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R.I.P. Allan Holdsworth


erniedenov
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A musical giant passed away today at the age of 70. He was one of my biggest heroes and I'm profoundly sad. Normally I don't believe in anybody being the "best" at anything, but I might have to make an exception in Allan's case. He wasn't the only guy around with seemingly limitless chops, but I think he was the most original and innovative electric guitar player since Jimi Hendrix. He had his own musical vocabulary and sounded like he never listened to another guitar player in his life (though I know he had). His harmonic concept was extremely deep, but beyond all of his technique and knowledge was a very soulful, emotional player, though some might not recognize that because of the complexity with which he expressed himself. His music was pure art; there was nothing remotely commercial about it... and for that reason he was never the kind of household name that so many other guitar players are. And he was always struggling financially for that reason too. Those of you that have ever read an interview with him also know how painfully humble he was; he was never satisfied with his work. I've seen him apologize to audiences several times, though all they heard was sheer brilliance. He was even clearly uncomfortable with accepting compliments, despite his graciousness.

 

He left us a great legacy of recorded music. I know I'll be savoring it for a long time, but I'm bummed that I'll never hear him live again. R.I.P. Allan. 

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Ye gods,

 

Just spotted this on teamrock.com.

 

I used to drink with Allan and the various members of Zany Woodruff, Museum and others every Friday night in the late 1960s.

 

Cleckheaton was a wild place back then.

 

Will be much missed.

 

http://www.zanywoodruff.com/related-bands/the-museum-1967/

 

The real Allan Holdsworth website has crashed!

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Nuts and bolts of life, rubber meets road, even for such an amazing guy, in such a time. I'm sure he wasn't super well off.

My understanding is the Holdsworth family is very financially strapped, and I felt honored to contribute to the GofundMe.

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My understanding is the Holdsworth family is very financially strapped, and I felt honored to contribute to the GofundMe.

My comment about the appeal, above, was posted as stunned and shocked surprise that a guy of Allan's magnitude in the guitar fraternity, could have left his family in such a position as this. I hope no one took it out of context. As previously noted, it is a thing that I never expected to see and the link is there for anyone who wishes to contribute, so thank you for that Brad, it will surely help. Not everyone is rich and famous.

I knew the guy and his fellow band mates when in our late teens and he was a great player even then. When Allan went for the audition with Tempest, another good friend was also up for the gig but when he got to the stage door and heard what was being played he thought - "damn, that's Holdsworth! Best go to the pub". About an hour later Allan appeared in the same bar and saw Pete with his guitar case. Allan insisted that Pete had the best chance and should go for the audition. Needless to say the pair remained to have more beer and the outcome was Mr Holdsworth was offered the job - the rest is history! Happy days.

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I had the pleasure of seeing Allan perform twice here in the Bay Area. Once in the late 80s at the Great American Music Hall in SF. Allan was tearing it up as usual, and had brought along the Yamaha G10 guitar synth as a replacement for his SynthAxe. The G10 seemed to mostly keep up with Allan, but did take an extend dump in the middle of a tune... leaving Allan to just throw his hands up and smile at the absurdity of the moment.

 

More recently, I took my dad to see him at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz with the EPIC Jimmy Haslip and Virgil Donati. My dad had heard Allan's music coming out of my bedroom as a teenager and decided that he should finally go see what this was all about (especially now that I'm as old as Dad was when I was banging out Metal Fatigue.) Needless to say... I think Allan melted my Dad's brain that night.

 

I got to meet Allan (albeit briefly) at the NAMM show sometime back in the mid 2000s. As always, any complement about his music and unbelievable talent seemed to cause him great embarrassment. I still have his autographed picture he signed for me.

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