I remember sitting in the living room of our little house in Boise, Idaho, for hours and hours, learning every song on the Black Album with the help of the Rhythm Bandit, which allowed me to hear the guitar parts better.
“Before that, I played guitar a little bit, but it was mostly about playing drop-D power chords. Nothing serious. But the possibilities of what music could be expanded so much after I heard Scenes from a Memory. It was a mind fuck. I stopped playing drums and took guitar seriously. I sat down and learned as much of the solos and riffs on that album as I could. That’s how I started developing my chops.
“I was 19 and attending [The University of California] Santa Barbara when Bringing It All Back Home came out. I was taking a lot of acid in those days, and everything Dylan said just really connected with me. There are a lot of great songs on that album—‘Maggie’s Farm,’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.’ ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ is one of my favorites.
“Surfing with the Alien made it apparent to me early on that you didn’t even have to have a vocalist to create an incredible and enjoyable album. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be the player I am now, or probably even be a musician at all, without this album being available to me when it was."
The mid Nineties were arguably the start of the great transition in rock and heavy metal music, the days of style over substance epitomized by the late Eighties hair metal bands were coming to a grinding end and while the guitar still ruled the roost the demands on the instrument was rapidly changing from flashy graphics to real substance.