Earl Slick (born Frank Madeloni in Brooklyn, New York, October 1, 1952) is an American guitarist best known for his collaborations with David Bowie, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Robert Smith. He has also worked with other artists including John Waite, Tim Curry and David Coverdale, in addition to releasing several solo recordings, and two records with Phantom, Rocker & Slick, the band he formed with Slim Jim Phantom & Lee Rocker (both from Stray Cats).

Earl Slick
Slick in 2011
Slick in 2011
Background information
Birth nameFrank Madeloni
Born (1952-10-01) October 1, 1952 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
GenresBlues rock, hard rock, alternative rock, punk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1970s - present

Musical career edit

In the early 1970s, Earl Slick gained his reputation on the New York music scene as a guitarist while playing in a band called Mack Truck featuring singer-songwriter Jimmie Mack and his brother, drummer Jack Mack along with keyboard player and Grammy award winning mixer Jan Fairchild. His work with Scottish singer-songwriter Jim Diamond was as the duo Slick Diamond. They toured and gave performances for a short time in the late 1970s.

Slick was initially hired by David Bowie, on the recommendation of a friend,[1] to replace Mick Ronson as lead guitarist for the Diamond Dogs tour in 1974 (the live album David Live was recorded during this tour). Slick also played lead guitar on Bowie's Young Americans and Station to Station albums, released in 1975 and 1976 respectively. After disagreements with Bowie's management, Slick was replaced as lead guitarist for the 1976 Station to Station tour by Stacey Heydon. Slick continued working in the studio with former Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono, but also formed his own solo band, releasing both Razor Sharp and Earl Slick Band in 1976.[2] In 1980, Slick formed Silver Condor with east coast singer/writer Joe Cerisano. Silver Condor's first album was released in 1981 on Columbia Records. During the recording Silver Condor's first he was invited to record on Lennon and Ono's Double Fantasy. During the sessions for Double Fantasy, the material for 1984's Milk and Honey was recorded as well. Slick also joined Ono in the studio for her solo album, Season of Glass.

Slick in 1983 during David Bowie's Serious Moonlight Tour

In 1983, Slick rejoined David Bowie's touring band for the Serious Moonlight Tour, which supported the Let's Dance album. Stevie Ray Vaughan had played guitar on the album but left the band right before the tour due to a dispute between his and Bowie's management. Slick was asked to step in as a last-minute replacement due to his prior working relationship with Bowie.[3]

After the Serious Moonlight Tour, Slick played on the Box of Frogs' self-titled album and Game Theory's Distortion EP. At that time, Slick co-founded Phantom, Rocker & Slick with Slim Jim Phantom and Lee Rocker. The band released two records, Phantom, Rocker & Slick and Cover Girl. Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards contributed to the single "My Mistake"—an experience Slick cited as one of the most memorable in his career.[4] Between the two Phantom, Rocker & Slick albums, Slick appeared with Carl Perkins and a host of other musicians including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Rosanne Cash for 1985's Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session.

In 1990, Slick collaborated with David Glen Eisley in the band Dirty White Boy, which released only one album, Bad Reputation (1990), and industry showcases in London and Los Angeles. He also played briefly in Little Caesar in 1991–1992. Working with mentor Michael Kamen, Slick contributed to several soundtracks in the 1990s, including Hudson Hawk and Nothing but Trouble. He released another solo record, In Your Face, in 1991.

In the early 1990s Slick worked for 4 years as a timeshare salesman.[1][5]

In the early 2000s Slick returned to Bowie's roster, appearing on the studio albums Heathen (2002) and Reality (2003). Slick toured with Bowie in support of those albums as well, and performed on the Bowie DVD and double CD, A Reality Tour. Working with producer Mark Plati Slick released a solo album, Zig Zag, with guest performances by Bowie, Robert Smith, Joe Elliott, Royston Langdon and Martha Davis of The Motels.[6] Slick then contributed guitar tracks to a Mark Plati remix of The Cure's A Forest, which appeared on Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities in 2004.

From 2006, he was a member of both The Eons with singer-songwriter Jeff Saphin and Slinky Vagabond. Slinky Vagabond were Glen Matlock, Clem Burke, and Keanan Duffty. Slinky Vagabond (the name comes from the lyrics to the David Bowie song "Young Americans") played their debut concert at the Joey Ramone Birthday Bash in May 2007.[7]

In January 2013, he contributed guitar parts for Bowie on his penultimate album, The Next Day.[8]

In May 2015, Slick joined the Yardbirds, replacing guitarist Top Topham. In August 2015 it was announced that Slick had left the band and was replaced by Johnny A.

In February 2016, he performed a tribute to Bowie at the Brit Awards with Bowie's Reality touring band and the New Zealand singer, Lorde.

Equipment edit

In 2010, Slick announced that he had begun marketing his own line of customized guitar straps, called Slick Straps, in an exclusive distribution deal with Guitar Fetish, an online guitar customizing shop.[9] In addition to the Slick Straps line, Slick has been quoted as endorsing the GFS line of guitar effects pedals marketed by Guitar Fetish.[10]

Framus Earl Slick model, Anaheim NAMM show, 2013

In 2011, Framus International announced the release of the Earl Slick Signature Model guitar.[11][12][13]

In 2014, Slick announced the exclusive distribution deal with Guitar Fetish of his own brand of guitars, featuring his own custom-wound pickups, and aged hardware and finishes. Each is a "stripped-down" model, with only a single volume knob for simplicity. There are currently four models available: the SL-50 and SL-51 (Telecaster copies), the SL-54 (a one-pickup "strat"-style), the SL-57 (3 single-coil pickup Strat copy), the SL-59 (similar to a double-cutaway Les Paul Junior) and the SL-60 (double-cutaway with dual P90 pickups).

Discography edit

Solo edit

  • The Earl Slick Band (1976)
  • Razor Sharp (1976)
  • In Your Face (1991)
  • Lost and Found (2000)
  • Live '76 (2001)
  • Slick Trax (2002)
  • Zig Zag (2003)
  • Fist Full of Devils (2021)

with David Bowie edit

with John Lennon & Yoko Ono edit

with Yoko Ono edit

with Silver Condor edit

  • Silver Condor (1981)

with Phantom Rocker and Slick edit

  • Phantom Rocker and Slick (1986)
  • Cover Girl (1986)

with Jacques Dutronc edit

with Dirty White Boy edit

with Little Caesar edit

  • Influence (1992)

with David Coverdale edit

with Chris Catena edit

  • Discovery (Guest artist)(2009)

Personal life edit

Slick was married to Fanny bassist/singer Jean Millington. He has a daughter, Marita Madeloni, and a son, Lee John Madeloni.[15]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Petridis, Alexis (July 2, 2021). "Rock sideman Earl Slick: 'Bowie had gone levels into insanity'". The Guardian.
  2. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 409. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
  3. ^ Gregory, Hugh (February 9, 2018). Roadhouse Blues: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Texas R&B. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879307479. Retrieved February 9, 2018 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Jeff Slate (February 26, 2013). "Earl Slick: my 12 greatest recordings of all time | Earl Slick: my 12 greatest recordings of all time". MusicRadar. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  5. ^ "Earl Slick: 'Bowie didn't look himself. He was prone to depression. I thought it was that'". The Irish Times.
  6. ^ "EARL SLICK - ZIG ZAG - tastes like chicken". Tlchicken.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  7. ^ "Joey Ramone Birthday Bash 2007". The Village Voice. 2007. Archived from the original on December 9, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2007.
  8. ^ Alexis Petridis (January 12, 2013). "The inside story of how David Bowie made The Next Day". The Guardian. London. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  9. ^ Melissa Esposito Guitar Hero: Earl Slick, "Hudson Valley Magazine", July 16, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2011
  10. ^ Molenda, Michael (May 1, 2010). "Earl Slick, My Six Essential Pedals for Bowie: A Reality Tour". Guitar Player. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  11. ^ Riario, Paul (October 2011). "Review: Framus Earl Slick Signature Series Guitar". Guitar World. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Derrough, Leslie Michele (February 7, 2013). "Earl Slick: In the studio with David Bowie". Glide Magazine. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  13. ^ Molenda, Michael (January 30, 2013). "Earl Slick's Street Rock Odyssey". Guitar Player. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  14. ^ https://www.bowiebible.com/songs/rock-n-roll-with-me/
  15. ^ "David Bowie guitar veteran Earl Slick doubly happy to celebrate Bowie live on tour". Sandiegouniontribune.com. March 5, 2018.

External links edit