Friday, 31 July 2015

Let It Be

Message to Sir Paul McCartney:  I’ve read the recent Esquire Interview, and you should just leave it alone, man.

You’re adored.  You’re respected.  But it's not a contest.  It shouldn't be a contest.  The magic was the 4 of you.  You'll all different.  4 amazing individuals who created one special thing.

Since the breakup you’ve been great.  Terrific.  Wonderful.  But you don’t have anything to prove, and you can’t compete against a ghost.

Just let it be, man.  To Hell with what Yoko said or did.  It's not a contest.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

On Time

Gibson’s 10 Classic Rock Bands That Deserve Another Look shows how reductivist corporate radio has denied us some fantastic music.

All of these bands used to be mainstays on the radio – but sadly are now rarely heard at all.

Chicago created a revolution.  Three Dog Night were massive.  Rare Earth were fantastic musicians who cranked out monster hits.  Spirit were regarded as geniuses.  Everyone loved Steppenwolf.  The music has aged well.  So how come no airplay?  It’s a mystery.

What strikes me most about the list is the range of musical styles covered, and the fact that you could hear of of these bands on the same station in the same afternoon - a happy reflection of the time when these bands thrived, and perhaps another sad reflection of today’s radio.

Thanks for the reminder, Gibson.  Luckily, I have most of this music on my iPod.  Time to go have a listen.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Forever Man

It’s not a secret that Eric Clapton is my favourite guitarist, and I was fortunate enough to see the concert of a lifetime during his brief farewell stint at the Royal Albert Hall this past May.

I’ve seen him five times now, and each show was wonderful, but this one was special: a) because of the venue; b) because it was the last.  The bittersweet feeling that “this was it” dampened my enjoyment of a terrific performance, but I still came out of the hall breathless and exhilarated.

Clapton is the man.  You could endlessly debate who has more skill, who had the best solo, the best riff, the biggest wow factor, but Clapton’s body of work stands apart.  He’s given so much; it would be selfish to begrudge him his retirement.

Thanks, Eric.  You had the key to the highway.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Rhythm Ninjas

Guitar World’s 50 Greatest Rhythm Guitarists of All Time proves the point that you can have a tremendous impact without being a flashy soloist.

Chuck Berry, Steve Cropper, Bo Diddley, Don Everly, The Edge, Keef, Andy Summers, Pete Townshend, Malcolm Young … these guys defined the sound of the band, erected the songs on their chords, and for the most part didn’t need a solo to make the tune kick butt.

As Danny Kortchmar says, “it’s easier to play a screamer solo over a heavy groove than it is to make that groove.”

Which is why cats like Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, who are perhaps know for their soloing, are also on the list.  And deservedly so:  it ain’t easy to give us a rhythmic groove and a solo all at the same time.

I can’t figure out why John Lennon doesn’t make these lists, though.  Maybe my Beatles obsession just drives me to want to include a guitarist who happened to play rhythm, as opposed to a guitarist of revolutionary importance.  Maybe, but I still think he was pretty darn good.