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Guitarist Steve Howe (YES) recalls meeting Chuck Berry in 1969

Steve Howe Chuck Berry

Classic Rock

Guitarist Steve Howe (YES) recalls meeting Chuck Berry in 1969

YES guitarist Steve Howe recalled in an interview with BBC Radio when he met Chuck Berry back in 1969 when Bodast, the band he was part opened for Berry and where his backup band for that show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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Guitarist Steve Howe (YES) said about meeting Chuck Berry in 1969:

“My rock god is Chuck Berry. I was a young kid, I got a guitar, and I had heard Chuck Berry. I went to Lewisham one night with the band I was in, The Sindycats, a little pub band. On came The Animals, and then on came Carl Perkins, and then on came Chuck Berry! He was so dynamic; he could sing, he could write, and he could play the guitar.”

“So all those things just left it – there were no cracks to fill with chuck berry. He was a one-man star in himself. ‘Maybelline’ was my first record release with The Syndicats. Therefore I’ve always had a slight attachment to that particular song.”

“Jumping forward to 1969, the group I was in at the time – a rather unsuccessful band called Bodast – actually backed Chuck Berry at the Royal Albert Hall [in London, UK]. We did our own spot and then we backed him.”

He continued:

“But the only trouble was when he came to the rehearsal, he pointed at me and said, ‘I don’t need you.’ And so I thought, ‘Oh, thanks…’ But to make up for that – because I felt I really missed out – in the interval, I took my guitar to him, [emulates knocking on door] ‘Chuck, can I come in?'”

“He says, ‘Come in.’ So I go in and I said, ‘Do you like my guitar?’ [Chuckles] ‘Chuck, would you play my guitar?’ Now, this guitar I won’t let anybody play, but I gave it to Chuck and he sat there and I can still see him in my mind.”

“I can see him playing my guitar, and he goes, ‘This is really good!’ Because – the way I had the action and the way I had the strings’ gauge, it was really – and still is today this, I still have the same guitar – it felt terrific. But also, Chuck had a very special place in my education or my knowledge of music at the time. I’m honored to say chuck berries played my guitar.”

I am a brazilian journalist, a classic rock and heavy metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When i became a journalist i knew i wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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