Also, before I set eyes on a Rickenbacker—
still a beautiful sight, I think—I had wanted
a Fender Strat. I still believe it to be the
most beautifully designed guitar of the modern era. The same can be said for the ‘60s
amplifiers. They look so beautiful. Marshalls
Townshend at the Super Bowl with his modified Fender Eric Clapton Strat and a wall of Fender Vibro-Kings.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images
I will never be proficient as a jazz guitarist. But
This entire guitar-smashing thing is my
I was listening to Wes Montgomery before
I heard Steve Cropper. I find that jazz often
involves chords with too many notes for the
kind of music I write. However, the great inno-
vators often use very few notes in their solos:
fault, my thing, my idea, my artistic
statement, my absurdity.
look like something from The Munsters.
That’s why I put the Union Jack Flag on the
speakers. Before I had a Marshall, I had a
Bassman and a Fender Pro split-wired. That
is the sound I loved. Using two amps was
my first trick. Getting Jim Marshall to make
them louder was my second.
Miles, Wes and Coltrane. I’m still learning all
the time. That’s the joy of the guitar. There are
so many great players and so many wonderfully
innovative (and fast!) younger guys coming up.
Exactly who were the guitarists who influenced you as a youth?
What effects are you using onstage now,
and how are they integrated into your rig?
I have a T-Rex delay I use for color, a Boss
OD- 1 for sustain and distortion and a
Demeter compressor. They are in a box
[pedalboard] built by Pete Cornish.
After years as a rocker with strong blues
and R&B influences, I have read that you
are becoming proficient as a jazz guitarist.
Is that true, and how do those influences
inform your playing and writing these days?
Wes, Kenny Burrell (in his work with Jimmy
Smith), Jim Hall (with Jimmy Giuffre), Buddy
Guy, Leadbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Snooks
Eaglin, Big Bill Broonzy, Hubert Sumlin (with
Howlin’ Wolf), Albert King, Steve Cropper,
Don Everly, Bruce Welch (with The Shadows),
Eddie Cochran, James Burton (with Ricky
Nelson). Among my contemporaries, it was
Dave Davies, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young. At
art school I met Bert Jansch, and realized folk
guys used tricks (tunings)!
Are there any young guitarists coming up
these days you find appealing or influential?
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