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Tone Masseve

“I have no doubt if these composers were alive today they would be playing and writing for electric guitar.”*- Tone Masseve

AKA Anthony Goins Jr.

Rock, Blues and Classical guitarist

Born September 18, 1970

Died November 27, 1997

 

His mother, painter Eve Mass, was from Holland. His father Anthony Goins Sr., from North, Carolina, was a musician. Tone was born in New York City.

 

At age 6 he built his own guitar out of scrap wood, nails and rubber bands. Although it did make sound was wasn't playable as a musical instrument. His parents were impressed with his creativity and bought him a second hand Harmony Airline Stratotone electric guitar but couldn't afford an amp. He immediately taught himself the chords to The House of the Rising Sun.

 

When he was 12 he heard about The Tom Scholz Rockman headphone amp. He pled, argued and  badgered his mother until she finally gave in and bought him one. He practiced constantly to the exclusion of everything else. Schoolwork, sports, friends, TV and sometimes even meals went neglected when he was practicing. His mother would often find him late at night asleep with his headphones on and his guitar in his hands. He started playing live at age 13 with his band The Footnotes.

When Tone was 15 his mother died. He blamed his father for her death and disavowed all connection to him. He shortened his given name from Anthony to Tone. He also took as his surname, a combination of his mother’s two names in reverse order, Mass - Eve. That same year he left home. By the time he was 18 he was doing session work in NYC.

 

Graham Parker saw him playing with a band called Robazz Bowtime, and asked him to play with him. That only lasted a few gigs. “I didn’t play with Tone for a great deal of time, but it was one of the most illuminating musical experiences of my career. Yes, he was that good.  But like many artists of genius calibre, he could be a bit of a Bolshy bastard and get right up in your face with some right daft ranting. The price of such extreme talent, no doubt."

 

Tone was dyslexic which made sight reading of notated music impossible. He did have the ability to instantly memorize long complicated musical passages. If he heard a piece once he could pick up his guitar and not only play it, but play it with every subtlety and nuance in the original piece. 

 

With his musical ear he picked up languages easily. In addition to English, he spoke; French, Gaelic, Yiddish and Nadsat fluently.

 

Tone was also a synesthete. Music for him was not only sound. It was sound he could see. It was a series of moving, changing forms. He saw the sound of individual instruments as distinct dynamic symbols. The shape and movement of those symbols reflected their pitch, volume, attack, sustain and timbre. He saw the stereo field as a virtual musical landscape."It was easy for me to do all of these arrangements cause I can see the harmonies between the guitar parts as moving lines floating in the air." - Tone

His death, at such a young age, was a loss to the world of music. More

*All of the quotes from Tone on this website are from an unpublished interview for The Woodstock Times.