I read a recent article about a famous guitarist’s connection with the late and lamented legend Eddie Van Halen. One of many aspects of this article that bears mentioning is the guitarist’s belief that it isn’t the gear or guitars that are final arbiters of a guitarist’s sound. It’s their hands, instead. Plug yourself into any rig, turn the power on, and you won’t sound more like Stevie Ray Vaughn because you’re playing his Signature Model guitar. You won’t remind people of Eddie Van Halen because you’re playing through his amplifiers and pedals. It comes, instead, through your hands. It isn’t the gear.
I’d take that a step further. Lisa Johnson’s book Immortal Axes: Guitars that Rock makes the case that the intangible connection between the player and their favorite instruments is a big factor. This outstanding photojournalism work is an obvious labor of love for the author and testifies to the ongoing love legendary players have for their most beloved instruments. Read Peter Frampton’s words about his guitars included in the book and how he treats them – it is a connection rife with love and almost religious respect.
LISA JOHNSON INTERVIEW: https://themagicpen.com/lisa-s-johnson-author-of-immortal-axes/
Johnson has also produced a book capable of enduring for years to come. The artfulness of her photography, the ability to delve into this book at any point in the text and enjoy its riches, and the trust she establishes with the players involved contribute to making Immortal Axes one of the best books of its type in recent memory. It isn’t her first book in this vein and Johnson is obviously building on lessons learned with each successive project.
The book struck a personal chord with me. I bought my first guitar in over twenty years after much consideration and decided to start playing again. Immortal Axes further underlined my love for the instrument, reminded me of countless memories long since placed on the backburner, and moved me at certain points. Anyone who loves guitar will love this book.
It’s difficult to read this book, see its photos, and not recall the countless stage photographs, videos, concerts, and other appearances where you’ve seen and heard these axes in full wail. Johnson’s book captures the mythos of guitar in a way few other texts do – much of this is thanks to how she depicts the instruments. Her stylish portrayal of these guitars is one of the book’s greatest strengths.
Read my original review posted back in September https://themagicpen.com/lisa-johnson-immortal-axes-guitars-that-rock/
I’m eager to find out what Johnson will be doing next and hope it is music related. If it isn’t, however, I would still be interested. Johnson has prodigious skills capable of making anything art through her camera eye and Immortal Axes demonstrates that on every page. The superb packaging is another attractive quality about the book; it’s a book you will want to share with your friends. Johnson and her collaborators have spared no effort in producing a book that lives up to the standards of its subject and it will impress any music lover who picks it up. It’s a more than worthy book of the year.
Once again congratulations to Lisa Johnson author on “Immortal Axes” showcasing this incredible musical instrument and the artists who go to war with them.