Thursday, August 13, 2009

Too Late

Warning: No Poker Content and Sad News

Les Paul (pronounced LESS-Paul, not LAY-Paul), the legendary musician and inventor of the solid body electric guitar, is dead at the age of 94.

The man was a giant of music, end of story. He invented the Electric Guitar for god's sake! Not just the Gibson Les Paul, the greatest of all electrics with the possible exception of the Fender Stratocaster, but the first electric solid body guitar of any type! That remarkable invention has spawned countless millions of rock gods, wailing away on their parent's basements with the amplifier turned up too loud for anyone's taste (myself included). Just this one gift to the world alone would have immortalized Les Paul in the annals of human history, but he also invented multi-track recording. For those of you who don't know, multi-track recording is the technique that allows different parts of a song to be recorded without overwriting the part already on tape. It's the thing that allows Jay-Z to say, "Hey, I love this track as it is, but it would really bounce with a precussion part panned right in the mix".

So, to recap, Les Paul is the inventor of modern musical recording and the most popular instrument the world has ever seen.


For many years now, Mr. Paul has played Monday night concerts first at Fat Tuesday's and then Iridium here in Manhattan. For just as many years, I swore I'd see him play. Every Monday, something would come up or I would forget. Just as recently as two weeks ago, I said to myself as I was walking past the Iridium on a Monday night, "Damn, I'd better get tickets soon before he dies. 'Cause he's old."

And now it's too late. The same thing happened to me with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. I never saw a show and then one day, Jerry died, leaving nothing but Phish concerts and a kickass Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor in his wake.

So as of today, I'm on a quest to make sure I don't miss out on any performers I really really want to see. Except there aren't any I haven't seen yet. All of my 'must-see' artists I've seen at this point. BB King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant (though not with Led Zeppelin), The Who (a few times) and Elton John (way better than I though he'd be). I've never seen The Rolling Stones but I never felt the need. I saw Springsteen in concert and it was nearly religious. I saw Rush and it kicked ass. I even saw KISS and loved them.

The only artist I'm really jonesing to see now is Jack White, preferably with The White Stripes. I'd better get me some tickets before he gets hit by a bus.

Any other artists I need to see who are in danger of departing this great earth?


Memphis MOJO said...

I know I'm showing my age, but he used to be on TV, maybe in the late 50s. It was called the Les Paul and Mary Ford Show, or something similar. He played and she sang. He multi-tracked even back then. Sorry he's gone.

Alceste said...

Strongly recommend seeking out J. White -- music is better with the raconteurs, but the whites stripes shows are a lot more fun.