“Once I got into the guitar, everything went by the wayside. I was really, really into the guitar. I had actually wanted to play the guitar ever since I was little. I was probably 6 or 7 when I got some records as a gift, little children’s records, all cowboy songs. The records were made of cardboard with pictures printed on them and then a clear acetate overlay with grooves on top of that. They were like 7-inch 78s, little, small 78s. And they were all cowboy songs. My parents’ record collection was all classical music. I’d listened to their classical records for a long time, so I thought I knew all the instruments. But here was this instrument I’d never heard before. I said, ‘What’s that?’ And my mother says, ‘That’s a guitar,’ and she points at this little picture on the front of the record. It’s a cartoon of a cowboy sitting on a horse, and he’s got a guitar across his knee. There’s a moon in the sky and he’s serenading these sleeping cows. I said, ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’ Well, she laughed, I think because she thought I wanted to be a cowboy. But I wanted to be a guitar player, too."
~ Mike Wilhelm (1942 – 2019)
We were saddened to learn today of the passing of Mike Wilhelm of the Charlatans, who Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead considered the best guitarist of the 1960s San Francisco music scene. [Photo of Wilhelm by Herb Greene.]