Trade show people wanting to showcase their guitar goods have the NAMM conference for gear and mingling each winter... the rest of us, like yours truly, eagerly await Guitar Player magazine in our mailboxes each month. A late bloomer on the 6 string, I began reading it a couple of years before I began to play in the late 1970s. And its still my periodical of choice. Unlike many institutions that seem to worsen with age, Guitar Player keeps getting better. Now in its 45th year, you can thank the oversight of Michael Molenda--the publication’s editor-in-chief--for raising the barre [pun intended] in the print edtition and overseeing the massive social media of the global guitar community. Even this sometimes perceived tongue-in-cheek Luddite enjoys the online stuff.
If you have a stereotypical view of what an ed-in-chief does, check your presumptions at the door. Mike Molenda is a hands on guy on and off the job. He plays in a number of bands, works a music producer and does gear reviews as well as interviews of guitardom’s most intersesting personalities--whether famous to the world or not. His first appearance as a guest on the Croude was two Aprils’ ago--that reaction was received so well even by non-players, it was high time to invite him back. Despite his massive schedule he was quite generous with his time recently as I spoke to him by phone at the GP offices in CA.
This is a unique opportunity for you to get an inside peek... I’m a player but also a fan of the magazine as I’ve already stated. So, a number of my questions are decidely everyman in nature. How has the magazine changed since its inception in 1967? What happens to the gear after its reviewed? How is the awarding of the coveted Editor’s Pick (given to exemplary equipment) decided upon? How do you decide on a gear vs. personality driven issue?
Beyond that you’ll learn just who Mike Molenda the guitar player is. We’ve been treated to nearly a decade and a half of his creative reign letting us know what other six[and more]stringers are like...on this week’s show, what kind of music he plays, gear he uses and more. I told Mike I wanted to let listeners have a rounded view of why he is so successful with GP. As articulate in interiview as he is in print, you won’t be disappointed.
And of course... the music. If you are new to the program, this entire month spotlights guitar in a plethora of styles. The Electric Croude is locally produced. No focus group, no advertiser commandeering what you hear. As a player and fan of the instrument I have a simple philosophy. If I like something (that you won’t hear elsewhere on the airwaves) and find it interesting, hopefully you will too. Its the mixed bag that yields the most fun... Charlotte Caffey, Gary Green, Tony Mottola, Colin Green to name a few.
I’m proud to have Mike lead of this month of special programming. Next week, some of Richmond’s finest musicians coming together with special music for Resurrection Sunday--one take performances from jazzers and folkies sharing and melding skills in the same ensemble. Later this month, proud to feature Electro Harmonix president and mega personality Mike Matthews, walking encyclopedia on all things guitar Dave Hunter... and more.
The Electric Croude... now 27 years young... airs every late Saturday at midnight EDT on WCVE Public Radio with simulstreaming at ideastations.org/radio.
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And there’s always the voice choice for contact at (804) 560.8177.