Les Paul 1915-2009

les paulThe story of electrified music is dotted with figures who have been blessed with broad inventive genius, equally at home in the worlds of hard engineering and musical aesthetics as if such a thing was easy or normal.  It was these people who gave us the tools that defined a century’s most lasting sounds. The biggest of these names was Les Paul, who passed away today at the age of 94.  Any survey of rock music or the modern recording studio would take less time to count the things that Les didn’t innovate, champion, or outright invent rather than what he did.  Overdubbing.  Sound-on-sound.  Delay.  Phasing.  Multi-track recording.  The solid-body electric guitar.  Every power chord played upon one owes him a debt.

When I was Editor of Gearwire.com in 2007, I got a chance to interview Les. Calling him at his New Jersey home, I found him to be every bit a sweetheart as he was an American treasure.  We kind of rambled around for a while, and Gearwire still hosts the audio.  Check it out.

Part 1: Les Paul Talks Guitar Tone (MP3 Audio)

Part 2: Les Talks The End OF Magentic Tape (MP3 Audio)

Part 3: When Les Met Django Reinhardt (MP3 Audio)

So long and thanks for everything, Lester William Polfuss.

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rob [at] warmowski [dot] com

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Rob’s Bands

Rob Warmowski entry at Chicago Punk Database
1984-89: Defoliants
1991-94: Buzzmuscle
2001-05: San Andreas Fault
2008- : Sirs
2008- : Allende

Rob at Huffington Post

August 2009

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