Got my first real six string
“My first guitar was a Jazzmaster. I guess I was 17. I wanted a Strat, but I couldn’t afford it. I went to the store, and in the paper they’d said it was $400, but then you get to the store and they wanted $450.
"It was like ‘Slimy Bob’s Guitar Rip-off’, the guy was pretty sleazy. I could have bought a Jaguar for $200 or bought a Jazzmaster for $300. I had $400, so I bought the Jazzmaster and this cheap cabinet.”
There is a light that never goes out
“Our biggest breakthrough came pretty soon after forming; we made an album [1985’s Dinosaur].
"We didn’t really have a style and I could barely play, but we did the song Bulbs Of Passion and I really liked it. I finally felt like we were coming into our own sound. I never thought about guitar playing. It was just ‘the band’ and ‘the songs’. I thought I could teach somebody how to play the drums, but I didn’t like any of the guitarists around, so I picked it up.”
Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
“If I’m just playing for myself on a desert island, I’d probably bring a Fender Super Champ.
"I’m not sure what guitar I would bring, it would depend on what state of mind I was in at the time. Maybe I’d just bring my Tele that I like, and that’s my favourite guitar. Then one pedal? Maybe a tuner!”
When I paint my masterpiece
“I don’t sell that much stuff, so if I get rid of it, it’s pretty much for a reason. I guess it would be good to have my first Jazzmaster, but I sold it for a lot of money, and I would rather have the money, still.
"I’ve had a lot of guitars stolen, but I’ve got other guitars, I more miss the paint jobs. The sparkle finishes took like six months to do. I still have two Teles that I painted, but I guess I miss the paint jobs.”
Let the jukebox keep on playing
“My greatest strength, probably, is that I can just keep playing. My whole style is just to keep playing, because I’m playing so loud and with all this fuzz, and if you stop playing it’s just insane noise.
"You have to keep playing otherwise it’s just going to be this squall of noise and people freak out and turn off the guitar, so I just keep playing to make it sound like something. My biggest weakness, is I guess, fingerpicking. I’m not too good at it. Not if you go and see Richard Thompson.”
When the going gets tough
“I guess the toughest time I had as a musician was when we first started Dinosaur and people just hated us.
"We were really loud, and we had no fans. If you tried to play anywhere, they were just like, ‘Stop playing. You’re annoying. We can’t hear the bartender.’
"We had a soundman throw a bottle at us! The soundman would turn down my amp while I was playing and I would run behind and turn it up. But, yeah, the soundman throwing the bottle at us was tough.”
Advice for the young at heart
“The best advice I can give is: if you want to play, play. If you have that desire and drive, then just play. Don’t get wrapped up in trying to be a star.
"It just seems more reasonable to just play and if people like you, that’s great; if they don’t, and you like to play, you may as well just do it. That’s my philosophy. You have to amuse yourself first and then let others worry about what you’re doing. You’re the first line that you have to get through.”