What's the Matter with Gena?--The Skeleton Key
Genius, Gone--Richard Pryor

Link Wray R.I.P.

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The greatest concert I've ever attended came from a guy in his seventies.

The guy was Link Wray and the place was some shithole in Portland Oregon. A good few years had passed since Quentin Tarantino featured Wray's famed "Rumble" in Pulp Fiction so he attracted a smaller crowd. The better for all of us. A lot of die-hard rockabillies, a smattering of old people, varied Wray fans and me. I stood in the front and watched one of rock n' roll's most influential guitar Gods kill. The highlight was when Wray handed me his guitar in the middle of "Rumble" and, in some bizarre trance-like state, I passed the thing through the crowd. It was safely returned back to Wray who, in spite of his dark image (Wray was one of the greatest looking leather clad rockers ever) and menacing sound, smiled broadly. I still have his pick, stashed safely in my jewelry box.

So Link Wray, born May 2, 1929, passed away (if you can read Danish here's his official obituary). The U.S. news is, so far, not reporting this--a major shame given how much Wray brought to American rock music. Distortion, feedback, the power cord and a raw, dirty, crunchy, heavy sound that everyone from Poison Ivy to Pete Towsend credit as most influential. Some even claim him the father of heavy metal. "Ace of Spades," "Jack the Ripper" and one of my favorites "Comanche" are just a few of his classics. And I've always loved that in 1957 "Rumble" was banned from a number of radio stations--banned for its menacing suggestion. There were no lyrics! Forget all those silly devil worshiping bands and industrial crap, Wray made true evil music! And he was a Christian.

Link Wray is gone. One of the coolest of the cool. Another true American original. In a sea of poser rock stars, poser non-rock stars, poser tough guys and poser musicians, he was pure rock and roll. He will not be forgotten.

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Comments

Rasselas

Damn it. And men like Bill Bennett still walk the earth.

brian cors

Wow. This blows.

What's worse is how unknown this influential man is. I was out of town and a friend SMS'd me with the news. I got home after the 4 hour drive, and tried to look EVERYWHERE to find the news... Nowhere, except blogs.

Rest in peace, Link. I will always remember you in Detroit, onstage, rocking out, screaming into the mic, "One lung!!!"

My pics from that show can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/d253e

Mick Sleeper

To borrow a quote from Jack Palance, "Link Wray crapped bigger than Justin Timberlake".

Ian Burns

Nobody played guitar like Link Wray and not many looked so cool either.Like Kim's write up about the gig she saw,I saw Link and his band in '96 on his U.K.tour.He was appearing at what would probably be known as a bar in America,in Britain they are known as pubs.There was maybe fifty people in the place but Link Wray played as if he was at Madison Square Gardens.The place was torn apart and he looked about fifteen years younger than he was at the time.With his passing a true rock n' roll original has gone,but he will not be forgotten.Bless you Link,and thanks.

Art Wray

RUMBLE ! 1958 ! Everything we love that's loud begins here !

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