In a new interview with Guitarist, Todd Rundgren revealed that – during an onstage jam with Eric Clapton – the latter lent him not only his legendary "Blackie Strat," but his entire live rig, after he broke a string.
“In ‘74, Eric Clapton was headlining Madison Square Garden and he invited me to jam," Rundgren said. "I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually going to play with Eric.’ So I get up there and on the very first note, I bust my E string.”
Clapton, who witnessed the E-string leap for the heavens, immediately sprung into action.
“Eric takes off his ‘Blackie’ Strat, gives it to me and lets me play through his rig, while he called for a spare," Rundgren said. "It was one of the most gentlemanly things a musician has ever done for me, and I've never forgotten it."
As for how Rundgren felt holding one of rock's most iconic guitars in his hands, he said, "I was so bedazzled at that point, I wasn’t even paying attention to how the ‘Blackie’ felt to play. I was too awestruck to evaluate it. I only had a few moments with that guitar, but it was one of the highlights of my life.
Though Rundgren was indeed awestruck at getting to play "Blackie," it wouldn't be the only connection he would have with one of Slowhand's more famous guitars.
After it had gone through "a number of hands," Rundgren came to own Clapton's almost-as-legendary psychedelic SG, the Fool.
"The guitar was in horrible shape at the time," Rundgren told Guitar World in a 2016 interview. "The paint job was all flaked off because they never put a sealer on it. It didn’t have the original tailpiece, the neck was a mess at one point, the headstock snapped off. I did a lot of work on it. I played it for decades, and I owned it until the mid-Nineties."
To read Guitarist's full interview with Rundgren, pick up a copy of its new issue over at Magazines Direct.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.