Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pete's Pantheon: Marc Ribot, "The Boris Karloff of the Guitar"

What do the likes of Elvis Costello, T-bone Burnett and Tom Waits do when they want a guitar player? They take a cue from Solomon Burke, and call on Marc Ribot. Waits calls him "The Boris Karloff of the guitar" for the many identities he can assume with supernatural ease. But he has his own unmistakable voice, a ferocious attack with moments of faux awkwardness that caused him to be misread and underestimated by many. Including me. The first time I heard him was on the Waits classic Raindogs. I was repulsed by his squawks and staggering jabs of melody. But like some of the characters Karloff played he can get a hold on you and never let go.

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