"I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn't have any drums."
- Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990) Not enough great things can be said about Stevie’s incredible talent. It is not often that a musician can develop is own style and sound like no other that came before. His blues licks were fresh, his guitar sound was huge, he could play fast & clean, and if that wasn’t enough, he was a tremendous vocalist. In other words, Stevie Ray Vaughan was the whole package.
He played in local Texas bands starting in his teen years, but when Chris Layton on drums and Tommy Shannon on bass joined Stevie to form ‘Double Trouble’ in 1981 things really took off. They soon recorded two extremely well received albums in ’83 and ’84. With the addition of Reese Wynans on Hammond B-3 the consummate band sound was achieved.
A life on the road is tough on musicians, and like many others Stevie got hooked on drugs and alcohol. It didn’t seem to affect his playing though because the live shows and recordings kept coming. By the beginning of 1987 Stevie was clean and ready again for the road. He and his band were at the top of their game and headlining their own tour during the summer of 1990 when Stevie closed out a show with an all-star blues guitar jam that included his brother Jimmie, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray. After the show Stevie boarded a helicopter which crashed only a few minutes into the flight killing all on board. Stevie was only 35.
- Texas Flood live from Montreux, 1982 (There is great YouTube video of this performance.)
- Crossfire from In Step, 1989
My 1963 Fender Stratocaster – The reason SRV, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and countless others played Strats is because they are simply great guitars! Leo Fender and the rest of his team really hit one out of the park when they came up with the Stratocaster design in 1954. In fact, it was such a perfect design that Fender still produces the exact same guitar today. There was a time during the ’70’s when the guitar’s design was compromised, but it didn’t take long for Fender to get back on track. My personal Strat is all-original, well-worn, and sounds great. The reason you see so many beat up Strats is because you just can’t kill ’em.