As a young boy, Carl Verheyen begged his parents for a guitar. Then, on his 11th birthday, he took his first lesson.
"My parents had to tell me to stop practicing, get out and play," he said.
"Forty years, five months and two weeks" later, Verheyen is still going strong.
Guitar magazine named the L.A.-based Verheyen as one of the top 10 guitarists in the world. He also has received the L.A. Music Awards' Best Guitarist Award and similar honors in Germany, France and the United Kingdom.
Verheyen often plays on up to 10 recording sessions a week and has been recognized in the Guitar Player magazine's readers' poll as "Best Studio Guitarist."
Verheyen has nine solo CDs, an instructional video, two books and a DVD package with three hours of video and a CD.
"It's a nice legacy to leave behind when that day comes," Verheyen said of the DVD. "It's there for all times that I accomplished this, that I played on a high level with some great musicians."
Verheyen will perform at the Rainbow Bar & Grill, 722 N.E. 45th St., on Friday, Oct. 21, with bass guitarist Cliff Hugo. Hugo has worked with Supertramp, Ray Charles and Melissa Manchester, among others.
Verheyen also will play with Chad Wackerman, a longtime Frank Zappa drummer, who also toured with James Taylor, Andy Summers, and Barbra Streisand. The group plays blues and rock music with a jazz influence.
"In a way, I prefer the smaller venues," said Verheyen, who has played in the larger, local venues like the KeyArena and the Gorge, adding that he enjoys meeting and talking with his audiences. "I think that's just more satisfying."
The upcoming performance is part of the group's West Coast tour. The group performed to a sold-out crowd last year at the Rainbow. "We're excited about coming back to the [Rainbow]. It has a nice rock 'n' roll feel," said Verheyen, who has played everywhere from an old Nazi gun powder factory in Germany to the bull rings in Spain. "I'm really looking forward to a tour with no flights."
In addition to spending 20 years as Supertramp's lead guitarist, he has played with such artists as Cher, Glenn Frey, Phil Collins, Max Roach, The Bee Gees, Little Richard, B.B. King and MTV's Pauly Shore. He even once participated in a command performance, as part of Supertramp, for Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.
Verheyen is the guitarist behind many of the world's best-known TV soundtracks, including "Cheers," "Happy Days" and "L.A. Law," and such movie soundtracks as "The Usual Suspects," "L.A. Story" and "Collateral Damage." His guitar is also behind hundreds of commercials.
"When I'm in [Los Angeles], I work constantly," he said. "The wonderful thing is getting out there and playing my own music because that's special."
The Carl Verheyen Band's show at the Rainbow will begin at 9 p.m., with a $15 cover charge.[[In-content Ad]]