It’s rare that a band emerges and, with one inspired release, simultaneously launches and perfects a genre of music. Such is the singular case of Black Sabbath. Their 1970 self-titled debut, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year, took the heavy blues and hard-rock idioms that came before and infused them with anthemic tritone riffs, doom-laden drum tempos, maniacal vocals and diabolical lyrics.
Last night, Eddie Van Halen spoke at Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian National Museum of American History and Zocalo Public Square as part of the institution's "What It Means to Be American" series. The Dutch-born Van Halen discussed his American journey, "his role in creating one of the biggest American rock bands of all time and how he has reinvented the way the guitar is played and designed." He answered the question, "Is rock 'n' roll about reinvention?"
Dave Mason’s name is synonymous with Traffic, a legendary British band that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. These days, the guitarist can be found doing shows from coast to coast with his “Traffic Jam” project. But Mason also is known for his solo work and his countless collaborations with a veritable who’s who of rock, including members of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix.
Although the show would last only two seasons, the impact the Monkees had on music cannot be ignored. Their first four albums went to Number 1 and included such hits as "Last Train to Clarksville," "I'm a Believer," "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday."
Considering their resumes, which read like a who’s who of hard rock and metal, calling Revolution Saints a supergroup is something of an understatement. The creative trifecta of Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees) and Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Burning Rain) has put together an inspired collection of songs packed with monster vocals, driving rhythms and (of course) a blistering guitar attack.
Before you click away to the next Slipknot article, consider this: Playing for kids might not be your first choice of a career, but being on stage with a guitar in your hand is a helluva lot better than scooping French fries or sitting in a cubicle. We play music because we love music. Why not get paid to play, even if it’s a non-traditional audience?
Obviously, over the years I've had loads of guitars, but they’ve come and gone. I got to the point where I didn’t think it was nice to have guitars and not use them. All the guitars I’ve got I intend to use. I’ve got a couple of Teles with Lace Sensor pickups and maple necks. Maple necks feel softer to play, and I think you get a bit more sustain. I find the rosewood necks a bit tinnier. But I’m no expert by any means.
The rise of Blackberry Smoke, a hard-working, heavy-riffing quintet of southern-fried road monsters, hasn’t exactly been meteoric. For the past 14-plus years, the Atlanta-based rockers have been enjoying what frontman Charlie Starr calls a “slow build,” playing more than 250 shows a year, touring with ZZ Top, releasing a handful of studio and live discs and, most importantly, forging a legion of rabid fans.
Julian Lage is much more than just a jazz musician. While his musical foundation is rooted firmly in the world of bebop and swing, his playing encapsulates the full breadth of 20th-century American music. The ghosts of Eddie Lang, Skip James, Doc Watson and Elizabeth Cotton haunt his vintage Martin 000-18, with which he creates a sound that is distinctly modern yet deeply indebted to the American folk music tradition.