fender strat

Michael Gregory Jackson, putting his Superman into it, onstage with his Stratocaster Deluxe.

photo by Jon King

When the lifelong 6-string freedom fighter found himself burdened by the weight of systemic racism in an increasingly hostile climate, he found solace in the healing power of his git boxes—and a new solo album.

During the climax of the final piece of an ensemble concert held at a gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson climbed up a stepladder so tall that an acrophobic would have a heart attack just looking at it. Once high up in the sky, Jackson let loose a bucket of ping-pong balls in the direction of the audience. “Kinetic motion, sonically beautiful, startling, if not shocking,” recalls Jackson, “The concept was to break and disturb the plane and formality—the distance between the performers and the audience. To add a little mayhem and surprise. It also sounded great.”

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Rig Rundown: Eric Clapton

Slowhand guitar tech Dan Dearnley takes PG through the guitar god's stripped-down stage setup.

At age 76, Eric Clapton remains a major presence in guitar. He's touring again rather than simply resting on nearly six decades of laurels, and with Slowhand's blessing, Dan Dearnley—the legend's tech for a dozen years—showed us his boss' setup before a September 21 concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Three Signature Strats, Martins, and not much else. Dig in!
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Photo by Kara Sheridan

Bill Dess was working as a cashier in a Harlem bodega in 2016, making songs in his apartment. Then he uploaded one to SoundCloud, and well … sometimes dreams do come true.

Bill Dess, who makes music under the name Two Feet, became a sensation virtually overnight. The 28-year-old's musical career blasted off in 2016 with his breakout song, "Go Fuck Yourself," when he unassumingly uploaded it to SoundCloud in the middle of the night from his rodent-infested apartment in New York City. The next day, he awoke to millions of streams and several major labels courting him. His next hit, "I Feel Like Drowning," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative charts in 2018. In the span of a few years, he went from working as a cashier to traveling the world while opening arena gigs with Panic! at the Disco.

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