“Play it Loud is a dynamic history of the electric guitar, but more importantly, it’s about the artists who painted universal tones, colors, textures and movements on the world canvas… Brad and Alan get inside the note of the political and cultural significance of the guitar… To be able to touch someone and change their molecular structure with just one note is very powerful. One note can bring someone back from the edge, make lovers come together, create life, end wars and make you shed tears of joy and sorrow at the same time. It is called the universal tone and for me it comes from six things, every time I plug in my guitar: stay genuine, honest, sincere, true, authentic and for real on every song. Play It Loud is all of these things, on every page.”
–Carlos Santana, Grammy Award-winning artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee,
from the foreword
Featuring Interviews With…
Paul Reed Smith
Billie Joe Armstrong
…and dozens more
In roughly the span of one human lifetime, the electric guitar made an epic transition from novelty item to the most important musical instrument of the twentieth century and beyond. Featuring interviews with Les Paul, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, and B.B. King, plus dozens of behind-the-scenes creators and players, Tolinski and di Perna use twelve landmark guitars-beginning with the Rickenbacker, up until the Airline guitar-to bring this untold history to life. We delve into the life of Leo Fender, a man who couldn’t play a note but who transformed the guitar into the explosive sound machine it is today, and how the famous Les Paul guitar came to be: a reaction from Gibson to rival Fender’s Telecaster. In my favorite chapter, we meet Paul Reed Smith (of PRS Guitars), a teenager who singlehandedly, and with a unique business model, convinces Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, and his idol Santana to commission one of his handmade guitars
The authors take us from the Roaring Twenties-when the electric guitar was born out of the need to “make this thing louder“-through the ever-changing rock movements of blues, swing, surf, folk, heavy metal, retro-garage and post-punk over the next ten decades. We meet a young Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, and Bob Dylan; we see the very purposeful guitar choices of the Beatles and the Stones. We learn how the electric guitar’s earliest pioneers, among them Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman, evolved into today’s modern rockers, like Jack White and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), who both, while continuing to innovate, actually bring many forms of the earliest electric guitar back onto the stage.
PLAY IT LOUD is a fascinating-and very fun-history of the electric guitar that will forever change the way we think about and listen to music.