I knew that I wanted to do this with my life from when I was 16, says Hunter about his musical career. His early recognition of this may have been influenced by the fact that he grew up in homes where his mother repaired guitars for a living in Berkeley, California where he has lived since he was eight years old. Charlie picked up his first guitar when he was twelve years old for $7, and a few years later was taking lessons from Joe Satriani, who at that time was just another guitar teacher. People can't believe that but I was just another Berkeley kid and every Berkeley kid took lessons from Joe Satriani. He must have had a hundred students. He's a great teacher.
Charlie graduated from the same Berkeley high school whose music program produced saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Benny Green, but Hunter did not participate in the school's prestigious music program. I really wasn't an institutional-type person. I had to go out and do my own thing. I was a naughty kid who went through the crazy angst-driven hysteria many teenagers experience, says Hunter, who doesn't deny not making it to class much. Because I was from a low-income family, I was tracked into the lowest level of academic courses. You didn't get a chance to develop much self-esteem there, so I decided to focus on something that made me feel good. I graduated by the skin of my teeth.
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