Ian (The Sookahara)

Ian was my first guitar influence. He’s a year older than me and had a big acoustic that he brought with him to school everyday in a heavy hardshell case despite it taking him more than 30 minutes to walk the distance. I believe he still has that guitar someplace.

He took lessons from a guy in Wimbledon and knew some folk music fingerpicking style, a handful of chords, how to strum them and perhaps string a few together. He’d also been shown the opening riff to Layla and knew a bit of Stairway to Heaven. It was from him that I first heard of Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin for which I am rather indebted. I was mesmerized when I saw him playing that old jumbo I and got him to show me Layla and some other stuff. I remember he also gave me a tab of Stairway from which I learned the rudiments of fingerpicking and how to strum some fairly advanced rhythms. It was a couple of months later that I convinced my parents to help me buy my first guitar.

A couple of years later he bought a light blue Fender Strat for 270 quid which I gravitated towards more when I went round his house with the other guys to get stoned. By this time he’d learned how to play quite a bit of lead and was into BB King, Clapton and a whole bunch of other Blues greats. He developed a stinging vibrato which I tried to emulate and I copped a whole bunch of little licks and fills from him. He took that guitar with him to University and I remember him telling me a story of how one night when he got totally hammered drunk of him leaning out of his dorm window with a little Squier amp at full volume bashing out some power chords while his neighbours shouted complaints for him to shut up. I remember him selling it for 90 pounds one day when he was short of cash – I couldn’t believe he’d let it go for so little! Why didn’t you let me know and sell it to me FFS!

We still keep in touch, though he isn’t so into the guitar these days I think.

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