How Did I Clock Over 200 Interview’s With “Australian Guitar Magazine”!?
For about 10 years or more I did the interviews for “Australian Guitar Magazine”.
It was an amazing experience! I must have conducted over 200 interviews and it was great sitting opposite the likes of Tommy Emmanuel or Tim Farris asking them questions and having them answer.
At the same time I was creating a series of lessons for each issue and you can check out some of my interviews here on my Youtube channel and I will be uploading many more soon.
I’d prepare 4 sets of lessons; the first was always on Slide Guitar, the 2nd was a lesson on Improvisation where I’d break down and study a solo by a master improviser such as Coltrane, Miles Davis or Sonny Rollins.
The 3rd lesson would be an arrangement of a Pop song and the 4th lesson would be “Masters Of Rock” where I’d explore the great electric guitar players, high on that list of great players has to be Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and that’s where this series came from.
I wanted to take a good look at some of Page’s great riffs and licks from the band’s monster album “Led Zeppelin 4”.
We made the backing tracks, wrote up the licks in tablature and filmed the lessons and here’s the first one of the series of 3.
The old saying I found to be true “the best way to learn a subject is to teach it”.
Where Did Jimmy Page Pick Up His First Guitar? (It’s Not What You Think!)
A few years back, for my Xmas holiday reading, I’d gotten a hold of Herbie Hancock’s biography “Possibilities“.
I was interested in his music and what made him such a great musician.
Then, while browsing in a bookshop, I found Chris Salewcz’s “Jimmy Page, The Definitive Biography” so I grabbed it and read both over my Xmas break.
They were great books! It was astonished to discover what incredibly charmed lives they both led! They had luck and good fortune follow them.
It was like an invisible guiding hand laid everything out for them and they only needed to follow…
Of course they both worked extremely hard and we know Thomas Jefferson said “the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get” but everything Page and Hancock touched seemed to turn to gold.
For Jimmy Page it all started when at the age of 12 he and his family moved into their new family home at Epsom Surrey a little south of London.
A guitar had been left by the people that had moved out, just sitting there for the young Jimmy.
He loved the Rock & Roll he was hearing on the radio and he soon wanted to play the music himself.
He had a few lessons but mostly taught himself out of books.
A school friend offered to show him some chords and how to play so he was off and running on his life’s mission.
Jimmy worked hard at his music, he wasn’t inclined to take regular lessons but as he worked at his playing on his own, if he hit a wall with something he’d find someone who could help with the particular problem.
In this respect he had some great teachers.
Jimmy Page Was Taught By These Master Guitarists.
John McLaughlin said that he didn’t give Page lessons “it was more like he came over to my place and I showed him things”.John McLaughlin
Big Jim Sullivan and John McLaughlin were two such guitar players that Jimmy could consult.
Jim Sullivan was one of the most ‘in demand’ guitar players in the London session scene because he was always on top of the latest gear and equipment so he had the most up to date sound.
He played on hundreds of hit records by acts as wide in style as David Bowie, Petula Clarke, Shirley Bassie, The Kinks & Tom Jones.
He became known as “Big” Jim Sullivan when a young guitar player burst onto the session scene called Jim Page… who in turn became known as “Little” Jim – to distinguish the two guitarists.
They would often be booked to play on the same session.
John McLaughlin said that he didn’t give Page lessons “it was more like he came over to my place and I showed him things”.
McLaughlin is one of the greatest musicians that plays guitar.
He was also working as a session guitarist in London but became dissatisfied with the lack of creative freedom so he left and relocated to New York and joined Miles Davis’s band.
He was to play on “Bitch’s Brew” and “In A Silent Way” before putting his own band together “Mahavishnu Orchestra” which was one of the avant-garde & ground breaking bands.
Jimmy Page was also to eventually feel too restricted by playing sessions and began to look for something that was more satisfying.
His time as a studio musician playing on other peoples recordings was well paid but was also a great apprenticeship that was to get him ready for his future musical project.
The Incredible Ike Isaacs!
During my lessons with Ike Isaacs, who had been an established session guitar player in London, we’d often talk about his experiences in the studios.
Ike also played on an enormous number of hit recordings and movie soundtracks.
The people that he’d played with was astonishing!
I loved hearing about his experiences. Ike had played on sessions with Big Jim Sullivan, John McLaughlin and Jimmy Page, he had plenty of anecdotes and stories to share.
Ike was really more of a Jazz player than “Big Jim” & “Little Jim” so Ike wound up joining Stephane Grappelli’s band and touring the world with them for about 10 years before he retired and moved to Sydney where I met him.
Some of the songs that Jimmy Page played on as a session guitarist are “Heart Of Stone” by the Rolling Stones, “Goldfinger” the James Bond theme, “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan and “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker to name just a few.