Ex King Crimson man Belew pays tribute to Lonnie Mack

Lonnie Mack
Lonnie Mack (Image credit: Getty Images)

Former King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew has paid tribute to the late Lonnie Mack.

The blues-rock pioneer died last week age 74 – and Belew says hearing Mack’s guitar sound in his formative days had a profound impact on him.

Belew says: “On April 21 the entire world mourned the sad loss of Prince. Few people realise on the very same day we lost another legendary guitarist. His name was Lonnie Mack and he was a friend of mine.

“Lonnie was 74 and had spent a hard life in music – a good-hearted country boy who would rather go fishing than be a star. But he was known and revered by musicians like Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan for his searing guitar sound, a Gibson Flying V through a cranked Magnatone amp.

“I remember being 17 years old listening to Lonnie outside a bar in Covington, Kentucky. I was too young to get in. At that time I had just started playing guitar and the intensity of Lonnie’s guitar sound caught me by surprise.”

Belew finally got the chance to meet Mack in 1985 when he was in New York recording Graceland with Paul Simon.

He continues: “Paul and I went to the Lone Star Cafe to see Lonnie play. Paul introduced me to Bob Dylan hiding in the balcony stairwell – and also in the balcony that evening were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

“After the show, Paul and I went backstage – there sat Lonnie with Keith and Mick. In his southern drawl he was extolling the virtues of fishing in Indiana where he lived. He turned and saw me, interrupted his own story, and said, ‘Hey Adrin. Still playin’ with that King Crizmun?’

“Rest in peace my friend.”

Last year, Belew released musical app Flux on iOS devices. It provides an ever-changing mix of music and visuals and has gone on to win several awards.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.