June 1, 2004

Trademarks sure are tricky. In March, a Tennessee court ruled in favor of the Gibson Guitar Company in their lawsuit against Paul Reed Smith. Gibson alleged that PRS’ Singlecut model infringed on their trademarked Les Paul design, which would ultimately cause confusion in the marketplace. The Singlecut was released in January 2000, a mere four months after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the Les Paul trademark application . Damages are to be determined at a later date. . . .The first ever World Guitar Conference will be held at Towson University in Baltimore, June 2-9. A celebration of all styles of guitar music, guest artists include Honorary Chairman Les Paul, Johnny Hiland, Sharon Isbin, Dick Dale, Albert Lee, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Eric Johnson, and Derek Trucks. Symposiums, master classes, lectures, and concerts galore are all part of the festivities—sponsored in part by us folks at Guitar Player magazine. For details, click on over to . . . PASSING NOTES: Former Crazy Town guitarist, Rust Epique, died of a heart attack on March 8. The 35-year-old guitarist was just about to release a debut album, 22nd Century Lifestyle, with his new band, Pre)thing. At press time, V2 Records was unsure of the fate of the release. . . . On March 4, post-punk guitarist John McGeoch died. He was 49. McGeoch got his start in the group Magazine—which was founded by Howard Devoto following the breakup of the original Buzzcocks— but is probably best known for his work with Siouxie and the Banshees, which he joined in 1980. In 1982 he left the band, and in 1985 John Lydon brought him in to join Public Image, Ltd. In the early ’90s, McGeoch quit the music business altogether, and had since been working as a registered nurse. The cause of death was unknown at press time. . . . Another guitarist whose life was cut tragically short was honored recently. On March 19, Randy Rhoads was posthumously inducted into Hollywood’s Rockwalk, 22 years following his final performance with Ozzy Osbourne. (Osbourne is pictured at the induction ceremony above with, from left to right, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy’s Mother, Delores Rhoads, and Sharon Osbourne.) Rhoads joins the likes of Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Sonic Youth, The Ramones, Bonnie Raitt, and others. . . .Wilco has announced a couple of new members to support bandleader Jeff Tweedy on guitar. Avant-garde legend Nels Cline will join the band for a short tour to introduce material off their forthcoming album, A Ghost is Born. Additionally, Pat Sansone—of the Autumn Defense—will be picking up both guitar and keyboard duties for the group.

—Emily Fasten  

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