Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Be seeing you

Sad news - Gypie Mayo died today. He's one of the best guitarists - make that one of the best musicians - that I've ever seen. 

He's probably best known for replacing Wilko Johnson in Dr. Feelgood, but he also worked with The Yardbirds, The Band Of Sceptics, The Practice and many others. I saw him play many times over the years in all of those bands and more and he was always absolutely brilliant, an inspiration to me and many others. I last saw him back in June 2010 at Tropic Of Ruislip when The Flying Squad supported The Wolftracks, who were basically The Band Of Sceptics playing Howlin' Wolf songs. Johnny Squirrel was playing bass for us that night - he knew Gypie from back in the day when Squirrel played with Lew Lewis and Gypie was in The Feelgoods and he introduced me to the man himself after our set; unprompted he told me how much he'd liked my playing in 'Dirty Water'. I could have been happier, but not much. At the end of the evening he and I chatted as he put his equipment away, I'd meet him a couple of times before and he always seemed to be a genuine, humble man who loved to play music. That's a pretty good thing to be don't you think?

A few weeks ago I received a letter from Band Of Sceptics mainman Pete Sargeant; he's been to Gypie's birthday party (he and I share the same birthday, July 24th) and during the course of the evening my name somehow came up - Gypie not only remembered me but asked Pete to send me his best wishes and gave him a commemorative plectrum to pass on to me. Amazing. 
I looked at the plectrum for a few seconds - he couldn't have known it but I was having a bad day. A really bad day. I picked up my Stratocaster, plugged it in, turned the amplifier up and played 'Milk And Alcohol'. Suddenly things weren't quite so bad.

God bless you Gypie - and thanks for everything.

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