Utah guitarist lands spot on Colbert's 'Late Show'
(KUTV) The Late Show with Stephen Colbert made its CBS debut on Tuesday night. It was also the debut for a Salt Lake City musician, who earned a spot on the house band as the lead guitarist.
Maddie Rice attended Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City and studied guitar at the School of Rock. She recently earned a degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Tuesday night, Maddie was on the band stage, barely visable in the second row, but expected to be a permanent fixture in John Batiste's band for the show.
"For me it was just like watching this giant bean stalk grow into the clouds," said Terence Hansen, a Music Director at Musicgarage in Salt Lake City. Hansen worked with Maddie for several years and described her as having a "quiet, calm demeanor," but he said she wails on guitar.
Ben Richards worked with Maddie as a teacher at the School of Rock in Salt Lake City.
"As I watched her grow, I always knew she was going to make it," he said, adding that she once caught the attention of David Bowie guitarist, Earl Slick, who said she was "something special."
Richards recalls first meeting Maddie when she was 14.
"It's just like, 'What can this 14 year-old do?' and then about five, ten minutes into the lesson, I thought, this is the most talented person I've ever worked with."
Anyone who worked with Maddie during her guitar-learning years agrees that her years of hard work have been rewarded.
"She told me she would try to finish her homework at school so she had more time to practice playing each night," said Tony Ollerton, another mentor from the School of Rock. "She would spend up to five hours playing each night."
At 22-years-old, a spot on the Late Show band is a major accomplishment, but her mentors and teachers say it's just the beginning.
"This is a woman that's going to be a guitar legend for sure," said Ollerton.