The Late, Great, Shawn Lane... arguably the greatest guitarist who ever lived. Also a really nice guy. A great intellect as well. Guitarists the world over revere his memory and revel in his guitar skills. He was a piano virtuoso, too.
When Bob Gjika met Shawn Lane back in the 1980s, they soon became friends. Bob even stayed with Shawn and his family for some time in Memphis, TN. As soon as Shawn got his record deal, he called Bob (now living in Los Angeles) to get one of Bob's stereo 8-EL34 tube amps, to record his "Powers of Ten" album. He did this entire album in a small bedroom studio he set up in his Grandmother's home (where he lived - Shawn never achieved monetary success in his lifetime, unfortunately). This tiny home studio gave rise to Shawn's Powers of Ten (original) album. Shawn recorded everything in that tiny room. Later, the record company decided that they wanted a new version, done in a professional studio, with a professional in charge (Andy Johns got the job).
Many believe that the first (original) Powers of Ten album was more inspired. Both versions of the Powers of Ten album utilized the Gjika Gold Amp ("The Beast", "The Manhattan Amp", "Shawn Lane Amp", "Powers of Ten Amp") to get the awesome guitar tone that Shawn achieved using Bob's amp design (the first Class A, High-Power, Single-Ended Guitar Amp). He toured with the amp, as well as using it on both recordings.
We created a playlist on YouTube to show Shawn Lane and the Gjika Gold Amp playing on both the original album recording, and in live performances using the amp, and grabbed some screen shots of Shawn and his prized Gjika Gold Amp. Shawn lost the amp due to unfavorable financial circumstances, but his grandmother, Willodyne Martin, did regain possession of the amp after Shawn's death in 2003.
It's ironic that greatly talented individuals often do not realize financial success during their lifetimes. Shawn is certainly an example of this phenomenon.
Shawn Lane was ahead of his time, and it's tricky to say exactly what it was that made him so special. Shawn's talent was not just in playing fast (which he did better than anyone) but also in his connection to the music, to bring a "feeling" into the music, that was his greatest talent - whether playing fast or slower, he had a connectedness to music that was undeniable. His ability was truly amazing, and those who got a chance to experience his music in live performances will tell you, there was nothing else like it.
Had it not been for unfortunate health circumstances, in combination with unhealthy influences of so-called "friends", Shawn Lane might still be regaling the world with his amazing talent. But, as we are all well aware, great talent is often short-lived. So we look back on his body of work, and appreciate it for what it is, and try not to dwell on what might have been (a slippery slope, like imagining if Jimi had not been taken at age 27, or Janis, or... ).
Shawn Lane - musical prodigy - he took his Powers of Ten to exponential levels, and those who appreciate his greatness can keep up the work, but, let's be honest, who can aspire to that level of greatness? Keep striving...Shawn would surely be happy to know he had inspired so many with his work.
He set the bar very high, for guitarists moving forward.
Shawn Lane - The Great One.