John McLaughlin, a name synonymous with both technical virtuosity and visionary innovation. Over the course of a career spanning six decades, he has blurred the lines between rock and jazz, while systemically dismantling the barriers between eastern and western music. An English-born guitarist, bandleader, and composer, McLaughlin is most well-known for his work with his pioneering fusion group The Mahavishnu Orchestra throughout the 1970s and 80s. Over the years, John has collaborated with an almost incomprehensible list of legendary artists including Miles Davis, Jimmy Page, and Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker (Cream) just to name a few. Pat Metheny once referred to McLaughlin as the world's greatest guitarist and Jeff Beck himself considered him to be "the best guitarist alive." John’s impact and improvisational genius cannot be overstated. Read our interview with John Below.
5 MINUTES WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PRS: You have a long, rich history with Paul Smith and PRS Guitars in general, what are your fondest memories of working with the company?
John: My fondest memories are not with the ‘company’ but with Paul, Beverly Fowler, and the wonderful and passionate people working with Paul in the building of outstanding instruments. A company is impersonal, but my relationships with Paul and the rest of his team are very personal.
PRS: You are about to depart for tour here in the U.S. as part of the recently reunited fusion ensemble, Shakti. What was the catalyst for this reunion and what are you looking forward to the most out on the road?
John: The main catalyst would be two events: the first was the loss of the great Mandolin Shrinivas in 2014, he was only 45 years old. This threw Shakti into complete disarray and took several years to get over the loss. The second was the pandemic which arrived before we got over the loss but, in a way, forced me to reunite all the musicians, find another melodic musician to join Shakti, and then make a new recording. The recording was released about a week ago. I look forward to being with all the musicians on tour, but primarily, we are together to play music and amazingly enough, even after 50 years, I’m thrilled to go to the stage with them every concert.
PRS: What are your plans after the Shakti tour wraps up in the Fall? Are there any other projects you are particularly eager to revisit or begin?
John: Actually, the Shakti tour ends around the 3rd week of September. From there I fly to LA to participate in Eric Clapton’s final Crossroads Benefit Concert. I will begin a tour of Germany and Switzerland in October with The 4th Dimension with special guest Jany McPherson. This tour should have happened in March last year but the pandemic had other plans...
PRS: Congratulations on the recent release of the new John McLaughlin Limited model, what are your favorite aspects of this new instrument?
John: I should send you a list... however, the sound, how it plays, the attention to detail, the wholeness and look of the guitar to name but a few...
PRS: What do you love the most about your PRS guitars in general?
PRS: Are there any trends, techniques or technologies on the modern guitar scene that have captured your attention, either positively or negatively?
John: You may be aware of my research into the “synth guitar” over many years. The musical repertory of Shakti requires that I use synth guitar, and the best and most reliable system I’ve found is the TriplePlay Connect system from Fishman. It really works.
Catch John during any of his stops on the Shakti tour, where he will be playing his own John McLaughlin Limited Model!
Aug 17 Wang Theater, Boston, MA ***
Aug 19 The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY ***
Aug 20 NJPAC Newark, NJ *
Aug 22 The Keswick, Glenside, PA*
Aug 23 Wolftrap Vienna, VA *
Aug 25 Cobb Energy Center, Atlanta, GA*
Aug 27 Koka Booth Amp, Cary, NC*
Aug 29 Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH*
Aug 31 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN***
Sept 3 Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL*
Sept 5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR****
Sept 6 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA*
Sept 8 Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA **
Sept 9 Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
Sept 11 Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, CA
Sept 14 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI*
Sept 16 H-E-B Center, Austin, TX*
* w/ Béla Fleck
** w/ Bill Frisell
*** w/John Scofield
**** w/Jerry Douglas