GARY Lucas is one of the most innovation, idiosyncratic and daring guitarists that New York has ever produced. Still a pivotal figure in the the city’s leading avant-garde scene his 30 solo LP output, plus countless collaborations and live performances ensures the American composer, author, guitarist receives worldwide praise, but it's in Britain where he often feels most at home.

"I have a long history of being an Anglophile," he laughs. "When I was a boy I was fascinated with English music especially progressive rock and of course both Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley were very successfully able to have careers in the UK whereas they struggled in the US.

"That's true of a lot of artists and I've always looked to England for the style and flash which I found was lacking in the culture I grew up in."

Despite his love of this side of the Atlantic, it's Gary's work with a plethora of legendary American artists, notably the late greats Jeff Buckley and Captain Beefheart, as well as Lou Reed, for which he's probably best known.

The 65-year-old guitarist co-wrote the Buckley classics Grace and Mojo Pin which appeared on the late artist's classic debut album and in the early 1980s he was a pivotal member of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band playing on the Doc at the Radar Station (1980) and Ice Cream for Crow (1982) albums.

His latest tour sees him pay tribute to both musicians by playing live renditions of the much loved songs he co-wrote as well as choice works from his formidable, original back-catalogue – each song given context by form of introduction, musings and memories shared.

"Essentially I'll be giving an overview of my career in music but I'm not going to just revisit the music I did did with Jeff and Beefheart," he explains.

"I've put out something like 30 solo albums ranging from everything from avant garde to classical to blues to Chinese pop - you name it I've done it. It's a diverse and dare I say it spectacular collection and for people who love guitar music they won't have seen a guitar played quite like this before.

"I love to explore the nooks and crannies of the music I grew up loving as a boy and then sharing it with people - it's the best thing you can do as an artist - broaden your audiences' horizons and hopefully install a sense of wonder."

Gary regularly tours the world ensuring people can still hear the music he made with Buckley and Beefheart describing himself as a "keeper of the flame" when it comes to their legacy.

"I loved both of these guys and I'm very sad they are no longer on this earth," he says. "As long as there's life in me I will continue to talk about them and sing their praises and play their music - I love playing it and every time I do it's fresh for me.

"It doesn't get old because it's always challenging and fun and I know people love to hear it. I enjoy giving to people as much as possible and until they come up with holographic representations of Don (Beefheart's real name was Don Van Vliet) and Jeff that's what I'll do."

As well as the songs Gary co-wrote with Buckley for his popular and critically acclaimed album Grace, other collaborations can be heard on the pair's album Songs to No One, which charted internationally with worldwide sales approaching 100,000. Given the scarcity of his back catalogue and Buckley's tragic early death in 1997, aged just 30, fans are always clamouring for more material.

"I'm sitting on a lot of stuff of fantastic quality which I can't release without the estate's approval," sighs Gary. "I'm hoping they'll see fit to release it especially as we're approaching the 25th anniversary of the release of Grace. I have my fingers crossed but for various reasons it hasn't happened - I chip away as best I can but it's an issue concerning the wishes of the estate.

"I wrote about a dozen songs with Jeff but most people only know a few but there are five that are technically unreleased and I think they're some of the best work we both did - it's really good stuff and I'd be more than happy to share it."

During his college years, Gary and his buddies made a pilgrimage from Syracuse University to New York City to catch the East Coast debut performance of his hero, Captain Beefheart, an event which changed his life. Vowing that if he ever did anything professional in music in the future, it would be to join Beefheart's Magic Band, Gary went on to interview and become friends with Beefheart, until after years of hanging around backstage at his gigs, Gary summoned up the courage to reveal that yes, he played guitar and yes, he would love to audition for the Magic Band.

"I made my move at a Frank Zappa show and Don was really pleased to see me and hugged me," remembers Gary. He asked where we could get some barbecued ribs so I took him to an underground barbecue in a black area of Syracuse in a guy's back yard. We were chowing down on ribs when I asked him if I could audition!

"It still took a couple of years but eventually in 1980 I got the call. He gave me a piece of music and said the people in England would dust off the hands of Big Ben just to be able to keep time with the way you're going to be playing on this. That was encouraging!"

Van Vliet retired from music in the 80s to pursue his painting before dying from complications due to multiple sclerosis in 2010 leaving Gary to mourn both his most famous collaborators and continue to pay tribute to them through his music.

"He was the most charming and magical person I knew," adds the guitarist. " You could have spellbinding conversations with Don which took these leaps through time and space and then he'd tie it all together and put a ribbon around it. You felt you were in the presence of someone really great."

At FOCUS Wales 2018 Gary Lucas will be performing as a special guest alongside the legendary Damo Suzuki of the band CAN at UnDegun, Regent St, Wrexham, on Thursday, May 10, with more exciting special guests to be announced. Access to this very special show is only possible with a festival wristband.