When Lemmy Dreams, He Dreams of Shadows

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My dad doesn’t historically have the coolest taste in music, but a funny thing happened when he came to New York last year for a visit. I took him up to Sirius for a survey of the 36th floor view and more importantly a gorging on gear, glamor, and satellite tech photo ops. While we were talking to Jose Mangin, telegenic Hard Attack metal channel founder and prophet, a dapper clean-shaven Andrew WK walked in and started shaking hands. Before Mr. Hard Party Kit Kat could get a word in edgewise, though, an idea popped into my dad’s head and he sprung into a lecture to us young ‘uns about the Shadows and Hank Marvin, the original guitar hero. That’s Hank with the long face with 1960s instrumental outfit the Shadows up above.

I inherited a Shadows CD somewhere, but I really only knew them from interviewing Tony Iommi for Sirius. Turns out he’s an unsung hero of the Sabbath sound, I think his rapid-fire approach to the Strat is an overlooked indirect influence on metal guitar playing. Joe Satriani covered a Shadows song, so he knows. Tony Iommi knows. Look at the synchronized steps the Shadows use in the video — you can bet the Scorpions know. The suspenseful James Bond theme used from Moonraker through the N64 Goldeneye game is played by Hank Marvin, so 007 knows. Now you know, too. I’m impressed that the Shadows were a hit machine as an instrumental guitar group, that’s uncommon. I guess I like the gunslinger approach to the six-string, from Hank Marvin to Link Wray to Andy McCoy. Add your own distortion, and those triplets are Slayer.

Hip hop music cut its teeth on the drum break in “Apache.” So did Lemmy Kilmister, who began his life on stage doing Shadows covers. If you see him at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, and want to drag him away from the video poker, pull his ear about Hank Marvin.

6 COMMENTS

  1. … and the legendary Marvin still going strong after 50 years, blending his talent in the music of Jean-Michel Jarre!

  2. cool! i’ve been hammering this nail for a long while now (i’m sure it’s not that unique actually). Apache hooked me when I was first learning gtr. One minute it was Dethroned Emperor the next it The Ventures – Cruel Sea. I still play both styles today with diff gear for both. on the surface they’re night and day styles to most but at the core the attack is coming from the same place.

    “Dick Dale, Sure could wail” – Anvil, Still Goin Strong

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