I don’t want to sound arrogant or bigheaded or anything, but I didn’t need any advice. I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t a kid when I started. I had a focus on what I wanted to do. And when I first started playing guitar, I got an immediate reaction just from people and audiences. As soon as [blues-harp player] Sonny Terry and [blues guitarist] “Brownie” McGhee heard me, they took a shine to me immediately. There was no turning back once I started on guitar.
I first began having success picking on a guitar that wasn’t plugged in. I was picking really hard so I could hear it acoustically, and when I plugged into an amp, I was surprised that it didn’t sound very good. I discovered that the way I attack the string really affects the tone. Modifying your picking attack—for clean tone, distortion and playing on an acoustic—makes a huge difference in the sound.
And it made me think immediately of my Les Paul Junior from the  Revenge/Alive III tour. It was one of the most beat-up Les Paul Juniors ever. I got it at Guitars R Us on Sunset Boulevard, and we recorded with it a lot. Gene [Simmons] loved it. Kiss even rented it for [1998’s] Psycho Circus, because they wanted that sound. It had a humbucker in it—a Seymour Duncan JB—but there was just something about the mahogany body.
David knew Graham, and he came to our Crosby & Nash show in London a couple of times and liked our harmonies and our way of going at it, and he asked us to sing on [his 2006 solo album] On An Island. In the process, we got to be pretty close friends. He asked us to sing at his concert in London.
He is held in the highest regard by Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, was close friends with Jimi Hendrix, and his mid-Sixties recordings with the Yardbirds invented the sound for heavy metal guitar. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is ...
I’ve always used the Les Paul and Gretsch White Falcon, and they’re both heavily featured on the new album. Regarding the second part, that’s a very pragmatic question. One thing I’ve done with the White Falcon is put things in the body — little bits of T-shirts or whatever — to help stop some of the feedback.