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John Rachkoskie - Guitar
How long have you been playing?
I started playing seriously at 15 so let's just say it's been over 40 years! I've been around the sun a few times now!
What was the first concert you ever went to?
The first concert I ever went to was with my cousin David. We went to see The Jefferson Airplane with a new band called The Iron Butterfly. It was in Lancaster PA. I am guessing it was either 1967 or 1968. The Airplane was great indeed, but I have to admit Iron Butteryfly blew me away! I still remember the sound. I believe that was a major trigger in my journey.
What gear do you use?
Way too much stuff to list. It also varies with the venue. My favorite guitars are my beloved 1958 Les Paul, my 1965 Stratocaster and an Epiphone 335 that has been modifed. I also have an Ovation Elite and Taylor acoustic that I love too. They are all like children to me. I love them all. As far as amps go there are four that I seem to get a good tone out of which are a couple of old Fenders (a Twin, Deluxe and Vibro-Champ), a Vox, a Mesa Boogie .22+ and a Blackstar. I use minimal pedals - if any. They include a Budda Wah, a Boss DD3 delay, an old Tube Screamer and I have a couple of pedals I use (depending on the venue) my good friend and great guitarist Mark Edgerly modifed for me.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
I think the musicians that made me want to play at first were The Beatles. I still love and respect every aspect of them. Following them it was Jimi Hendrx, who my cousin David turned me on to. My Dad listen to a lot of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. So I got to hear a ton of their styles growing up as well.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
Once again; over the years ... too many to count. I'll mention the ones that stick out. Province Hill Band a cover/top forty band in the 70's, Elias and all original band. Common Ground, a local cult classic rock and original band, Tear The Sky an original group in the late 80's, Four - n - Debt then metamorphed into Big John & The Twins (which lasted over 20 years - amazing!) Now I free lance with a bunch of folks and have a casual group of friends who get together and call the project American Made. I still play shows on occassion.
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
Three players come to mind I'd love to share the stage with. They are as follows in this order. Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa and Buddy Guy. Clapton has been a major influence on me, especially the way he explored multiple music genres - he's a legend. Joe Bonamassa is extraoridinary. He is an accomplished musician with tremendous feel and tone. He is my favorite player. Buddy Guy is simply wonderful. Raw, right from the soul blues along with his stage presence and his vast experience make him a man I would be honored to jam with.
What's the biggest audience you ever performed to? What's the smallest?
I have had some amazing opportunities for being virtually an unknown player. The largest audience was probably at the Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton NH where I had the opportunity to play Smoke On The Water with Ian Gillian (who was a wonderful guy). The casino holds about 2000 people. The next and probably the most amazing is my opportunity to play twice at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland Ohio. That was amazing and a whole other story. I also played The Browns Stadium in Cleveland which is enormous and shared the stage with two guitar legends Lee Roy Parnell and Zak Wydle. Both great players and great guys. It was a real honor. The smallest had to be a little coffee house in NH. I think it held maybe 40 people. Nonetheless it was a good time. I think smaller crowds are more difficult to play than larger ones. Maybe it's just me.
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
That's tough because I have so many favorites. I think I would have to choose the double album set of Joe Bonamassa Live at The Royal Albert Hall. It is just a great capture of Joe's performance. A great variety of tunes that all excel. I could listen to it over and over again and I sometimes do. I always seem to hear something new in it. It is something I just don't seem to tire of. It is a great piece of work.