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© Gary Pihl
You’re one of a handful of guitarists who has such a recognizable sound that people know who it is within seconds. What’s your take on other such players like The Edge or Andy Summers? Players who also utilize guitar effects in a very unique ways…
“I have to confess: I don’t know who they are. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t listen to any other music – not since about 1974. The only times when I’ll hear other music will be at the ice skating rink or the gym – you know, if I go out and somebody’s playing something. I don’t listen to the radio in the car, and I do that because I don’t want to be influenced. I do hear a little bit here and there – I know what modern rock and current pop sounds like because I’m exposed to it a little bit. The closest I can come to answering that question is, I can probably tell you when it’s an old Jeff Beck song or early Led Zeppelin – I can recognize Jimmy Page.
“I can tell you that I can always recognize a Boston song, even if it’s in a noisy place. I can hear that it’s Boston even before I know what song it is. If a Boston song comes on in a club or somewhere, I notice that it’s Boston, and the second thing I notice is what song it is.” [Laughs]
You feel the vibrations of it.
“I don’t know what it is. There is something – I hear the tone, and I go, ‘That sounds like Boston.’ And it pretty much always it.”
You might have answered this in a way, but when Nirvana –
“I’ve heard the well-known Nirvana song. I know who they are.”
So are you aware that they paid homage to Boston when they played the opening of More Than A Feeling before Smells Like Teen Spirit?
“It’s been debated whether it was homage or thumbing their nose. [Laughs] Regardless, Nirvana was, from what I’ve heard, a great band. I was really impressed by the couple of things I heard. Regardless of what the context was, it’s an honor to be heard in the same airspace as Nirvana.”