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Kitty Dunn

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Remembering Les Paul

lespaul2Guitar innovator Les Paul dies of pneumonia at the age of 94. I was sad to learn today of the passing of Les Paul, but happy to know that I actually got to talk with the man, and shake his hand. The inventor of the solid body electric guitar, Les Paul was the most curious individual I've ever had the chance to meet, and I don't mean curious as in strange..he definitely had an enquiring mind that was always thinking of things in new ways..and wanting to know how things worked. I was lucky enough to meet Les Paul in 2004 when he was in Madison to get a lifetime achievement award from the Wisconsin School Music Association. It was quite a big shindig. Mike and I sat at a table right near the front, with other dignitaries including the Superintendent of Public Instruction right next to us. Both Ben Sidran and Steve Miller spoke at the dinner. Miller’s speech was great..he’s known Les Paul his whole life because he spent his early years in Milwaukee, and Les Paul and Mary Ford stood up for his parents when they got married! Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to say that Les Paul taught you your first chords on the guitar? Well Steve Miller says that and means it!  Others who were in the crowd included Ben Sidran and members of Garbage. My boyfriend Mike (who’s a guitar player)  had Les autograph an old Les Paul Mary Ford album, as well as a copy of Guitar Player Magazine from the 1970’s with Les’s picture on the front. He wrote “Keep on pickin’!” One of the highlights of that evening had to be when Les Paul got up on stage and played a song with Steve Miller, and members of Madison’s very own Gomers.  Les Paul’s son was his handler  for the night..he was probably in his 70s and walked with a cane. Les Paul walked unassisted and got right up on stage, probably the same way he’d been doing it since he was called “Rhubarb Red" back in Waukesha. Click here to read more about the passing of the Wizard of Waukesha.

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08/13/2009 9:23AM
Remembering Les Paul
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