One of the great qualities of music is that it is with us through all life’s significant moments – the happy and, inevitably, the tragic, too. As we went to press with this issue, we learned the sad news that Canvey Island’s most famous son Wilko Johnson had passed away. An inspiration to so many guitarists, he’d already endured and survived pancreatic cancer in 2013 against the odds –in fact, he had nearly a decade more of life to live, which he lived to the full. Look out for our full tribute to Wilko next issue.
We’re sadder still to report a loss even closer to home. Longtime Guitarist writer and reviewer Ed Mitchell died in October, at the age of 52. He had been suffering from cancer. Ed grew up in Gourock in West Scotland and got his first job, after leaving school at the age of 16, at McCormack’s – one of Glasgow’s best-known guitar shops. His love affair with the instrument lasted all his life. As a writer, he seemed incapable of writing a single cliché – all his phrases were like newly minted coins, which he gleefully jammed into the pages of each review as if it were a slot machine. It was the reader who won when, as usual, his deep knowledge and insight on guitars paid out.
Aside from his work with Guitarist, Ed had also been an outstanding editor of The Blues Magazine and was a highly regarded contributor to Classic Rock, Total Guitar and Guitar World to name but four of the titles that were the richer for his tack-sharp writing. Characteristically, he faced serious illness with rare courage and humour. On being told he had only months to live, he told his consultant that he’d never hit a deadline yet and didn’t intend to start now. He is survived by his beloved wife, Julie, and his faithful Chihuahua, Elvis. This issue of Guitarist is respectfully, and with love, dedicated to his memory.
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