Distortion King Link Wray


I feel like I've been in a movie scene all week long where I'm hanging by a tree root over the edge of a rocky cliff that plummets into the Ocean. So, my go to stress buster was of course, Rock n Roll. Something about a fat stringed distorted guitar helps soothe me. So, checking my Today In Rock History this week, I saw the blurb about Link Wray's death in 2005. It essentially gave this 50's artist total credit for the 'fuzz tone' guitar sound. Link, either peevishly or accidentally kicked a hole in his guitar amp speaker and like a miracle it SOUNDED BETTER. Fuzzy, dirty, really dangerous! I was geeked to know that somebody experienced a eureka! moment at the birth of the distortion of the guitar. The guitar is inarguably an amazing instrument that I owe my life and livelihood to, but when it falls into the hands of certain people, it's revolutionary. Link Wray was the son of Cherokee and Shawnee parents in North Carolina. He shipped off to the Army to discover the world and instead ended up with TB which damaged his lungs leaving him with just one, robbing him of his post service singing career. But he was a guitar virtuoso and in the 50's put out a song titled Rumble. Which apparently was so good that it was banned from radio in NY and Boston for fear it would incite teenage violence, even though it was an INSTRUMENTAL!? Link Wray went on to inspire all the distorted guitar guys who gave us modern rock n' roll including Detroit's Iggy Pop, Bro Neil Young the Godfather of Grunge and Jimmy Page.