Quotes About Guitar

  • Glyn Johns on Jeff Beck

    Brian was as insipid as I had expected, but the guitar player was astonishing. I had never seen anything quite like him. Playing rhythm and lead seamlessly with a fantastic sound. He was very cool-looking, quite scruffy, and had car grease ingrained in his hands. I grabbed Stu and asked where the hell he had found this guy. He and Brian had gone to see a band called the Tridents at Eel Pie Island, a popular venue on an island in the middle of the Thames at Twickenham. Being impressed with the guitar player, they approached him and asked if he would consider joining Brian's new band, the Nightshift. Everyone knew who Stu was, and I am sure that was the reason Jeff Beck agreed to join. The band did not last long, but Stu and Jeff became lifelong friends and he quickly became one of the crowd that would hang out at the house, as he lived a short distance away in Carshalton. There must have been something in the water locally, as you could have thrown a net over the small area that Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Stu came from.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears at the end of the "Stu '62" chapter of the Glyn Johns autobiography, Sound Man. The Brian that he references is a Brian Wiles, roommate of Glyn and Ian Stewart (aka "Stu") in 1962. At the time The Rolling Stones were hanging out at their house a lot, and Brian decided he wanted to be a star as well. Glyn describes it like this: "After some months, Brian Wiles, feeling left out of the action, decided he was going to become a singer and put a blues band together. Stu, being the pal that he was, took it upon himself to help, as Brian did not know any musicians other than those he met through Stu and me, and they were all committed to other bands. I thought the whole idea was a joke, having had the misfortune to hear Mr. Wiles sing, and a blues singer he was not. A few weeks went by and I was informed that the band was formed and ready to play their first gig. It was to be at a local folk club in Leatherhead on a Sunday afternoon. Dreading the prospect, I thought I should at least show willing and went."

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  • Glyn Johns on Ry Cooder

    Later in 1969, on a Stones session for Let it Bleed, Keith didn't show. So while we were waiting, Nicky [Hopkins] started jamming on the piano with Charlie and Bill. Pretty soon Mick got a harmonica and was soon joined by Ry Cooder, who was sitting in with the band that night. Jack Nitzsche had brought him over from California to play on the soundtrack to the movie Performance that we had finished a couple of days earlier. I ran the tape machine and the result was an album called Jamming with Edward, eventually released on Rolling Stones Records in 1972. It is just a bit of fun, showing Nicky's sense of humor and extraordinary technique, and it is great to hear Ry playing with Bill and Charlie. Definitely worth a listen.

    Sound Man

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  • Glyn Johns on Jimmy Page

    Soon I realized that I could use the time to experiment and get some great experience at the console, and I put the word out that you could get free studio time at my Sunday sessions. This attracted a crowd of exciting young musicians. Among them was Jimmy Page, who my pal Colin Golding had told me about. They were both at Kingston Art School—not far from where we all lived—along with Eric Clapton. I suggested that I might be able to get Jimmy some paying sessions, but initially he declined, saying he would lose his grant at school if it became known that he had an income. It was not long before he changed his mind, and in a short space of time he had replaced Big Jim Sullivan as the number-one session guitarist in London.

    Sound Man

    This quote appears in the "Sunday Sessions" chapter of Sound Man, the Glyn Johns autobiography. He describes his Sunday sessions at IBC, the studio where he worked as an engineer in the early 60s like this: "Weekends were almost never booked in those first two years I was at IBC. So we were allowed to use the studio on Sundays to record our own projects. It all started with me and my friend Rob Mayhew recording a few demos, with John Timperley or Terry Johnson engineering. It was with one of these recordings that I attempted to be 'discovered' as a vocalist, with a song I had written with my neighbor Hugh Oliver, called 'Sioux Indian.'"

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  • Glyn Johns on Les Paul

    My sister Sue had a portable record player and, being three years older than me, found me to be nothing more than an annoyance throughout our youth. Therefore the record player was strictly off-limits, with very rare exceptions. I remember she bought a 78 of "Little Rock Getaway" by Les Paul and Mary Ford. It was a completely new sound. Les Paul was the first artist to use multitracking. He would record a guitar part on a mono machine, then play it back and record it onto another machine while adding a second guitar, repeating the process until he had the arrangement he wanted. Then he would do the same with Mary Ford's voice, adding her three or four times in harmony with herself. This was some years before the advent of multitrack recording as we know it today. Along with every other punter, I knew nothing of this and just thought it was a great sound. His innovative approach to recording led to the formation of the Ampex company, who produced the first multitrack tape machines with Les being given the second one off the line.

    Sound Man

  • Glyn Johns on Jimmy Page

    I stayed on at the church as a server and started going to the church youth club on Wednesday nights. Among other delights, we would have discussion nights and play table tennis and were taught ballroom dancing, which didn't appeal to me at all, but at least you got to put your arm around a girl legitimately. One evening we had a talent night. I remember a boy in his early teens no one had seen before, who sat with his legs swinging over the front edge of the stage and played an acoustic guitar. He was pretty good, he may have even won, but I don't think anyone in the hall that night had any idea that he was to become such an innovative force in modern music. This was to be my first meeting with Jimmy Page.

    Sound Man