Guitar World Magazine Covers Gallery: Every Issue from 1994 to 2000
For many, 1994 is memorable for a number of momentous occasions in sports.
For the second time in two years — in an attempt to offset itself from the summer games — the Winter Olympics were held, taking place in Lillehammer, Norway. Brazil beat Italy in an intense penalty shootout to win the World Cup. And Major League Baseball players went on strike, effectively ending the season.
But for the musically inclined, 1994 strikes a particularly somber note. On April 8, the body of Kurt Cobain was found dead at his home in Seattle, Washington. Cobain, 27, had died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Much like John Lennon, the impact of Cobain's death transcended the music world. Cobain had become the voice of his generation; he was the reluctant hero to a disenchanted youth culture. He represented the early Nineties' ubiquitous turn from the decadence of the previous decade to the stark realism of post-Reagan America. That his death came as a result of the despondency he'd taught a generation to embrace only adds further bitterness to the tragedy.
As you can see from the photo gallery below, grunge had come to infiltrate almost all forms of music media. Even Guitar World couldn't ignore alternative rock, no matter how minimal the guitar playing. Love him or hate him, Cobain was an innovator, and the silence of innovation is always a notable loss.
Of course, the photo gallery below doesn't stop at 1994. It continues through 2000, displaying a full seven years' worth of covers. We hope you enjoy this trip through GW's history. If you're in the mood for more, be sure to check out our photo gallery of every Guitar World magazine cover from 1980 to 1986 and from 1987 to 1993.
NOTE: Remember, you can click on each photo to take a closer look.
JUNE 2000: Featured in a special 3D issue of Guitar World, Slipknot guitarist Mick Thomson offered some sound advice in contrast to the band's violent concert appeal. "The most important thing is that we connect with our audience. The bands that can't connect with their audience are the bands that you eventually see on Where Are They Now?"
MAY 2000: It had been four years since the release of The Great Southern Trendkill, but in 2000, Pantera were finally back with a new album. "Most bands don't make it past two albums and tours, if that," said guitarist Dimebage Darrell. "We pulled it off, but we got to the point where we knew it was time to take a break."
JULY 2000: Jimmy Page and Chris and Rich Robinson discuss how they choose the songs that would end up being featured on the Jimmy Page/Black Crowes tour, and their album, Live at the Greek. "There were a few songs," said Chris, "that we played by ourselves before Jimmy got there, where we said, 'We're not really killin' this one. Let's drop it.' Like 'Houses of the Holy.' I just didn't think we had the funk."
AUGUST 2000: On the 10th anniversary of his death, Stevie Ray Vaughan is commemorated in this special issue of Guitar World. In addition to a reprint of the first interview ever conducted with the legendary bluesman, there is album-by-album guide with Double Trouble and a 1988 conversation conducted by a Yale social worker where SRV talks about the healing power of music.
SEPTEMBER 2000: Although their song "I Disappear" was supposed to be Metallica's hot summer track off the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack, an unfinished version of the song ended up making bigger waves when it appeared on Napster. Metallica filed suit against the file-sharing website and launched a storm of controversy over copyright laws and intellectual property.
OCTOBER 2000: So unusual and varied was Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland's multifaceted stage attire that GW dedicated four separate October covers to him, each featuring a different costume scheme.
MAY 1999: The Offspring had separated themselves from the average post-grunge band by injecting their punk-laced rock anthems with pop inflections. This was never more evident than on Americana, the band's mainstream breakthrough album.
JUNE 1999: Guitar World reached back 30 years to declare 1969 the Greatest Year In Rock. There were good reasons to pick '69: Led Zeppelin, Let It Bleed, Tommy, Cream's Goodbye and Woodstock, to name just a few.
JULY 1999: The late Nineties were a rough patch for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. One Hot Minute — the Peppers' only release with Dave Navarro on guitar — failed to resonate with fans. In a much-needed return to form, guitarist John Frusciante returned to the band, and with the release of Californication, the Chili Peppers reclaimed their title as the funk-rock kings.
AUGUST 1999: Call it rap-metal, nu-metal... or junk, as a lot of guitar fans did at the time, the polarized interest in the rap/rock trend of the late Nineties was a force to be reckoned with. Limp Bizkit were the genre leaders and were the stars this special Guitar World 3D issue.
SEPTEMBER 1999: The passe notion of hair metal that permeated in the early Nineties had passed. Grunge's ominous cloud of self-deprecation lifted, and music fans had regained some interest in the danger than made Eighties rock icons like Motley Crue, Ratt and Cinderella fun. GW explored the decadent decade in this retrospective.
OCTOBER 1999: Mix one part shred virtuoso, one part sonic genius, two parts metal kings (James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett appear on the cover's inner-sleeve) and one part ultimate guitar hero, and you get Guitar World's Super Millennium Issue.
NOVEMBER 1999: Devil Without a Cause had made a Kid Rock a superstar. The album's far-reaching appeal makes sense when one considers Kid Rock's varied influences, including Hank Williams, Public Enemy, ZZ Top and Fleetwood Mac. Much of Rock's sound was hybrid, but mostly it kept in nature with Bob Ritchie's adopted stage name.
DECEMBER 1999: It had been over three years since Evil Empire brought Rage Against the Machine worldwide fame. Its followup, The Battle of Los Angeles, did not disappoint, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and winning Rolling Stone's critic pick for Best Album of 1999.
JANUARY 2000: Issues took Korn's previous album, Follow the Leader, an aggressive step further. Guitarists Munky and Head, with singer Jonathan Davis, discuss the new album in the first Guitar World issue of 2000.
FEBRUARY 2000: In this retrospective of Carlos Santana's career, GW goes back as far as his legendary performance at Woodstock in 1969, to 30 years later with his comeback album, Supernatural.
MARCH 2000: Few albums in the history of rock and roll can match the ambition of Pink Floyd's The Wall. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Guitar World gave readers an inside look at the making of Floyd's ultimate concept album.
APRIL 2000: Billy Corgan and James Iha took a new approach to guitar playing on the latest Smashing Pumpkins album, MACHINA/the machines of god. Said Corgan, "We decided that, whether the guitars sound shitty or great, they just had to sound unique. And that became our method."
APRIL 1999: It had been nearly nine years since Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash, but his influence on the guitar community had hardly begun to wane. Interviews with the guitarist himself, as well as friends and collaborators, compile this oral history of the seminal blues artist.
MARCH 1999: After a decade, grunge had finally reached the age of retrospective — and thus could be considered thoroughly dead. The Seattle music movement's impact, however, left a monumental crater in the recording industry's bedrock. Enough so, anyway, that GW named grunge god Kurt Cobain its Artist of the Decade.
FEBRUARY 1999: John Lennon got some undivided attention in this issue of GW. Yoko Ono and several of Lennon's collaborators talked about the late musician's life after the Beatles.
JANUARY 1999: Courtney Love and Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur are part of a highly exclusive club. Their appearance on the January issue of Guitar World is only the second in GW history to feature female artists (Can you guess who was the first?). Celebrity Skin, Hole's return to the rock world, was assisted by the songwriting talents of Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan.
NOVEMBER 1998: Along with co-guitarist Zim Zum, Twiggy Ramirez helped Marilyn Manson branch out into glam rock on the concept album Mechanical Animals.
DECEMBER 1998: Garage, Inc. was on its way down the pike. James Hetfield and Kirk Hammet gave Guitar World an inside look at the making of their covers/compilation LP.
OCTOBER 1998: Psycho Circus was the original Kiss lineup's first album in more than 18 years, though the contributions of guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss were minimal. The album would prove to be the beginning of the end for the band's reunion.
SEPTEMBER 1998: In one of, if not the, most popular lists ever presented in Guitar World, we asked readers to write in — this was 1998, remember — their votes for the greatest guitar solos of all time. The top five were "Stairway to Heaven," "Eruption," "Free Bird," "Comfortably Numb" and Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower."
AUGUST 1998: Ozzy Osbourne has never been one to mince words. In this interview, heavy metal's prince of darkness reflected on the origins of Black Sabbath. "The whole hippie thing was still happening around that time, and for us, that was bullshit. We lived in a dreary, polluted, dismal town in Birmingham, England, and we were angry about it — and that was reflected in our music."
JULY 1998: When you're at the top, there's nowhere to go but down. Smashing Pumkins had reached the alternative apex with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, so ringleader Billy Corgan forged a new path with the band's fourth album, Adore.
JUNE 1998: The rock world was abuzz over Walking into Clarksdale, Jimmy Page's collaboration with former Led Zeppelin bandmate Robert Plant. The single "Most High" won Page and Plant a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
MAY 1998: When Pilgrim hit shelves on March 10, It had been almost 10 years since Eric Clapton released his last album of original material. Fans were eager for the return of Slowhand, as was evident by Pilgrim's respectable No. 4 peak on the Billboard 200.
APRIL 1998: Van Halen might have dominated the covers in '98, but it was one of Eddie's disciples who took home the title of Best Hard Rock/Metal Guitarist. The Readers Poll winner was none other than Dimebag Darrell. Pantera hadn't released a studio album since 1996's Great Southern Trendkill. Dime won on pure ass-kickery.
MARCH 1998: In what might have been his coolest cover photo ever — who doesn't want that T-shirt? — Eddie Van Halen used the March issue to discuss Van Halen III, the first and only album to feature Van Halen's third singer, Gary Cherone.
FEBRUARY 1998: Much was expected of 1998. In our February issue, Metallica, Van Halen, Jeff Beck and Kiss, among others, gave a sneak peak of their upcoming projects and plans for the year.
JANUARY 1998: GW started the year with a one-two hard rock combination featuring an Angus Young interview and Led Zeppelin cover story. AC/DC was paying tribute to its departed singer, Bon Scott, with the box set, Bonfire, and Zeppelin had just released The BBC Sessions, their first release of live material in more than 20 years.
DECEMBER 1997: Metallica could have played it safe. They could have returned to the tried-and-true formula that made them the biggest metal band in the world after mixed responses to the alternative-tinged Load. Instead they continued their forward momentum and unleashed Re-Load, further exploring their new, stripped-down approach.
OCTOBER 1997: Bridges to Babylon showed the world that age doesn't matter when it comes to rock. The Stones were still rolling, and Keith was still his amiable in not impish self as he recalls his life as rock and roll's perennial bad boy.
NOVEMBER 1997: Although One Hot Minute failed to resonate with critics or fans, Dave Navarro and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were still touring off and on in 1997. By the same time next year, however, Navarro was out of the band.
SEPTEMBER 1997: While Pop may not have won over every U2 fan, the group did not fail to impress with their always-spectacular stage show. Here guitarist the Edge gives readers an inside look at the band's over-the-top PopMart tour.
AUGUST 1997: Dave Grohl has always been one of the more pragmatic rock stars. He offered in this interview with GW, among other things, common fashion sense. "The last thing I want to do is go onstage in a Dolce & Gabana suit and ruin it by jumping around and sweating it up. I'll stick with a T-shirt, thank you very much."
JULY 1997: Omaha, Nebraska, is better known for its insurance than its rock, but in 1997, natives 311 were owning the airwaves and MTV with their funky blend of grunge, psychedelia, dub and metal. Tim Mahoney and Nick Hexum sat down and talked about their band's latest album, Transistor.
JUNE 1997: The newly reunited Black Sabbath led the charge in what GW dubbed "The Summer of Loud." In tow were heavy metal heavyweights Pantera, Korn and Marilyn Manson.
MAY 1997: Sometimes we focus so much on the players, we forget about the instruments that make us salivate on sight. In this issue, not only did Guitar World examine the rarest, weirdest and most expensive guitars on earth, but provided an overview of the most coveted celebrity guitars, including Jimi Hendrix's '69 Woodstock Strat and Jimmy Page's Double-Neck SG.
APRIL 1997: Aerosmith were back with Nine Lives, but their first album with Columbia Records almost destroyed the band. Though they had to oust their manager and change producers, Aerosmith remained undeterred, even embarking on a massive two-year tour in support of their new album.
FEBRUARY 1997: In case you hadn't noticed, Guitar World loves its lists. But believe it or not, this was our first "All-time Greats" list. Most of the usual suspects made the cut. Of course, GW beefed things up with an equipment list and selection of best tracks.
MARCH 1997: Thanks to Experience Hendrix, LLC, the legendary guitarist's back catalog could get its proper royal treatment. Previously Hendrix's recordings — languishing in legal limbo — were subject to careless mixing and release, tarnishing the icon's seminal body of work. But under the scrupulous eyes of the Hendrix family, Jimi's legacy was restored with a bevy of newly remastered albums, tracks and live performances.
JANUARY 1997: In hiring Razorblade Suitcase engineer Steve Albini, who worked on Nirvana's In Utero, Bush had to continue to endure constant comparisons to their Seattle counterparts. In an interview with GW, Gavin Rossdale and Nigel Pulsford try to set the record straight.
DECEMBER 1996: Antichrist Superstar propelled Marilyn Manson from flash-in-the-pan shock rocker to goth icon. Along the way he garnered a lot of conservative critics. "It would probably be easier for a lot of the world to swallow the concepts that I deal with if they were to assume that I'm merely a character. But it's very real to me."
NOVEMBER 1996: R.E.M. fans got an inside peek of the pioneering Eighties alternative band, thanks to guitarist Peter Buck, who discussed the group's entire catalog, from Murmur to 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi.
SEPTEMBER 1996: If the year belonged to any artist, it was Kiss. The Seventies' premier arena band reformed with all four original members and embarked on the highest-grossing tour of the year.
OCTOBER 1996: It had been more than two years since Kurt Cobain took his own life, but the late guitarist's legacy lived on. A year prior to his death, Cobain gave a candid interview with noted rock journalist Jon Savage. It hadn't seen the light of day until it was published in this issue of Guitar World.
AUGUST 1996: That the Sex Pistols could reunite after 20 years of squabbling gives hope to Smiths and Guns N' Roses fans the world over. Singer Johnny Rotten and guitarist Steve Jones sounded off on the punk rock icons' reunion tour.
JUNE 1996: If there was one band you couldn't keep down in the Nineties, it was Pantera. The Texas groove metal gods followed up the hugely popular Far Beyond Driven with 1996's equally lauded The Great Southern Trendkill.
JULY 1996: Never ones to rest on their laurels, Metallica thought outside the box with 1996's Load. It was a new sound for the world's biggest metal band, but at the time it seemed all anyone could talk about were the band members' new short haircuts.
MAY 1996: As the grunge movement reached its commercial peak, bands like the Presidents of the United States of America found themselves on the dividing line of integrity and sensationalism. Said Presidents guitarist Chris Ballew, "Kim Thayil says there are two different factions in Seattle. One thinks we're an annoying joke, while the other thinks we're a good band ... sort of."
APRIL 1996: Occasionally — and daringly — Guitar World will hand interviewing reigns over to a special guest columnist. In this issue, grunge rock wunderkind Billy Corgan sits down and talks with the king of guitar, Eddie Van Halen.
MARCH 1996: It should have been a match made in heaven, but alas, Dave Navarro's tenure as a Red Hot Chili Pepper only lasted a couple years after this interview with Alan Di Perna. He released one album with the Chili Peppers, 1995's One Hot Minute, which was poorly received by critics despite spawning three hit singles.
FEBRUARY 1996: The mostly live Stripped kept the Rolling Stones abuzz on the album charts and the radio, thanks in no small part to the band's much-anticipated cover of Bob Dylan's classic "Like a Rolling Stone."
JANUARY 1996: Alice in Chains began 1996 on a high note. Their self-titled album was a runaway success, and the band's performance on MTV's Unplugged series was released as its own album in July and reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. But the success disintegrated when lead singer Layne Staley succumbed to a debilitating drug addiction later in the year. Alice in Chains went on hiatus until Staley's death in 2002. The group has since reformed with new singer William DuVall.
DECEMBER 1995: With grunge rock at its apex, it was an appropriate time for the genre to experience its definitive double album. It was given to fans in the form of the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The title pretty much sums up the tenor of the musical times.
NOVEMBER 1995: It had been five years since the Brothers Young had turned out an album's worth of bluesy rock gems. But whereas 1990's The Razor's Edge had a fair share of polish — relative to AC/DC's gritty standards — 1995's Ball Breaker was a more ragged affair and a return to the band's late-Seventies form.
OCTOBER 1995: Guitar World got its one and only cover story with the Boss. It was Bruce Springsteen's most visible year in the Nineties as he had temporarily re-organized the E Street Band for new recordings on his Greatest Hits album and released his second acoustic record, The Ghost of Tom Joad. Winning an Oscar for Best Original Song the previous year didn't hurt, either.
SEPTEMBER 1995: Neil Young was flying high in 1995 with Mirror Ball, which featured the radio-ready rock hit "Downtown." No doubt Young's resurgent popularity was due in part thanks to Pearl Jam, who guest appeared on Mirror Ball.
AUGUST 1995: Soul Asylum's 1992 album, Grave Dancers Union, made the band critical and commercial darlings. An earnest follow-up, Let Your Dim Light Shine, was set for release when the group sat down for this interview with Tom Beaujour, but it failed to match the previous album's success.
JULY 1995: Before Experience Hendrix LLC was formed, Jimi's father, Al Hendrix, was locked in a bitter legal battle with his lawyer over the rights of his late son's music. The Hendrix family would eventually win the dispute and regain control over the guitar legend's music, but at the time it was a sensational fight over one of the most coveted catalogs in all of rock and roll.
JUNE 1995: In 1995 industrial metal was a true force to be reckoned with. Longtime mainstays like Ministry and Skinny Puppy were getting their due, but in large part, the rise of industrial rock music was owed mostly to Nine Inch Nails, whose 1994 album, The Downward Spiral, saw widespread commercial success, thanks to hits like "Hurt" and "Closer."
MAY 1995: In our 15th Anniversary celebration issue, GW compiled a collection of its greatest interview, lessons and lists. But perhaps Editor-in-Chief Brad Tolinski said it best: "In our own twisted way, we actually enjoy trying to please every last reader — even the psychopathic bastard who mailed us a papier mache replica of Dimebag Darrell's head last month."
APRIL 1995: Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready had seen the spoils of success, thanks to hit albums such as Vs. and Vitalogy. Unfortunately the band's rapid success took its toll on the guitarist and here McCready opens up to Guitar World's Jeff Gilbert about his battles with substance abuse.
MARCH 1995: The tragic and enigmatic frontman for Nirvana was still a dominant force in the world of grunge, even almost a year after his death. One of Kurt Cobain's last televised performances — Nirvana's legendary appearance on MTV's Unplugged — was released as an album in November '94. In this issue, GW gave readers the inside story on Nirvana's great swan song.
FEBRUARY 1995: The electric guitar king abandoned his typically jovial grin and offered a more serious demeanor in his interview with Tom Beaujour. Among the heavy topics on Ed's mind was drinking. "God gives everyone a bottle when they're born, and they have to make it last a lifetime. Well, I drank mine too quickly, so I just can't drink anymore."
JANUARY 1995: It was apropos that Guitar World kicked off 1995 with a tribute to classic punk. Thanks to upstarts like Rancid, the Offspring and Green Day, punk was experiencing a revival. Tracing back to the genre's roots, a reminiscent Steve Jones said, "It came and went, but it made a dent. Hey, that's a good line, that!"
DECEMBER 1994: From the Cradle was Eric Clapton's much-anticipated return to blues. Clapton was still riding high off the groundbreaking success of his Unplugged album, but From the Cradle was viewed as a true return to form for the guitar god, akin to his days with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.
OCTOBER 1994: In this classic rock special, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones talks about his guitar playing, working with Ronnie Wood and replacing bassist Bill Wyman.
NOVEMBER 1994: He was at the time the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. As eccentric a reputation as Prince had — he is back to Prince, right? — he also had a reputation as an incredible performer and well-respected, if not often overlooked, guitar player. In this exclusive interview, Prince spoke candidly (and enigmatically) with GW'S Alan Di Perna.
SEPTEMBER 1994: Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour sat with Brad Tolinski to talk about the band's latest album, The Division Bell. It had been seven years since Pink Floyd's last album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, which isn't that long, considering the band has yet to release an album since Division Bell.
AUGUST 1994: Having survived countless comparisons to Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo were ready to assert themselves with Purple, the band's indelible mark on alternative rock.
JULY 1994: At the time, the Allman Brothers Band was still comprised of two legendary guitarists: Dickey Betts and Warren Haynes. The younger Haynes, however, still had his share of detractors. Said Betts: "Warren is not replacing a legend. A legend was killed over 20 years ago. Nobody's gonna replace Duane [Allman]."
JUNE 1994: Pete Townshend was as much an expert on breaking guitars as he was musical boundaries. Townshend said of his first guitar-smashing: "It banged against the ceiling and smashed against a hole in the plaster, and the guitar head actually poked through the ceiling. When I took it out, the top of the neck was left behind. I couldn't believe what had happened."
APRIL 1994: In his first solo Guitar World cover, Dimebag Darrell talked about Pantera's latest album, Far Beyond Driven, and breaking his dad's rules on what a "good" musician is supposed to do.
MAY 1994: The editors of Guitar World had another list up their sleeves. This one ranked the 100 Most Important People in Guitar. The only stipulation: Everyone on the list had to be alive; no dead guys. A list without Jimi Hendrix? Had to be a first.
MARCH 1994: To call Billy Gibbons' guitar collection enigmatic would be an understatement; it's downright other-worldly. Gibbons commented on 10 of the most notable oddities in his axe arsenal, including a mummified Explorer and a Casio guitar.
JANUARY 1994: Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix included an all-star cast of musicians, including Slash, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Chrissie Hynde. Guitar World gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album.
FEBRUARY 1994: Thanks to the massive success of Vs., Pearl Jam were the force to be reckoned with in 1994. But the band remained humble. Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Jeff Ament even opened up to Guitar World about, among other things, flatulence on stage.
NOVEMBER 2000: Upon the 30th anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, Guitar World paid homage to the pioneering guitarist with an extensive collection of interviews, a catalog overview and inclusive conversation with Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.
DECEMBER 2000: With their new album, Warning, out, pop-punk icons Green Day were invited to talk about what it meant to be "punk" in the millennium. Ironically, sales of Warning suffered in light of the band's direction toward more ska and surf-oriented rock.