It's nearing the end of 2017, and the year-end lists are piling up. This year brought a batch of special interviews, from Gary Clark Jr. to Five Finger Death Punch's Jason Hook. Read on for our Top 10 interviews of 2017!

Gary Clark Jr. on his Gibson SG, which was a gift from a musician friend:

"It was actually a gift from the Foo Fighters’ Pat Smear. He gave me that guitar—a ’61 SG Reissue. They came to Austin and asked if I would be a part of the Sonic Highways project, and talk about my experiences growing up in Austin. Of course I agreed. I clicked with the guys and they asked if I would be a part of the album. I showed up with my ES-125, which didn’t fit the Foo Fighters vibe. So Pat Smear brought out a ’61 SG reissue, which I played. It sounded great. As I was leaving, Pat came up to me and said, “I’ve got something for you.” He handed me that guitar, in the case. I was really moved by that."

Full interview


James Blunt on the honor of making music for a living:

"It's an amazing job. To be able to make music for a living is a very special thing. Music is something that brings people together. All across the world, the color of the skin seems to change depending on which continent you are playing, but the connection to the songs seems identical. Those human emotions connecting with the songs are the same no matter where you are playing, so that's a special thing."

Full interview


Jason Hook on his signature M-4 Sherman:

Jason Hook by Anne Erickson

"Anybody that knows Gibson knows it's a premium, American-made instrument. So, I've always been a fan. I have several Gibsons. When I had the opportunity to make my own-- it's a very rare thing. They hand select people to whom they want to offer signature models. It's a big honor. I took the history of the basic Explorer and gave it a 45-degree arm contour. I made it a shredding machine."

Full interview


George Thorogood on his advice for up-and-coming guitarists:

Play for fun, because the more fun you have, the more you’ll play, and the more you play, the better you’ll get, and the better you get, the more fun you have.

Full interview


Jared James Nichols on what makes the Les Paul a good fit for him as a player:

"For me, the Les Paul Custom is EVERYTHING. It is the whole package: pure tone, playability and incredibly expressive. It's beyond inspiring. When I think of playing music, I envision doing it with my Les Paul. Honestly, I've built my whole style, tone and career with this guitar at the forefront. Believe me, I have tried to find its faults and limitations, but I haven't succeeded yet."

Full interview


John Fogerty on what makes a song a classic or gives it the weight of a standard:

"That’s hard to say. Things happen in their time, more than occasionally. People come along who are definitely “of their time.” They just seem very comfortable in the here and now. A good songwriter is a good songwriter in any era, but there’s something to timing. In ’69 and ’70 I was a kid on fire, as far as being in the time in which I was creating. Would “Proud Mary” be a hit today? That’s a hard one. I don’t know, and I do often wonder about that. A lot of happy stars align. It helped that I was in my early twenties. That’s kind of the normal age to be, as far as an audience getting excited about what you’re doing."

Full interview


KT Tunstall on her love for Gibson acoustics:

"I find that most other acoustics besides Gibsons that I play are really jangly and bright. I'm a huge fan of playing an acoustic guitar in the same way that you play a bass, so I’ll often be playing bass lines instead of just regular guitar chords, and I would find that with any other guitar I was playing, I couldn't get that force of bass and that real richness of the bass tones that I could get on the Dove. So, I fell in love with the acoustic Dove immediately. It became my signature guitar. Fans loved the look of it, and it was always a talking point. The other thing that was super important was that it got a breadth of tones that I found very difficult to get on any other guitar."

Full interview


Lzzy Hale of Halestorm on rocking her Limited Edition Lzzy Hale Explorer:

Lzzy Hale by Anne Erickson

"I've always been attracted to the classic design. It's a metal guitar, but for whatever reason, it's always that nice in-between for me, which is kind of reflective of all of my influences. Yes, I love my ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock and metal, but I'm also a girl, so I don't want to have something that's super dude-like. For whatever reason, it was just that nice balance for me. It also got the most attention out of all the guitars that I've played over the years. Everyone would always comment on the Explorer, so it became my thing."

Full story


Slash on being appointed Gibson’s Global Brand Ambassador:

"It's an honor to be Gibson's first Global Brand Ambassador. I've been working with Gibson since the early days of my professional career and playing Gibson guitars since before that. I'm proud of the creative relationship we've developed over the years."

Full story


The Darkness' Frankie Poullain on the best advice he can offer aspiring musicians trying to make music for a living:

"Don't make it for a living, make it for love."

Full interview


Photo credit: Anne Erickson