“I don’t go in with an idea of what guitar I want to use. One will call out to me, saying, ‘OK, it’s my turn.’ It leads to something that comes explicitly from that instrument”: Art rock icon Bill Nelson has 80 guitars, but he ditched amps a long time ago

Bill Nelson
(Image credit: Martin Bostock)

With his group Be Bop Deluxe, Wakefield, UK-born guitarist Bill Nelson merged the worlds of glam, art, and experimental rock, creating a six-string concoction all set to boil over.

For the uninitiated, guitar-forward albums like Axe Victim (1974), Futurama (1975), Sunburst Finish (1976), Modern Music (1976) and Drastic Plastic (1978) represent some of the tastiest yet off-kilter shred heroics of the ‘70s. And if Nelson had stopped there, the cult following he’d gained through those records would have carried his legacy for a lifetime.

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Andrew Daly

Andrew Daly is an iced-coffee-addicted, oddball Telecaster-playing, alfredo pasta-loving journalist from Long Island, NY, who, in addition to being a contributing writer for Guitar World, scribes for Rock Candy, Bass Player, Total Guitar, and Classic Rock History. Andrew has interviewed favorites like Ace Frehley, Johnny Marr, Vito Bratta, Bruce Kulick, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Rich Robinson, and Paul Stanley, while his all-time favorite (rhythm player), Keith Richards, continues to elude him.