Ed Mitchell, music author, and former Editor of The Blues Journal has died aged 52. He had been affected by most cancers.
Ed grew up in Gourock within the west of Scotland. He was a scooter boy in his youth, and a guitar participant, and the interval formed his views on music and elegance. It’s in all probability truthful to say that his first loves have been ska and punk. As a schoolboy, he used his dinner cash to purchase Insanity information – his mother and father couldn’t perceive why he was getting so skinny. As an grownup, his tastes went manner past that into nation, blues, rock’n’roll and extra. He thought The Who have been the best rock band of all time and beloved The Beatles and The Jam.
His tastes weren’t all mod-approved. He beloved Bruce Springsteen and Motley Crue (in all probability due to what he noticed because the sleaze-punk Johnny Thunders/Dolls connection), and had encyclopaedic data of guitar gamers like Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton and Duane Allman.
He left faculty at 16 and went straight to work at McCormack’s, a well-known Glaswegian guitar store, in October 1986. It was the identical week that his beloved Insanity cut up up. The band appeared on High Of The Pops (opens in new tab) and on the finish of the music, guitarist Chris Foreman and bassist Mark Bedford confirmed the viewers the backs of their guitars. Written on them have been two phrases: “The Finish”. Ed joked that his childhood ended that week.
At McCormack’s his unpretentious-yet-style-conscious perspective introduced a brand new innovation to the shop. “I keep in mind Ed telling me that he put in a full-length mirror within the store,” says Henry Yates, who began writing for Complete Guitar journal across the similar time as Ed. “He’d encourage punters to pose with the guitars earlier than they purchased them.
“It was typical of his playful philosophy to rock’n’roll, and I believe that flowed into his writing model, which was all the time so humorous and enthusiastic. As a music journalist, Ed could not have been po-faced if he’d tried. Each time he wrote a few band, I would all the time wish to take heed to them afterwards. I’ve additionally by no means identified anybody who was so enthusiastic about so many various genres.”
The years in McCormack’s have been the proper grounding for the function of Critiques Editor on Complete Guitar journal. “The primary time I ever noticed Ed was the mugshot introducing him as critiques editor of Complete Guitar in 2003,” says Henry. “Within the picture, he was biting right into a Fender Telecaster, like a shark mauling a surfboard. However whereas he appeared arduous as nails, Ed had a coronary heart of strong gold. He was so variety, heat, witty and – for a wet-behind-the-ears freelancer like I used to be then – actually nurturing and inspiring of my writing.”
Ed himself moved past reviewing guitars into writing options, interviews, album critiques, how-tos. His guitar-modding column Ed’s Shed appeared in print on each side of the Atlantic, in each Complete Guitar and Guitar World (opens in new tab) magazines, and he wrote tales for Basic Rock and Guitarist. Between them, the web sites Louder, MusicRadar (opens in new tab) and Guitar World (opens in new tab) host over 400 of his articles – amongst them, interviews with Billy Gibbons (opens in new tab), Paul Weller (opens in new tab), Brian Setzer (opens in new tab), profiles on Roy Buchanan, Duane Allman and Peter Inexperienced, a joint interview with Jimmy Web page and Jack White (opens in new tab), and dozens of guitar critiques – and that’s simply those that made it on-line.
In 2012, he was appointed Editor of The Blues Journal, a sister journal to Basic Rock, designed to cowl the resurgent blues scene headed up by the likes of Joe Bonamassa, in addition to carry critical appreciation to the unique bluesmen. (In 2013, he added to that the short-lived Nation Music Journal: the thought was that the mags could be bi-monthly, and he would alternate from one to the opposite as Editor.)
Emma Johnson was Deputy Editor of The Blues Journal. “Ed was one of many funniest, quickest-wittted individuals I’ve ever identified,” she says, “with a fantastically darkish, razor-sharp sense of humour and an entire incapacity to undergo fools gladly or silently. He was fiercely loyal to his associates, in addition to a superb author and a strolling encyclopaedia of music – his time presenting a radio present [for Feedback Radio] was an training in soul, ska and Two-Tone – though he very vocally drew the road at something to grace the Prog stereo.”
“As an editor, he was a superb whirl of impressed chaos,” says Henry Yates, “seemingly pulling off each problem on the final minute like a month-to-month nice escape – in all probability why the problems he helmed felt so energetic and thrilling to learn. He’d speak in rockabilly-speak, too – I think no person else will ever name me ‘daddio’.”
He was an awesome musician too. He would jam with Stephen Lawson, the Editor of Complete Guitar, and it developed into one thing extra. “His great spouse Julie christened us ‘The Boo Hoo Brothers’ when she heard us practising my melancholic country-folk songs of their home in Frome,” says Steve. “She and Ed had the identical depraved sense of humour.
“We have been really fairly good. A Bristol promoter hooked us up with a feminine singer-songwriter who as of late performs with former members of Portishead and The Verve. Ed performed mandolin and bass. His taking part in actually impressed me: a mixture of no-frills Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn-style groove and McCartney-esque melody. He had a lot really feel and style. Really, he had greater than that, he had soul. He was additionally the one one that ever lived who might get away with sporting sun shades within the workplace.”
The Blues Journal ran till June 2016, closed by homeowners TeamRock (opens in new tab) who have been then dealing with the monetary troubles that may see the enterprise go bankrupt by the tip of the 12 months. Ed was already dogged by well being issues and went freelance, persevering with to put in writing for Basic Rock and Guitarist (opens in new tab).
Ed might be scathing – he was hilariously illiberal of all the precise issues – however he had a giant coronary heart. He hated unfairness, bullies and small-mindedness. (He not too long ago advised a narrative about being on a hospital ward earlier this 12 months. A man within the mattress reverse was being racist in the direction of the workers. “Need me to unplug his life assist whereas he’s asleep?” he joked with the nurses. “I’m dying anyway. It’d do us all a favour.”)
He was in good humour proper till the tip. He bought his most cancers prognosis just a few days earlier than Christmas 2021. “I’ve been given between a 12 months and 18 months earlier than I pop my clogs,” he wrote. “I bought that information just a few days earlier than Christmas. It’s the worst Christmas current I’ve acquired since somebody bought me a hideous Sweater Store jumper in 1995.”
At the start of October he emailed: “Since I final noticed you I’ve been out and in of extra hospitals than Jimmy Saville. I had a stroke after which remedy for most cancers in my backbone. It’s been a proper snicker!
“I survived working for TeamRock,” he joked. “Most cancers isn’t that dangerous.”