Toronto's Mike Nagoda, who was born with cerebral palsy, tried for years to play guitar the standard way, but he simply couldn't; the nerves in his hands would continually seize up.
As a result, Nagoda started playing guitar by resting it on his lap, tuning it to open E and grabbing a slide. However, he soon considered that setup limiting since his open tunings allowed him to play in only major or minor keys and not both—or beyond.
"I had all these sounds in my head, but I just couldn't get them out," Nagoda says in the 2014 "Introducing Mike Nagoda" video below (bottom clip).
Finally, Nagoda stumbled upon Brian Cober, a respected double-slide guitarist, and that pretty much changed his world forever.
"It blew my mind," Nagoda says. "You hear stories of people when they saw [Jimi] Hendrix at Woodstock, and it was completely revolutionary for the guitar. That's what it was like for me because I'd never seen anybody play with two slides before."
Nagoda, whose friend designed and built his special slides, can now play any chord he wants in any key he wants.
"[I] love The AristoCats," Nagoda wrote in his July 10 Facebook post. "I would watch the scene with Scat Cat over and over as kid, and it was probably my first exposure to jazz. And yes, Scat Cat is the boss!"
Nagoda released an album, Parliament, last year via Ropeadope Records. You can sample and/or order it here. As a bonus, the album features double-slide guitar work by Cober (and Nagoda, of course). Enjoy!
Everybody Wants To Be A (Jazz) Cat! Love the Aristocats, would watch the scene with Scat Cat over and over as kid, and it was probably my first exposure to jazz! And yes, Scat Cat is the boss!! #jotw #jazzdoubleslide #scatcatisfreakingamazing
Posted by Mike Nagoda on Friday, July 10, 2015
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado. His New York-based band, the Blue Meanies, has toured the world and elsewhere. Fanelli, a former member of Brooklyn jump-blues/rockabilly band the Gas House Gorillas and New York City surf-rock band Mister Neutron, writes GuitarWorld.com's The Next Bend, a column dedicated to B-benders. His latest liner notes can be found in Legacy's Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection. Follow him on Facebook,Twitter and/or Instagram.