Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Top 10 Favorite Guitarists Of All Time

Before I began I would like to explain that this won't be the conventional top guitarists of all time list. You won't see the usual suspects like Jeff Beck, Clapton, Hendricks, Vaughn or anyone like that. These are the guitarists I've always enjoyed over the years that I feel are overlooked. Maybe because they weren't active in the 60's and 70's, maybe because they were over shadowed by their band mates, or maybe because they actually suck. Anyways....

10) Johnny Marr - The Smiths, Johnny Marr and the Healers - The Smiths are one of those bands where the band mates hated each other immensely but still managed to crank out great tunes. Things were so bad between Morrissey and Marr (hell Morrissey hates everyone but himself) that they broke up right after recording their last album, Strangeways Here We Come. Marr's guitar always stood out, even more than Morrissey's vocals.

9) Josh Homme - Queens of the Stone Age - I've touched on QOTSA before, Homme, I think, is a great guitarist, his extended live jams are great. Sure he hits the bong and pills and booze more than he really should, but he's still tops in my book.

8) David Gilmour - Pink Floyd - I really didn't get into Floyd until Division Bell, blasphemy I know, but Gilmour's guitar is expressive and smooth, just like me baby. (awkward silence).

7) Vernon Reid - Living Colour - Just shreds the guitar. Very talented and very egotistical. Aren't they all? I was sold after hearing Cult of Personality.

6) J. Mascis - Dinosaur, Jr. - Complete freak of nature in terms of talent and appearance. I once heard a bootleg tape of J. completely drunk off his ass go on stage for open mic night at a trendy bar somewhere on the east coast and basically play 5 new songs right on the spot on the acoustic guitar. I kept thinking this was bullshit but apparently it happened that way. Good to see Dinosaur, Jr. come back with new material this year.

5) Pete Townsend - The Who - The brains behind The Who that, until recently, was always looked over as a great guitarist. His acoustic prowess is what impresses me more than anything. I still get goose bumps when I hear the opening of Pinball Wizard. Of course, I also get goose bumps when Is There Something I Should Know by Duran Duran comes on.

4) Eric Johnson - Solo - Just an unbelievably talented guitarist. He came on the scene in Texas at the tender age of 15 hot licking blues around the Austin bar scene. He never really hit the big time and really never became a household name just because his music is really an acquired taste, and a lot of people don't like that taste, including all of my girlfriends. I have to credit 92.3 for turning me on to Eric, they played Cliffs Of Dover non stop waaaay back in 1990.

3) Alex Lifeson - Rush - I always find it weird Lifeson never gets any...um...props (fuck I hate that word), but he doesn't. Spirit of Radio is one hell of a lick and before Rush started introducing moogs to their repertoire Alex was the one leading the band. I personally think he's talented as hell but since Rolling Stone or the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame doesn't (pretty much the same thing) I guess I'm wrong.

2) Bob Mould - Husker Du/Sugar - Probably the loudest guitar I've ever heard and he's talented as hell. Divide and Conquer is a great tune.

1) Andy Summers - The Police - He couldn't write any songs worth a damn but he is a great guitarist in my book. Sting and Stewart Copeland were the ones getting all the accolades, well Sting really, but Andy always seemed to be left in the cold. I like his style and he is the first guitarist I ever liked. Sting pretty much was a douche to him his entire career.

Classic Guitarist I Actually Like

Jimi Hendrick
Jimmy Paige
Eric Clapton - with Cream only, not big on his solo stuff
Duane Allman
Jon Petrucci


Michael Maier said...

With you 100% on Alex Lifeson. I love his solos, but his chord work is really sweet too.

Vernon Reid with LC is just sick. I keep meaning to pick up his solo work.

My own contributions to the discussion...

I think Dweezil Zappa is overlooked. He did some cheesy 80's stuff but I defy anyone to watch the "Zappa Plays Zappa" DVD and not be stunned. And luckily I got to watch him do that live down in Louisville 2 years ago.

John-O said...

Nobody's going to know who this cat is (other than Steve), but a guy called Chuck Davies belongs on a great guitarists list. He used to be local, with a band that went by several different names and changed lead singers a time or two (their original lead singer's given name is, no kidding, Robert Zimmerman), but now he's based out of Dallas. You can click here to check out his MySpace page. He used to play the Slippery Noodle's Blues Jam from time to time - and watching him play, you can just tell he was born with it.

Also, like the band or not, Pearl Jam's Mike McCready is a badass.

Prime Mover said...

I have to admit I have never heard Dweezil play, his dad yes, him no. But I'm sure the apple didn't fall far from the tree. I think he and his brother are hilarious together (Ahmed?)

I have heard of Chuck through the local scene when I was young, single and kidless. Though I have never heard him play unfortunately. I do agree with you on the Pearl Jam guitarists (McCready and Gossard), they are talented, even the bassist (Jeff Ahment?) isn't bad, and they have one of my favorite drummers (Matt Cameron) on board I just don't care for Vedder as you've heard a million times over from me. Pearl Jam is a great "jam" band, but it seems they are over shadowed by Vedder waaaay too much. So much potential.

Godfather Weilhammer said...

I'm with you on Chuck, a born badass. Good list, very interesting pics.