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  • Writer's pictureMyra Chapman

Billboard: Stevie Salas on Rumble

..The Godfather of Rock & Metal..

When Stevie Salas was selling out arena tours as Rod Stewart’s guitarist back in the 1980s, even he, an Apache Indian from Oceanside, California, looked around and began to notice that others like him weren’t around. He dug more, and eventually his curiosity about his own people’s story led to discoveries of other Native American musicians like Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson and Randy Castillo helped shape the soundtracks of our lives. Valentina Valentini / Billboard Magazine)

In 2017, after many years of questions and research, Stevie Salas, a well-known and respected guitarist/producer released the film "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World" telling the stories of Native Americans who shaped the landscape of music for future generations, the artists they influenced who were allowed to play it and carry it forward into what it is today.

One of the Native American artists is Link Wray, whose single "Rumble" set off a music revolution, connected blues and rock; and was the catalyst for punk and metal to follow. The single sold over 1-million copies in 1958 and is the only instrumental single to ever be banned by radio in the U.S.

"RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World" is really a movie about the development and history of North America and how all the flavors of different repressed people including Native Americans created everything that we know, but through history things were separated and left out. What we did, is we used music as our sort of thing to guide you in, but really if you watch what happens, and how we influenced music history, it's also how the flavor of our country was developed. It's really a history film where we used music history, which is very important, to show we were left out of the story." - Stevie Salas

From the small N.C. town where he was born to international stages, the music of Link Wray forever changed the landscape of Rock 'n Roll becoming a rock superstar before the term was coined and was always a worldwide underground rock hero.

The distinctive 'power chord' he introduced to the world in his single "Rumble" connected early blues guitarists and later guitar gods of the 1960's (Hendrix, Clapton, Page) on its way to setting off a music revolution that became known simply as ROCK.

Industry charts of the time showed “Rumble” scored just as strongly, if not more so, with young black audiences laying the groundwork for a million punk and metal works in years to come. As a result, the single became incredibly anti-establishment and is the only instrumental ever banned from U.S. radio after becoming a hit.

In 2008, the single "RUMBLE" was added to the National Registry of the Library of Congress. In 2017, the documentary RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, spearheaded by guitarist/producer Stevie Salas, was released to critical acclaim winning multiple awards.​​

Link Wray was nominated for the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 and 2017. Rolling Stone placed Wray at No. 45 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 2018, after the release of the film "RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World" by Salas, the song "Rumble" was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in a new category for singles.

Today, Link Wray is recognized as one of the most influential people in Rock, as the originator of the power chord, is the reason the word “thrash” was invented and is known as the "Godfather of Metal"

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