The old man onstage at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios--the guy with the face like a weathered catcher's mitt who is sitting in a wheelchair in his satin coach's jacket and gimme cap, fretting his baby-blue Gretsch with a butter knife clutched in his polio-stricken right hand--is probably the only person in the room who doesn't know who his bass player is. Actually, strike that: He's definitely the only one here who's not aware that the scruffy man to his left, in rock-star leather pants and jacket, usually plays guitar for one of the most famous rock bands in the country, R.E.M. In fact, not only does CeDell Davis have no idea that Peter Buck is in his band on this brisk night in late January, he couldn't tell you who anyone onstage is. Well, except for Joe Cripps, who's been trying to coax a new album out of him for years, and Thomas Jones, the young guitarist who has been dropping by Davis' house in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, for the past few years just so he... More >>>
"Once he and R.L. Burnside are gone, that's it," R.E.M.'s Peter Buck says of 74-year-old CeDell Davis. "It's all going to be people that grew up hearing it second-hand."