Once upon a time, in a dank dark damp dingy dungeon in Chelsea in 1974 and rehearsing material for Kimono My House, it all began so promisingly. I wiggled the Rickenbacker 4001 with abandon and created significant amounts of clankery.
I played the Rick all through Jet, including at the spectacular CBS convention at the Commonwealth Institute in London when our drummer Jim Toomey went into a spontaneous drum solo during the intro to the very first song:
And I played it at the Marquee in London during Jet’s only gig with Ian Macleod. The music stand in front of him shows that it was still early days for the second version of the glam-bandwagon-climbing Jet. The F chords were now rendered cleanly, however.
The Rickenbacker made it into Radio Stars but, following one of those innumerable Radio Stars/Hotrods tours, I sold it to their bassist Paul Gray, whereupon (so Paul informed me recently) it fell to bits. It turned into a banana, he says, and lumps fell off it. C’est la vie, matey.
This Rick is defunct. But that still doesn’t stop Island Records from flogging CDs (remember them?) featuring it, does it? (Clue – no, it doesn’t). ‘Barbecutie’ turns up on the rather oddly-titled ‘Island Records Post-Punk Box Set – Out Come the Freaks‘. And then they declare the album to be ‘Explicit’, whatever that means. Explicitly for Mole-lovers? Who knows, or indeed cares? Not I. But I digress…
For the remainder of Radio Stars’ brief life, I played a Rick 3001.
I borrowed a 4001 from Antje Stax when John’s Children made their US debut in San Diego in 1999. We were just about to go into ‘Dirty Pictures’ when guitarist Boz Boorer deliberately began playing an entirely different tune. We had ‘authenticity’ issues until late in the night that evening, I can tell you this much.
And when I made my own personal US debut in Boston in 2007, I borrowed one from Tristan da Cunha’s bassist Brian Church. It was even a blond one, for old times sake. But it had a sticker.
Then along came the Scandinavian Mammal-debut, in Stockholm in 2011. Here, courtesy of local boy Anders Lundquist, I used his fine-looking black one.
And there we are. Full circle.