Each week, we offer an email Q&A with a local personality. Today, Melissa Merli chats with Fairmount resident Dyke Corson, owner of the Corson Music Stores in Champaign-Urbana. He is a guitar and steel guitar teacher at the Community Center for the Arts. The 56-year-old plays guitar and steel guitar for the Boat Drunks (with Mike Miller), at the Philo Country Music Show and for "whoever else calls me for a gig."
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
6 a.m. I drink fresh ground coffee my wonderful wife has made for me, check emails and get my son ready for the bus.
What do you consider your greatest achievement or accomplishment?
Well, the fact my music stores are still open in this economy and that I'm still traveling and playing music at this age. I'm very lucky to have both of these things being successful.
What do you regard as your most treasured possession?
That's tough. An Emmons steel guitar I bought from Buddy Emmons himself — or my recently reacquired 1941 Chevy my wife and I owned when we were kids.
Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?
Ice cream in front of the computer before bed. Has not helped my waistline.
What book are you reading now? What is your favorite book ever?
That would be the Bible.
Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?
Italy with my wife. She grew up there.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
We have three Shih Tzus, and they each have very different personalities.
What's your favorite sports team?
What would you order for your last meal?
Crown roast ribeye, twice-baked potato, salad with bleu cheese dressing, hot brownie sundae with caramel.
If you could be reincarnated after you die, what would you like to come back as?
Don't know if I believe in that sort of thing, but being a wealthy, successful resort owner on a tropical island might be fun.
Who are your favorite musicians and why?
The Beatles, Hank Williams, Buddy Emmons, Stan Getz, John Coltrane, Sunny Norman, Redd Volkaert. I guess because they have all influenced my own playing in different ways.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
That's too tough to name just one. The birth of my children and marrying my high school sweetheart are tops on the list. Musically would be playing with the group Little Feat for a few songs one night.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite? What would you serve?
Paul McCartney, Jack Nicholson and Don Rickles. I would hire a caterer to do a buffet.
Which historical figure do you admire the most and why?
Thomas Edison: so many different inventions that affect how we live today.
What personality trait do you most hate in other people? Most hate in yourself?
Hate? That's a strong word. Dishonest or unreasonable people are hard for me to deal with sometimes. In myself, I sometimes lack focus, patience and try to keep too many plates spinning on poles at once — which can be stressful.
What's your best piece of advice?
Treat other people the way you would like to be treated: the Golden Rule.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
Mowing yards for $2 each. I took that money and bought my first guitar at Goldblatt's for $12.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
Probably opening my own music store in 1998. I was encouraged to do so by several industry reps.
Do you have any regrets in your life? What are they?
Sometimes I wish I would have tried to do the band thing full-time when I was younger. As it is, though, I've got to play some incredible gigs at really cool venues all over the U.S., Jamaica, Caribbean islands, etc. with the Boat Drunks, so I've been very lucky. It's a great job.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
I try to bite my tongue, pray, let it roll off, be patient. I'm not always successful with these tools, but I keep trying.