News and happenings from the world of your favourite guitarists
Guitarist was saddened to hear that Ray Phiri – the South African guitarist who backed Paul Simon on the hugely successful Graceland and The Rhythm Of The Saints albums – passed away from lung cancer in Nelspruit on 12 July, aged 70. As well as his influential work alongside Simon, Phiri founded Stimela, an Afro-fusion band actively involved in opposing apartheid throughout the 80s.
Joe Bonamassa and Glenn Hughes will reunite on stage for two UK gigs with Black Country Communion in January next year, following the release of fourth album, BCCIV, on 22 September. They’ll play Hughes’ home turf of Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall on 2 January and London’s Hammersmith Apollo on 4 January. This looks like your only chance to catch the band for a while.
Ahead of a rumoured reunion of Smashing Pumpkins’ classic line-up, mainman Billy Corgan’s first acoustic signature model was announced at the recent summer NAMM show. Corgan co-designed the limited-edition jumbo with Yamaha, based on its LJ16R model. Features include his ‘zero’ logo on the headstock, Gotoh vintagestyle tuners, passive under-saddle pickup, brass bridge pins and ARE treatment to its spruce top. 100 of the limited run of 400 will ship in a Brown Sunburst finish.
Yngwie Malmsteen has told us that he believes, with the exception of himself and the late Allan Holdsworth, guitar heroes all have one thing in common: “It’s a strange thing to say, because I’ve been on the road with Steve Vai and all those guys a few times. We’ve spent a lot of time together and I’ve gotten to know how they think… and they all have that in common – they love other guitar players.” In contrast, while Holdsworth drew from the saxophone for inspiration, the Swedish shredder looked to the classical violin of 19th century firebrand Paganini. “You may run the risk of having slightly less identity,” he says of only looking to guitar for influence, “but I wouldn’t want to knock anyone for that. I understand how it feels. When I was a kid I wanted to be like Blackmore because he was cool, but it’s important for me to feel like I’m doing my own thing.”
Specials bassist Horace Panter was recently reunited with the Fender Precision bass he used on the band’s 1981 single, Ghost Town. After trading it in later in 1989, he regretted his decision, but as luck would have it, he stumbled upon the bass again for sale at Coventry music shop Noise Works. “I bought it back for considerably more than I paid for it!” notes Horace. “To say that I am pleased to have it back is something of an understatement.”
Yngwie Malmsteen: “It’s important for me to feel like I’m doing my own thing”