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What guitar helped turn an REO Speedwagon Eighties pop hit into a blues-rock jam?

AXS TV’s upcoming episode of Mixtape features REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin and Dave Amato, and in this first-look clip the two discuss how a certain electric guitar transformed one of the band’s classic tunes into something new and unique.

In the video, Cronin and Amato discuss the 1987 hit That Ain’t Love, and how the introduction of a Gibson ES-335 guitar turned it from something, well, quite '80s, into a new song.

Says Cronin, “We played the hits, but we’re always kind of tinkering with them a little bit. And there was one song of ours that, it was a hit, and it was part of our core of songs. And years later, it kind of came into my head what we should do to make it better.

“And I suggested to Dave that he should play a Gibson ES-335. And we took this song and turned it from kind of this poppy, kind of synthy thing to kind of more of a bluesier thing that really served the lyric better.”

You can hear Cronin and Amato play the new version of “That Ain’t Love,” admittedly with a pair of Gibson acoustics rather than the discussed ES-335, in the clip at the top of the page.

Recently, of course, Amato was also the recipient of his own signature Gibson Les Paul Axcess Standard model.

For more on Mixtape, head to AXS TV.

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.