Asım Can Gündüz
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Asım Can Gündüz (born in 1955, Istanbul) is a Turkish rock and blues guitarist. He is also known as Awesome John, especially outside Turkey, partly because his name is pronounced very much like Awesome (Asım) John (Can).
Gündüz lived in New York City until the early 1980s as John Gundez where he formed "Zacharia", a 3 piece rock band playing his original material. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Alvin Lee and Jan Ackerman, Johnny Winter, he sold out 4 nights at the Bottom Line, a famous NYC night club. The club owner called him the best guitarist he ever heard, while being interviewed live on radio. He once opened for Leslie West, and was kept on stage for 4 encores. Gündüz also starred (portraying Jimi Hendrix) in the Broadway musical "Jimi and Janis Together Again". During these performances he was touted by critics as "the coming of the next Jimi Hendrix". His career in the USA was cut short after family obligations forced Gündüz to return to Turkey at the height of his USA career. Returning to Turkey, he formed many influential rock bands like Ambulans, Delikanlı, Affetmez, Çapkınlar, Hard Rakı. Gündüz finished the sessions for his first album Anasının Gözü Cin Gibi in 1989, but it could only be released three years after, in 1992. The tapes of the record were circulated in these three years, making a great influence on the rock genre in Turkey. Gündüz released his second album Bir Sevgi Eseri / "A Work Of Love" which consisted of Turkish versions of blues classic in 1998.
Presence in Turkish culture
Asım Can Gündüz is best known for his high energy guitar shows and powerful stage presence. He is also doing charity work and social service for the needy, having done countless charity concerts and fund raisers for victims of poverty and natural disasters.
Outspoken and outlandish in his media presence Asım Can Gündüz is a mixture of modern electric guitar virtuoso, stage show man and talk show host, and social activist all in one, making him very unusual amongst Turkish Pop icons. He is credited with being the first artist to perform Turkish Rap, Turkish Hard Rock, and Turkish blues. His virtuoso guitar skills and colorful showmanship has attracted viewers from around the world to Awesome John related videos and info on the internet. It was after the year 2000 that Asım Can Gündüz / Awesome John once again started touring and performing outside of his native Turkey performing thrilling shows regularly posted on public internet video sites creating great interest from internet viewers.