- Jan 15, 2021
- Reaction score
My love affair with the guitar started like this:
Back in the day when I was about 6 years old a boy in the suburb where I lived had been bought a black Strat as compensation for having undergone some horrible operation, which had left his chest badly scarred. I was blown away by the fact that if you connected this thing of beauty into the mains power you could sound like The Who, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones; well at least that is what the 6-year-old me thought it was for; oblivious to the fact that none of the above used Stats. I was totally electric guitar smitten.
Later in my early teens my mother bought me a catalogue acoustic, which had a pickup and came with a lead which I could plug into the family's radiogram; life was good, and I dreamed of a life on stage. An older friend of mine, who owned a blue Strat, a Selmer amp, and a van, had rented a church hall for us to practice in and at this point I was convinced that we were headed for rock’n’roll fame. We were going to be called the Larrytones; his name was Larry and mine was, and still is, Tony. However, shortly afterwards he got married and fathered a child, not necessarily in that order. My road to becoming a rock god ended up in a cul-de-sac. I blame it all on the blond hippie babe with the large, untethered breasts who gave birth to Larry’s daughter.
Later at age 18 I bought a Les Paul copy, which I believed in my ignorance was indistinguishable from the real thing; it was plywood, but I thought it was the dog’s appendage banging out the Stones’ Satisfaction on it. Aged 21 marriage and a mortgage came along, and guitars and impending rock stardom did not seem to feature in my life anymore, nor going to concerts and generally having fun living the full post-hippie sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle I had hoped for. Worse, sometime during those 5 wasted years of wedlock I lost the Les Paul copy and the cheap catalogue electro acoustic. I had money, a nice car, and a good job but no guitar, and a wife who did not share my values; she once told me that I could not play Zappa’s Zoot Allures in her company as it was obscene. The Torture Never Stops with background gasps and screams provided by Frank’s wife on that album seemed to cause my wife extreme distress.
At age 27 I reasoned that the financially ruinous cost of divorce was in fact a bargain in exchange for liberation and sanity and although impoverished by my decision pretty soon I found a wonderful music loving lady who shared my free spirited and hedonistic view of life, and although she was not a Zappa fan, she had no problem with my love of the guitar genius that was Frank. She was a Roxy Music fan, as was I, and we both loved Donovan’s Cosmic Wheels, so we were always destined to be as one. Some many years later she bought us tickets to see Zappa Plays Zappa with Steve Vai at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the greatest concerts I have ever attended, and even though she wasn’t a Zappa fan she admitted she now understood my love of Frank.
In the early to mid-80s, I managed to persuade a pawn shop owner I had befriended in Cardiff to let me buy a real Gibson “The Paul” together with a 100-watt HH Head and a Marshall 4x12 for the incredible sum of £120.00, which I paid off at the rate of £20 a week; yes, in the mid-80s you could buy stuff like that in pawn shops that cheap; I loved that guitar.
Now over 30 years later, no longer impoverished and still with the same music loving lady I now have several Gibsons, Strats, Teles, a beautiful PRS Custom 24 and a Steve Vai Jem. I no longer have the “The Paul” having part exchanged it for my first real Les Paul, a Joe Perry Signature in black burst; I still miss that guitar to this day. I am still a totally crap guitarist but since I gave up pretty much all illegal recreational highs my favourite drug is taken at least once a day through my Mesa Boogie; life is good
At a mall with my parents when I was 7 years old, going up an escalator at a large department store called The Bay. At the top of the escalator, slowly rising before me as we made our way up was a black Fender Stratocaster or a copy of one. Too young to know for sure. At the top in front of the guitar I asked my parents if they could buy it for me. They didn't but a week later I was enrolled into guitar lessons with a cheap classical acoustic nylon string guitar. A year later my parents bought me a electric ES335 copy and cheap amp suggested by my music teacher to keep me interested in still playing. I played until 18. Took 40 years off and now play my Gibson Les Paul Standard with my Vox amp. I suck but I still love playing and collecting all things guitar.