Photo by Mark Hendrickson
BY BOB CIANCI
to Jimi Hendrix and the Strat. My favorite
old Strats are the ones I’ve been playing for
years, both ‘61s. I also have some reissue
Strats. I’m a very physical, exuberant player,
and Fenders really hold up to a beating.
I’ve found that with a Fender, you can lose
your finesse and not totally lose it on the
instrument, if you can understand that. I
like to lean into the guitar and use those
five settings you can get out of a Strat. I
like playing lots of different guitars, but I’ll
always reach for a Strat. It’s the most beautiful electric guitar ever made.
For many writers, myself included, the hard-est part of writing a feature story is the
opening sentence. It can be even harder
when trying to describe the career of a distinctively talented guitarist, singer, keyboardist, and songwriter like Nils Lofgren.
Just what can you say about a guy who
played with Neil Young at age seventeen,
had success with his own band, followed
that with a fruitful solo career, plus a
twenty-five-year stint as a member of Bruce
Springsteen’s E Street Band, a composer for
television and movies, and now, an online
guitar teacher? What would be an appropriate phrase? How about “Truly remarkable.”
musical careers anyone could possibly hope
for. The consummate rocker, Lofgren easily juggles multiple roles as a bandleader,
solo artist, sideman, session player and
music teacher. Born of Swedish and Sicilian
parentage, Lofgren will turn 58 in June, and
despite a recent double hip replacement,
shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
In fact, he’s raring to go, ready to resume
his solo acoustic club gigs, and possibly an
upcoming worldwide tour with Springsteen
and company in 2009.
You seem to be most closely identified
with Fender guitars. Why so?
Nils Lofgren, as they say, is the real deal:
a forty year rock ‘n’ roll survivor, who has
experienced one of the most noteworthy
When I first started playing guitar, I loved
Jeff Beck, so I started with a Telecaster, and
played that for two years. Then, I gravitated
Fender recently has supplied me with some
Gretsches, including a couple of Black
Falcons and Black Penguins that I use with
Bruce. They’re working out well.