It’s interesting that you picked a Jazzmaster. A lot of people might go for a Gibson, like a Les Paul.
“I’ve got a lot of Gretsches that I play – Black Falcons and Black Penguins. I’ve also got a PRS with a wang bar. I do use other electrics. For the traditional hard rock thing, the Jazzmaster works for me. And there’s Takamine acoustics – six- and 12-strings. It’s a full array of guitars and sounds.”
I saw a picture of you with a Zemaitis guitar that was given to you by the wife of the late James Honeyman-Scott.
“That’s right. Jimmy was a dear friend. That was a horrible loss. After we buried him in a town outside of London, we had a luncheon and were commiserating. Peggy Sue, who is still friends with Amy and me – she still comes over and visits us once in a while in Arizona – she took me to the warehouse and said that I should pick out a guitar.
“I felt bad for her. It was a gloomy, rainy English day. I picked out a cheap, knock-off Strat – he had a bunch of ‘em – and she said, ‘No, I don’t want you to do that. I know what you’re doing. For me, I want you to pick the best guitar that you would play to remember Jimmy by.’ So I took the best guitar, the custom Zemaitis with his name engraved on the headstock. I use it to this day.”
James only got to do a couple of albums, but I’m convinced that if he had lived and made more recordings, he’d be recognized as one of the greats.
“I do, too. I got to sit in the the Pretenders in Baltimore and New York and Santa Barbara. I was living in LA at the time. Jimmy would come over, and we spent a lot of time bar-hopping and jamming in hotel rooms. I loved everything about him. He was just a sweet soul. It was such a horrific phone call to get when we lost Jimmy.”
[Bassist] “Pete [Farndon] died a short time after James. Was there ever any talk of you joining the Pretenders?
“I mean, I didn’t think that. Amongst ourselves, Jimmy and I would debate about me as a guitar player and a keyboard player. He would be like, ‘I’m like the heavy. It would be great to have another guitar player to work off of.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, and I could be a keyboard player, too.’ We never took it to the band and lobbied for it; it was just an idea that he and I had that it would be great to work together inside the Pretenders. He knew I loved the band. But it was just good-natured talk.”