_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

So the kid — my kid — wants a Flying V.

That’s a guitar, Mom, a badass guitar from outer space, the V formed by wings of solid wood that look like a stealth jet, like an evil chevron, like something that would make a very effective weapon in a pinch, if anyone were ever stupid enough to step to someone who owned a Flying V.

It’s the guitar favored by the likes of Kirk Hammett from Metallica, that dude from the Scorpions and Mr. Albert King, who generally wore a sharp brown suit when he set the template for electric blues with his 1959 Gibson Flying V.

That guitar, the internet tells me, has passed into the hands of puffy movie actor Steven Seagal.


I’m not sure why this kid has his eye on the V. He’s a guitarist, pretty heavy into his classical training — reminding me that Yngwie Malmsteen used to throw down on a Flying V. So there’s that.

But this kid, I’m almost certain, has never heard of any of these people. It wasn’t so long ago, just a few years, that he looked at me with complete sincerity and asked me if I had ever heard of Jimi Hendrix.

Hendrix was known to play the V once in a while, but I don’t think the kid knows that.

The gaps in his musical knowledge astound me sometimes. He knows about the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, sort of, but last week I realized that he doesn’t understand how those bands relate to the Who and Pink Floyd. He has no idea who Rod Stewart is, which actually may be a good thing.

He’s on his way, though, just beginning to log the thousands of hours necessary to internalize the canon. What took me decades to listen to over my bedroom stereo and through the headphones of a Walkman while I shot baskets in the driveway, he can probably knock out over a single summer using his phone while sitting by the pool.

Kids these days….

That Flying V, tho… where did that notion come from? I asked him directly, and I don’t think he even knows.

Doesn’t matter, really. I believe that every kid who wants a Flying V should have one. Consider it fertilizer for the tree of rock.

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