Vintage Guitar - March 2017 - Open - 95
me a guitar that had rubber bands for strings and
nothing like what I play but that was okay. We played
'What Is This Thing Called Love?' I started out with
a vamp and got everyone going. Get a groove going on
and you're in. And that was a night I'll never forget."
DIANA SINGS THE BLUES
Anthony worked the Diana Ross film Lady Sings the Blues.
"That was with Michel Legrand at Paramount, and later,
I got a call for a session for Ross' film, Mahogany. It was for
the song, 'Do You Know Where You're Going To?' I was told
by the session bassist, Rheiny Press, that I was following
a succession of major studio guitarists including Tommy
Tedesco and Larry Carlton and 12 or 15 other guys, and
to not feel bad if I got sent home. But I did what I did and
the producer, Michael Masser, really liked it.
"My part wasn't written out. All I had were chord charts
and I was to play what I thought fit. I used my Ovation
steel-string to ad lib the fills. The song was nominated for
an Academy Award and hit #1 on the Billboard charts."
PHILOSOPHY AND ACCOLADES
One of Anthony's most-cherished memories is of Joe
Pass inviting him to jam. Any jazz guitarist knows that's
a tribute in itself.
"Joe and I were at MGM playing for a film," he said.
"Toward the end, Joe invited me to his place in Woodland
Hills, and we spent the rest of the afternoon jamming. It
basically amounted to him giving me a free lesson. We
talked a lot about picking technique, because everything
Joe played sounded so crisp. And believe me, I've spent a lot
of time evaluating picking philosophies.
"I once asked Howard (Roberts)
which way I should play something,
and he said, 'Mike, you've got 10 fingers, six strings, and a pick. Leave no
stone unturned.' That was immensely
powerful to me and I always pass that
philosophy on to students.
"I was a first-call guy and very
fortunate, but it's a freelance business
and I worked my butt off to get there. In
the big city, though, a lot of guys get to a
very high level, so luck is as important
Session great Tim May once
said of Anthony, "Every time I
see Mike, he's on to something
new, musically. He just keeps
progressing and creating
interesting things. And he
somehow maintains the
enthusiasm we had when
"I WAS A FIRST-CALL
GUY AND VERY
IT'S A FREELANCE
BUSINESS AND I
BUTT OFF TO
we were teenagers. He's like Bob
Bain in that way. Bob is always
eager to learn something new or
pass along what he knows."
Perhaps the great Howard Roberts, at one of his seminars, said it
best many years ago; "Mike Anthony
is always in there, scratching. He's one
of the busiest and best guitar players in
That's an endorsement any pro guitar
player would envy.
This late-'60s ES-345 was
modifed by luthier John
Carruthers to remove the
stereo wiring and was used
on "The Carol Burnett Show,"
"The Flintstones," and almost all of
Anthony's movie sessions.