Today's Elevenses Throws Eleven Quick Questions At 'Guitar Legend' John McLaughlin!

Mahavishnu John McLaughlin is a jazz fusion guitarist who came to prominence with Miles Davis' electric jazz-fusion groups from the late 1960s. He is regarded by many as one of the most influential and technically gifted guitarists of all time, having mastered a remarkable range of styles and genres, including jazz, Indian classical music, Flamenco and fusion.


So what’s your drink of choice at 11am in the morning?

Since I get up around 6h30, by 11am I might go for a cappuccino!

Which song/album really made you want to play guitar?

I got crazy for the guitar before hearing one played. But shortly afterwards I heard Muddy Waters play and that sealed my fate.

Who’s the world’s greatest guitarist?

I don't have one particular favorite guitarist. I listen to a number of them. They are Debashish Battacharya who plays on my new recording. John Scofield, Alan Holdsworth, Steve Morse, Steve Vai, Paco de Lucia and Frank Gambale.

Who’s the world’s most underrated band?

Derek Trucks Band.

So what are you up to at the moment?

I have recently finished mastering a new CD 'Floating Point', and a DVD video recording of the live sessions in India of the making of the CD. In one month I will go on tour with the '4th Dimension' which is a new band that toured the US last year and will tour Europe this year. A few months ago I released another educational DVD 'The Gateway to Rhythm' which shows how to master rhythm without playing drums or percussion.

What was the last gig you went to (as a member of the audience)?
Who would be in your dream line-up?

Last week I went to see Larry Carlton in Monte Carlo. Nice concert!

Throughout my career I have always played with my dream line-up. From 1969 I was playing with Tony Williams and Larry Young. The Miles Davis band, and since 1971 I've been running my own bands with the worlds greatest musicians - east and west.

How many guitars do your own and which one is ‘your precious’?

8 or 9 instruments, and I love them all. I don't have a 'precious'. (my name is not Smeagol...). I have three old Gibsons: a J 200, a Les Paul Custom, and a Johnny Smith.

Two Abraham Wechter nylon string acoustics, a custom Mike Sabre electric and a number of Godin guitars. They recently sent me a beautiful new instrument!

What’s the last great album that you bought (or were given)?

John Coltrane 'Live at the Half-Note', recorded in 1965.

Do you suffer from stage fright?


So what’s your drink of choice at 11pm in the evening?

Schnapps or 'Eau de Vie' (small glass).

Interview - April 2008.