Tuesday, April 1, 2008


"The Most Overqualified Second Guitarist In Showbuisness," as Bruce Springsteen referred to him at his own induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is Nils Lofgren. In the '70s, Nils led a band called Grin, and then had a pretty happening solo career. These days, he's most well known as one of the guitarist in The E Street Band (and he still records and tours oin his own as well - plus he hosts some cool guitar tutorials at his own web site). He actually got his first big break courtesy of Neil Young, though, and now he's recording an album of Neil covers. He mentions it at his web site, but I first heard of it from the great Neil Young fansite, Thrasher's Wheat.
I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Nils a few times - he couldn't have been nicer. He is probably one of the most committed musicians out there. On his own, he headlines small clubs, and you know he's doing it for the love; these days, the E Street tours probably more than pay the bills. Anyway, I interviewed him backstage at one of his shows: he was playing the Bottom Line and told me about coming to New York as a kid, meeting Neil Young at (I think) the original Fillmore East. Neil was in the early days of his solo career, he bought Nils a cheeseburger and talked with him, eventually hiring Grin to open for Crazy Horse. As a teenager, Nils made his recording debut, playing on Neil's classic After The Gold Rush album. Years later, he played on Neil's very out-there album Trans and the subsuquent tour. After that, he joined The E Street Band. About another decade later, he guested on Neil's MTV Unplugged. I know he'd love to work with Neil again. But of course, he's got a pretty cool day job as a guitar teacher. And as the most overqualified second guitarist in show business.

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