Was Les Paul the same in private as he was in public?Read the full interview here.
To me he seemed the same, yes. I happened to have an extremely close relationship with Les. We talked all the time, from the time I met him in 1988. A dear friend of mine brought Les over to my house, as a surprise, for a birthday party I was having. Les brought this beautiful white Les Paul guitar for me as a gift, that evening. We became fast friends that day, and that friendship never stopped.
Did you play together often, privately and in public?
I jammed with him everywhere from Fat Tuesday’s to The Iridium, in New York, many times. And of course I spent lots of time at his house. Russ, his son, said Les looked at me more as a family member than as a peer. Oftentimes, whenever we spoke on the phone, the last thing we would talk about was music. We would talk for hours. It was an amazing relationship. He asked me to induct him into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and we played together that night. We remained very close right up to his death.
What sort of advice did he give you, about music or other matters?
His life was a model. It was almost a fatherly role. We did talk a lot about business. A lot of the advice he gave me was business advice, and a lot was about staying young, staying creative. That was the essence of his life. He stressed the importance of always keeping busy, of having things to do, and keeping your mind flexible and nimble. Of course he also stressed the importance of continuing to play. The guy played those Monday night shows until he was 93.
And for those of you who are into golf, Tico Torres also shared a few words recently about playing in the Dunhill Links Championship. You can listen to the interview podcast here.