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Buzzy Martin grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, dreaming of becoming a rock star. He taught himself how to play the guitar and piano and in 1979 moved to northern California to follow his dream. After years of playing music, Buzzy met his second true calling in the form of a few group-home kids who came out to one of his open mic events in 1993. At the time, he didn’t even know what a group home was, but soon after that he was introduced to the world of at-risk kids. A friend passed along Buzzy’s name for a music class for at-risk youth, and the rest is history.
After years of working in juvenile halls, teaching music and spreading his message of “Education not Incarceration,” word spread that the classes were changing kids’ lives and Buzzy was asked to teach a twelve-week music program at San Quentin State Prison. Three years and five months later, Buzzy finished his final class at the “Q.”
DON’T SHOOT! I’M THE GUITAR MAN is the raw and moving account of Buzzy’s time at San Quentin State Prison where he experienced everything from fear for his own safety to the human connection created by sharing in the transcendent power of music. Buzzy not only gave the inmates at the “Q” something positive to look forward to, he also learned from the inmates the hard truth about life in prison, which he was then able to relate to his juvenile hall students.
Today, after sixteen years of volunteering, Buzzy Martin is still dedicated to the largely overlooked cause of at-risk kids. His story has and will continue to inspire people to find the good in the people they meet, and to believe in the power of music to change lives.