George Cole (born October 10, 1960 in San Francisco, California) is the producer, composer, lyricist, vocalist, and lead guitarist for the Gypsy jazz/Uptown Swing band George Cole and Eurocana. He was also a guitarist for the pop rock band Beatnik Beatch and Big Blue Hearts. He played on Chris Isaak's platinum selling Forever Blue album. George Cole is a highly sought after music educator with over 30 years of experience. Some of his former students have risen to prominence. George Cole was the guitar instructor of Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt for eight years before they started the punk rock band Green Day. Other successful former students of George Cole are Ethan Roberts and Danny Jones. Ethan Roberts was guitarist/musical director for Katy Perry, Selena Gomez & The Scene, and Cheyenne Kimball.



George Cole grew up in Richmond, California. He attended Kennedy High School. He performed in the band "Young Country" in the late 1970s and The Upstarts in the early 1980s. His favorite band as a child was The Benny Goodman Quartet.[1] George also loved Louis Prima, Keely Smith, The Mills Brothers, Alan Sherman, and the Beatles.

Guitar InstructorEdit

George Cole has taught guitar lessons to promising musicians for over twenty-five years. He began teaching guitar lessons in California in the 1980s. Among his many students, he taught and mentored Billie Joe Armstrong for ten years and the bassist Mike Dirnt of the punk rock band Green Day. "Cole and Billie Joe would frequently spend afternoons jamming together, free-form style with the teacher winging off as many odd notes as his pupil.[2] He helped them have their first recording session at a studio at RDR studios in San Francisco in 1986. Armstrong received his first electric guitar, a Fernandes Stratocaster copy that he named "Blue", that his mother bought from Cole. Cole bought the guitar new from David Margen of the band Santana. Cole gave Armstrong a Bill Lawrence Humbucking pickup and told him to install the pickup in the bridge position. Armstrong then switched back to a Seymour Duncan JB pickup that he still uses today. "Armstrong fetishized his teacher's guitar, partly because the blue instrument had a sound quality and Van Halen - worthy fluidity he couldn't get from his little red Hohner. He prized it mostly, however, because of his relationship with Cole, another father figure after the death of Andy."[3]


George Cole was lead guitarist in the pop rock band Beatnik Beatch from 1984-1988. With Beatnik Beatch, he performed with Warren Zevon and Buster Poindexter.[4] Beatnik Beatch has a music video featuring George Cole on VH1. They won a BAMMY - Bay Area Music Award for Best New Major Label Artist.[5] George Cole was a member of the band Big Blue Hearts from 1997-2000. He toured with Joe Walsh of The Eagles, recorded with producer Roy Thomas Baker, and they performed with Robert Cray, Ringo Starr, and Boz Scaggs.[6] George Cole started the Jazz band George Cole and Vive Le Jazz in 2006 and is the Producer, Composer, Lyricist, Vocalist, and lead guitarist. The band was a five piece acoustic jazz band. George performed a sold out performance at Carnegie Hall in New York as part of a world flute festival concert to benefit In Defense of Animals The band performed at a San Francisco Chapter of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’s (Grammy's) celebration.[4] In 2010-2011 George Cole released his most recent recording Riverside Drive and toured extensively in the United States with a quintet. George Cole is the co-founder, curator, and director of guitar and violin for the Annual Esprit de Django et Stephane Festival that takes place at the end of January each year at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley California. This festival is differentiated from other Django Reinhardt festivals in that it honors the legacy of the great jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli and his collaboration with Django. George Cole (as of 2013) performs Gypsy Jazz and Uptown Swing with various highly skilled musicians


George has owned and performed with acoustic Selmer Guitars 103 and 520. Selmer 520 was played by Django Reinhardt on a tour in Europe in the 1940s.[7] George plays guitars made by master luthiers Bob Holo and Peter Zwinakis.

Selected discographyEdit

The Hot Club

  • Samois Faire (2007) -- Executive Producer, vocals, guitars

George Cole

  • George Cole (2004) -- Producer, guitars

Compilation (Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Lavay Smith...)

  • New Sirens of Song: Sultry Singers (2003) -- Producer, guitars

Christie McCarthy

  • Everyday Real (2003) -- Producer, guitar

Glassbrick Boulevard

  • A Ride Up The Mountain Where Miracles Live (2002) -- guitars

Lee Seung-Hwan

  • Egg (over Easy) (2003) -- guitars

Fred Horn

  • Steady Fready (1999) -- guitars

Jerry Shelfer

  • Slipaway (1992) -- guitars

Chris Isaak

Beatnik Beatch

  • At the Zula Pool (1986) -- guitar
  • Beatnik Beach (1986) -- guitar


  1. Fields, Jack. "New CD: Samois Faire, by the Hot Club". Retrieved 2009-01-13. [dead link]
  2. Spitz, Marc (2006). Nobody Likes You: inside the turbulent life, times, and music of Green Day. Hyperion. p. 11. 
  3. Spitz, Marc (2006). Nobody Likes You: inside the turbulent life, times, and music of Green Day. Hyperion. pp. 11–14. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Thomas, Michelle. "Biography of George Cole". Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  5. Template:Cite video
  6. Script error
  7. Swift, Sheila. "Selmer Acoustic Guitars". Retrieved 2009-01-13. 

External linksEdit

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