JD Simo unpacks the legacy of Elvis Presley and reveals how he nailed Scotty Moore’s guitar tone for Baz Luhrmann’s new biopic

Elvis and JD Simo
(Image credit: Adam Abrashoff; Fotos International/Getty Images)

When working with producer Dave Cobb, guitarist JD Simo has learned to expect the unexpected. Cobb’s unconventional studio methods are the stuff of industry legend, and while the two are longtime colleagues and friends, Simo knows that every project will be different in sound and approach. 

So it was when he began work on Elvis, the Baz Luhrmann biopic, which opens on June 24. From June 2018 until December 2021, while touring on his own, recording his third solo album, Mind Control (released November 2021), and during the pandemic, Simo, who is based in Nashville, was in and out of RCA Studio A, tracking for the film and soundtrack with drummer Chris Powell, keyboardist Philip Towns, and bassist Brian Allen. 

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Alison Richter is a seasoned journalist who interviews musicians, producers, engineers, and other industry professionals, and covers mental health issues for GuitarWorld.com. Writing credits include a wide range of publications, including GuitarWorld.com, MusicRadar.com, Bass Player, TNAG Connoisseur, Reverb, Music Industry News, Acoustic, Drummer, Guitar.com, Gearphoria, She Shreds, Guitar Girl, and Collectible Guitar.