News Archive June 2009
Posted: June 29, 2009
When I interviewed Keith Urban last month, we talked a lot about guitars. Well, he talked. I listened. He had a lot to say about his whole arsenal. But the thrill in his voice seemed to go up a notch when we got around to his latest creation.
It's a Fender, and senior master guitar builder and artist Yuriy Shishkov made this Telecaster just for Urban. Urban told me it was his love of KISS' Paul Stanley growing up and his Mirror Ball Iceman guitar that gave him the idea for his own decked-out guitar. "I was always mesmerized by his guitar. So we reached out to the guy who'd made one for Paul, so we could do a Telecaster with that same look. Like broken pieces of mirror all over it."
When I asked him how heavy it was, he said very. "I've had a '56 Les Paul and a Start that were real back breakers, so I should be fine," he said. And when I asked him how it would sound, he laughed and told me, "You'll be blinded into thinking it sounds good."
Urban didn't get to see KISS play live until about five years ago. But growing up, he'd watched the band on television. "I saw that guitar, and it just stayed with me. I always want to add something to the show. Although I may only play it on one or two songs, because it's pretty over the top." Indeed, you can see the new guitar on his webisodes from his shows in the Carolinas. It is covered with hundreds of fragments of hand-cut mirrored glass.
But because he's Keith Urban - the man who's occasionally listed in liner notes as playing the cardboard box - he makes the guitar look downright lightweight, and he makes it sound like he's been playing it for years.