubanks said.
“I was cursed or blessed having to play music forever,” he said.
But Eubanks' went to a James Brown concert when he was young and walked out knowing he wanted to play guitar. Eubanks said he thought guitar was more fun than violin. Now, he said he regrets his decision to stop playing violin when he started guitar because music is music.
“It’s still music no matter what instrument you go to,” Eubanks said.
Eubanks said he had a great time working and playing for The Tonight Show. He said he enjoyed meeting tons of musicians, presidential candidates and many other celebrities.
However, he said he felt it was time to move on from the show. Eubanks is now touring with his band and making appearances worldwide.
Janice McCall, assistant station manager of KTCU, said she helped plan Eubanks' visit to campus for the university radio interview.
McCall has local artists on the station frequently, but said it was a special deal to have someone as famous as Eubanks visit. McCall said she is proud KTCU is bringing diversity in music to the surrounding community.
Tom Urquhart, one of the hosts of KTCU’s "The Good Show" on Saturday mornings, conducted the radio interview with Eubanks. Urquhart said the interview was the easiest one he had ever done because of Eubanks' laid-back personality.
Eubanks said he loves open-air musical festivals and looks forward to this weekend’s concert.