Archive for February, 2011

40. GARY MOORE – “It’s Not The Years …”

February 20, 2011

Gary Moore died of a heart attack in his sleep in the early hours of February 6th. Millions will mourn the sad and tragic loss of a guitar virtuoso who throughout his life gifted us magnificent blues guitar solos, jaw-dropping technical mastery of his instrument and decades of wonderfully honest music.

I knew Gary for years as the musician the world knew – a guitarist who continued to perfect and explore his extraordinary talent. Over the last decade I have known him as a valued friend and that friendship gave me additional insight into how intensely dedicated he was to his craft – a perfectionist constantly discovering new ways to seduce those guitars to release ever more powerful and emotionally expressive sounds and sentiments.

Generous, gracious and extremely funny with those who earned his affection and respect; utterly dismissive of time-wasters and ferociously protective of his privacy; he managed for the most part to successfully balance celebrity and its demands with a profound need to be personally grounded by spending time with his family, friends and other like-minded musicians.

The desire for perfection was always the driving force and the inspiration behind his impressive musical career. Gary was equally at home playing with BB King at Wembley Arena to tens of thousands of adoring fans as he was playing spontaneously in small bars and clubs (having borrowed a small amp from a local guitar shop on his way) with local musicians he respected. The measure of the man and the musician was that the quality of performance and commitment, whether performing to dozens or thousands was, in every case, consistently brilliant.

It would be easy to categorise Gary as one of the greatest blues guitarists the world has known and as ‘the guitarist in Thin Lizzy’ – but that would be a limited appraisal of his remarkable and unique contribution to music. His portfolio of work, over decades, has encompassed and celebrated every guitar-style there is – with stunning dexterity and an honest emotional understanding of each of them. His work continued, over the years, to expand and rejuvenate, to touch the soul and to inspire so many.

I lose count of the number of aspiring young musicians (and well-established ones) who cite Gary Moore as their major influence, someone who inspired them to take their first tentative step into expressing themselves by playing guitar. What better legacy could there be than that?

It would be churlish not to give you the chance to listen to it again wouldn’t it? There are so many other tracks to listen to but this one (my favourite version) resonates differently now …

As someone extremely close to him said a few days ago …

It’s not the years … it’s the mileage.”

God bless you Gary Moore. My love is with you as it is from so many. Stay soul-soaring. You will be missed … but thankfully you have left us so much that will continue to inspire us and fill our hearts.

39. METALLICA Part Two – ‘Glamour Girls’ and ‘Stolen Hendrix Guitar’

February 1, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! Airfix Customised Hendrix Guitar Stolen! See end of post …

They definitely weren’t happy. Climbing up four flights of a fire escape carrying the thing probably wasn’t very funny. One of the two guys grumpily handed me a piece of paper and a pen. ‘Sign this … sir,’ he said. It was probably the biggest couriered item SATORI had ever received. It wasn’t even wrapped – but then it HAD travelled tens of thousands of miles before, across continents and in countless planes and trucks as part of what’s necessary to stage a METALLICA concert!

The huge METALLICA flight-case was the beginning of the ‘LIVE SHIT Binge and Purge‘ project– the starting point for an ambitious box-set containing CD’s, Videos (remember them?) a huge book, even a stencil for fans to spray the image of SCARY GUY around the place. We’ll come to him later.

We have to remember we’re talking 1993. In terms of design tools it was medieval by today’s standards – artwork was created on graphboards taped to drawing boards the size of a wall: I used pens which always clogged up at the worst possible moment; boards warped horribly in hot or cold weather; for a tour programme I had to create 24 individual layouts (no press ‘repeat’ button to create 23 more after completing one); cups of coffee would leap suicidally onto artwork (yes – more than once!) when it was almost complete; I used tracing paper over the artwork to instruct the printer how to colour it and photographic images were supplied as transparencies. Photoshop it? – no chance matey – the few designer computers resided in rooms the size of a METALLICA tour-truck and their power source was probably steam …

The positive side though was that communication happened in the real world not a virtual one – in dingy, messy printer’s offices; over a beer in a pub with a record company art director; with musicians in recording studios or at home and getting legless in bars comparing notes with other designers (or was that just getting legless in bars?). The process was slower certainly, but very enjoyable and possibly more creative than working in an isolated environment using a mouse and e-mail. I probably learnt more too – as I’ve said before, there are always people out there who knows more than we do – finding them is the key, and it’s much more likely to happen in random situations ‘out there’ than in self-controlled environments.

I digress, but you should be used to that by now … back to BINGE AND PURGE

I needed Charlie, a photographer who worked in a studiotwo flights down the fire escape from mine. I had to photograph the 6 elevations of the flight-case and the images had to be perfect (why even bother with anything less than perfect?). We moved the case to Charlie’s studio, he spent a couple of hours building a plinth for the case and lighting it the flight-case immaculately. A series of rapid camera shutter clicks later and the film was sent off to be developed. We arranged to meet after lunch the following day.

Now … Charlie, for all his consummate professionalism, enjoyed a guilty pleasure which provided him with a seemingly endless stream of attractive young women to hang off his arm. It did not escape my notice that I never saw him with the same ‘girlfriend’ twice. I also observed that in no way would any of the women I saw tolerate any sexist shit from anyone, especially Charlie – some were VERY fierce indeed. In their line of work they had to be. Yes – Charlie took great pleasure (in more ways than one it appeared) in photographing ‘glamour girls’. On some days the fire escape was full of them, queueing up to have their ‘model’ photos taken for their portfolios.

I dropped into his studio the following morning – earlier than planned on my way back from a meeting. I should have knocked I know but in my enthusiasm to see the flight-case transparencies I swept the usual formalities aside. I suppose, in what must have seemed like a police-bust to him, I entered his studio somewhat melodramatically and very loudly – to find busts of a different kind and exposure not related in any way to a camera shutter. Draped seductively across the METALLICA flight-case, like Sirens clinging to an outcrop of rock in the Adriatic, were three gorgeous women wearing – well … breasts and tiny g-strings. As I entered they slid guiltily off the flight-case and swam off to the dressing room. Charlie just stood there – deeply embarrassed – his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. I don’t have a picture of the session unfortunately so this will have to do – just imagine more women caressing a Metallica Flight case seductively, the bloke in the water as a photographer armed with a Hasselblad and an overall atmosphere a LOT raunchier! …

Later,’ I said hurriedly, and left.


I should have known I’d get carried away with METALLICA and someone just called to say my Hendrix guitar has been stolen from the Hendrix Suite at the Cumberland Hotel in the West End. I need to talk to the police apparently so we’ll have to continue tomorrow – probably more info on the guitar I’d imagine!


Yes it was. I guess it’s a compliment in a way – it was a stunning replica of one of Jimi’s hand-painted guitars. Carefully planned it seems. Apparently whoever stole it took a Flying V guitar case into the room to get it out of the Jimi Hendrix Suite. Check it out the suite HERE.  The room was booked for two days and the DO NOT DISTURB sign was on Room 5001 door the whole time. Updates will follow …