#6 Django Reinhardt
First, I need you to do me a favor. I want you to click play on this and close your eyes. I promise, I won’t try to touch you when your eyes are closed. Seriously, I won’t. (No, I won’t do it when they’re open, either.)
Go on, close your eyes (but click play first):
Alright, you can open your eyes again. Now, this time, take a more careful look at his fingers and you’ll see why he’s on the list and in this position. I shall tell you the story.
Django, his friends probably called him The Big D, was a gypsy. Being a gypsy, he picked himself up a nice gypsy lass. (Is ‘gypsy’ PC? I don’t actually know. Romani, I suppose.) They got married, as young people are wont to do.
He’d been playing music since he was like 12 and he actually played a banjo-guitar. He was starting to get a little famous and he’d even been recorded and had drawn a bit of international attention. Some dude meandered across the Channel to France and listened to him play. He liked his playing so much, he hired Django on the spot.
That went pretty poorly actually.
See, The Big D and his wife were gypsies and they still tooled around in wagons back then. Wagons are made of wood. They also had cellulose crap in there, ’cause I’m pretty sure plastic hadn’t really been invented yet. They also had candles.
Cellulose and fire don’t go together well and The Big D and his missus managed to knock a candle over and set their caravan on fire. I’m spitballing here, but I suspect it was due to the wild sex they were having. Even if it wasn’t, I’m just going to assume it was.
So, he never actually got to play on that recording.
Why not? Well, see… That’s kinda why he’s on this list. He set his ass on fire – and burned himself pretty well. They were going to amputate a leg and he lost the use of two of his fingers on his left hand.
So, when you hear Django play – realize he’s doing that with two useless fingers kind of in the way and a thumb looped over the top.
That’s right… I just said a motherfucker with two fingers (and a thumb) played guitar better than Hendrix.
Now, I admit that it’s entirely possible you don’t like jazz. I’m pretty sure the only time I like jazz is when I’m being a pretentious douche.
Not convinced? Listen to this:
He did that back before dirt was invented and with just two fingers (and a thumb). Hendrix couldn’t do that with all his fingers and a sheet of acid.
You can read all about him here, but we’ve already figured out Wikipedia is a pack of liars. They don’t even call Les Paul a guitar god. Heathens, the lot of ’em.
You might as well read this too.
And, I’ll leave you with one parting track. It’s almost certainly his crowning achievement in music.
Until next time…