For nearly a decade, Dear Guitar Hero — where everyday fans get a chance to ask their hero a question — has remained one of Guitar World magazine’s most popular departments. Now the best of these interviews with rock’s most inspiring six-string icons are presented here in one volume.
I don’t want to sound arrogant or bigheaded or anything, but I didn’t need any advice. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t a kid when I started. I had a focus on what I wanted to do. And when I first started playing guitar, I got an immediate reaction just from people and audiences. As soon as [blues-harp player] Sonny Terry and [blues guitarist] “Brownie” McGhee heard me, they took a shine to me immediately. There was no turning back once I started on guitar.
I first began having success picking on a guitar that wasn’t plugged in. I was picking really hard so I could hear it acoustically, and when I plugged into an amp, I was surprised that it didn’t sound very good. I discovered that the way I attack the string really affects the tone. Modifying your picking attack—for clean tone, distortion and playing on an acoustic—makes a huge difference in the sound.
And it made me think immediately of my Les Paul Junior from the  Revenge/Alive III tour. It was one of the most beat-up Les Paul Juniors ever. I got it at Guitars R Us on Sunset Boulevard, and we recorded with it a lot. Gene [Simmons] loved it. Kiss even rented it for [1998’s] Psycho Circus, because they wanted that sound. It had a humbucker in it—a Seymour Duncan JB—but there was just something about the mahogany body.
David knew Graham, and he came to our Crosby & Nash show in London a couple of times and liked our harmonies and our way of going at it, and he asked us to sing on [his 2006 solo album] On An Island. In the process, we got to be pretty close friends. He asked us to sing at his concert in London.