“I got this tremendous electric shock and fell off stage. I came round with people saying, ‘Are you okay?’ and ‘Is your guitar insured?’” Art-rock’s elder statesman Bill Nelson on his wildest guitar stories – and why he still swears by the Line 6 Pod

Bill Nelson
(Image credit: Adam Gasson)

Bill Nelson is not your average guitar hero. Looking at his extensive back catalogue – from the early solo work, through Be-Bop Deluxe, Red Noise and beyond – shows an artist who maintains a youthful sense of curiosity and a disregard for the categories that can become a creative straitjacket for many.

Bill operates outside the mainstream, in a similar way to Jeff Beck or Mike Oldfield in having all the instrumental skills you could wish for but seeking to use these purely for musical expression, rather than as an end in itself. Collaborations with artists such as David Sylvian, Gary Numan, the Skids and Yellow Magic Orchestra, to name just a few, further demonstrate this. 

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Richard Barrett

As well as a longtime contributor to Guitarist and Guitar Techniques, Richard is Tony Hadley’s longstanding guitarist, and has worked with everyone from Roger Daltrey to Ronan Keating.