Blog Archives

Jim Crockett on the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts podcast.

Jim Crockett, editor of Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever, talks on the Flo Guitar Enthusiasts podcast about the book. Listen below!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00131052Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever is a reflection on Guitar Player‘s often pioneering early days, from its 1967 founding through its 1989 sale by founder Bud Eastman and editor/publisher Jim Crockett. This book looks at the magazines evolution from a 40-page semi-monthly to a monthly exceeding 200 pages, with a gross yearly income that grew from $40,000 to nearly $15 million.

The story is told by many people important to Guitar Player‘s history, including Maxine Eastman, Bud Eastman’s widow, and Crockett, who edited this book with his daughter Dara. Also here are recollections of key personnel, including Tom Wheeler, Jas Obrecht, Roger Siminoff, Mike Varney, Jon Sievert, George Gruhn, and Robb Lawrence; leading early advertisers, such as Martin, Randall, and Fender; and prominent guitar players featured in the magazine, including Joe Perry, George Benson, Pat Travers, Country Joe McDonald, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe, Lee Ritenour, Johnny Winter, Steve Morse, Larry Coryell, Michael Lorimer, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, Liona Boyd, Steve Vai, and many others.

Among the many illustrations are then-and-now shots of performers and staff, early ads, behind-the-scenes photos from company jam sessions (with such guests as B. B. King and Chick Corea), various fascinating events, and key issue covers. Rich in history and perspective, Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever is the definitive first-person chronicle of a music magazine’s golden age.

Listen: Dara Crockett on 102.7

Dara Crockett, co-editor of Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever, and guitarist Craig Chaquico talk with Jim Rose of 102.7 about the new book!

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00131052Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever is a reflection on Guitar Player‘s often pioneering early days, from its 1967 founding through its 1989 sale by founder Bud Eastman and editor/publisher Jim Crockett. This book looks at the magazine’s evolution from a 40-page semi-monthly to a monthly exceeding 200 pages, with a gross yearly income that grew from $40,000 to nearly $15 million.

The story is told by many people important to Guitar Player‘s history, including Maxine Eastman, Bud Eastman’s widow, and Crockett, who edited this book with his daughter Dara. Also here are recollections of key personnel, including Tom Wheeler, Jas Obrecht, Roger Siminoff, Mike Varney, Jon Sievert, George Gruhn, and Robb Lawrence; leading early advertisers, such as Martin, Randall, and Fender; and prominent guitar players featured in the magazine, including Joe Perry, George Benson, Pat Travers, Country Joe McDonald, Pat Metheny, Steve Howe, Lee Ritenour, Johnny Winter, Steve Morse, Larry Coryell, Michael Lorimer, John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, Liona Boyd, Steve Vai, and many others.

Among the many illustrations are then-and-now shots of performers and staff, early ads, behind-the-scenes photos from company jam sessions (with such guests as B.B. King and Chick Corea), various fascinating events, and key issue covers. Rich in history and perspective, Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever is the definitive first-person chronicle of a music magazine’s golden age.

ONE WEEK LEFT: Enter to win a Brian May Red Special Guitar!

Guitar Player magazine is hosting a contest to win a Brian May Red Special Guitar!!

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Prize Details:
First Prize: A Red Special Guitar signed by Brian May. This Brian May guitar is faithful to the spirit of Brian’s original ‘Red Special’, an instrument that has achieved iconic status and a unique place in rock history, and designed by Brian May himself. Retail value $2000

Second Prize: A copy of the book, “Brian May’s Red Special” Retail value: $30

The contest ends next Monday, April 13th!

Click here to enter the contest!

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Enter to WIN a Red Special Guitar SIGNED by Brian May!!

Guitar Player magazine is hosting a contest to win a Brian May Red Special Guitar!!

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Prize Details:
First Prize: A Red Special Guitar signed by Brian May. This Brian May guitar is faithful to the spirit of Brian’s original ‘Red Special’, an instrument that has achieved iconic status and a unique place in rock history, and designed by Brian May himself. Retail value $2000

Second Prize: A copy of the book, “Brian May’s Red Special” Retail value: $30

Click here to enter the contest!

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Win a Zemaitis Custom Shop Metal Front Guitar

Contest Slide 770x420       Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. Check out this beautiful Zemaitis custom shop metal front guitar – you can win this! Andy and Greg of Rolling Stones Gear speak about the Stones’ love for Zemaitis in their book.

ENTER TONY ZEMAITIS

During his early days with the Faces, Ronnie played a Gibson SG, followed by a red Fender Stratocaster, and then a Danelectro, all of which were subsequently stolen. In the end, he resorted to personalized guitars made by the legendary British luthier Tony Zemaitis. “No one would dare steal his guitars because he makes them so individual,” Ronnie explained. “He plasters your name all over it.” Antanas Kazimeras Zemaitis (1935-2002), born in London England became an apprentice cabinetmaker when he was sixteen and went on to make high-quality furniture. After taking up guitar in the 1950s, he began building his own instruments. By the early 1960s, he had become an accomplished twelve-sting guitarist who shared stages with the likes of Long John Baldry and acoustic guitar wizard Davy Graham. Twelve-string guitars were a rare commodity in England, and Zemaitis made a name for himself building twelve-strings for Spencer Davis, Ralph McTell, and others.

Ron Wood was introduced to Zemaitis’s guitars in 1970 through Faces’ roadie Peter Buckland and commissioned Zemaitis to build two guitars for him. Zemaitis was known for his unique-looking electric guitars built with a metal plate on the top face of the guitar, which was intended to shield the guitar and reduce the hum produced by the pickups. The first Zemaitis Metal Front electric guitar was built for Tony McPhee of the Groundhogs; the second was built for Ronnie Wood. It had a single-cutaway mahogany body similar to a Les Paul and a mahogany neck with a bound ebony fingerboard. The 25-inch scale guitar was fitted with two humbucking pickups and a three-way toggle switch with two volume and two tone metal control knobs. To insure that each of his electrics was unique, Zemaitis teamed with his friend Danny O’Brien, a master gun engraver. Zemaitis handcrafted his own metal bridges, tailpieces, truss rod covers, pickup mounting rings, jack plates, rear electronics plates, and metal front facerplates, while O’Brien skillfully hand engraved each part, personalizing the guitar for the client. Ronnie Wood’s first Zemaitis Metal Front guitar also had two metal control knobs on the lower bout of the guitar.

The second electric guitar Zemaitis built to Wood’s specifications was an all-black, single-cutaway “Disc Front” model, named for a round metal plate on the face of the guitar that O’Brien engraved with a treasure map. The 25-inch scale guitar had a mahogany body and neck and an unbound ebony fingerboard with dot inlays that started at the first fret and became smaller as they went up. The guitar was fitted with three humbucking pickups and a combination of six volume and tone control knobs, a five-way selector switch, and a built-in preamp powered by a nine-volt battery. The handcrafted Zemaitis metal bridge, tailpiece, truss rod cover, jack plate, and rear electronics plate also were hand engraved by O’Brien.

Wood’s 1971 appearance with the Faces on Top of The Pops playing his Metal Front guitar sparked a huge interest in Zemaitis’s eye-catching work. It also inspired Zemaitis’s next creation, a Pearl Front guitar that he considered perfect for the stage because it would catch the light and change color. The guitar was similar to the Metal Front guitar, but, instead of the engraved metal plate, the top face of the guitar was inlaid with a mosaic of pearl and abalone. Wood received one of the first Zemaitis Pearl Front guitars, which was fitted with three single-coil pickups instead of humbuckers. In the latter stages of the Faces and during his early involvement with the Stones, Wood also owned a hardtail 1955 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, and a Dan Armstrong Plexi guitar which he made the mistake of giving to David Bowie. “I thought I could get another one,” Wood said with regret, “and I couldn’t.” His amplification at the time was strictly Ampeg SVTs, which were painted white while he was in the Faces.

Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones

Contest Slide 770x420Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost.

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States or the District of Columbia and you must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry (see the official sweepstakes rules below). One lucky winner will be randomly selected after October 31, 2014.

Enter HERE

Book Reviews on Bookgasm Blog

This week, we are highlighting some bloggers and podcasters who frequently review our books and interview our authors. Do check out these blogs and podcasts for all the great content they have to offer.

Bookgasm Blog
Bookgasm the site dedicated to READING MATERIAL TO GET EXCITED ABOUT. That includes all kinds of genre fiction, from horror and sci-fi to mystery and suspense. It also includes graphic novels, trashy paperbacks, cheap magazines and other things that much of America pretends to be ashamed of, for no good reason. At BOOKGASM, we celebrate these escapist efforts, through daily news, reviews, interviews and other things that don’t end in “-ews.” Think of it as a community; we encourage your posts via the comments section under each item. Visit bookgasm.com for reviews and excerpts.

John D. Luerssen is the author of U2 FAQ.
John D. Luerssen discovered a new band called U2 in the early ‘80s just like a lot of us did: through word of mouth. And like many of us early adopters, he’s been a fan ever since. Culled from books, magazine articles, interviews and his own research, his U2 FAQis an exhaustive collection of nearly anything and everything you want to know about “the biggest band in the world.”

Predictably, it begins with the requisite biographical tidbits regarding each band member (all five of them … and how they became four). We learn about Bono’s strained relationship with his father, Adam Clayton’s penchant for being a prankster, and the group’s struggle with balancing spirituality with their desire to be rock stars. Luerssen details how Bono met Alison Stewart and the start of their 30-year, monogamous (yeah, right) relationship.

Reading about their early years is the most entertaining part of the book. It seems nothing is left out. Did you know their first paid gig was at St. Fintan’s High School in Dublin? The year was 1977 and they were billed as Feedback. This was before they switched to The Hype and ultimately settling with the name we all recognize today. Avid fans will have likely heard much of this stuff before, but not in as much detail.

For more please visit bookgasm.

U2 FAQ

These are just some of the topics U2 FAQ explores: How did Bono recover his cherished suitcase of lyrics 23 years after its 1981 disappearance? What movie dialogue is sampled in the middle of “Seconds”? What effect did bull’s blood have on Larry’s drumming? How did Bono’s visit to Central America inform The Joshua Tree? What are the details of Adam’s 1989 marijuana bust? How did Mick Jagger wind up on All That You Can’t Leave Behind?

Award-winning music journalist John D. Luerssen goes beyond the essential facts, delving into the legendary fables and unique anecdotes that make U2 FAQ an indispensable read for all U2 disciples.

Stephen Tropiano is the author of Music on Film: Cabaret.

As far as I’m concerned, the 1973 Academy Awards was the setting of what has to be the biggest upset in the event’s history. That year, the Oscar for Best Picture went to a film you might have heard of called THE GODFATHER, but instead of awarding the prize for Best Director to Francis Ford Coppola, the Academy’s voters instead gave it to Bob Fosse for his work on CABARET.

Can you friggin’ believe that? Have you heard anything so completely bug-nuts insane? There’s no way THE GODFATHER should have gotten Best Picture!

Okay, so I realize that mine is probably the minority view, but its not for nothing that despite losing out the top prize that year, CABARET totally kicked THE GODFATHER’s ass, with Fosse’s film taking home eight Oscars (including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography) to Coppola’s measly four.

As Stephen Tropiano documents in MUSIC ON FILM: CABARET, his far-too-brief book about the making of Fosse’s first cinematic masterpiece (he would go one to make at least one more with ALL THAT JAZZ), the reason for this is simple: THE GODFATHER merely took a disreputable genre and gave it class, while CABARET took a dying genre and completely reinvented it in such a way that it was never really the same again.

For more please visit bookgasm.

Music on Film: Cabaret

In 1973, Cabaret walked away with eight Academy Awards, including gold statues for director Bob Fosse and for its stars, Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. Based on the long-running Broadway musical, with a memorable score by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret is a landmark film that broke new cinematic ground by revolutionizing the Hollywood musical through its treatment of adult themes and art house sensibility. With an introduction by Joel Grey, the book chronicles the history of Cabaret, from Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories to the stage and film versions of John van Druten’s play I Am a Camera, through the adaptation of the hit Broadway musical for the big screen. Readers will get an insider’s look into the making of the film, the creative talent in front of the camera and behind the scenes, and why this divinely decadent musical continues to captivate audiences.

Michael Molenda is the editor of Guitar Player Presents Guitar Heroes of the ’70s.

Much like the recent KEYBOARD PRESENTS SYNTH GODS, there’s another new collection of profiles and interviews torn from the pages of a niche music magazine, in GUITAR PLAYER PRESENTS GUITAR HEROES OF THE ’70S.

Culled from issues printed between 1970 and 1984, the book spotlights a solid 40, well, heroes of the guitar, just as the title promises. I’ve never so much as touched an issue of GUITAR PLAYER, but it was quite popular among the stoners who rode my school bus in junior high.

For more please visit bookgasm.

Guitar Player Presents Guitar Heroes of the ’70S

Launched in 1967, Guitar Player was the only guitar publication in existence when the ’60s and ’70s six-string explosion ignited across the globe. As a result, Guitar Player interviewed scores of seminal guitar stars as the magic happened. Now Guitar Player has opened its archives to present a thrilling collection of articles that detail the equipment and tone explorations of transcendent guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Steve Howe, Peter Green, and many others. Every article originally appeared in the 1970s, when these young guns were in the midst of conjuring world-changing guitar sounds, riffs, and musical concepts – all building the foundation for what has become revered as “classic rock.” Anyone wishing to study the building blocks of what drove audiences to first utter the phrase “Guitar Hero” can now get the story straight from the players who earned the title.

Alain Silver and James Ursini is the author of The Vampire Film.

When I was in high school in the late ’80s, my mom sometimes came home from the discount stores with some enormous hardcover on the history of cinema (i.e. 70 YEARS AT THE MOVIES). They were heavy in both text and photos, and comprised of essays that dropped so many names and titles, my head spun with the sudden knowledge that so much existed beyond the local video store.

I still have these books, and have pored over their pages several times; one page in particular is ingrained on my brain, likely because of a black-and-white photo of a topless Sophia Loren in her prime.

THE VAMPIRE FILM: FROM NOSFERATU TO TRUE BLOOD reminds me of those books, minus the Sophia Loren. Generously massive at nearly 500 pages, there’s simply so much content to take in, you’ll won’t be able to read it at first, because you’ll be forced to look at all the photos and poster art beforehand, which dominate each spread in vibrant color.

Skip the initial chapters on historical vampires and the creature’s roots in literature (and art and the stage and music and on and on), because after all, the key word in the title is “film.” That’s where authors Alain Silver and James Ursini get to the nitty gritty, tracking the history of the pointy-toothed monsters on the big screen, from the early days of Nosferatu, Carmilla and Dracula to the more modern outings of Vampire Bill, Lestat and, well, Dracula.

For more please visit bookgasm.

The Vampire Film

This newest edition will track the form’s evolution from such 1970s reinventions as Count Yorga Vampire and Blacula, The Hunger and Vampire’s Kiss in the Eighties, Interview with the Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the Blade series in the Nineties, through 30 Days of Night, I Am Legend, and the Underworld series in the first decade of the 21st century. All these films plus celebrated international examples such as Thirst and Let the Right One In and the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, New Amsterdam, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood are covered in this long-awaited, completely revised, expanded, and redesigned fourth edition that follows the vampire figures, both male and female, through the millennium and beyond.

David Hogan is the author of Three Stooges FAQ.

With the Farrelly brothers bringing THE THREE STOOGES to screen next spring, the beloved slapstick troupe is primed for a resurgence of fandom. Sensing this, Applause Books has released THREE STOOGES FAQ: EVERYTHING LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT THE EYE-POKING, FACE-SLAPPING, HEAD-THUMPING GENIUSES.

David Hogan’s book is not quite that. For one thing, it ignores the movies; it’s only concerned with their comedy shorts. Of course, that’s mainly what they were and are known for, so that’s really just a quibble. Nor is it a reference work, but like one giant essay.

For more please visit bookgasm.

The Three Stooges FAQ

Detailed production and critical coverage is provided for every short, plus information about each film’s place in the Stooges’ careers, in Hollywood genre filmmaking, and in the larger fabric of American culture. From Depression-era concerns to class warfare to World War II to the cold war to rock-and-roll – the Stooges reflected them all.

Seventy-five stills, posters, and other images – many never before published in book form – bring colorful screen moments to life and help illuminate the special appeal of key shorts. Exclusive sections include a Stooges biographical and career timeline; a useful, colorful history of the structure and behind-the-camera personnel of the Columbia two-reel unit; and personality sidebars about more than 30 popular players who worked frequently with the Stooges. Also included is a filmography that covers all 190 shorts, plus a bibliography, making this the ultimate guide for all Three Stooges fans!

Check out some excerpts from bookgasm:

1. Surf Beat by Kent Crowley

2. The Vampire Film by Alain Silver and James Ursini

3. Three Stooges FAQ by David J. Hogan

4. Exit Music: The Radiohead Story by Mac Randall

Up Close and Personal with Guitarist Neil Giraldo

Although he is nearing the half-century mark, Cleveland-born Neil Giraldo hasn’t lost even one tiny molecule of his celebrated intensity and swagger. The chugging, churning onslaught of guitar that helped propel his musical and life partner Pat Benatar toward mega-hit status in 1979 and beyond remains unbowed in the new millennium. This is a man who loves to play and who loves to play hard. In honor of his birthday today, we’ve decided to feature an exclusive interview with the legend, as published in Guitar Player Presents 50 Unsung Heroes of the Guitar. Enjoy!

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What’s your main guitar at the moment?
I use GMP guitars. I don’t have a Spyder model or anything like that, but they’ve made a few different guitars for me. I usually ask for P-90 pickups, but I have some humbucker models for live shows. You know, onstage with lighting rigs and dimmer racks and everything—well, P-90s aren’t really happy with some of that kind of stuff. But normally, I go for P-90 models, and that’s usually what I record with. I also ask for a Bigsby and locking tuners.

What about amplifiers?
Onstage, I use a Line 6 Pod and a Line 6 Flextone combo. I like the two devices working together, because the Pod reacts a couple of milliseconds after you attack the note, which actually helps fatten up the sound a bit more. For effects, I go with the onboard models. I don’t use any pedals. In the studio, I may use my Marshall combo. I crank the Master Volume and keep Volume at about 12 o’clock. If I need to drive the amp a little bit more, I stick in a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 to drive the front end a little harder. I don’t use it as a distortion pedal—just as a preamp.

What about strings?
I use D’Addario strings. I go with .012–.058, sometimes .060. Pretty thick. I go with the highest G I can get that isn’t wound, and I tune to Eb. If I do tune to E, I’ll swap out the high stings for a .011 set, but I’ll keep the heavy gauges on the low strings, because I like to hit the low strings pretty hard, and I don’t want them to go out of tune.

To me, one of the most identifiable aspects of your style is your slightly snickered rhythm-guitar approach. It seems that you like to push and pull the groove and sometimes throw surprises into your rhythmic accents. Where did that come from?
I don’t know, but I’m glad you picked up on it, because I love to play rhythm guitar more than anything. I love rhythm so much. I think it has to do with the fact that I’m a frustrated drummer. When I was a kid, I would play drums to Simon and Garfunkel records because they never really had any drums on them, and I would try to find a way to get inside the rhythms they did.

Another odd thing is that I could never figure out parts from records exactly the way they were played. I’d get, say, a Yardbirds song, and I could sort of learn it, but I’d end up putting my own spin—my own little parts—into the mix until it really didn’t sound much like the parts on the record.

So you weren’t exactly the best cat to pick for a cover band, then?
No—I was terrible [laughs]. When I was playing in local bands when I was a kid, people didn’t want me in their groups because they were looking for someone who could play straighter. There would always have to be another guitar player in the band who would play the correct parts. It’s goofy, but I guess I was never interested to do things the “right” way. I’d be thinking. “You know, I think they should have played this part instead.”

How do you conceptualize a groove for a song?
I think of the rhythm, the drums, the tempo, the swing, or the “roll,” as I call it. But, again, I don’t think about it too much. I just do it. And, you know, on all the records I’ve ever done, I’ve always kept the guitar and drums going down together at once. I would never, ever overdub my rhythm guitar. I’d have to play live with the drums to get my parts to work together.

Who are some of your favorite rhythm guitarists?
Pete Townshend—definitely. I also love Jimi Hendrix. When I would listen to his stuff on vinyl, I would skip over the solos because I didn’t care about them. Give me any song on Axis: Bold as Love. Listen to that rhythm stuff!

You have a very aggressive rock-guitar sound, but it never seems to get in your lead singer’s way.
Yeah. I don’t know how to explain that. I don’t know why that happens [laughs].

Honestly, I don’t know. I know that if I start thinking about it, I’ll f**k up. I know that for a fact. I also know that I hate to be a selfish player. I hate to be a selfish producer or arranger. I don’t like saying, “Hey, look at me! Look what I can do.”

What I’m trying to create in arrangements is the song people want to hear. People want to hear the song, and they want to hear the singer. My job is to make sure it feels great, and that it’s going right to their blood, and that it’s going to rip their heart out.

From a guitar standpoint, what’s the most important thing to ensuring a song rips someone’s heart out when they hear it?
Your playing should really start accelerating so that when you listen to the end of the song, it sounds like the end of the song is coming. It shouldn’t sound like the beginning. What worries me, with all the recording tools that people have, is that they will take a part they like—something that feels good—and paste it throughout the whole song. That’s the part of the guitar thing you have to be really, really careful about. You shouldn’t miss the idea that the end of the song should really be a little quicker and more intense than the beginning. The intensity level should be changing, and I don’t think a lot of people understand that. It’s about doing whatever it takes to move people and keep them involved in the song from start to finish.

Speaking of intensity, you haven’t lost any fire from when I first saw you onstage back in 1980. Many players tend to cool off a bit with time. How have you kept up the enthusiasm and the energy?
I think, mainly, it was a change I made in my life. I was smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, drinking way too much Irish whiskey, and just living that lifestyle. You know—doing stuff to way too much excess. I finally said to myself, “Wait a second. I have children, and I’m getting too old for this. I’ve got to look hard at what I’m doing here. I’ve got to take care of myself.” So I started a serious physical routine that I thought I’d never be able to do. I went from being able to run 20 feet to running six miles a day. Now, I can jump rope for 20 minutes straight. I lift weights.

I do all kinds of physical stuff. This has been going on for the last seven years, and I think it is what gives me the energy and the attitude. If I wasn’t doing the exercise, I don’t know if I’d still be able to be as physical and in-your-face as a player—and that kind of player is the player I still want to be.

Well, that mental approach seems huge. Perhaps some players start thinking, “Hey, I’m 50 years old—I can’t be jumping up and down anymore. It’s not fitting.”I don’t give a sh*t about that. I call it, “last man standing.” Anybody who knows me knows that I’m relentless. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I will do everything in my power to show you that I can. It’s a philosophy I try to live by, and I try to instill it in my children, as well. My playing is no different, because the tone is in my hands and the attitude is in my heart, and I can’t change that. Even though you may be getting old, unless something is physically affecting what you’re able to do, you should stay pretty consistent performance-wise—as long as you’re ruthless enough [laughs].

Do you feel you’ve gotten your due in the guitar-culture world, or do you care about that kind of stuff?
I did care for a while when I was younger. It doesn’t matter to me now. In the mid-’80s, I was doing just about everything—arranging, producing, playing, and so on. It was really my band, but I don’t think anyone knew that or gave me props for everything I was doing to help craft all the hits. The wife and myself were equal partners—we still are—but I didn’t understand why management decided not to do anything to promote the band. But, you know, I get it, and right now it means very little to me whether audiences focus directly on my contributions. It’s far more important that I do great work, and that somebody appreciates the great work— whether they know my name or not.

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Guitar Player Presents 50 Unsung Heroes of the Guitar

Everyone knows the legends – Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Beck, and all the other six-string giants – but the evolution of guitarcraft wasn’t forged purely by über-famous players with large cultural footprints. Scores of lesser-known pioneers such as Tommy Bolin, Danny Cedrone, Tampa Red, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe contributed vast numbers of licks, riffs, solos, tones, compositions, techniques, and musical concepts that inspired generations of guitarists and advanced the art of playing guitar. Their stories are as critical to modern guitar music as is electricity or amplification. Any guitarist seeking to devise a unique and individual sound should study the wacky, off-kilter, unfamiliar, and criminally underutilized creative concepts of the unsung greats, straight from the pages of Guitar Player magazine. Available for purchase here.