Billy Duffy has just released his own signature model Gretsch White Falcon and you can find out more about it and what he’s up to at www.billyduffy.com Interview by Mick Peek, February 2013.
6) The Sex Pistols/Slaughter & The Dogs/Buzzcocks Free Trade Hall, Manchester 20th July 1976 (aged 15)
“I went because as a 15 year old I was curious as to what this Punk Rock thing was all about. As a guitarist I came away mostly excited by Pete Shelly’s minimalist guitar work with Buzzcocks, It was their first gig and it was three chord brilliance.
I had to go and buy their ‘Spiral Scratch EP’ months later when it came out, because I loved the two note guitar solo on ‘Boredom’. I still think their songs are great. With ‘Slaughter’ Mick Rossi was a bit of a cool Mick Ronson clone from my neighborhood who looked great with his white Les Paul and of course I went on to join his band ‘Studio Sweethearts’ a few years later.
I didn’t really know much about The Pistols before the night only what I’d read in the music press. Jonesy had his legendary Les Paul with all the stickers on it and they blew me away. I was quite literally the night that changed my life and made me believe that I could make it big as a guitarist and do something with my life.”
7) Iggy Pop Manchester Apollo 25th September 1977 (aged 16)
“I remember a big gang of us, including Johnny Marr, went to this one and we managed to sneak in during the first song without paying. An older kid at school had turned me onto Iggy and the Stooges so I went because I loved ‘Raw Power’. Unfortunately by that time his classic Stooges guitarist James Williamson wasn’t with him anymore and the guitarist at the time didn’t amaze me. But I got to hear all the great songs and riffs and Iggy was incredible as always!
Later on Iggy sang on Sonic Temple and we did gigs with him in 1987 and more recently when James Williamson returned to his band so there’s been quite a few connections between The Cult and Iggy and The Stooges over the years.”
8) The Heartbreakers/Siouxsie & The Banshees/The Models Manchester University 17th October 1977 (aged 16)
“I went to this one to worship at the throne of Johnny Thunders! He was the coolest, minimalist guitar player ever which also fitted in with my obsession at the time with anything connected to the New York Dolls.
I remember I was really pissed off that The Models guitarist Marco Pironi was using Johnny Thunders Les Paul TV Jnr with the Chinese Rocks sticker on it . I was angry that someone other than Thunders was playing his guitar! (Marco went on to join Adam and the Ants and also became a pal of mine).
Like most teenage punk boys at that time I had a huge crush on Siouxsie and I loved everything about the Banshees, they always had great guitar players with killer riffs . Then of course Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers blew me away. Especially great was being that close to them in a place that only holds a thousand people. Plus I got to see Johnny’s Les Paul in the correct hands!
9) AC/DC Free Trade Hall, Manchester 24th October 1977(aged 16)
“Believe it or not but AC/DC had played the famous Manchester punk venue Electric Circus but I’d missed them. This was at the point where no one could work out whether they were punk or rock? Punk or rock who cared they were just brilliant.
That gig gave me a respect for the power of a good three chord riff that has lived with me through my playing career. That show was the classic line up and Bon Scott took Angus through the crowd on his shoulders while he was playing a solo and I remember jumping up and hitting his guitar, I guess touching greatness of whatever ”
10) David Johansen Group The Factory Club, Manchester 1978 (aged 17)
“I went to see David Johansen at this new venue called the Factory in a very dodgy area of Manchester called Hulme. Again, the pilgrimage was driven by the well publicised New York Dolls obsession of a certain bunch of Mancunian wannabies including myself and (Stephen) Morrissey.
I believe that the original Dolls rhythm guitarist Silvain Silvain was playing with him on that night ,and he’s also become a good friend of mine. The other guitarist on the night was pretty decent too. He was called Thomas Trask and he was one of those New York based guitarists who to me as a Wythenshawe council estate kid all looked pretty cool.
My Plus One… Not Manchester, not the seventies but equally important…
Bow Wow Wow. Starlight Roller Disco, Hammersmith, London 8th November 1980
“This was Bow Wow Wow’s first gig and organized by their manager Malcom McClaren (ex Pistols manager) at the Starlight Roller Disco just next to Hammersmith Palais. Mathew Ashman, who’d previously been in Adam and The Ants, had come up with a very weird jazzy use of guitar that was a bit cinematic.
It was my first opportunity to see the famous 1970s Gretsch White Falcon up close and it became the guitar I knew I had to own. It made me realize how amazing a White Facon could look onstage and it had this unique twangy sound which I adapted and made my own when bought my first one on joining Theatre of Hate fairly soon after.”
In depth interview with Ian Astbury here