Glendale Cruise Night
July 16, 2005
Death may wait in the wings but on Saturday night The Grim Reaper didn't even have a backstage pass. The "Godfather of Punk Guitar", Link Wray, was onstage front and center demonstrating the life saving qualities of the power chord, the whammy bar and gnarly "no effects" distortion. Rightfully staking claim as the O.G. of these musical potions of eternal youth, Link Wray ripped and raved on like a 16 year old as he slipped into "Rawhide". Even through his almost opaque sunglasses his defiant glare drove the pit crowd into a frenzy of adulation and the ease with which he played his slinky, sexy power chords and lines stupefied even the uninitiated. But the power wasn't just in the chords, it was also in the specter of this Rock and Roll survivor who makes Iggy Pop look like a mewling newborn. At 76 years old and as beaten up as a '37 Ford left out in the field, Link Wray makes the understated slow-mo violence of "Rumble" as threatening now as when it was banned in 1958. Effortlessly keeping the fear alive, Wray tore through "Jack The Ripper", daring the audience to make something of it as only an old man can do who's veneration protects him from vulnerability. Closing with a reprise of "Rumble", Wray finally threw his guitar down and began kicking it until he was led offstage. The guitar just lay there screaming, no one would go near it.