Thursday, August 13, 2009


Last year in January I went to New York with my dear friend Richard. As I was walking around Times Square I saw an ad in the window of a small Jazz Club that announced that Les Paul would be performing that night. Being excited to have a chance to see that legendary inventor and performer, I bought a ticket for myself. As I was telling Angela about it on the phone she thought it might be cool to get a Les Paul guitar and get it signed by him after the concert. I pointed out that they are quite expensive and she decided to buy me one for my upcoming 40th birthday. So, Richard and I went to the Guitar Center in Manhattan that afternoon and picked and purchased a beautiful Les Paul Classic Gold-top on the spur of the moment. Sure enough, the then 92 year old Les was kind enough to take the time after the concert (which by then was around 1:00 in the morning) to sign my guitar. His son also insisted that I get a picture taken with him. I was so excited walking back to my hotel room that I was shaking: A brand new Gibson Les Paul from my wife, signed by Les Paul. Awesome!
Once I got home to Winnipeg I decided that it was time for me to properly learn guitar now that I owned such a quality instrument. I have been a self-taught player since my teenage years but just enough to get by. So, I bought some books and went at it. I probably spend about an hour every day practicing, and loved every minute of it. I kind of re-discovered my love for music outside of my job. This was just for my private enjoyment. But I was also hocked on the gear. Being a spender and a collector, I since acquired a few more guitars and equipment to feed my new found passion. Since I was diagnosed with cancer this hobby took on a whole new dimension. Being alone in my room with my guitars provided me with a certain kind of meditation while I was practicing. Learning scales and licks again and again does that to you. I also started to write new tunes that helped me to express myself. Once this is all over I think guitars will be a big part of my positive memories that helped me to get through this time.
And it all started on January 15th, 2008 with a gift and a signature.

Today Les Paul passed away peacefully at the age of 94.
In case you read this: Thank you Les!


Wendy Broadfoot said...

What a wonderful story--who would have thought that, that memorable day back in January would play such an important part in your life today. What a wonderful gift from your wonderful wife!

Nolan said...

The man left quite a legacy and the world is a better place because of him. Thank you Les.

gina said...

Thanks for introducing me to this legendary man. I've read several articles and, when I heard him on the radio this morning, I immediately thought of you.