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.
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.
Matt Sorum is perhaps best known as the drummer for such bands as the Cult, Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. But in addition to his musical success stories (that now include Kings of Chaos), the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee also is an advocate for the arts.
It’s a beautiful Indian Summer day, and I’m standing on Queens Gate Road in London, England, a stone’s throw from the legendary Royal Albert Hall, where Led Zeppelin played in 1970, a performance immortalized on 2003’s Led Zeppelin DVD.
Fans of Alex Skolnick’s shredding in Testament might be shocked by his new album, Planetary Coalition, a collaborative world-music project driven by Skolnick’s crystalline, beatific acoustic guitar and assimilationist composing skills. But it’s not a case of a metal jaguar changing his spots; Skolnick is simply displaying all of them for the first time.
Guitar fans might remember seven-string guitarist the Commander-In-Chief from her “Zigeunerweisen Op. 20" guitar-duel video, which she made with classically trained guitarist Thomas Valeur. That video, which was premiered on GuitarWorld.com, was one of the site's 10 most-watched videos of 2013.
The first concert I ever attended was a Scorpions show in 1984. I remember this event because, at the time, I was excited about checking out the openers, a young, up-and-coming band called Bon Jovi. Little did I know I'd also be bearing witness to what would become one of rock’s biggest juggernauts.
The first truly 21st century guitar hero? A post-modern chops monster? Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, is an enigmatic artist on many levels. As a player, her influences are all over the map. The niece of new agey jazz guitarist Tuck Andress, Clark had some of her earliest professional experiences as a roadie and, later, opening act for his duet Tuck and Patti.