The weight of my mother’s passing last month has inevitably overshadowed a very gratifying recent event – one of the single biggest bits of recognition I’ve been able to achieve as a musician in my own right.
Guitar Player magazine is one of the most highly-respected guitar publications in the world; in the American market, at least, they’re unparalleled in terms of their willingness to cover players and topics that fall far outside the mainstream of either music in general, or the guitar in particular. Way back in 1996 I got my first bit of coverage in the national media in their “Spotlight” column, which covered unknown/undiscovered players. Ten years later, I’m lucky enough to have worked my way back into the magazine in a very different way.
The current issue of Guitar Player has a feature article on looping, which goes into a surprising amount of detail about the history and development of the technique – both in terms of discussing the technological development of the tools, as well as the purely musical angle. Barry Cleveland, the writer of the article, did a fantastic job of coming up with a story that’s simultaneously accessible and comprehensive.
The article singled out three players as “loopists you should steal ideas from”: David Torn, Paul Dresher, and… um, me. Normalized also made it into their list of recommended listening. And for pete’s sake, they even ran a photo of me (courtesy of Lisette Sutherland, aka lightling) on the same page as a picture of Robert Fripp.
It’s a bit hard to fathom – maybe because of everything else that’s been dominating my headspace lately, and maybe because it’s all a bit too surreal to be able to fully take in. And maybe because I’ve been burned so many times by people in the looping world trying to tear me down or denigrate my work, that it’s become very difficult for me to accept credit for something without automatically wincing in anticipation of somebody talking about how worthless my contributions have been.
But then again, the article does help put things in perspective – it makes me feel like all of that public and private drama, and all of the time and energy spent over the last several years, hasn’t been in vain – that it’s really amounted to something, of some real significance, that’s worthy of some positive recognition. I’ve spent so much time feeling exactly the opposite over the last two years that it’s nice to be persuaded otherwise.
My mother didn’t get to see the article – she died just a few days before the issue hit the newsstands – but I was able to tell her it was on the way. Unlike my father, she lived long enough to be able to see the tangible accomlishments – however humble they may have been, and however they may have been put down by naysayers – that started happening for me during those same last two years, which I’ll always be immensely grateful for.
Serious, serious thanks to Barry Cleveland and everyone at Guitar Player – I’m honored by the coverage.