Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gibson Martin Fender - Mick Green

I've just heard that Mick Green died on Monday. He was 65 years old.

Mick is probably best known (and now to be remembered- how sad is that?) as the guitarist with Johnny Kidd and the Pirates back in the 1960's when he and the band influenced countless soon-to-be rock gods (The Who adopted a 4 piece line-up after seeing them perform) with their no nonsense approach to rock'n'roll. Green himself was particularly influential due to his ability to play rhythm and lead guitar simultaneously- a young Wilko Johnson was famously 'stopped in his tracks' when he first heard the solo on 'I'll Never Get Over You'. After leaving the band he played with artists as diverse as Engelbert Humperdink and Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas before forming Shanghai in the 1970's. Just prior to the advent of punk rock in the mid-70's The Pirates reformed as a trio (the classic line-up of Mick with Johnny Spence on bass and Frank Farley on drums) when their blitzkrieg rhythm and blues fitted in perfectly with the times, not least because of their well documented association with Dr. Feelgood. When they finished in 1983 he went on to play with Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney (notably on his excellent 'Run Devil Run' album) and Van Morrison among others as well as teaching guitar and occasionally reuniting with various Pirates line-ups.

For what my opinion is worth Mick Green is the greatest British rock'n'roll guitarist of them all. I first saw The Pirates on their 'Skull Wars' tour in 1978 and they were astonishing, as powerful and energetic as any band I'd seen before or indeed have seen since. And Green's guitar work was AMAZING, blisteringly loud yet incredibly precise and considered. I'd put him in my top 10 guitarists of all time for that gig alone but I was lucky enough to see him on many occasions after that, the last time a few years ago at The 100 Club when he'd clearly lost little if any of his fire and passion.

There's a live recording of The Pirates playing 'Don't Munchen It' at London's Hope and Anchor that includes one of the most outrageous solos I've ever heard- it sounds like about 3 people playing, I'm going to listen to it in a minute, it'll sound a bit different now but it's still one of the solos that I have in my mind ever time I start a solo and think 'now what do I play?' It never lets me down- it's one of my very favourite bits of electric guitar playing ever and as such means more to me than I'll ever be able to write down here.

Thanks for doing it all Mick- we will not see your like again.

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