August 13, 2009

In memory of Les Paul.

We are a pretty rock n' roll music lovin' bunch at Jack Straw.

When I came home from working at Jack Straw today, I had not heard the news that the legendary Les Paul had passed away. The tale below is a true account of my husband's recollection of an evening with Jimmy Page and Les Paul. I dug up the photo album from our very musty basement the moment he told me the story below.

"I took Jimmy Page to see Les Paul play in NYC in the early eighties. I had been traveling with him for a few weeks, working as a promoter's rep on a Firm tour. Page wanted to meet Les Paul and possibly jam with him. So I took Jimmy and his guitar (his Les Paul, of course) to the club where Les and his group played every week. We were unannounced guests. Of course heads were turning and Les Paul seemed to think it was pretty cool Jimmy was there. They had never met before.

After a while, Les invited Jimmy up to the tiny stage to jam, and the handful of people in the audience were treated to an incredible hour or so of Jimmy Page playing jazz with the Les Paul Trio. I shit you not, he had jazz chops that were close to as good as his rock n roll chops. Les Paul had incredible skill and a really unique, cool sound of his own. Both of them seemed to have a great time meeting each other and playing together and were all hugs and smiles at the end of the night.

After the jam, as Page was an extremely shy guy, he wanted me to get Les to sign his guitar. I pulled out the Sharpie which I always carried when in the company of guys like this. Page said, "no, use this," and handed me his pocketknife. I had Les Paul carve his signature into the finish on the back of Jimmy Page's guitar.

True story. I think I even have a picture taken that night stashed away somewhere, though I'd be hard pressed to come up with it. In those days I hung out with and met a lot of pretty big time rock types, but that night was up there in the top few coolest moments."