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Don’t Sweat It (Too Much)

Reading this month’s cover feature with John Squire, I was struck by a comment his album co-star Liam Gallagher made in our sidebar interview with him: “When people go on, like [tortured artist voice], ‘I went to the depths of the universe to bring you this music’. F**k off, man. We’re not curing f **king cancer. We’re making music. It’s either good or it’s bad.” It may be bluntly expressed, but it chimes with what Stones legend Keith Richards has to say on page 61: “If I sit down with a guitar or a piano and just start playing, eventually a song comes…” Because the curious thing about music is that sometimes a song that took five minutes to write ends up lodged in people’s hearts for decades. Dolly Parton wrote Jolene and I Will Always Love You on the same day. Pretty tidy work, all considered. Richard Hawley once told this magazine that he found his feet as a songwriter by learning to say ‘yes’ to his creative impulses, rather than self-criticising so continually that nothing made it onto the page. And, again that chimes with what Keith Richards goes on to say in this issue’s interview: “I feel that I’m just receiving inspiration from everything that has gone on before me, and then I put it through my own point of view and then sort of pass it on. I almost don’t feel any sense of ownership.”

Lots of creative people, from novelists to painters, report a similar sense of merely being a conduit for something larger than themselves when they are in the flow of their work. But it is music, the most mercurial of the arts, where this principle feels most immediate and alive. What does it mean for the rest of us? Well, we can take Richard Hawley’s lesson to heart and decide not to get choked by ‘paralysis of analysis’. Is the song we’re writing today the best we can ever do? Maybe not, but it’s something and it has some value. Get it finished and get it out there, and if there are aspects of it you don’t like, learn the lesson and incorporate it into your next song. The important thing is to keep the taps open, keep creating. Okay, music does have its reclusive perfectionists who make one extraordinary album then fall silent for years. But, I personally think, better to keep exercising the creative muscles and let the chips fall where they may.

Enjoy the issue and see you next time.

Jamie Dickson Editor-in-chief

Editor’s Highlights

Blue Melody We take a look at a seminal 1960 Telecaster clad in Lake Placid Blue, whose finish predates the official debut of that colour by two years p124

Vintage Tones Is it possible to get the custom shop vibe in a guitar under £1,500? Vintage’s ProShop makes a good case on p84


Mighty Minis They may be small, but boy do they pack in a lot of tone. Huw Price explores the interesting history of the mini-humbucker on p118



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