12 QUESTIONS WITH RICHARD BENNETT

Can you give us a brief history of your playing career?
I began taking guitar lessons in 1962 from Forrest Skaggs in Phoenix, Arizona. A former student of Skaggs’s was Al Casey who by that time had played on numerous hit records and was establishing himself as one of the Wrecking Crew studio guitar players in Los Angeles. Al became my mentor and entree into the studios. I did my first record date sitting next to him in 1968. After establishing myself as a young session player, in 1971 I began recording and touring with Neil Diamond, an association that lasted 17 years. I moved to Nashville in 1985 and continued my studio career there as well a producing records. I began recording with Mark Knopfler in 1994 and did my first tour with him in 1996. Currently I still live in Nashville, play sessions as well as recording and touring with Knopfler. For full biography and discography, please visit: www.richard-bennett.com

What inspired you to start playing guitar?
Watching country singers on television in the 1950s as well as seeing Elvis on the Dorsey Brothers and Ed Sullivan shows. They all had a guitar hung around their necks and looked great playing them.

What was your first electric guitar?
A Kay Vanguard with two pick ups. It was very stiff and difficult to play, but I didn’t know the difference.

What are your top 5 favorite records?
That changes week to week. What I’ve been listening to this week is:
1. Tony Motolla – Mr. Big
2. Johnny Smith – Moods
3. Johnny Horton – Honky Tonk Man
4. Ben Webster – King Of The Tenors
5. Freddie Hart – The Spirited Freddie Hart

What was the proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?
Playing arch top guitar on an album of standards by Hawaiian steel guitar player Bud Tutmarc. The album was called Unforgettable 2 and was recorded live with rhythm section and strings….12 songs in two, 3 hour sessions.

How did you hear about Reverend?
I first saw Reverend guitars at a NAMM show here in Nashville many years ago and thought they looked cool but didn’t play one then. My friend Bo Ramsey was playing one when he and Pieta Brown came out on tour in 2010 as the opening artist with Mark Knopfler and reignited my interest in the guitar.

What Reverend guitar(s) are you using?
Flatroc.

What do you like about your Reverend guitar?
The very first thing I look for in any electric instrument is what it sounds like NOT plugged in. If a solid body electric guitar has tone and sustain in addition to feeling good in the hand without the aid of an amplifier, the chances are extremely good the it will be a real winner when it is plugged in. This was certainly the case with my Reverend.

What amps and pedals do you currently use?
Tone King Imperial, Vox AC 30, Fender VibroVerb, Polytone.

Do you have any unusual hobbies, skills, or pastimes you’d like to share with us?
I am a compulsive and addicted record collector….all speeds, 78, 45 and 33.

Do you have any advice for up and coming players?
Listen, listen, listen….to all kinds of music, to the acknowledged masters of your own instrument and the master of others. Never put any kind of music down. Invariably there will be something that will move you beyond words in every genre if you are persistent enough to find it. It will inform you as a musician for life.

Please tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc. we should know about:
I’m currently working on my 4th solo album, staying busy with session work here in Nashville and look forward to more recording and touring with Mark Knopfler.