Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Purple Haze Christmas One and All – Pt. I

JimiSanta II SURPRINT by Doctor Noe
JimiSanta II SURPRINT, a photo by Doctor Noe on Flickr.
I came across this wonderful Christmas greeting (Jimi Hendrix as Santa photo shoot for the Nashville Record Mirror/ Photograph by © Dezo Hoffmann, December 1967) … from my friend David Pearcy, a Hendrix iconographer extraordinaire with whom I collaborated on this little old magazine I edited called Guitar World.
In 1967 Jimi Hendrix posed as jolly Old Saint Nick for the Record Mirror newspaper to promote his then newest album, Axis: Bold as Love. The cover date of that issue was December 23, 1967 … and a video was shot on December 22nd, at one of the last truly “underground” events of the 60s held in London, the all-night “Christmas on Earth Continued” festival, which Hendrix headlined and also featured The Who, Traffic, Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett’s last gig with the group), Eric Burdon and the New Animals, The Move and Soft Machine.
Two years later, in December of 1969, Hendrix, bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles, The Band of Gypsys, were rehearsing at Baggy Studios in New York prior to their New Year’s concerts at the Fillmore East, where they recorded a Christmas medley of “Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne.”
A bitchin' little Yuletide medley:

Jimi's Revenge
Wherein Hendrix' True Believers Set the Record Straight … Again
OK, so now we come to the "author's message," as Firesign Theater used to tongue-in-cheekedly say, or was it Roy Lichtenstein? The author I am referring to is Jimi Hendrix himself, in this new book by my friend and former employer when I was Editorial Director of the Hendrix estate before it was shepherded by its eponymous half-sister.
Starting At Zero: His Own Story is compiled by Alan Douglas, the former honcho of the Hendrix Estate with Peter Neal, a filmmaker who made "Hendrix" in 1967, the only documentary to be shown in Jimi's lifetime.
Take a look at
this picture for a good way in to Jimi's head.

The book was first shown to me by my good friend and collaborator Roger Mayer, shown here with a Little Steven Rack System he designed.

Photo by Jonnie Miles

Roger would regularly visit Jimi and also accompany him to studio sessions, concerts and jams in the months after the former Royal Navy engineer met the guitar player at a late-night gig. As a trusted and highly skilled accomplice he had considerable influence on the way Jimi's stuff was recorded, and the sounds that came from his guitar.
As he had been for Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck before, and as he would become with Stevie Wonder, the Isley Brothers, George Clinton and Bob Marley, Roger was the "secret sauce," the mystery man behind the scenes of The Sound.
Here is what Roger has to say about Alan Douglas' book, which, by the way was produced after much legal jousting for the rights to do the book and soon, a film based on it …

… which presents the guitar legend's story in his own words, his vocal cadence, and really caught Jimi's soul:
After reading "Starting at Zero" you will have experienced a valuable insight into Jimi's love of people and music written in his own words. The upcoming biopic "All is By My Side" has already come into criticism by people close to Jimi for inaccuracy and fabrication of events that never happened. So please read the book first.
Kindest Regards,
Roger Mayer

Another pundit, Yogi Berra, once said, "You can observe a lot just by watching." He could have been talking about the ISBN information page frontispiece, which says, tellingly that … "No part of this book has been published with cooperation from Experienced Ltd., Al Hendrix or Janie Hendrix. It goes on to give "Special thanks to Nicky Page for design assistance."
Coincidentally, Nicky is no relation to Nick Page, the husband of another Hendrix friend, Kathy Etchingham, Jimi's former girlfriend whose "Through Gypsy Eyes"
… will be quoted in Part Deux of this essay. Kathy just told me that her book, which has been available in recent years as an e-book, will once again be brought out in a hard-cover edition.
See you in the next installment. Don't be late.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Doc Feelgood: The Jimi Hendrix Documentary that Goes Down Easy

Cover of the DVD release of PBS' American Masters documentary "Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin’"
My first reaction – and that of most of my Hendrix-besotted friends who previewed this documentary in the plush confines of a screening room in Beverly Hills – was one of bliss. To be in that room with its state-of-the-art sound and pristine video ratio going back in the kundalini time machine and soaking up the Jimi juices of rare performance footage and interview chestnuts like the kimono-suited Dick Cavett interview, that was an experience to savor.

And so we came out of that theater in a state of nirvana that could only be described as a floating opera, Electric Ladyland to the max. All my psychedelicisized memories came floating back on the ether and I was floating along with them, looking at the world through rose-colored, er, purple-colored glasses. The documentary was deftly produced, a class act, and along with the well-researched performance footage, it brought in talking heads that didn't have that musty smell of reels recycled from countless clips. There were fresh takes from the likes of sound engineer Eddie Kramer, Paul McCartney, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Steve Winwood, Billy Gibbons, Dave Mason and some of the folks who knew Jimi or were associated with his career: costume designer Colette Mimram, record execs Joe Smith ("This was the Summer of Love, so you wouldn't do anything that was too outrageous for that crowd") and Bob Merlis, bff  Faye Pridgon, Keith Richards galpal Linda Keith (who introduced Jimi to manager Chas Chandler) – and Chandler himself and other stalwarts from beyond the grave.

Inside cover of the companion "Jimi Hendrix Experience: Miami Pop Festival"  CD
The screening confirmed my feeling about avoiding the ominous anniversary of Hendrix' death – September 18 – in favor of the date of his arrival on this Third Stone from the Sun: November 27, when I give thanks for this genius' brief shining flame on the guitar horizon. The little girl whose mom married Al Hendrix, Janie Hendrix, she too looks through those purple colored glasses when she reflects on the lanky guitar player who came back to Seattle to visit. As the executive producer of these recordings – and executrix of the estate – Janie has glossed over the legacy to include testimony from the anointed folks who pass muster with her crowd, and that is my solitary quibble.

It's understandable that the doc doesn't dwell on the forensics of Jimi's death, which have been disputed almost as long as their counterparts in and around Dealey Plaza in Dallas. But the history that is recorded by this august company omits the remembrances of some who are not kosher in the eyes of the new estate. Folks like record producer Alan Douglas, who guided the estate and promoted the posthumous Hendrix mystique before losing his job at the hands of Experience Hendrix LLC's lawyers; electronics genius Roger Mayer, who first introduced Hendrix to the wonderful world of effect pedals, in December 1966 and collaborated with the guitarist until Hendrix's death in 1970. Hendrix once called Mayer "the secret of my sound"; Kathy Etchingham, who lived with Hendrix in a flat on Brook Street and later wrote the memoir "Through Gypsy Eyes"; Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend, the guitarists most blown away by Hendrix' prowess when he came to town. You will hear reminiscences from Jimi's younger cousin Bob Hendrix but for some reason, nothing is heard from his brother Leon, who was cut out, it seems, from the legacy.

Jimi and Kathy Etchingham in the flat on Brooke Street, London where they lived and which is from her book, "Through Gypsy Eyes"
So while this documentary has some brilliant moments in an all-too-brief shining career, I couldn't help thinking when the film ended on another rare, mournful and delicious track, the 12-string rendition of the title track "Hear My Train A Comin’" that the train may have been a-comin' but it's passed us by.

Film Outtake: Janie Hendrix's Memories of Jimi

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dexys "One Day I’m Going To Soar"

Kevin Rowland's still doin' it here

Dexys' "One Day I’m Going To Soar" will be released on September 3, 2013. It is quite a comeback for Kevin Rowland, who really never left. The Irish bad boy has mellowed a bit from the guy who once stole the tapes of his own record from EMI and held them for ransom until his band got some more money.

"I did loads of stupid things, like the way I used to argue with EMI Records. I just look back to the time now and wonder how I would have reacted to some prick coming into my office shouting and kicking things," Rowland said in 1970.

Kevin Antony Rowland (born August 17, 1953) is an English singer-songwriter and frontman for Dexys Midnight Runners (currently called Dexys), but the real crux of it is Kevin is Irish, and that is what he is still kicking about on this new one. With the poetry and pride of hindsight.

My favorite Dexys Midnight Runners lp was "Searching for the Young Soul Rebels," the debut studio album by the band, released on July 11, 1980, through EMI Records. It made the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" chart.

Their signature look for their early recordings, consisting of donkey jackets and woolly hats, was inspired by New York dockworkers they saw in the film "On The Waterfront."

Dexys Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen (Official Music Video)

"Come On Eileen" was a single released by Dexys Midnight Runners, which appeared on the band's 1982 album "Too-Rye-Ay." The song was written by Kevin Rowland, "Big" Jim Paterson and Billy Adams; it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. The bridge is based on the Irish folk melody "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral."

The music video to accompany the single was directed by the great Julien Temple. It features members of the band wearing sleeveless shirts and dungarees. The "Eileen" as featured in the video (and on the record sleeve) is Máire Fahey, sister of Siobhan Fahey, former singer with Bananarama and Shakespear's Sister. The American singer Johnnie Ray, an early rock-and-roll crooner mentioned in the opening lyrics, is also featured in the video using old film footage.

And that is a testament to the literary (Brendan Behan's ""Borstal Boy," for example) and cultural signposts that are referenced by this lot.

I'm dancing now.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Robert Johnson Grave R.I.P. May 8, 1911 - August 16, 1938

The Robert Johnson Photo Controversy
Dave Rubin, author of this fabulous book ... Robert Johnson: The New Transcriptions, is a great guitar instructor and scholar who really gets into the iconic history of his subjects. More on that elsewhere. Meantime, notice on the cover photo …
Robert JohnsonBook-Dave RubinCov … the absence of the cigarette in Robert's mouth, which was present in the original photo ...
RobertJohnsonPhotoBooth … one of the other two known photographs of Johnson (aside from the recently discovered one with Johnny Shines), a postage stamp-size one thought to have been taken in a booth in the 1930s [the "photo booth" pic]. It was first published in Rolling Stone in 1986, the year that Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and shows him in a button-down shirt, staring directly at the lens. A cigarette hangs from his lips and his long fingers rest on a guitar neck.
When the image was used to make an actual USPS postage stamp honoring Johnson, the ciggy was airbrushed out.
Dave had this to say about this picture …

" … when Fred Sokolow ("… my FB friends should know that Fred is one of the pioneer and premier authors of books and videos on blues, jazz, country, folk music, etc. A terrific performer, too. Please check him out.) asked, "How do you like the new photo with zoot suits?"

Quoth Dave: "I like it a lot, Fred, and sincerely believe it to be RJ and Johnny Shines (his daughter agrees). I know the owner of the photo personally and saw it the day he received it after winning it on Ebay. I have been involved in helping him research it ever since then and was interviewed for a feature about the photo in Vanity Fair a few years back. As you may or may not know, the "blues police" went ballistic over the photo and have ramped up their attacks again since Getty got the rights …"

This was back in February, and I pondered it, resolving to do something about it on my blog, wherein I also contributed to the literature about these photos:

"… Thanks, Dave, did not know the level of your scholarship. I will have to update my blog entry about this. I will post it here when I get done. Pierre de Beauport brought this up last week in a FB post. If you guys are not already friends, you should be. He was one of my guys at Guitar World along with Perry Margouleff."

So here we will digress momentarily as Noe the G basks in the sunshine of Dave's love:

Dave Rubin: "Noe, ever since you gave me my start in 1988 I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to author blues, classic rock, some jazz and country books for Hal Leonard (@ 80 and counting) as well as being musical director/player on a number of instructional DVDs and freelance writing for the mags. My FB friends should know that you are a pioneer in guitar journalism and publishing, put Guitar World on the map, are an ace blues harp player, a Hendrix expert, among other artists and the coolest mensch I know!"

Noe Gold: "Thanks, Dave! I am still writing, watch for my article about a Jimi Hendrix biopic which quotes Kathy Etchingham and Roger Mayer, coming out in Variety this Thursday Feb. 21 and later on my blog Doctor Noe's Gadget.

This exchange with Fred Sokolow fills us in on the players, Steve LaVere, Mack McCormick, the Getty Photo Agency:

Fred Sokolow: "Dave, thanks for the kind words. I didn't know you were so involved in that photo. So somebody bought it on Ebay? I had read that one of Robert's heirs gave it to the Getty. So that's misinformation? By the way, do you know if the nieces (?) of Johnson who signed off on the publishing rights, to Steve LaVere, ever got any money from that CD project?"

Dave Rubin: "Fred: My friend owns the original but sold the reproduction rights to Claude Johnson and his family. They in turn just licensed it to Getty for a set length of time, I think. I do not know the arrangement that Steve made with the half-sister, heirs, etc. I know he owns the rights to the other two photos (there is another studio/pinstripe suit photo that Mack McCormick owns, but has not been published). Steve owns copyrights to the tunes…"

Right here, it would be good to fill you in, if you are interested, in why I am qualified to speak, aside from my credentials as the Founding Editor of Guitar World:JimiGW-Cover 3-88 Guitar World,  HENDRIX LIVES!: THE UNPUBLISHED HENDRIX, VOL. II

Noe Gold: "Hal Leonard put out a bunch of my JH books (and cd combo)…"

RazorRob Cole: "Noe, would you mind defining JH please?"

Noe Gold: James Marshall Hendrix "Smash Hits" Book by Noe Gold [JimiExperience-Smash Hits Book by Noe.jpg]

This comment on YouTube is typical of the naysayers who doubt the "pinstripe photo" is really Robert:

"… Is it not common knowledge that there are only two photographs of Robert Johnson in existence, and this has been the case for the last 70-odd years? Obviously the two are the "photo booth" image and the posed one with Gibson guitar and immaculate attire. Is the boy in the straw hat meant to be RJ? Because to me it doesn't look like him." So a visit to the Vanity Fair Article would be in order: Searching for Robert Johnson

Only one known pic of Mr. Johnson?

This whole discussion was engendered by my friend Pierre De Beauport:

Pierre De Beauport 2-5-13:

Robert Johnson Photo #3

and so, it looks like I will have to finally update my blog post, because, as Dave said …

" … the "blues police" went ballistic over the photo and have ramped up their attacks again since Getty got the rights …"

To put a final nail in it, this article in the Guardian of 2-2-13 was fairly conclusive:

Robert Johnson: rare new photograph of delta blues king authenticated after eight years.

Forensic examination of old photo identifies the Mississippi guitarist …

… Forensic work on the photograph began in 2007, when Lois Gibson, who found the identity of the sailor kissing the nurse in the Life magazine photo of Times Square on VJ day the second world war ended, has ruled that "it appears the individual is Robert Johnson. All the features are consistent, if not identical." The only differences, she added, were due to the angle of the camera or the lighting.

That article does have this info about Dave Rubin's friend:

"… The new photograph came to light eight years ago, when a classical guitarist called Steven "Zeke" Schein was searching eBay for an old guitar. He spotted a thumbnail picture with a caption that read "Old Snapshot Blues Guitar BB King???" and bought it. On inspection, neither man in the photograph looked like BB King, but Schein noticed the length of the man's fingers on the guitar and the way his left eye was narrower than his right.

One of the other two known photographs of Johnson is postage stamp size and is thought to have been taken in a booth in the 1930s [the "photo both" pic].


It was first published in Rolling Stone in 1986, the year that Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and shows him in a button-down shirt, staring directly at the lens. A cigarette hangs from his lips and his long fingers rest on a guitar neck.

The second image was taken at the Hooks Bros photographic studio in Memphis. In it, Johnson sits cross-legged on a stool with his guitar, wearing a pin-striped suit and a tie. This portrait was used on the cover of Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings, the two-CD boxed set issued by Columbia Records in 1990.

[RobertJohnson-Hooks Bros Studio.jpg]

RobertJohnson-Hooks Bros Studio Dave Rubin should have the last word on this discussion …

Robert JohnsonBook-Dave RubinCov [RobertJohnsonPhotoBooth.jpg] RobertJohnsonPhotoBooth "… I like to refer to RJ as the 'story that never ends,'" he says, "Similar to Jimi (Noë!), people get a little crazy and possessive around him and weirdness occurs. …" J160935901 _________________________________

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bob Dylan Back in the Day and Yesterday

Bob Dylan - High Water (For Charley Patton) - 7.2.13
— in Memphis, TN

- with Charlie Sexton back in da house on incredible lead guitar. It's a long way from Newport '65 to Memphis in July of '13, but surely worth the trip.

This happened last night as I write this on the eve of Independence day. God bless you, Mr. Dylan!

A tip of the Doctor Noe chapeau to my friend David Gahr.

David Gahr (b. September 18, 1922, d. May 25, 2008) was a pre-eminent photographer of folk, blues, jazz and rock musicians from the 1960s onwards. His output included posed photography and reportorial documents.

The late David Gahr was one of the most highly acclaimed music photographers ever. Behind, or in front of, or some chess move away from every great musician, is a great photographer, hunched in the shadows. In the case of the greats of the 1960s and 70s -- whether it was Joplin, Lennon, or Dylan -- that person click-clicking somewhere nearby was probably David Gahr.

David Gahr Collection of Photographs is held at V&A Department of Theatre and Performance

Reference Number: GB 71 THM/385
Dates of Creation: c.1960s-1970s

This collection showcases some of his earlier work capturing folk music festivals and street musicians in America and England, including the concert at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, when Dylan went 'electric'.

The Blues at Newport 1964 - Part 2
The Blues at Newport 1964 - Part 2_cov

Mississippi John Hurt
- Sliding Delta
- Bye And Bye I Will See Jesus
- Talking Casey

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Catcher In the Wry

So what do J.D. Salinger, John Lennon and Prince have in common, and what is the relevance to Rock and Roll?

Funny how these things work out. I received an email regarding this post from a gent named Thomas de Bruin of the Dutch design firm Studio Lomox:

This is a parody published by College Monthly October 1974.
© 2010 noemedia.
© 1974. All rights reserved under international conventions. No material may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher.

Cover photo by Basil Pao
With retouching by Rainbow Graphics, body by Doug, hand by Noë of New York. T-shirt by Harry Gross; photo by UPI, lighting by Chris Callis, and body English by Tom King.

In this issue:

"The Catcher in the Bourbon," a parody

I edited this story back in 1974, and commissioned the art, etc. Our little publication was only limited to two highly collectible issues and was seen by not many people, but some of the things in this issue especially are memorable and – it turns out, highly prescient.

This parody of "Catcher" by Bill Majeski is a case in point. And then there is the cover story by Nat Hentoff on Lenny Bruce and a nice article on Miles Davis, bebop and new jazz by moi, Noe the G.

I've created a deluxe limited edition, signed and numbered, of this Salinger tribute. It's a collector's edition, based on a facsimile of the original, printed on TWO SHEETS OF 8.5" x 14" PREMIUM CARD STOCK.

Please contact me at and I will send you info on how to get one.

"I’m researching the artwork of Prince’s albums," said DeBruin, "and I’m currently focusing on a photo Chris Callis and Basil made together in 1979.

"Looking for Rainbow Graphics, the NYC company that that did a lot of photo retouching in the late 70s and early 80s, I stumbled upon your article on

"Do you know if Rainbow Graphics still exists, or can you direct me to anyone who used to work there? I only know its owners at the time were called Russell and Frank. But I can’t find any trace of the company.

" It was in fact Basil who mentioned to me that Rainbow Graphics did the actual retouching. But I believe Basil also doesn’t know how to contact them.

"So, I’ll just keep looking. :-)."

He will need to look for quite some time because Basil Pao is In Hong Kong and doesn't really want to be found. My buddy Bas was the genius behind some of the cooler album cover designs in the days when such things mattered:

basil and john

John Lennon by Dave Gahr

Pics are taken by my friend Dave Gahr with my buddy Basil Pao. I think they were done for an album project as Basil was a designer of same in those days, but also a friend of John. He did a lot of work with Dave who I met long before in Matt Umanov's guitar store on Bedford Street. Special thanks to Mary Anne Erickson for resurrecting these from the bin of memories.

By Dave Gahr:
James TAYLOR, with Peter Asher and Danny Kortchmar, Central Park, 1970
© DAVID GAHR, 1970

James Taylor by D. Gahr_#4-SURPRINT

These were also used in a magazine article. Reference is below:

Lennon w BasilPao x Dave Gahr_6
From the June 2004 issue of Mojo
entitled "A Day in the Life: Hell's Kitchen October 24, 1974
blogged by

The enterprising Dutch designer, in his search for that Chris Callis photo, found this:

Prince - Prince (Vinyl, LP, Album)
Photography By [Back Cover] – Chris Callis

ChrisCallis PrinceAlbumBackCover-3276

Photography By [Front Cover] – Jurgen Reisch*
Prince AlbumCover Front-8232

... an interesting bit of vinyl at that:

Prince - Prince (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs

more images
Prince ‎– Prince
Warner Bros. Records ‎– QBS 3366
Vinyl, LP, Album
Rock, Funk / Soul
Funk, Disco
A1 I Wanna Be Your Lover5:47
A2 Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?3:49
A3 Sexy Dancer4:18
A4 When We're Dancing Close And Slow5:18
B1 With You3:59
B2 Bambi4:22
B3 Still Waiting4:24
B4 I Feel For You3:24
B5 It's Gonna Be Lonely5:30
Companies etc▼
Manufactured By – WEA Music Of Canada, Ltd.
Distributed By – WEA Music Of Canada, Ltd.
Recorded At – Alpha Studios, Burbank
Remixed At – Hollywood Sound Recorders
Mastered At – A&M Mastering Studios
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Engineer – Gary Brandt
Engineer [Assistant] – Mark Ettel
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Photography By [Back Cover] – Chris Callis
Photography By [Front Cover] – Jurgen Reisch*
Remix – Bob Mockler, Prince
Written-By, Producer, Arranged By, Composed By, Performer – Prince
Heaven sent helpers: Bobby Z and Andre Cymone.
On labels:
℗ 1979 Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Barcode and Other Identifiers▼
Matrix / Runout (Runout A): QBS-3366-A JW
Matrix / Runout (Runout B): QBS-3366-B JW
Other Versions (Showing 5 of 22) View All ▼
Title, FormatLabelCat#CountryYear
Prince ‎(LP, Album)Warner Bros. RecordsBSK 3366US1979

See, that is how all things are related!

None of this would have been possible without the inimitable help of my partner in crime, Ken Anderson, who replaced Basil as the Art Director of College Monthly right after this issue was published:

Catcher College Monthly P.3&covLO

Ken had the skinny on Rainbow Graphics:

Subject: Re: Rainbow Graphics

Rainbow Graphics was Basil's call, so I assume an Atlantic Recs vendor. Catcher was last published issue before me. I inherited next issue 1/2 done; stacks of typeset galleys w/ no layouts--and no cover retouching before the wheels buckled during takeoff. Did one photo shoot-- C. Callis/ color white-on-white egg for background of next Contents. I was in NYC all too briefly.


Sadly, the issue that Ken designed never saw print.

That's how it goes in the publishing biz.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Frank Zappa - Soup, old Clothes and the guitars from Hell

This post inspired by the inimitable Dot Stein (, who, on 9-19-10 said:

"… had a dream that Dweezil Zappa was putting Frank's face and logo on everything you could imagine: games, clothes, drinks, to make money. I woke up covered in a cold sweat."

Please enjoy the video:
Frank Zappa - Soup 'N Old Clothes

Frank Zappa - Soup 'N Old Clothes - MyVideo

... and my commentary auf Deutsch:

Dieses war ein Photo von meinen guten freund Jon Livzey und auch neben an meinen Projeckt was heisst The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa" Bitte Googlen sie: Doctor Noe's Gadget: Zappa's Inferno – "from an interview first published in Guitar World April 1987 on the occasion of the release of THE GUITAR WORLD ACCORDING TO FRANK ZAPPA distributed by Guitar Galaxy in association with Barking Pumpkin

Zappa by Noe the G. - Guitar World, April 1987
Zappa's Inferno

By Noë the G"

Best little-known Zappa recordings were produced by Noe the G, Founding Editor of Guitar World via Guitar Galaxy as a special audio cassette (remember those?):


[Posted to by Dave Lane on March 19 1996 [nostalgic internet message header :)], slightly edited and HTML-enhanced for readabilty and clarity by Bossk (R), and annotated by us and our chosen cast.]

Frank was #19 on my list of top twenty guitarists posted on Dario's wall three years ago(!). The pic on the German-posted video was from my good buddy and collaborator Jon Livzey, and relates to my collaboration with Gail, The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa.

Here is my top ten:

1. 1. Jimi
2. 2. Jeff Beck
3. 3. Jimmy Page
4. 4. Eric Clapton
5. 5. Eddie Van Halen
6. 6. Sandy Bull
7. 7. Elmore James
8. 8. John McLaughlin
9. 9. Jimmy Nolan
10. 10. Carlos Santana
11. 11. Stevie Ray Vaughan
12. 12. Albert King
13. 13. Joe Satriani
14. 14. Mike Stern
15. 15. Jaco Pastorius (bass guitar)
16. 16. Robert Johnson
17. 17. John Lee Hooker
18. 18. Merle Travis
19. 19. Frank Zappa
20. 20. Adrian Belew

and finally, harken back with me to an earlier post on Doctor Noe's Gadget:

FZ in GW April 87 P.2

This illustration is page 2 of my article on Frank Zappa Guitar World April 87 described here:

FZ in GW April 87 P.2

This issue contains my interview with Frank, available in text form at the link below:

Noe G. Zappa Interview Guitar World, April 1987

Zappa's Inferno

By Noë Goldwasser

FRANK ZAPPA'S FULLY-EQUIPPED HOME RECORDING STUDIO is where he'd most rather be. "I never go out," he says, though his Laurel Canyon home commands a panoramic view of Los Angeles. "I could be just as happy if all this" - gesturing toward the array of equipment that surrounds him in this devil's advocate's workshop-"were in Utah. Except for the fact that the hardware and technicians are available in the L.A. area, and the stuff can be serviced here." The fact is, all Frank really wants to do is work.
Whether he acknowledges it or not, Zappa has been admired by guitarists for years because of the sheer free-flying gonzo-ness of his solos within the otherwise-precise organization of his compositions. He's always been a real Mother of a player. As a bandleader, his draconian insistence on perfection has brought out the best in his players, especially the guitarists he has introduced to the world through his succession of hands: Lowell George, Adrian Belew, Warren Cuccurullo and Steve Vai all cut their teeth in Zappa's marching society.
We thought about this-your editor, Noe the G., and Associate Publisher Greg Di Benedetto-as we descended with Frank into the bowels of his private inferno-otherwise known as the United Muffin Research Kitchen (U.M.R.K.).
Our purpose was to plan the Guitar World According To Frank Zappa tape-a 34-minute collection of rare Zappa solos on a special GW audio cassette which this magazine will make available in the spring-and to talk about guitar stuff.
Well, Frank was perfectly poised to talk about guitar and to play us some of the hours of great solos he has on all those tapes in his vault. But as far as performing on the instrument, we were surprised to discover, the guitar guru has been getting his playing jollies from entering notes and manipulating them with his Synclavier. For various reasons you will hear in his own words in this interview, Frank hadn't played serious guitar in two years (the last recorded example of Frank playing will be available on our Guitar World According To Frank Zappa tape). He'd even lost his callouses!
But fear not, dear reader. Zappa had plenty to say about playing guitar and where the instrument is going. And, believe us, there's reams of guitar in Frank's vaults, which he continues to classify and release to the public as long as the demand is there, through his own Barking Pumpkin organization. The Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar collections did quite well worldwide, so you can expect more to be released in the future.
And we hear that since our talk with Frank, he's been building up his callouses and thinking about going back on the road with his guitar and a band. The moral: you can take the Zappa out of guitar playing, but it'll take a long time to get all the guitar playing out of Frank Zappa.

Noe Gold: Let me get a level on the tape recorder say, "The poodle bites."

Frank Zappa: The poodle chews it.

Noe Gold: Come on, Frenchie! Do you see a conceptual continuum between, say, "Call Any Vegetable" and Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar? Or between the Mothers 0f Invention and the Mothers of Prevention?

Frank Zappa: There are some links, yeah. The main drawback of the medium I'm working in is, until I got the computer I was locked into making music based on the assets and/or liabilities of the guys in the band. In other words, if you want to write something that's faster than what the guys can play, you can't hear it, because they can't play it that fast. Or if you want something for an instrumentation that you don't have in the band, then you won't hear it. But now that I can do it with a computer, that's not a problem anymore.

[read the whole interview here:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Yiddish Rock Stars: GEDDY LEE

Mazel Tov, Boychik!

Rush, Heart, Public Enemy and Randy Newman were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night.

Geddy Lee is really Gary, but his immigrant grandmother (of yiddishkeit persuasion) could only pronounce as Geddy. A tip of the Noe Yarmulkeh to Deborah Frost for that tidbit.

This kinda takes me back to sometime in the late eighties, when I was travelling on a mission from God (or Guitar World anyway). John Swenson was on board to do the interview and I was kibbitzing as the editor.

Geddy and I compared notes on being sons of Holocaust survivors backstage as we waited for the photographer to set up. He in Toronto and me in little old New Yawk shared the same deep roots known as Child of Holocaust Survivors syndrome. Many Yiddishisms were pronounced on that day. And so I say unto you, Geddaleh, Mazel Tov, boychik!

You can see it all in my Yiddish Glossary for Goyim:

boychik (boy-chick) fella [literally, "little boy," but in essence more endearing than derogatory]
"Hey, boychik, meet me at the Grill in Beverly Hills. We'll hoist a few and have some laughs. No agenda, just face time."

baitsim (bayt-tzim) testicles; literally, eggs
"Keep your baitsim in your pants. Last I heard you were a married man."
Noë Gold's "Yiddish Glossary for Goyim" is now published as an ebook and a hard copy. The ebook is available from, described here:

Hard copy: $12 per directly from the author:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SRV: Cold Shot

SRV by Jonnie Signed, a photo by Jonnie Miles on Flickr. © Jonnie Miles. From a series of photos taken backstage at Colgate University on April 29, 1988. 

Photographer Jonnie Miles and I were on a road trip as I recall, and the memory is vivid with me as if it were being replayed on some cosmic movie projector.

I was first introduced to the genius of Stevie Ray Vaughan by the writer Bill Milkowski, who championed the plumed genius from Austin in dispatches for this little old magazine I edited called Guitar World. Once he got signed to Epic Records, the SRV Peanut Gallery was taken over by his indefatigable under assistant promo man, Charlie Comer.

Fast-forward to 1988 and by the gracious auspices of Stevie's road manager Skip Rickert, I was standing in the driveway of the upstate New York college waiting for a tour bus to roll in. I was there to greet the man, have a chat and then basically hang out and watch the concert as Jonnie Miles and Milkowski did the reportage heavy lifting. The privileges of editorship.


I climbed up onto the bus and went inside to shake the man's calloused hand. Stevie was gentle and humble, emanating a spiritual equanimity that was not too far from the vibe I'd felt from encounters with some acidheads I'd known who'd been born again. Except the pre-enlightenment breakfast of this champion had been a cocktail of whiskey and cocaine.

SRV looked through me with a clear-eyed gaze. He was proud to tell me of his sobriety, and that is what we talked about for a few minutes more before he went to soundcheck.

The University's people had set up a sort of craft services table in the cafeteria of the Student Union building for the band and crew. I lined up with the band members with my plastic tray to pick up my plate of meatballs and spaghetti. Just ahead of me was Stevie's bass player, a hulking six-footer named Tommy Shannon. As he approached the student volunteer who was ladling out the comestibles, Tommy had a question: "Does this meat sauce have any alcohol in it?"

Only once he was assured that it did not, did he heap his plate with Italian-style food. Everybody in the band, he told me, was on the wagon with SRV, and that extended to even trace amounts of alcohol in food items.

SRV by Jonnie Signed-B&W-Back••_51

That night's concert was the last time of many that I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan perform, drunk or sober. Of course, it was perfect.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Jimi Hendrix Biopic Experience: Perpetual Haze

My article in Daily Variety, March 7, 2013:

This is one case where the overly micromanaging Janie Hendrix should have held off. A proper film about Jimi might have resulted. The previous production that she scared off would have been directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”), a respected and respectful director, and produced by Thomas Tull "(It Might Get Loud"), who would not go forward without the proper music.

That one is now just a castle made of sand.

Noe Gold: Jimi Hendrix Biopic | Variety_3-7-13

03.07.13 | 04:00AM PT

The Jimi Hendrix Biopic Experience: Perpetual Haze

'All Is By My Side' treads careful path on rights issues, real-life personalities

By Noë Gold

The road to mounting a Jimi Hendrix biopic has been long and winding, frequently stalled by the roadblock that stood in the way — Experience Hendrix LLC, the estate’s tightly controlled rights and marketing organization, whose CEO is Janie Hendrix, the adopted daughter of Hendrix’s late father — without whose cooperation no Hendrix-penned music can be used in a film.

As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

“All Is By My Side,” shot last summer in Ireland and current in post, is doing exactly that. With Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) starring as Hendrix, Hayley Atwell as his live-in London love Kathy Etchingham and Imogen Poots as Linda Keith, the film focuses on Hendrix’s pre-stardom period in swinging London. The biopic has not received permission from the Hendrix estate to use any of his music, and some of the guitarist’s associates are fuming that they were left out of the loop.


• André Benjamin with Hayley Atwell (who plays Kathy Etchingham) in a still from "All Is By My Side."

With the help of music supervisor Danny Bramson, who is also a producer, the film is using its cover as an origins story to feature music not written by Hendrix but rather songs by artists including the Beatles, Muddy Waters and Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”), which Benjamin has recorded for the soundtrack.

You won’t be hearing “The Wind Cries Mary” in this film, and the woman for whom that song was written, Etchingham, is not pleased by the prospect of the film’s release or about how she is portrayed in it. She said she was not consulted about the storyline.

Etchingham said she contacted the filmmakers and offered help but did not get a reply. “I later read in the Independent that Hayley Atwell was playing my character and that I would be portrayed as a ‘wild child’ who swore in every line. I felt that it would not be an accurate portrayal.”


• Jimi & Kathy Etchingham in the flat on Brooke Street, London where they lived and which is from her book, "Through Gypsy Eyes"

The article she cites describes Atwell’s account of the movie, in which she commented on playing Etchingham as a working-class Mancunian who was a “chain-smoking wild child” with a “tempestuous relationship with Jimi.”

Etchingham’s reaction: “Firstly, I am not from Manchester. I am actually Irish … my father’s family were prosperous Irish landowners and owned property in Dublin and Wexford. They could not be described as working-class. I am not prone to swear all the time. I was not a ‘wild child’ like other ‘rock chicks.’ My friends used to tell me how sensible I was.

“I don’t know where the screenwriter got this misinformation from. I’m sure a good film could be done about his London days, but it would probably be better in collaboration with people who actually knew Jimi personally, like me and Roger Mayer, Madeline Bell, etc.”

Mayer, the former British Navy engineer and close Hendrix personal friend who has been credited with co-creating the guitarist’s signature sound, noted that scenes in the film seem to depict Hendrix as a domestic abuser. “It seems these naughty filmmakers haven’t researched anything properly,” he said.

It has been 43 years since Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27. To date, only documentaries, such as 1973’s “Jimi Hendrix,” which features the real personalities and live performances of the people in Hendrix’s life, including his father, Al Hendrix, Mick Jagger, bassist Billy Cox and Eric Clapton, have been produced.

Laurence Fishburne was close to mounting a biopic in 1993 based on the David Henderson biography, “‘Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky” with himself in the title role. But since he could not use Hendrix’s music, the pic never got made. Since then, prospective projects featuring Eddie Murphy, Will Smith and even Prince have failed to cohere.

The most recent project to have tried and failed was a Legendary Pictures effort in 2011 with director Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Ultimatum”) attached. But because the estate would not give Legendary topper Thomas Tull its blessing to use Hendrix songs such as “Foxy Lady,” “Voodoo Child” and “Purple Haze,” Tull opted not to proceed.

Janie Hendrix had this to say at the time: “When we do the Jimi Hendrix feature film bio, we will be involved and in control from the beginning.”

Representatives from Experience Hendrix did not respond to requests for comment.


© Copyright 2013 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC.


Kathy Etchingham BBC interview:

Kathy Etchingham book:

To read about Montagu Square click on the link below.

Roger Mayer's page:

To read more about Roger - click on the link below.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Experience Music Project Hardhat Tour April, 2000

This is from a hardhat tour I took of the Experience Music Project in Seattle as it was nearing completion April, 2000.

Note the Guitar World Special Issue Sept. 1985, edited by yours truly, Noë the G.

I wrote about it in this article, which was syndicated by the BPI Newswire but has somehow disappeared from cyberspace. Now it's back.

Experience This / A first look at Paul Allen's ambitious rock'n' roll temple

The Hollywood Reporter
June 13, 2000

By Noë Gold
All photos by Noë Gold

The high walls of the Sky Church are rumbling, literally shaking with a presence that is not of this Earth.

On the physical plane, the cavernous exhibition hall sits in Seattle, a few yards from the terminus of the monorail that links the city's downtown to its monolithic Space Needle.

On the spiritual plane, Jimi Hendrix, the avatar of guitar-driven rock 'n' roll who first asked "Are You Experienced?" is very much in the house -- a gleaming, new house that media mogul Paul G. Allen has built to honor popular American music.

The Sky Church is the spiritual centerpiece of the soon-to-open Experience Music Project, a massive museum designed by famed architect Frank O. Gehry to enclose 140,000 square feet of free-flowing, music-related exhibits on a 35,000 square-foot plot of land carved out of the city's once-grand Seattle Center.

The references to the Seattle-born Hendrix are intentional. The museum's mission, its founders say, is to have people experience the music. Come June 23, the first paying guests will find out what's going on inside the twisted, sky blue and magenta-hued piece of architecture that has been under construction since 1997.

The Sky Church concept is taken from one of Hendrix's dreams, in which he described a place where all diverse people could come together to appreciate music. The space fulfills Hendrix's prophecy by doubling as a grand exhibition hall by day and a performance space at night.

The EMP itself can be described as a museum with aspects of a theme park, through which people will take a "ride" amid the cultural artifacts that celebrate the blues-based, soul-inflected, rockabilly roots of American music.

More than 800,000 are expected to visit the nonprofit facility each year, with top ticket prices set at $19.95.

The museum opens with a party that will include musical performances by James Brown, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem and Snoop Dogg, Alanis Morissette, Eurythmics and Bo Diddley. MTV and VH1 will televise much of the hoopla.

Jody Patton, the EMP's co-founder and executive director and Allen's sister, dates the museum's genesis to 1992, when she and her brother attended a Sotheby's auction of rock 'n' roll memorabilia.

"Paul was intrigued by the artifacts," she says, "and we did the bidding. When the pieces arrived, we gingerly unpacked these things and we were in awe of how the spirit of the person who used them becomes imbued in the personal article. Paul said, 'If I think this stuff is really neat, then other people will be moved as well.'"

In Allen's longhair days, he played a Fender guitar. The obsession continues, except today Allen owns the Stratocaster that Hendrix played at Woodstock in 1969. And a whole lot of other stuff -- 80,000 artifacts, in fact, now reside here. More than 1,200 of them will be on display at at any given time.

The EMP's Hendrix Gallery enshrines the contract signed by the musician for Woodstock, revered objects of Hendrix's outrageous clothing and Allen's version of pieces of the cross: fragments of a guitar Hendrix smashed and burned at 1967's Monterey International Pop Festival.

The Guitar Gallery gives museum-style prominence to artifacts of rock like an early electric lap steel guitar, a Gibson Flying V prototype and axes played by the likes of the Byrds' Roger McGuinn and bluesman Tampa Red. There is a trumpet from Quincy Jones' early days in Seattle and song lyrics by another Seattlite, the late grunge rocker Kurt Cobain. Bob Dylan's harmonica and Janis Joplin's pants are there, too.

A recent hard-hat tour reveals EMP is no mere memorabilia collection. Flat-screen monitors and interactive displays are everywhere. A snaking corridor leads to the "Crossroads" exhibit, the main exhibition area, where disparate musicians like Hendrix, hip-hop and Bing Crosby meet via multimedia.

Patrons can also wander into hands-on personal studios, where they can try their hands at keyboards, drums and guitars.

The facility is truly wired, with organizers especially proud of the flooring itself, a raised platform made of modular concrete slabs that can be removed and bolted down to give technicians access to miles of high-definition optical cable and ISDN lines.

Via a modular data processing unit called a MEG, visitors can zoom in on various exhibits and receive data about what they are seeing. They can then download bookmarks that may be accessed later.

In researching his designs for the building, Gehry visited a music store and looked at guitars, bringing some home and deconstructing them. "It's not supposed to be a smashed-up guitar," says EMP's design and construction project manager, Paul Zumwalt, who created the Portland Trail Blazers' Rose Garden basketball arena, another Paul Allen edifice. "It's about the spirit of the music, with its flow and movement."

Originally, the monorail was supposed to stop short of the building. But when Gehry saw that the monorail bisected the site, he began to play.

Allen and his sister wanted an architectural design that "could literally express the way we respond to the music." And the music she was describing is anything but conventional. Allen used the word "swoopy."

Swoopy is what they got. There is not a right angle in the place. Neighbors who watched the building come together were mystified by what looked like a jumble of curved metallic sections reaching up into the sky.

"What appealed to me about Frank," Patton says of the architect," was his commitment to exploring the process. ... His designs go to a new place aesthetically -- the curves. It is a living, moving, organic thing."

Kind of like Electric Ladyland.