Just as alternative rock was signaling the death knell for many of the "guitar shredders' of the late '80s, a few instrumentalists were able to sneak in under the radar, such as Gary Hoey -- who attracted some attention via his 1993 debut, Animal Instinct. Hailing from Boston, MA, Hoey was first a music fan before picking up the guitar -- following such renowned rock bands that hailed from the area (Aerosmith, J. Geils Band, Boston, etc.). It wasn't long after that Hoey decided to give the guitar a try, initially inspired by the usual guitar greats (especially Jimi Hendrix, whom he dug initially because of his "cool clothes"). Hoey was not entirely self-taught, however, as he would often hang around outside of Boston's renowned Berkelee School of Music, make friends, and then offer to pay them for lessons. Sensing that he should devote all of his time to music, Hoey dropped out of high school and began playing Boston's local clubs, making ends meet by teaching guitar to others.