“I played House of the Rising Sun in my fifth-grade talent show. Afterward Stevie Ray Vaughan walked up and said, ‘I play guitar, too’ and our friendship began”: Meet Rocky Athas, the guitarist who went to school with SRV and inspired Brian May to tap

Rocky Athas
(Image credit: Arnie Goodman)

Over the last 50-odd years, a hell of a lot of great guitarists have come out of Texas. Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Johnny Winter and Billy Gibbons come to mind – but ever-rocking blues bruiser Rocky Athas should never be far from top of the list.

Having connections with SVR, Brian May, Glenn Hughes and John Mayall, Athas has seen it all since breaking ground in the ‘70s. He’s also been a member of Black Oak Arkansas, covered Hendrix and Cream, and dropped nine records under his own name.

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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.