Vintage Guitar - July 2016 - Open - 26
One day, Johnny asked me to sell his Fender
electric 12-string - the Woodstock guitar - and
gave me the '63 Firebird that I still own today.
Your next big gig was playing with blues
legend James Cotton. How did that gig come
about and what were you playing at the time?
That started during the recording of Muddy's
Hard Again in '76. Johnny produced it and James
was on harp. I went into the studio when they
were working and Johnny introduced me to
Muddy and James, who both treated me like a
longtime friend. A few years later, after the '77
Johnny Winter tour and album, I was asked to
sit in one night with Muddy and his band; he
let me play his sacred red Tele. A few months
later, James called me to join his band on tour to
replace Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who left to play
with the Blues Brothers. I played with James for
a few years before moving to Toronto.
And you've lived in Canada to this day,
where you've done numerous tours, sessions, TV shows, and got the attention of
Jeff Healey. What do you remember most
about Jeff, and what were you playing at
Johnny, James, et Al
f the name "Pat Rush" doesn't immediately
ring a bell, the names of people he's played
with - Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, James
Cotton, Allman Brothers, Dr. John, Jeff Healey
- certainly should. VG recently sat down with
Rush to discuss his long career and some of the
more incredible instruments in his collection.
playing there the night we found out that Duane
was gone. Very sad. Duane turned me on to
Coricidin bottles for slide; I still have one with
the label on it. I learned my first slide tuning in
open E and licks from him.
You gained national recognition with the
group Thunderhead, which was produced by
Johnny Winter. But you previously played in
a band that jammed with the early Allman
Johnny produced the first Thunderhead
album at Studio in the Country. Edgar came
down and recorded with us, as well. Thunderhead went out on tour opening for Johnny and
many others including ZZ Top around that
time. Johnny told me and Bobby that after
Thunderhead split, he wanted to start a band
with us, so we recorded the White, Hot & Blue
album and went on tour with him in the summer
of '77. I was living in Connecticut with Edgar
at that time and commuting to New York City.
That would be the What Brothers, in the late
'60s. We played a lot of shows around Atlanta
with the Allmans. There was always a lot of
jamming. There was a club called the Electric
Eye, and the Allmans used to jam there with
us and other bands. The What Brothers were
After Thunderhead, you and drummer
Bobby Torello went on to play with Johnny.
What were those days like?
You own more than 70 pieces of vintage
gear. What other notables are in your collection?
I was playing a half-dozen guitars, including
the '52 Les Paul, an old Strat with parts from '59
and '62, the '63 Firebird given to me by Johnny,
and a few others. Until now, my primary axe was
a '52 Les Paul sunburst conversion, which I got
in 1970. Many greats have played it including
Dickey Betts, Johnny Winter, Charlie Daniels,
Billy Gibbons, Jeff Healey, and others. Rich
Williams, from Kansas, borrowed it for their
Leftoverture album. When you hear those great
riffs in "Carry on My Wayward Son," you're
listening to her! Altogether, I have 60-some guitars - Fenders, Gibsons, Rickys, Vox, Washburn,
and many others. - Tom Guerra
Pat Rush: David Goldberg.
I moved to Canada in 1981, leaving the Cotton
band to live with my girlfriend. I quickly began
playing and recording with other artists, and
formed a band with another great guitarist,
Mike McDonald - we called it The McDonald
Rush Band. Through that partnership, I met
Jeff and in '94 and he asked me to join his band
for one album (Cover to Cover), and one year of
touring to back it up. That turned into 12 years.
Onstage, he introduced me as "the guy who stole
all his licks from a mentor."
With Jeff, I played the '52 Paul, a '94 Custom
Shop '59 Burst, '59 Strat, and a bunch of Teles, a
Rickenbacker Silver Hawaiian, and lots of other
Strats from our Fender endorsements. Since the
'70s, when I used Marshalls, I have collected a
dozen or so '60s Fender amps including Deluxes,
Twins, Showmans, Bassmans, and Vibroluxes.