As a budding photographer, I was thrilled when guitarist Brandon Ross introduced me to Ralph Gibson through Facebook. It turned out that Ralph is not just a world renowned photographer, with work on display at the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the J. P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, but also an avid guitarist, as interested in the future of the instrument as we are. He has published two books featuring the guitar, Light Strings and State of the Axe (with Andy Summers http://www.guitarmoderne.com/pioneer/the-andy-summers-interview). The latter could serve as an analog version of Guitar Moderne, with its photographs of and interviews with many of the same guitarists that appear here. The pictures in Gibson’s first book of photography, The Somnabulist, are like a dream, not necessarily linear, but very illuminating. Our conversation proved to be similar, wandering off on tangents, moving at oblique angles, but centered by a shared vision.
Wow! Andy Summers! I got an email from the legendary guitarist’s publicist saying he was a fan of Guitar Moderne and would love to talk to the mag about his latest record, Metal Dog. When I picked myself up off the floor I contacted her and said, “Sure.”
It would be fair to say Summers was one of the rare players who changed the sound of the guitar in pop music. Echoes (no pun intended) of his style can be found in U-2, Rush, even Nirvana. For deep background, I recommend his book, One Train Later: A Memoir , and movie, Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police. A great site about his gear through the years is here, and he also discusses the subject in some of these videos.
With a limited time to talk, I chose to concentrate on the Metal Dog record, as it is a perfect example of everything Guitar Moderne stands for: pushing the sonic and conceptual boundaries of making music with a guitar.
Gearing up to interview Andy Summers on Wednesday. Anything you would like me to ask?