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Nick McCabe (born Nicholas Jonathon McCabe, 14 July 1971, St Helens, Lancashiremarker) is a musician best known as the lead guitarist of The Verve.

Early life

Nick McCabe was the son of a bus driver and has two older brothers, Alan and Paul. When asked about how he became a guitarist, he responded: "I just got a guitar, and I could play a few things on it, and I liked messing with it, and I liked making my own things up." He attended Haydock High School, and later met Richard Ashcroft at Winstanley Collegemarker. Ashcroft described McCabe's guitar playing as sounding like "a whole other universe"; the two briefly played in a band whilst at college. After leaving college, McCabe trained to be a quantity surveyor until giving it up to form The Verve along with Ashcroft, Simon Jones and Peter Salisbury.Nick McCabe has a daughter named Elly McCabe.

The Verve

McCabe was generally an aloof member, being involved in relatively few interviews. Tensions and power struggles between McCabe and Ashcroft would later cause the band's dissolution. The first breakup happened in 1995 when Ashcroft left after the band's second album, A Northern Soul. Shortly thereafter Ashcroft reformed the band without McCabe, replacing him with Simon Tong. McCabe returned home to work on his own music and spend time with his daughter until Ashcroft asked him to return in 1997, for the band's third album, Urban Hymns. Despite the album's success, McCabe left in 1998, and although The Verve continued touring without him, the band later split for the second time in early 1999.

In early 2007, McCabe made peace with Ashcroft, and the band reunited. A new album, Forth, was released in 2008. However, the band broke up again in 2009.

Other projects

After The Verve's split in 1999, McCabe kept a low profile. In 2001, he played on "Walking Home" for John Martyn's album, On the Cobbles. In 2002, he played on "Lost Broadcast" for Faultline's album Your Love Means Everything. In 2004, McCabe's remix of The Music's song "The People" appeared on their single "Freedom Fighters". In March 2009, following the death of Martyn, McCabe discussed Martyn's music and the experience of working with him in an interview with Mojo.

Later that year McCabe founded a new band called The Black Ships, with Jones, drummer Mig Schillace, and electric violinist Davide Rossi.

Musical style

McCabe stood still whilst playing, with one reviewer in 1993 describing him as having "coaxed gorgeous, shimmering wodges of sound from his instrument while exuding all the enthusiasm of a man waiting for a bus."

McCabe has cited artists such as Joy Division, John Martyn and Eddie Hazel as inspirations. He has also expressed his fondness of synthesizers and explained his 'psychedelic' sound as trying to make a guitar sound like a synthesizer by using effects pedals and valve Amps.

Producer Owen Morris referred to McCabe as "without a shadow of a doubt the most gifted musician I've ever worked with", but also claimed he was "a complete and utter nightmare" to work with, saying "He'll never play the same thing twice. Now you can ask Noel Gallagher to play the same guitar line a hundred times, and as long as there's a good reason for him doing it, he'll do it. But with Nick you've got no chance. But that's what he does, y'know?"


Amps (partial):

  • Mesa/boogie Mk III combo
  • Roland JC120 (daisy-chained to the boogie)
  • Marshall solid state bass amp

Effects (partial):

  • Alesis Quadraverb+
  • Selmer (Wem licensee) Copycat
  • Roland 201 Space Echo
  • Boss od-1 pedal
  • Ibanez analogue flanger
  • Eventide H3000
  • Roland GP-8
  • Digitech Whammy WH-4

Guitars (partial):

  • Gibson Les Paul
  • Fender Stratocaster (1979)
  • Gibson ES-335.
  • Fender Jazzmaster (1959) 70's
  • Fender Telecaster Deluxe
  • Gibson Flying V
  • Fender 12-String
  • Mandolin
  • Ovation acoustic





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