Plenty Of Inspiration
I hope this is not too boring, and I know I will be dating myself by some of the names I will be dropping. I'm aware that most of the readers/members at this site are into metal or predominately heavy music. Same way with me when I was 19 or 20. I wanted to write a list article for Ultimate Guitar, but not the typical best of list. So the following is a list of (mostly) guitarists that I was exposed to early on, but after 12, 15, or 20 years, still get inspiration from. They're not listed in any particular order:Jeff Beck - He continues to surprise, and he has never been afraid to change in order to progress. His playing has such attitude! He hasn't been able to hide behind a lead singer since the early 1070s, and he can still fill arenas. Smart enough to develop other interests and not tour 200 days a year into his 50s - I think that helps him maintain his enthusiasm for new albums and tours, when he decides to do them.Glenn Phillips - not the Glenn Phillips in Toad The Wet Sprocket, this guy is based in Atlanta and has been releasing albums on his own for years with short regional tours. I guess you could call it rock/fusion. Very broad in command of styles and uses lot's of dynamics. Should be huge and playing on lot's of other peoples albums, but I guess he never wanted to make the move to NYC or LA.Jimi Hendrix - What can you say? He sculpted air with electricity, it's like his soul came out his fingers. He and Dylan proved you don't have to have a pretty voice to be successful in rock. I really like the soul and beauty in his quieter chord work, like Little Wing or Castles Made Of Sand.Jimmy Page - I appreciate him more for his skills arranging parts in a song than for his solos. Plenty of classic riffs, and he gets a real variety of tones in the studio. And maybe most importantly, he rarely overplayed on studio recordings.Eddie Van Halen - Another What can you say? musician. I think what I get out of him is a ridiculously expressive vibrato, and he is an excellent rhythm player as well. Killer tone, of course. Proved that guitar brand is irrelevant; most of what he used on the first album was slapped together with parts from different guitars.Mitch Easter - ... Whom many of you may have never heard of. Had a band in the 80s (Let's Active) that put out four of five albums. Engineered REM's first two albums. Has played on and produced gobs of other peoples records. Plays in alternative/pop/rock band Shalini today and runs his own studio never overplays on records, he achieves incredible tones in the studio. For me, proved that someone with talent and desire could achieve at a high level and make great sounding records without leaving their definitely not-hip home state of NC.Marty Willson - Piper and Peter Koppes - Both of these guys play in an Australian band known as The Church. Started out as a very poppy band for teenage girls, evolved into one of the most psychedelic bands in the world, and really use a lot of dynamics and atmosphere in their songs. Usually I here something new when I go back and listen to their songs. They just kept getting better and better, and don't really pay attention to trends.John Scofield - Where jazz meets soul and funk, John will throw some curves at you. Played with Miles Davis a long time ago. Keeps his music fresh by playing with a lot of young guys. I like the playful attitude in a lot of his playing.James Honeyman-Scott - Incredible sense of melody, and could play solos that did not overshadow the singer (Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders). Too bad he had to check out early.Peter Erskine - What a drummer can be. Incredibly dynamic and powerful, even in quite passages.Bill Frissell - Another jazzbo who uses effects in new and unusual ways. Great melodies and quirky enough for repeated listening.Jerry Garcia - Not the most talented but he always had a signature tone, something everyone wants. Great melodiesPaul Westerberg - Formerly of the Replacements, the influence I get from Paul is songwriting. The Replacements were a rocking combo in their day, Paul is doing the solo thing now and still writing good songs.Dave Faulkner and Brad Shepherd - Incredible power-pop tag team, excellent energy, always manage to get a great tone to tape. They broke up for a couple of years and now they are back together.Johnny Marr - Guitarist for the Smiths, The The, and now has his own group, Johnny Marr and the Healers. Melodies that stick in your head for days. Good interview here. Plays for the song, good at layering parts in a song that still don't overwhelm the vocal. I usually hear something new when I listen to a Smiths song with headphones. I have to admit I don't like his new stuff as much.
Honorable Mention / Albums And SinglesSteve Vai, The Attitude Song, on Flexable. His sense of humor, tone, and atttude are all there right at the start!Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares - I heard this album 9 years ago and it's still incredible. They are using scales that are unfamiliar to Western ears and the some of the melodies stick in your head.The Chills, Heavenly Pop Hit (single) - It is what it is