Cipollina Mojo article
MOJO MAGAZINE PROUDLY PRESENTS:
THE 100 GREATEST GUITARISTS OF ALL TIME.
#94 - JOHN CIPOLLINA
“John’s playing hasn’t progressed past the second album.
I saw him six months ago and he sounded just like he did then.”
-- Gary Duncan
Thus spake his former guitar partner in 1986 , three years before the lanky , legendary John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service died of a long-term lung ailment at the age of 45.
Gary Duncan is a superb , still-underrated guitarist destined to stand forever in the shadow of the entirely unique Cipollina .
Though Duncan’s smooth , melodic work was itself remarkable, it would be Cipollina’s snarling wah-wah and heavy use of the vibrato bar that defined the sound of QMS.
Combined , the pair created a sophisticated sound that made the groups first ( and best ) two albums the finest examples of pure playing to emerge from the San Francisco scene .
Their master work , Happy Trails (1969) , practically defined acid rock , taking two simple BO DIDDLEY songs - Who Do You Love? and Mona - and stretching them into every possible musical permutation , dominated by Cipollina’s ungodly , atavistic sting.
Upon leaving in 1970 to form Copperhead , and then moving on to countless other short-lived bands , Cipollina continued playing music at the expense of a major label “career”.
His 1975 live encounter with Man , Maximum Darkness , features covers of Quicksilver classics Codeine and Babe I’m Gonna Leave You , and was rumored to have been doctored due to Cipollina’s fabled “tuning problems”. Which , of course , is the natural result of playing one’s guitar and yanking the hell out of it at the same time.
(Dave Di Martino)
Guitar: Gibson SG
Highlight : THE FOOL . solo prior to first vocal , 5:15
from QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE , Capitol , 1968
Mojo, The Music Magazine - June 1996
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