January of 1985, I appeared in Mike Varney's "Spotlight"
column in Guitar Player Magazine. Right around this time,
a production company in Los Angeles was looking for a guitarist
to play in a Pepsi TV commercial which they were getting ready
to film. They were having difficulty finding someone, so they
bought a bunch of guitar mags and by luck happened to see
me in the "Spotlight" column. Out of nowhere, I
got a call one January evening, and was on a plane to Los
Angeles from the East Coast the following morning. I was so
young that I had never even been on an airplane before. This
was totally surreal!
I was initially supposed to "act" in the commercial,
but the part was eventually given to someone else. Fortunately,
they liked the tracks that I recorded and used my music/playing
in the ad. Close-up shots of my hands playing the guitar were
also used in the ad, and so I always used to joke that my
hands were famous. There is a 30-second and a 60-second version
of the commercial, but I have been unable to find the 60-second
Martin Sheen did the voice for the commercial. I was told
that he received a million dollars to do it. Hey, I would
have done it for a quarter of that! Actually, at that point
in my life, I probably would have done it for just a quarter!
This commercial was broadcast many times during the "Live
Aid" Concert. This was the first American TV commercial
to be aired on Russian TV.