As usual, I was re-reading the issue of GP that came out 30 years ago this month, and what struck me the most was an interview with Danny Gatton "the world's greatest unknown guitarist". I remember reading (and re-reading) this article when it came out--I was 18 and I was so glad to learn of such a versatile, talented musician. And the article really catapulted him to fame, which gave me kind of an "I knew him before..." vibe. But re-reading the article there is a subtext of sadness that I can't help but see as a foreshadowing of Gatton's future. You can read the full post at my blog, but here is an excerpt from the interview that fits in well with TDPRI: How much influence was going on between you and [Roy] Buchanan, and in what direction? I got two things from him–actually three. First, the appreciation of what Telecasters could do. I thought Fenders were basically pretty cheap. I was into fancy Gibsons. Second, those little picks. And then, his tone and approach to the way he played. But he didn’t show me how to do that. I saw him play many times, and he used to sneak into places where I was playing. He’d put on disguises. I’d find Roy sitting over in the corner–“What are you doing here?” “Well, I wanted to see if you played differently when I’m here than you do when I’m not around.”….And he’d call up on the pay phone, and we’d leave the phone off the hook all night long. I’d talk to him on the breaks, then go back to playing, and he’d listen over the phone. He used to come over to my house and try to analyze what kind of a player I was, and we started playing the tune that wound up being “Cajun”. He said, “That’s what you are–you’re a Cajun player.” But he didn’t write that tune; I made it up on the spot in the basement. Meanwhile, Roy was analyzing my playing. As far as the type of tone and the bending style… That’s all attributed to him. But he stole it from Albert King, I think. Everybody thinks he invented it, but I don’t think he did. He just heard it somewhere else, just like anybody does. The only players who cover as wide a range of styles as you are studio musicians such as Tommy Tedesco, who prides himself on being able to play a lot of styles and fake the rest. But you don’t appear to be faking anything. Oh, I can fake it too. As long as somebody’s laying down the changes, I can play heavy metal, if I want to. That’s how I learned to play most of the stuff–by bullshitting. I didn’t practice to learn how to do these things, I learned them onstage. …I look at it kind of like this: I’m sort of a curator of guitar styles. And I appreciate Link Wray playing “Rumble” as much as I do Les Paul playing “How High The Moon”, in the same what that an artist could appreciate a rock painting as opposed to a Van Gogh. They’re all art forms, whether they’re crude or advanced, and in order to appreciate them or recreate them, you have to put some study into them to figure out where the person was who did it. And a lot of times you still can’t do it over again the way it was, just because of the way conditions were and how they felt at that time. The blog post also includes this bit at the end that I discovered on YouTube--Gatton talking on late-night TV to Charlie Rose about this issue of Guitar Player, and the jolt it gave Gatton’s career. Check it out: Pretty neat stuff–at one point, it’s like watching Gatton play just for you, demonstrating various styles of music on his Tele. Rose gets at the topic of the frustration that Gatton must have felt, and Gatton is open about admitting it; he also hints at some self-sabotage. Shortly after this issue, Gatton did get a big record deal with Elektra, and put out some albums, toured the country, and became much better known. But a little over five years after I first read this interview, Gatton committed suicide. I still have trouble listening to his music, because I am haunted by the sadness lurking below the surface.