Am I the only one who sees a whiff of hopeful irony in a guitarist from Sonic Youth being gray?
That’s Lee Ranaldo on the right, with the teal guitar and gray hair.
Leon Anderson played a then-vintage Fender blond-neck Stratocaster in our bands back in Utah County, and it was a beautiful machine (and he an underappreciated guitarist). I never could afford a Fender-brand bass. I played two Vox devices, one of which I still own — but they played through an almost-original Fender Bassman amplifier, whose demise I still mourn.
Watching the Fender company bend, dodge and run with the trends over the years has been a lot of fun. One of my ex-brothers-in-law did the accounting and corporate legal work for Leo Fender way back when; as an indication of how stuffy the brother-in-law was, consider that he didn’t have any Fender guitars — or any guitars — when I knew him. How could one work with a master like Leo Fender and not get hooked on the guitars?
Ultimately the guitars are the legacy and history of the company. As with Stradivarius instruments, the music made on the guitars and the instruments themselves outshine the makers and any corporate entity required to get the instruments manufactured. Corporate owners of the Fender name and legacy don’t drive that car, but only hold on for the ride and try to keep the moving parts lubricated and clean.
Any Sonic Youth fans out there?