Caught by the River


2nd June 2010

Fender; the golden age 1946 – 1970, is dedicated to the art and design of Fender guitars and amplifiers and the revolutions they inspired.

Two of the authors, Paul and Martin Kelly, are dear friends of ours, scrub that, Paul & Martin are family. I first met them both back in early 1987 (or was it late ’86?) when I watched their band, Episode Four, play a gig at the Black Horse pub in Camden Town. I put that gig on and booked them again for a fortnight later. After that one we all went back to my place and stayed up all night listening to records and trying to come up with a better name for the group. They became East Village and we became inseperable.

Sadly, the band found it tough and Martin began spending more and more time helping me out at my work. That led to us starting a record label, Heavenly, in 1990 and sharing a life of adventure in the twenty years hence. Paul continued as a musician for a while longer, playing in Saint Etienne and forming the group Birdie with his partner Debsy. But Paul always had the eye. I remember thinking how talented he was when he did the sleeves and art for the Village. He has been responsible for most of the Saint Etienne sleeves plus the Finisterre film (a collaboration with Kieran Evans) and most of the best designs for Heavenly. Paul also did the cover for our ‘Words on Water’ book. But this is the one, it really is stunning.

It would be easy to describe the book as an ‘art’ book as it definitely isn’t a manual, but that would take away from the incredible research that has gone into the text, which is way more interesting than any non-musician could imagine. Martin tells it as a story of invention and innovation, highlighting key moments in the rock ‘n’ roll timeline, like how music changed when Leo Fender brought out the Precision bass in 1957 and those instruments fell into the hands of Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Carol Kaye and James Jamerson. Or how Dylan chose the Stratocaster for his ‘Judas’ shift to electrified music. (JB)

Martin says of the book: “..The photography, layout and overall design represent our collective vision of a holistic celebration of the Fender aesthetic. This is the culmination of our passion and obsession with all things Fender that began with our abiding love of music. The beautiful sounds we heard growing up led us first to discover the instruments that made them and then, ultimately, to the source – the man who changed the way music was created and heard forever – Leo Fender”.

The book is published by Cassell Illustrated and in the shops on June the 7th.
We have two copies of the book, signed by Paul & Martin, to giveaway as competition prizes. See this Friday’s newsletter for details.
Now available to pre-order from Amazon.