Jumbo Sunshade - Blogpost

Earl Klugh owns the domain getaklugh.com
A friend of mine had Janis Ian in the studio and i didn't find out about it until later in the week.  I said "Dude, next time you're gonna have a living legend in, will you please consider calling me?"  Well, he did!  I got the call that Earl Klugh was gonna be in and that it would be cool for me to come in and hang out [yes of course i would've been a an unobtrusive 'guest'].

So that morning comes, and what do i do?  I proceed to forget all about it!  I woke up thinking about all of the stuff that i already had going on that day (mostly kid things).  I am an idiot.
I mean, i know that i'm a scatter-brain, but i had spent a big part of the previous night searching the internet for Earl Klugh videos, so i just should not have spaced on this.  :(

There are some really good videos out there; old and new.  I love YouTube!  I did break one of my self-imposed rules though, and now i'm paying for it in negativity.
Maybe this blogpost will be enough to cleanse my aura.

I figured out a long time ago that if i want to continue to enjoy listening to the artists that i love, i need to avoid reading/watching interviews of them.  The danger is that i'll find out that somebody is an arrogant ass (or whatever), and then it'll ruin it for me.
This is what happened with the Black Crowes, who i thought were just the cat's pajamas when Shake Your Money Maker came out.  Then i read an interview with Rich Robinson and he was such a dick that it wasn't until Lions that i started to 'freely' enjoy hearing them again.

Well, i came across a 2006 Earl Klugh interview at ModernGuitars.com and i didn't think twice about reading it because i have been listening to Earl since Living Inside Your Love, his 2nd album (1976); and i always just thought that he was this totally cool guy.

Let me stop myself here and say that...
Earl Klugh IS a totally cool guy by all accounts that i know of.  I mean, i haven't read or heard anything negative about the guy.

But in this article Earl says two things that i just can't wrap my head around musician of his stature and accomplishment saying.  To be fair, here they are in their full context:

"I certainly saw the advantages of learning how to improvise, and to play through chord changes.  That's the most thorough way of learning how to play, and it's really what separates the men from the boys, as far as I'm concerned.  If you can't get up and do that, it's a handicap, no matter what style of music you want to do."

Brian Holland: Do you get into alternate tunings?
"No.  To me, those are crutches.  The amount of time you spend learning tunings you could be doing other thing [sic], which is what puts you in line with everybody else's instrument.  That's my thing.  When you go on a bandstand and you're playing with a pianist or an organist, a trumpet player or a harpist, the song is in the key that it's in.  A lot of times they'll modulate or change it, and that's always been a big thing for me as far as being a fully rounded and accomplished guitar player.  But that's my take on it.  There are a lot of tunings that are beautiful.  The guitar is such a beautiful instrument, and there are a lot of ways to approach it, but I very much limit that in my way of playing.  I just look at it as traditional tuning.  Once in a while I'll tune the E string down to D and that's about it."

I just sat there shaking my head and thinking that Earl Klugh needs to get out more.  Now, i realize that he is speaking within the context of his world, but he's also speaking with such broad generalization that i know i'm not misunderstanding him.

Does he really not understand that many styles of music are all about centering on a musical theme?  And his take on "traditional" versus open tunings... Would Earl Klugh say that Bela Fleck uses open tunings as a "crutch"?!
It's like he just flew in from another planet - i just don't get it. 

There has always been this thing with jazz players where they think for some reason that changing scales with every single chord change is the only way to go.  They don't understand the often subtle changes of guys like Robben Ford or Roy Buchanan.  Maybe that's where Earl is coming from in this interview?

I've known jazz musicians who could not grasp the concept of drone music.  I know that i didn't imagine John McLaughlin and Shakti in the mid 70's; this is not something new.  For God's sake, the Hellecasters were the masters of their genre but you have to understand that playing over changes is not at all what that music is about.

Mr. Klugh, i love much of your music and have enjoyed it over the years; thank you for that.  My kids listen to "the cucumbers CD" (Cool) sometimes before bed.  Listen man, i'm begging you: please further/broaden your musical education/horizon before your next interview.  Any of the following would be a good place to start:

* Robert Johnson
* David Torn
* Michael Hedges
* Stevie Ray Vaughan
* Shawn Lane (with Hellborg & Selvaganesh)
* Martin Simpson
* Bo Diddley
* Pierre Bensusan

I promise you - none of the above musicians are/were "boys" and none of them use/used open-tunings as a "crutch".  Whether or not any of them are "handicapped"... well i'll concede that that's certainly debatable!


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