AN INTERVIEW WITH Dave Hole - PART 1
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After 8 previous releases and innumerable world tours, Dave Hole is now widely regarded as one of the all-time slide guitar greats, with accolades from around the globe and a growing world-wide fan base.
With his furious energy and amazing "over-the-top" style of playing, Dave Hole has carved his own place deep in the pantheon of slide guitar greats. His performances are drenched in waves of fret-melting guitar riffs that infuse the spirit of blues and rock slide legends such as Duane Allman, Johnny Winter and Elmore James. "Nothing interferes with Hole's searing guitar when he is in full flight," said Rolling Stone. Guitar World agreed, saying, "Hole produces solo upon blistering solo with slide work that is exhilaratingly relentless."
Since his recording debut 22 years ago, Dave Hole's records and live performances have drawn raves from countless international publications, including Billboard, Downbeat, Spin, Guitar World and Guitar Player. Similarly, he's earned rapturous praise from the Associated Press and major US market dailys like the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. Billboard wrote; "Slide guitar fanatics will have their brains blown out by this Australian fret-melter ... Remarkably inventive, technically unusual overhand slide work that separates him from the common pack ... prepare to hear your jaw hitting the floor."
Considering all the praise lavished on Hole in recent years, it's hard to believe that he’s actually been performing for more than four decades. Born in England in 1948, he moved with his family to Perth, Western Australia when he was a child.
As a teenager he fell for the blues upon hearing a friend's Muddy Waters record. He yearned to hear more but at that time blues records were difficult to obtain in remote Western Australia. It was also years before any blues artists began to perform there in person, so Hole had to teach himself to play. At first, only Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix albums were easily available, but with persistence he eventually got his hands on records by Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson and many others. The likes of Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Mississippi Fred McDowell became his main "teachers", as he listened to their recordings over and over again, absorbing all he could from these blues masters.
Then, either by accident or by fate, Hole broke his little finger in a football game. The only way he could continue to play guitar without pain was to put a slide on his index finger and hang his hand over the top of the guitar neck. When his finger eventually healed, Hole had become so used to the 'wrong' way of playing (and grown so fond of the tone he was getting), that he never turned back.
Throughout the 1970's and 80's Hole was gigging non-stop around Perth and the country towns of Western Australia, winning fans wherever he went. In 1991, after playing the Australian circuit for over twenty years, he self-produced SHORT FUSE BLUES (BCD 1001), an album intended purely for direct sale to his fans. On a whim he mailed a copy to Jas Obrecht, then editor of the influential American “Guitar Player” magazine. "Magnificent, staggering, almost beyond belief. Utterly Blues approved. ... ferocious, fire-breathing slide ... What more could you ask?" raved Obrecht, who then tipped off Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer. Iglauer, encouraged by his staff's excitement on hearing the album, released it to a world-wide audience. Almost overnight, Dave Hole became an international phenomenon. The album review in "Guitar Player" was followed by a July 1991 feature story which launched Hole to stardom.
When Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer signed him, Hole became the only non U.S. based artist in the label's 40-year history. The gamble more than paid off. American critics praised Hole all over the country, and new fans were exposed to him through radio play on more than 1000 stations. Rave reviews appeared in Guitar World, Billboard, Audio, Spin, New York Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post and many other major publications, as well as on The Associated Press newswire. And it's not just the critics who were paying attention. Metallica's Kirk Hammett has named Dave Hole as one of his all-time favourite guitarists, saying "His slide playing kills me”. People everywhere have taken notice. When veteran rock and blues guitarist Gary Moore first heard "SHORT FUSE BLUES", he was so impressed that he invited Dave to join him on two European tours, playing large stadiums and arenas and concluding with two memorable nights at London's Royal Albert Hall. Subsequent albums and tours of the U.S. and Europe have solidified his stature as one of the very best guitarists playing today, taking him from virtual obscurity all the way to international recognition and admiration. His explosive live show has won him critical acclaim wherever he has gone and invariably leaves audiences spellbound in his wake. He constantly fills venues to overflowing and then proceeds to lift the rafters off with blistering performances. He has performed at countless blues festivals around the world and show after show have ended with rapturous applause. Blues Revue noted, "If this guy played with any more feeling, he'd have to go on Prozac. Dave Hole is not only a superb guitarist with a distinctive sound, he performs heart-felt vocals with the depth and credibility of any blues headliner touring today ... hard driving rocking blues ... he is electricity incarnate!"