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Crash Karma’s Mike Turner: Les Paul ‘Was a Genius’

Mike Turner, the former guitarist in Toronto’s Our Lady Peace and now a member of Crash Karma, is also a record producer and owns The Pocket Studios. The death of Les Paul, the solid-body electric guitar pioneer and developer of overdubs and multi-track recording, hit him hard.

“Les Paul was a titan,” Turner says. “Modern music would not be the same without him. It goes without saying that the guitar that bears his name worn low and played loud is the wellspring of all things rock. Even though some of the pantheon of guitar heroes rose to fame playing other guitars, there wouldn’t even be a solid-body guitar without Les Paul. Without him there wouldn’t have been a ‘Pet Sounds;’ there wouldn’t have been a ‘Sgt. Pepper.’ Everything about the modern studio began with Les Paul so that everything that is a product of that environment owes its existence to him. When overdubbing was thought of as the most innovative use of the studio, it was old news to Les Paul. He used overdubbing and tape speed manipulation on songs like ‘How High The Moon’ that he recorded with his wife, Mary Ford, long before — 15 years — the Beatles and the Beach Boys released their multi-track masterpieces. The man was a genius; he will be missed.

“Personally, I own two Les Pauls, a Special and a Studio, both from around 1980. And I love them both,” he adds, referring to the guitars in the photo. “There’s something that is undeniable about those guitars. Put one on and plug it straight into any good amp and you’re likely to lose an hour or two to what the Les Paul is – a great variety of tones, the feeling that playing it just feels right. Add a bit of overdrive and a pedal or two and the day is gone. I’ll spend a yet another day like that in his memory.”

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