Friday, June 28, 2013

the last book I ever read (Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, excerpt nine)

from Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp:

I think Quine was the best rock and roll guitar soloist ever. He found a way to mix art with emotion that put him ahead of everyone. It’s sad that he made so few recordings. His best playing was with me, and we made fewer than three albums’ worth of material. There haven’t really been many interesting guitar soloists in rock and roll. Mickey Baker, James Burton, Grady Martin, Link Wray, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, maybe Jimmy Page, maybe Chuck Berry (he and Keith Richards and Pete Townshend are really rhythm players), maybe Tom Verlaine and Richard Thompson, and Quine. I don’t know. (I’m leaving out blues musicians too.) No one has had the combination of creativity and feeling that Quine did. Most of the great rock and roll guitarists stand out for their wildness and momentum and humor, and that’s plenty. It’s suitable for the material. Quine brought feeling to the mix.

I’ve played with a lot of exceptional guitarists, but the thing I’ve noticed about nearly all of them compared to Quine is the gap between skillful creative brilliance and genius. Quine was a genius guitar player. He assumed as fundamental the qualities that were the highest aspirations of most soloists, and he would then depart from the platform into previously unknown areas of emotion and musical inspiration. He was a complicated, volatile, sensitive, very smart person who humbly channeled everything he was and knew into his guitar playing. It was axiomatic with him that emotion was the content created by the language of the musical instrument and the genre of the composition. Yes, he liked noise too, and subverting convention. That was the reveling, defiant, purely sound-oriented, unsentimental artist in him. And the antisocial one. But ultimately it was the depth of feeling, not any pioneering explorations or any technical facility or any kind of academic sophistication, that set him apart, just as was true of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

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