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Ex King Crimson man Belew pays tribute to Lonnie Mack

Former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew pays tribute to late blues-rock pioneer who died last week aged 74

Former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew has paid tribute to the late Lonnie Mack.

The blues-rock pioneer died last week age 74 – and Belew says hearing Mack’s guitar sound in his formative days had a profound impact on him.

Belew says: “On April 21 the entire world mourned the sad loss of Prince. Few people realise on the very same day we lost another legendary guitarist. His name was Lonnie Mack and he was a friend of mine.

“Lonnie was 74 and had spent a hard life in music – a good-hearted country boy who would rather go fishing than be a star. But he was known and revered by musicians like Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan for his searing guitar sound, a Gibson Flying V through a cranked Magnatone amp.

“I remember being 17 years old listening to Lonnie outside a bar in Covington, Kentucky. I was too young to get in. At that time I had just started playing guitar and the intensity of Lonnie's guitar sound caught me by surprise.”

Belew finally got the chance to meet Mack in 1985 when he was in New York recording Graceland with Paul Simon.

He continues: “Paul and I went to the Lone Star Cafe to see Lonnie play. Paul introduced me to Bob Dylan hiding in the balcony stairwell – and also in the balcony that evening were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

“After the show, Paul and I went backstage – there sat Lonnie with Keith and Mick. In his southern drawl he was extolling the virtues of fishing in Indiana where he lived. He turned and saw me, interrupted his own story, and said, ‘Hey Adrin. Still playin' with that King Crizmun?’

“Rest in peace my friend.”

Last year, Belew released musical app Flux on iOS devices. It provides an ever-changing mix of music and visuals and has gone on to win several awards.

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