A new regular column at Reverb

Posted on December 31, 2017

I've started to write a regular column at Reverb.com. The idea is to cover all manner of subjects in and around vintage and modern guitars. I'll be looking at how some well-known and not-so-well-known models came to be the way they are, why some instruments are collectable, who played what, where, when, and why, and no doubt a good deal of other stuff as well. To keep you up to date with all the action, I'll detail them here j . . .

Bacon’s Archive at Reverb.com

Posted on October 24, 2017

I've started to publish some of my archive of interviews at Reverb.com. These are full-length interview transcripts from some of the chats I've had over the years with musicians and instrument people. Mostly these were done for a particular book, and so I would use some of the quotes, selectively, in the book – usually leaving quite a bit that doesn't get seen. It seemed about time to reveal more of these unpublished convers . . .

Pure And Easy

Posted on September 28, 2017

A column about musical procrastination. Written for Guitarist, 2012.  RECORDING ON TO TAPE began back in the 30s, so almost all the guitarists we’re interested in are available for us to hear whenever we like. Even the dead ones. The history of music is almost always told through tales of making this album or cutting that single. Rarely do we hear the story of live dates and events, other than peak moments like Woods . . .

Geezer’s riffs

Posted on August 31, 2017

An interview I did with Geezer Butler. Written for Bass Player, 1992.  BEFORE THE GROOVE there was the riff. And lo, in the year 1969, the riff was cast in metal, and it was made heavy, and it was exceeding loud. And Geezer Butler did walk from the dry-ice and he did put aside his rhythm guitar. And Geezer did take up the bass guitar. And Geezer begat Black Sabbath, and they did come up with many classic heavy riffs. . . .

So … Gabriel

Posted on July 18, 2017

An interview I did with Peter Gabriel. Written for Making Music, 1989.  “DRUMS, THAT’S the instrument I started playing first. I always wanted to play drums. And I still think that’s the best way for any musician to start. Because if you get drums right, you get feel. And the rest is downhill. I hear a lot of musicians trained up to the eyeballs who haven’t got the feel right — particularly when white English players are . . .

Knopfler chat

Posted on May 30, 2017

A Gibson-flavoured interview with Mark Knopfler. Written for Gibson.com, 2002.  MARK KNOPFLER’S PLAYING FIRST REACHED OUR EARS during his time with the extraordinarily successful Dire Straits, from their first hit 45 ‘Sultans Of Swing’ to the huge impact of albums like 1985’s Brothers In Arms and its supporting tour, which saw the band playing 234 shows in 12 months to two-and-a-half-million people. Since then, . . .

Rory & Willie worn out

Posted on January 22, 2017

A column about well-used guitars. Written for Guitarist, 2012.   “MISTER SCOTT, SIR, WE’VE FINISHED THE INSIDE OF THE SPACESHIP,” said the proud set designer on Alien. Ridley Scott had a quick nose inside and sighed. He told them they really ought to rough it up a bit. It all looks too perfect, he moaned. He’d just said more or less the same thing to the costume designer. It’s not believable! Scu . . .

Ono to Simone

Posted on January 2, 2017

A ramble through pop history that in February '93 linked birthday girls Yoko Ono and Nina Simone. Written for Making Music, 1993.  YOKO ONO, an avant-garde artist who began wailing in various recording studios after marrying John Lennon in 1969, IS 60 THIS MONTH [Feb '93]. Ono and Lennon enjoyed being outrageous. As well as beds and bags and nudity, they taped electronic s . . .

Les Paul

Posted on November 22, 2016

An obituary for Les Paul. Written for Guitar Aficionado, 2009.   LES PAUL INVENTED THE SOUND of the modern pop record. He didn’t invent the electric guitar and he didn’t even invent the Gibson Les Paul. His great contribution was to turn pop records into self-contained pieces of constructed art at a time when most people thought of them as simply capturing a performance in a room. But he wasn’t a sound engine . . .

Jaco

Posted on November 21, 2016

About my '76 interview with Jaco Pastorius. Written for Guitar & Bass, 2016.   JACO PASTORIUS RELEASED HIS SOLO ALBUM almost exactly forty years ago, and it changed the way bassists thought about playing. I interviewed him back in ’76, just at the time of the record’s release. He was on a British tour with Weather Report, who he’d joined that year, and he wasn’t feeling too good. Turns out, he . . .

Golden Age

Posted on November 5, 2016

Sleevenote written for Fender: The Golden Age CD, 2011.   GREAT GUITARS ARE MADE TO BE PLAYED, and this CD celebrates some of the best players and the greatest Fender guitars, across three important decades, as they made glorious music in studios from Los Angeles to London. There they are now, looking up as we peer through the control-room glass, plugging in their Telecasters and Stratocasters, their Precisions . . .

Vicious

Posted on October 21, 2016

How bad a bass player was Sid Vicious? Written for Making Music, 1992.   SID VICIOUS IS NOT, I have to admit, top of my list of fave bass players. I've just had cause to compose such a list, as the forthcoming third edition of our lovely little What Bass book needed its chapter on `bass players worth listening to' updating. So it was that I shoe-horned in such noteworthy recent additions as the two Kims . . .

Beatle houses

Posted on September 20, 2016

A column about a visit to Lennon & McCartney's houses in Liverpool. Written for Guitarist, 2013.   I WONDERED IF THERE MIGHT BE A GUITAR at John Lennon’s house. The National Trust now owns Mendips, John’s aunt’s house where he lived from 1945 to 1963, and organises a tour to see it along with Paul McCartney’s nearby childhood home. You might have seen that film Nowhere Boy last year that focuss . . .

Psychedelic shacks

Posted on July 21, 2016

The most important psych-era venues in London. Written for Mojo, 2005.   MARQUEE 90 Wardour Street W1 (1964–88) Not the first venue that comes to mind as inherently psychedelic, but this old faithful hosted Bernard Stollman’s Spontaneous Underground on Sundays in the first few months of 1966, gatherings that probably kick-started British psych. Peter Jenner and Andrew King of Blackhill Enterprises first . . .