Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 77
Ernie Isley: Jeff Moore/ZUMA.
I went to the Fender Custom Shop and said, "I want
a guitar that's hand-carved with roses on it." I told
them I wanted the letters Z-E-A-L on the neck, and
no dots. I also wanted two Doves Of Peace in mother
of pearl at the 12th fret. The white one has lavender
roses, a diamond in her navel between the G and D
strings, and a hand-carved rose on back. That's the
Zeal Guitar #3.
Zeal is burning desire - the thing that keeps you
alive with a heartbeat. The essence of your life is zeal.
To be playing from that place is a spiritual foundation.
That's really what it's about. The three Zeal Guitars I
have are the best-looking instruments to ever come
out of the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation,
bar none. Anybody who sees them is like, "Wow!"
Anybody who plays a Strat that don't look like mine, I
feel sorry for them (laughs). If you're standing onstage
with me with your guitar, you've got a 10-speed and
I've got a Harley Davidson (laughs)! Fender can do a
production model, but they need to give me a couple
of bucks (laughs)!
Any chance of another solo record like High Wire?
We'll have to see where this goes with the SantanaIsley project. With a Santana-Isley tour, we can do all
kinds of things. We could do "That Lady" or "Everybody's Everything." I'll be smiling like the Joker. We
had a series of shows and played with Carlos during
his residency in Las Vegas. It was a great experience.
Playing with him and his band is like, "Wow!"