The Guitar Geek column he contributed to Guitarist magazine for almost a decade reflected his passion for the instrument, his encyclopaedic knowledge of its history and culture within a multitude of musical traditions and the finely-honed sense of the ridiculous without which it is impossible to contemplate many manifestations of Planet Guitar.
Your rock guitar blues – Fender, Gibson, whatever – Marshall amp traumas, guitar gear mishaps and all manner of musical escapades, never read so smart, funny and electric. Murray writes with all his characteristic dynamism, style, wit and intelligence, and he does so as an accomplished rockin’ blues guitarist who has seen, heard and played with some of the greats. Fellow guitar geeks will drool over it – and so will all other music lovers (even those who don’t know their neck from their body).
FROM THE INTRODUCTION
Hey, what can I tell you? Every boy needs a hobby, and I found mine long before the idea ever occurred to me that it might ever have anything to with what I laughing refer to as ‘making a living’, let alone a ‘career.’
It started in age-in-single-figures kidhood with stuff I heard on the radio and with which I instantly fell in madly and passionately love. It was called ‘pop music’ or ‘rock and roll’, and eventually I realised that it was a combination of noises made by things called ‘musical instruments’, and that the noises I liked best were made by instruments called ‘guitars’ – most of them ‘electric guitars’ … whatever they were.
These strange objects looked impossibly glamorous – almost as glamorous as they sounded. When I wasn’t listening to recordings of them, I was looking at pictures of them (with or without people actually holding them). I couldn’t wait to get one and start figuring out how to make similar noises myself. I even sent away for catalogues of oddly-shaped things I couldn’t remotely afford, and thus it was that a few dim realisations eventually struck. Firstly: electric guitars weren’t all the same, and that different types, frequently associated with different companies, generated fairly distinct variations of that basic fabulous noise. And secondly: that in order to function they required boxes of electrical gubbins … apparently called ‘amplifiers’ …
PRAISE FOR CHARLES SHAAR MURRAY
‘Next time you’re in Chicago, I’ll cook for you myself.’
‘The Johnny Cash of rock journalism.’
PHIL CAMPBELL, MOTORHEAD
‘The rock critic’s rock critic.’