Thanks for the great cover story on Derek Trucks. Every time I see him play I am more amazed at what he can do with a guitar (and not just with a slide). My favorite live moment, however, is not a memory of incredible virtuosity—though there have been plenty of those—but an indication of the man behind the guitar, sitting on stage with his legs crossed, taking his time changing a string, perfectly content to enjoy the moment while his band fills the temporary void. I look forward to hearing great things from the Derek Trucks Band for many years to come.
Thank you for the April issue! I’m blown away by the John McLaughlin riffs. When I first arrived in San Francisco from Dublin in 1973, one of the first things I got to do was see the original Mahavishnu Orchestra at the Berkeley Community Theatre. I remember being pinned to the back of my chair by the power blasting from the stage. And now, 30 years later, playing those same awe-inspiring riffs on my own guitar in my own living-room, well—it’s worth a year’s subscription at least!
In late summer 1971, I was sitting forlornly in the park across the street from my high school in Atlantic City playing guitar. Hendrix had died the previous fall, leaving me musically lost. If you weren’t there, you won’t get it, but the sky fell with Jimi’s death for a lot of us. My best buddy Neil cruised by with a record under his arm. I asked what it was. He said it was called The Inner Mounting Flame, and was, in his estimation, the scariest album ever made. I borrowed the record and nearly burnt it to the ground, going over each riff a thousand times until I could hear what was happening, writing out the scales and changes. If I hadn’t been forced to play Bartok and Stravinsky on the violin as a kid, I never would have gotten through a single song. That record forever changed my life, and led to a couple of decades as part of the volunteer poor, practicing eight hours a day, forgoing commerce for art. That McLaughlin’s flame burns brightly still, and that Jesse Gress chose to shine light on these astonishing creations for a new generation to experience are two great gifts that light up my day.
I was disgusted about the Nickelback article in the April issue. I didn’t like Nickelback to begin with, and I like them even less after reading their cocky interview. How dare they even show their face in a magazine like this? Music is a form of expression. Nickelback is purely in it for the money, and they admit it! These guys aren’t musicians, they’re businessmen. Also, just because they’re a rock band doesn’t give them the right to play with someone such as Billy Gibbons. That kind of thing has to be earned. Hopefully some of Billy’s talent rubbed off on them in the studio.
JON’S GOT YOUR (NICKEL)BACK
I have to admit that when I discovered you guys wrote an article on Nickelback, I was pretty disgusted. I have never had much respect for those guys—mainly because I’m not a big fan of Chad Kroeger’s voice—and because every song sounds the same. (Play “How You Remind Me” and “Someday” at the same time!) So after getting over the fact they were in my favorite magazine, I wound up actually reading the article, because there must be something good about them if you guys did a piece on them. After I was done, I actually started respecting them as musicians a little more. I checked out the new album, and it has some pretty sweet guitar parts. I think Chad and Ryan have pretty decent skills compared to most bands these days. Even though I still may never be a big fan, I wish them best of luck.
In the April ’06 Artifacts piece on the 1933 National Duolian, we accidentally misspelled the name of Beulah’s owner, Rick Tuite.