Blackbyrd McKnight on his tumultuous tenure with Red Hot Chili Peppers, the secret to great funk guitar playing, and why Jimi Hendrix is far from overrated

Blackbyrd McKnight
(Image credit: Gary Miller/FilmMagic)

Over the course of a 50-year career in music, DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight has scrawled his signature across droves of meaningful records littering the jazz, fusion, and funk landscapes.

McKnight grew up in a home filled with music, but unlike many of his contemporaries, it wasn't radio or a bustling local scene that hooked the youngster on music; instead, it was the images McKnight saw on his parents' television that shaped his earliest leanings.

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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.