One song comes to mind that takes me back to a time when I was fortunate enough to play guitar in a very cool, very authentic ’60’s cover band called Route 66 – (This band was hatched from The Tangents and Eddie & The Trays. Great memories.) The song I’m referring to that was really fun to play now feels like it has really become the anthem of my life. It was by Booker T. and The MG’s and is called “Time Is Tight”. Boy is it and that’s all I’ve got…
I was hoping to do so much with the site this year and I can’t believe that’s it’s already summertime. I’m hoping “the living is easy” for you but I’m beginning to have my doubts even about that for myself as work has been plentiful and when one freelances, one must go for it while the gettin’ is good.
In the mean time I’m going to move a GREAT guitarist story to the top again that was run mid February as we now have some cool add ons that are put after the story (so as to not interfere directly with the pictures and flow of the story as it was originally presented by Jas Obrecht.)
The story, “Tommy Tedesco and Friends On The Age of Studio Guitar by Jas Obrecht” caught the eye of one of Tommy Tedesco’s sons, Wrecking Crew Filmmaker, Denny Tedesco. After Denny saw the article, he shot me an email saying that he remembered the party and that he could get me some pictures to add to the story if I could use them. I thought to myself that this was way cool. (Thanks so much Denny and my sincerest apologies for it taking so long to get the photos up.)
I’m going to call this my disclaimer just in case there were any mistakes made in identifying some of the greats in the pictures. Even though I had help in trying to figure out just who everyone was in the photos, it wasn’t an easy task by any means. So here goes: My apologies to any persons, living or no longer with us, who might have a wrong name attached to the photo that was thought to be you. It was purely accidental if it happened and if there were any mistakes, please contact me through the site and we’ll get things all sorted out.
Special thanks to Denny Tedesco and his mother Carmie Tedesco for use of the photographs, and the help of Denny, Mitch Holder, and Bobby Fury (aka Bob Mytkowicz) for their help in confirming the identities of those in the photos. The b&w digital images used were taken from scans of 34 year old color snapshots which had faded and lost out to time, standard color processing, etc., etc., etc.,. As mentioned in the story, “The occasion was a sendoff for longtime session guitarists Al Hendrickson and Michael Anthony.” Enjoy! Jack
One really way cool thing about having this “fun little guitar site” has to do with the people that I have had the privilege to have contact with. Jas Obrecht is one of these people.
Jas was an editor at Guitar Player Magazine for some twenty years and has interviewed so many great guitarists it would make your head spin. Not only is he a noteworthy author and a fine guitarist in his own right, but he is also a founding editor of Pure Guitar Magazine. Jas has an immense amount of music knowledge.
Be sure to check out his way cool blog at Jas Obrecht.com. It’s truly a GREAT site! Please enjoy this really cool article that Jas has so graciously shared with all of us through Jackaboutguitars. - Jack
TOMMY TEDESCO AND FRIENDS ON THE GOLDEN AGE OF STUDIO GUITAR BY JAS OBRECHT
Tommy Tedesco, the most recorded guitarist in history, was also one of the most beloved characters to ever work the Los Angeles music scene. And work it he did: After arriving from Niagara Falls in 1953, Tommy spent four decades playing sessions for countless films, TV shows, record albums, commercial jingles – you name it. A ferociously good sight-reader, this wonderful, big-hearted Italian maestro of the strings became the town’s “first call” guitarist, meaning he was the first person to call for sessions.
Beyond being a brilliant player, Tommy was renowned for his mischievous sense of humor and willingness to help talented newcomers navigate the studio system. He was a much-loved character, and everyone who as part of that scene has choice Tedesco stories to share. I too have many fond memories him, and one stands above the rest. First, some background.
Before arriving at Guitar Player magazine in May ’78, I’d never heard of Tommy Tedesco. That all changed my first day on the job, when I was handed my regular monthly assignments. Among them were editing columns by Jeff Baxter, Barney Kessel, and Tommy Tedesco. Baxter, I learned, liked to dictate his over the phone. Kessel carefully hand-wrote his on a yellow legal pad. Tommy’s “Studio Log” column showed up in the mail, neatly typed and with an attached page of music from a recent session. These columns provided unsurpassed insight into studio life at the time, as Tommy detailed who each session was for, what gear he played, how he modified the music, and what he was paid. He’d always call to ask if the column was okay. I found him to be a wonderful guy through and through, and I ended up editing his column for fourteen years. I always enjoyed being around him at seminars, trade shows, studio dates, and when he’d visit our office.
My fondest memory of the man dates to May 18, 1980. That night Tommy and his wife Carmie threw a party at their spacious home in Northridge, California. The occasion was a sendoff for longtime session guitarists Al Hendrickson and Michael Anthony. By early evening, cars of all shapes and sizes had pulled up in front of the house. The signatures in the guest book included Bob Bain, Dennis Budimir, Larry Carlton, Steve Carnelli, David Cohen, Joe DiBlasi, Herb Ellis, Ron Eschete, Robben Ford, Grant Geissman, Jay Graydon, Al Hendrickson, Mitch Holder, Carol Kaye, Pat Martino, Tim May, Greg Poree, Lee Ritenour, Alan Reuss, Tony Rizzi, Thom Rotella, George M. Smith, and Barry Zweiss. In retrospect, this party proved to be a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of Los Angeles’ top studio guitarists.
As I reported in the April 1981 issue of Guitar Player, “The tenor of the evening was laid-back and polite, with no sign of inflated egos. Over clinking glasses and infectious laughter, most conversations centered on families, girlfriends, memories of old pals and times gone, humorous events in the studio, scams at the golf course, and friendly wagers. Although several instruments were inconspicuously stacked in a corner of the living room, none of these sharpshooters opened a case all night.” Several times that evening, I heard the quip, “If someone dropped a bomb on this party, L.A. would be a wide-open town for guitarists!”