Nels Cline on Rod Poole

Acoustic Guitar Trio: Rod Poole (L), Nels Cline, Jim McCauley (R)

It is with great sadness and deep shock that I sit here in my hotel room in New York pondering the senseless murder of one of my favorite artists of all time, Rod Poole. I formed a microtonal improvising trio with the guitarists Rod, Jim McCauley, and myself called Acoustic Guitar Trio. One of my motivations for this was to just get closer to Rod and his art, to the haunting beauty of his music. What with my constant road work and divergent personal realm, Rod and I had been in touch less and less frequently, which really felt bad. Rod was a true artist, probably a genius. He had an amazing capacity as both music fan and autodidact musician visionary. He was stubborn, thorny at times, but always because of his intense feelings and ideas concerning creative expression, especially that of the sound world. His death was pointless, and from reports, horribly violent. I feel sick. We are a disaster as a society. I can’t stop thinking about him and his wife Lisa. What a nightmare… And it hasn’t even really fully sunk in that I will never again see this man, never play music with him again, never hear him play, sit in his Hollywood apartment listening to music, drinking fine beers, thumbing through his recent eBay acquisitions of Sun Ra, Hendrix bootlegs…never again play music with him. His solo CDs “The Death Adder” and “December 96”, both out-of-print (WIN Records) are shining examples of artistic vision and depth, his just-intonated Martin acoustics spinning beguiling arpeggios resonating with majestic/intimate sonorous beauty. All possible love to you, Rod. I thought I was speechless, but here are the words, and here come the tears..

Rod Poole is arguably one of the most under-documented masters of our time. Not that there weren’t any recordings made. Rod had recorded a lot of material that has not seen the light of day. His last CD (“Mind’s Island”), a beautiful series of duets with vocalist Sasha Bogdanowitsch could easily have been followed by many great solo recordings that he was waiting to do the right way – either with the nicest label, on the best vinyl, etc. I do know that Acoustic Guitar Trio has tons of stuff “in the can”, not the least of which is a ‘live’ recording from the Downtown Playhouse we called VIGNES, plus some studio recordings done at Scott Fraser’s place, plus lots more ‘live’ stuff thanks to the fact that Rod recorded everything. Further illumination of this brilliant individual may be possible. Time will tell.

Nels Cline
May 15, 2007

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