ZZ Top http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/292/all en The Top 10 Drinking Songs of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-drinking-songs-all-time <!--paging_filter--><p>Revelry and music go hand in hand. </p> <p>Having the best musical selections for an evening of imbibing—be it for your next party, the juke at your favorite watering hole, or your bar band’s set list—is as essential as knowing what <em>hors d’oeuvres</em> to serve. </p> <p>At the risk of over-intellectualizing the topic, our list was compiled through hours of pseudo-scientific research—the details of which we won’t disclose—among loosely assembled focus groups.</p> <p>But we will say this: The presence of both a singable chorus and a memorable guitar riff certainly won points. So, as the stars of the cult movie <em>Fubar</em> are apt to say, “Give'r.” </p> <p>Just remember, Bukowski, drink responsibly. And if you’ve had one too many, don’t crank up the amp and roll tape. You’ll be sorry.</p> <p><strong>10: “Beer Drinkers &amp; Hell Raisers,” ZZ Top</strong> </p> <p>Just how does this Texas trio keep their beards from being infested with froth? Billy Gibbons’ searing blues leads and proto-metal riffing on this song inspires two things: merriment… and wreckin’ shit up. Stay away from the lousy drunks when this one comes on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KXswale5Kss" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>9: “Alligator Wine,” Screaming Jay Hawkins</strong> </p> <p>At some point of the evening, lyrics like “Take the blood out of the alligator/Take the left eye of a fish/Take the skin off a frog/And mix it up in a dish” will seem hysterically funny. Don’t let anyone’s sobriety ruin the joke.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MI3YzuzwK44" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>8: “Night Train,” Guns N’ Roses</strong> </p> <p>An ode to dirt-cheap wine should be uncorked when nobody present at the festivities can utter anything more insightful than “YEEEOOOWWW!!!” This one is only for people that can hold their rock ‘n’ roll.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-Gu3gDhESRY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>7: “Cold Gin,” Kiss</strong> </p> <p>Gin is the devil’s gasoline. Kiss are Knights in Satan’s Service. Get it? Any intellectuals on board should have an ironic chuckle when teetotaler Gene Simmons sings Ace Frehley-penned lines like “It’s cold gin time again/You know it’ll always win.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eC9A8wjojzY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>6: “Boob Scotch,” Bob Log III</strong> </p> <p>Party games, anyone? This psychotic Arizona bluesman has dreamed up a titillating concoction: one part Scotch, one part ice, and one part nipple. Try to follow: the nipple gets hard, and the scotch takes on a whole new flavor. Generally, this drink is best served once a few glasses of regular spirits glasses of regular spirits have been tossed back.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nPMpHepElIc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>5: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” John Lee Hooker</strong> </p> <p>Talk about a ready-made chorus! Of course, cynical twerps call it subliminal advertising—and they may have a point. After all, bartenders love it when schnockered customers mindlessly order by repeating the song’s chorus.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZNknFH6asAs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>4: “Have a Drink on Me,” AC/DC</strong> </p> <p>Written for the memory of Bon Scott, a man who didn’t know when to cut himself off from the bottle (and choked accordingly), this one my seem slightly irresponsible. Nevertheless, it reinforces the concept of generosity. Also, that guitar riff will sure zing ya.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/R3eN6WvERaM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>3: “Whiskey in a Jar,” Thin Lizzy</strong> </p> <p>The Irish have no shortage of drinking songs, so it’s appropriate that a revved-up translation of a folk standard be included here. The song actually has less to do with drinking than it does with armed robbery and lust—but it does have one key attribute to a classic drinking song: a chorus written in gibberish.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wyQ-tScuzwM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong> 2: “There’s a Tear in My Beer,” Hank Williams</strong> </p> <p>How does the poor sobbing bastard in the corner make his drink last so long? He’s watering it down with salt water, of course! This and other secrets of alcoholic medication are contained in Williams’ prototypical self-pitying country song. And it’s not <em>all</em> pathos; indeed, perfectly happy people can sing this tune as a sympathetic gesture to the broken-hearted.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KR31easm__c" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>1: “Tequila,” The Champs</strong> </p> <p>Who needs words when a two-chord riff and a honkin’ sax melody scream, “Dance, sucka, dance!” This 1950s classic has endured the test of time because it reeks of mischief. Plus, not only is the chorus extremely easy to remember; it doesn’t require that anyone stay in key!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/M5J802Hqsu8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/acdc">AC/DC</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/top-10-drinking-songs-all-time#comments ACDC John Lee Hooker ZZ Top Guitar World Lists News Features Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:28:38 +0000 Guitar World Staff 24339 at http://www.guitarworld.com The 30 Most Badass Guitarists of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/30-most-badass-guitarists-all-time <!--paging_filter--><p>Guitar players are the coolest creatures on this planet. </p> <p>Don’t believe us? Consider Buddy Holly. Take away his guitar and he might as well be Melvin Poindexter, full-time accountant and part-time carnival geek. Give him a Stratocaster and suddenly he’s dumping Peggy Sue Gerron and shacking up with Maria Elena Santiago, <em>una caliente Latina</em>! </p> <p>In fact, guitarists are on a whole different planet when it comes to defining cool. When you play guitar, you can get away with all kinds of acts normal people could never attempt. Face it: An ordinary dude could not walk down the street wearing a leopard-skin jacket, high-heel cowboy boots, flowing silk scarves and dozens of silver bangles without getting beaten up within minutes. </p> <p>But put a guitar case in that dude’s hands and suddenly grown men want to buy him a drink, and ladies slip him their phone numbers. Or try doing Chuck Berry’s famous duck walk without a guitar; people will think you’re mental. But do it with a guitar and they’ll pelt you with a sea of money and panties. </p> <p>Since guitar players are automatically cool, that means cool guitar players are the coolest of the cool. In this issue, we exalt this elite class of cold — the players who even we would sell our wives and first born just to have some of their mojo rub off on us. Some of them are pioneers who paved a bold, daring path to define new styles of cool, while others are simply the kind of guitarists we want to be when we never grow up (which is part of being cool). </p> <p>These people are the real reason why the guitar remains the world’s most popular instrument, so let’s all raise our headstocks and give them a 21-power-chord salute. </p> <p><strong>JAMES HETFIELD</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> August 3, 1963<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Metallica<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1984 Gibson Explorer<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Leper Messiah” — <em>Master of Puppets</em> </p> <p>Most metal guitarists would kill to have half of the power and precision of James Hetfield’s right hand, not to mention his ability to write the most devastating riffs known to mankind, from “Seek and Destroy” and “Creeping Death” to “Enter Sandman.” Of course, most musicians with skills comparable to Hetfield’s have such big egos that they become the targets of our murderous intentions. That’s not the case with Hetfield. </p> <p>Years of hard-earned success and fame have not changed his down-to-earth attitude. Even though he has become one of the world’s richest rock stars, he hasn’t married a supermodel or become a pompous art collector. Instead, he’s remained true to his working-class roots, spending his spare time building incredibly cool kustom cars and cruising the streets with his car club buddies, the Beatniks of Koolsville. </p> <p>His kustom masterpieces like “Slow Burn” (a 1936 Auburn boat-tail speedster), “Skyscraper” (a 1953 Buick Skylark) and his daily driver known as “The Grinch” (a 1952 Oldsmobile) are drivable works of art that defy the bland Toyota Priuses, Lexuses and Land Rover SUVs of his Northern California environs like a stiff middle-finger salute wearing a skull ring.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xZ1z-QPr6ZE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOE STRUMMER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> August 21, 1952 (died December 22, 2002)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> The Clash, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1968 Fender Telecaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> "Train in Vain" — <em>London Calling</em> </p> <p>Joe Strummer was far from the most proficient rhythm guitarist in punk rock, and his tone was often downright wimpy. </p> <p>Yet you’d never find a punk rocker who didn’t want to be just like him. Whereas most punk guitarists found inspiration from the same hard rock and proto-metal players that they pretended to despise, Strummer was influenced by reggae, rockabilly, soul, ska and even early New York rap music when most of the world still hadn’t heard of the Sugarhill Gang. </p> <p>Those influences helped him develop a truly unique rhythm guitar style that no one has been able to duplicate since. Perhaps the coolest thing about Joe Strummer is no one could ever predict what he would do next. In 1981, the Clash played 17 consecutive nights at the 3,500-capacity Bond’s International Casino nightclub in Manhattan, but when they returned to New York the next year they played two sold-out shows at Shea Stadium as an opening act for the Who. </p> <p>Julien Temple’s documentary, <em>Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten</em>, reveals what many would perceive as Strummer’s flaws: from his hippie squatter roots to the way he dissed former bandmates during the Clash’s last gasps. But ultimately, Strummer was a man who simply did wanted he wanted to do without giving a shit what anybody else thought.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/eNot47WRBFk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>SLASH &amp; IZZY STRADLIN</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 23, 1965 (Slash); April 8, 1962 (Izzy)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Guns N' Roses<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1985 Gibson Les Paul Standard (Slash); Gibson ES-175 (Izzy)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Welcome to the Jungle" — <em>Appetite for Destruction</em> </p> <p>Rock music has produced some memorable tandem guitar teams: Keef and Ronnie, Angus and Malcolm, Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing to name a few. </p> <p>But Slash and Izzy Stradlin, with the original lineup of Guns N’ Roses, have to go down as one of the coolest duos ever. Gutter rats Slash and Izzy had just enough yin and yang going on to provide the color and contrast that made them more than the ordinary lead and rhythm guitar team. </p> <p>Both loved similar bands, like Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, but Izzy’s tastes leaned more toward groove-oriented bands like the Rolling Stones and the Doors, with a healthy dose of punk rock thrown in, while Slash loved guitar heroes like Michael Schenker and Jeff Beck. </p> <p>The combination of Slash’s rough-edged pyrotechnic solos and Izzy’s raw power chords and off-kilter rhythms resulted in an unusual mish-mash with massive crossover appeal that metalheads, punks, glam poseurs, pop fans and classic rockers loved alike. Slash and Izzy also made vintage guitars cool again, strapping on Gibson Les Pauls, Telecasters and ES-175 hollowbodies when most guitarists were playing DayGlo superstrats, pointy metal weapons or minimalist headstock-less Stein-bortions. </p> <p>Balding guitar players also have Slash and Izzy to thank for making hats fashionable rocker attire during a time when big hair was all the rage.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zBmFVlOqR4M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JIMI HENDRIX</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>November 27, 1942 (died September 18, 1970)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Band of Gypsys<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Fender Stratocaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Machine Gun" — <em>Band of Gypsys</em> </p> <p>Most guitarists view the guitar in terms of scales to master and tones to tame, but Jimi Hendrix viewed the instrument as an open canvas for his imagination, pulling sounds out of his Stratocaster and Marshall stacks that no one previously knew the guitar was capable of making. </p> <p>The first guitarist to chain effect pedals together, Hendrix combined their tones and textures with whammy bar squeals and growls and unorthodox playing techniques to make the guitar sound like a symphony, animals, armies or the far reaches of outer space. While most Sixties psychedelic music was banal bubblegum pop with fuzz-tone guitar hooks, Hendrix made music that actually sounded like a trip after ingesting a cocktail of LSD, mushrooms and THC. </p> <p>What makes Hendrix stand out is how he could play chilling, beautiful music without the sonic bombast as well. Naked, unadorned songs like “Little Wing” and “Red House” still burn with intensity even without sound effects and studio trickery, showing Jimi’s uncanny ability to speak through his instrument. </p> <p>His playing shocked, awed and frightened even Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, who still view Hendrix as some sort of supernatural, mythical being. Of course, they may have also been scared of how Jimi could make even a puffy shirt and a marching band jacket look fashionable.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xJ2Qya1KCoo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>EDDIE VAN HALEN</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>January 26, 1955<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Van Halen<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Homemade "Frankenstein" Strat<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Panama"—<em>1984</em> </p> <p>Eddie Van Halen forever changed the way that the guitar is made and played, but that’s not why he’s cool. Sure, he’s single-handedly responsible for the whole hot-rodded guitar and amp phenomenon that brought companies like Jackson and Charvel fortune, techs like Jose Arredondo and Lee Jackson fame and inventors like Floyd Rose immortality. </p> <p>Yes, he perfected the two-handed tapping technique that made the guitar sound like a fucking synthesizer. And, okay, he crafted a legendary sound that guitarists are still trying to duplicate today. But what makes Eddie cool is his attitude—especially how he makes work seem like it takes no effort at all. </p> <p>While he could put out an album of his farts or slap his name on any shitty guitar and still make millions, he is a painstaking perfectionist who spent years agonizing over every minute detail of his EVH Wolfgang guitar and EVH 5150 III amp before offering it to the public and who has refused to release a new Van Halen album until he feels it’s ready. </p> <p>Even after splitting with Valerie Bertinelli after 26 years of marriage, surviving battles with alcohol and cancer and enduring the presence of David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar for most of the last 38 years, nothing has wiped the big, warm, friendly smile off of his face.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w-NshzYK9y0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>LINK WRAY</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>May 2, 1929 (died November 5, 2005)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Link Wray and the Ray Men, Robert Gordon<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Supro Dual Tone<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Run Chicken Run" — <em>Rumble: The Best of Link Wray</em> </p> <p>Back in 1958, most guitarists and guitar amp designers tried to avoid distortion. Not Link Wray. When he recorded his instrumental “Rumble,” Wray poked holes in the tweeters of his Premier Model 71 amp to make it sound even more nasty and distorted than it could on its own. </p> <p>A direct line can be drawn from “Rumble” to “My Generation,” “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The song is often credited as the origin of the power chord, but it also heralded the transformation of rock from the music of youth to the soundtrack of juvenile delinquency. Several radio stations banned “Rumble” because they thought it was too sexy, raunchy and violent. Wray even dressed like a juvenile delinquent, embellishing his greasy black pompadour with a leather jacket, jeans and shades at a time when most white rock and rollers still took fashion cues from Perry Como and Bing Crosby. </p> <p>Wray kept the hits coming through the Sixties, issuing singles like “Jack the Ripper,” “Ace of Spades,” the manic “Run Chicken Run,” the appropriately titled “The Fuzz” and the coolest version of the <em>Batman</em> theme ever. Wray rocked hard until the end, playing his last gig only four months before he passed away at the age of 76.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ac9brCLmnRk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY RAMONE</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>October 8, 1948 (died September 15, 2004)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Ramones<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Mosrite Ventures II<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Blitzkrieg Bop" — <em>Ramones</em> </p> <p>If ever there were a forensic investigation to identify the true biological father of punk rock guitar, all DNA evidence would point clearly to Johnny Ramone. The guitar style that people most associate with punk—briskly downpicked barre chords executed with blinding precision at breakneck tempos and marshaled in service of concise catchy song structures—is the invention, progeny and proud legacy of the man born John Cummings on Long Island, New York. </p> <p>Johnny was a strange case, a rock and roll outsider who was obsessed with uniformity. And that obsession helped forge the Ramones aesthetic: the identikit leather jackets and ripped jeans worn by each band member, the single surname shared by all four (in the absence of any actual familial kinship) and the terse pacing of the music itself, with not a single excessive note or lyrical utterance. </p> <p>It all added up to a cartoonish minimalism that struck a vital cultural nerve when the Ramones burst out of Manhattan’s Lower East Side CBGB scene in the mid Seventies. They were the perfect antidote to the bloated self-indulgence of Seventies arena rock and the tendency—a hangover from the hippie era—for rock and rock musicians to take themselves way too seriously. The Ramones were passionate about rock, without ever being pompous. </p> <p>Their songs cut right to the melodic and rhythmic core of great rock and roll. Johnny contributed song ideas and slashing guitar arrangements, but he also kept the whole thing on the rails. A straight guy in a world of addicts, perverts, weirdoes and psychos, Johnny’s politics were dubious. But, like Mussolini, he made the Ramones’ rock and roll train run on time for more than two decades. John Cummings passed from this life in 2004 after a five-year fight with prostate cancer. </p> <p>But in the clashing clangor of Green Day, Rancid, Blink-182 and the next bunch of punk rock misfits rehearsing in some basement or garage, Johnny Ramone lives on.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BbDekaqw3lQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JAMES WILLIAMSON</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>October 29, 1949<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Iggy and the Stooges, Iggy Pop<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson Les Paul Custom<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Search and Destroy"—<em>Raw Power</em> (Iggy and the Stooges) </p> <p>James Williamson was the man who facilitated Iggy Pop’s transition from self-lacerating Stooges frontman to solo artist, icon and all-around elder statesman of punk. In a way, Williamson was the only man for the job. He shared Iggy and the Stooges’ Detroit garage rock roots and was a friend of Stooges founding guitarist Ron Asheton during the mid Sixties. </p> <p>But he also had his act way more together than any of the Stooges during their cataclysmic heyday. By the early Seventies, the Stooges were two albums into their career and starting to come apart at the seams due to myriad drug problems and an overall lack of widespread commercial acceptance of their music. </p> <p>Williamson injected new life into the group, bringing an ideal balance of discipline and frenzy, best heard on the group’s 1973 disc <em>Raw Power</em>, the album that launched thousands of punk and post punk bands. “I’m his biggest fan,” the legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr once said of Williamson. “He has the technical ability of Jimmy Page without being as studious and the swagger of Keith Richards without being sloppy. He’s both demonic and intellectual, almost how you would imagine Darth Vader to sound if he was in a band.” </p> <p>Williamson went on to produce and play on Iggy’s classic solo 1979 album <em>New Values</em>, which features gems like “I’m Bored” and “Five Foot One.” The guitarist also played a key role on the follow-up disc, <em>Soldier</em>, anchoring a punk rock all-star lineup that included ex-Pistol Glen Matlock, Ivan Kral from the Patti Smith Band and Barry Adamson from Magazine. Shortly after <em>Soldier</em>, Williamson took a hiatus from rock to study electronic engineering, becoming Vice President of Technology and Standards for Sony. </p> <p>When Ron Asheton died, Williamson took an early retirement from Sony and returned to his rightful place as the Stooges’ guitarist. Their new album, <em>Ready to Die</em>, came out this year.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PMKFLHx2c-M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BUDDY GUY</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 30, 1936<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Solo, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy &amp; Junior Wells<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1957 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, polka-dot Buddy Guy signature Fender Strats<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> "The First Time I Met the Blues" — <em>Can't Quit the Blues</em> </p> <p>Buddy Guy is our greatest living link to blues tradition—a man who sat and played with immortals like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon and Otis Spann, and who still climbs up onstage at events like the Crossroads Festival to jam with greats such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana, not to mention newcomers like John Mayer. </p> <p>Clapton himself has repeatedly called Guy “the greatest living guitarist.” Hendrix literally knelt at Buddy’s feet in the late Sixties, the better to study his riffs. Guy’s secret? He combines an old-time blues feel with the technical facility of a modern guitar player. He was a youngster at the legendary Chess Records in early Sixties Chicago. Fresh up from Lettsworth, Louisiana, Guy was some 20 years junior to giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, yet old enough and gifted enough to share the studio with them. </p> <p>And when Cream, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin brought amped-up guitar hysteria to the fore, Buddy was still in his prime, ready, able and eager to join the fray. He’s still going strong today, an inspiration—and intimidation—to all who would strap on an electric guitar and dive deep into the mighty river that is the blues.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/m9v5Oevbyx8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY THUNDERS</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>July 15, 1952 (died April 23, 1991)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>New York Dolls, the Heartbreakers, Gang War<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson Les Paul Jr.<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>"Chinese Rocks" — <em>Blank Generation: The New York Scene (1975-78)</em> (The Heartbreakers) </p> <p>Johnny Thunders’ snot-nosed New York take on Keith Richards’ cool is one of the pillars on which punk rock was built. An Italian-American guy (birth name John Anthony Genzale Jr.) from Queens, he was born a little too late to be part of the Sixties rock explosion. But the bands of that era were his influences, and he put his own spin on them in the early Seventies as the New York Dolls came together with Thunders on lead guitar. </p> <p>Thunders had the riffs to match the glam-trash group’s mascara. He took rock guitar and cooked it down to its essence, playing open chords and switchblade riffs that laid bare the amphetamine urgency behind the Dolls’ concise, catchy tunes. The Dolls had split up by the time punk rock got underway in New York and London, but their influence was profoundly felt on both shores. </p> <p>Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols has repeatedly cited Thunders as a major influence, Dee Dee Ramone was a friend, colleague and drug brother, and Richard Hell played alongside&nbsp; him in the Heartbreakers. While Thunders shared Keith Richards’ appetite for excess, he sadly was not blessed with Keef’s monumental endurance. </p> <p>Thunders died in New Orleans in 1991 under mysterious, although most likely drug-related, circumstances.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/P-M9Ymvgd0A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>KEITH RICHARDS</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>December 18, 1943<br /> <strong>Band </strong>The Rolling Stones, the X-Pensive Winos<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1953 Fender Telecaster <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” — <em>Out of Our Heads</em> </p> <p>Keith Richards has made living on the edge his life’s mission. Grinning blissfully—and blatantly stoned—from mid-Sixties picture sleeves, lean and lanky, swathed in flowing scarves and stylish shades, he defined the look, the attitude and the swagger essential to the vocation of rock guitarist. </p> <p>From day one, his playing asserted the primacy of riffs and rhythm as the structural backbone of rock music. Following his lead, an entire generation discovered the ancient mysteries of the blues and learned to cultivate a little sympathy for the devil. Effortlessness is the key to Keef’s cool. </p> <p>He’s sauntered down through the decades unfazed by stints in jail and hospital, heroin addiction, assorted femmes fatales, copious boozing, rampaging Hells Angels and assaults from fellow icons like Chuck Berry and Peter Tosh. Unconstrained by the grinding gradations of clock, calendar, public morality or legal prohibition, he has defined life on his own terms. </p> <p>The same lawless sense of effortlessness defines his playing. Guitar slung low, cigarette dangling from his lip, he’s never hyper, never tries too hard and always swings free of such limited concepts as lead versus rhythm. This is what enables him to get down to the raw truth of the groove.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qpGqwHdZJ4Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>ROY ORBISON</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>April 23, 1936 (died December 6, 1988)<br /> <strong>Band </strong>Solo, the Traveling Wilburys<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Gibson ES-335<br /> <strong>Classic Riff </strong>“Oh, Pretty Woman”—<em>The Essential Roy Orbison</em> </p> <p>Most people think of Roy Orbison as the super-smooth crooner who sang songs like “Crying,” “In Dreams” and “Only the Lonely.” But Orbison was also a wicked guitar player, who ripped out several impressive solos on early Sun Records singles like “Ooby Dooby.” In fact, Sun owner Sam Phillips was more impressed with Orbison’s guitar playing than his singing during the early days of the rocker’s career. </p> <p>Although Orbison’s good friend and Sun Records labelmate Johnny Cash may be known as “the Man in Black,” Orbison habitually dressed from head to toe in black in the early Sixties, a decade before Cash adopted his dark uniform. Even Orbison’s raven hair and impenetrable jet Ray-Bans were blacker than the cover to Spinal Tap’s <em>Smell the Glove</em>, adding to his alluring persona as a mysterious, brooding artiste. </p> <p>By 1964, most of Orbison’s early rock and roll contemporaries were either dead, strung-out on drugs, in jail or making crappy movies, but Orbison’s musical career still hadn’t reached its peak. In between the ballads, he recorded singles like “Mean Woman Blues” (check his wild guitar solo) and “Oh, Pretty Woman” that showed upstarts like the Beatles, the Animals and the Rolling Stones that Americans still could rock harder than any Brit.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/_PLq0_7k1jk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>MIKE NESS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 3, 1962<br /> <strong>Bands </strong>Social Distortion, Easter, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>1971 Gibson Les Paul gold top with Seymour Duncan P-90s<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Ball and Chain”—<em>Social Distortion </em> </p> <p>Bull necked and heavily tattooed, Mike Ness is not the kind of guy you’d want to mess with. The Southern California guitarist, singer and songwriter has known good times and bad, punching his way out of a serious drug addiction in the mid Eighties. He has funneled these experiences into some of the most hard-hitting, plain-dealing rock songs to come out of the SoCal punk milieu. Ness launched Social Distortion in 1978. </p> <p>Initially a hardcore act—in fact one of the most vital bands on the Orange County beach town/skater hardcore scene—Social Distortion morphed over the years into a vehicle for Ness’ ever-evolving narrative songwriting gift, dedicated to a few simple-but-slamming guitar chords and lyrics that recount life’s hard lessons. </p> <p>An avid skateboarder and hot-rod enthusiast, Ness epitomizes working-class Southern Californian culture. Springsteen comparisons are always dangerous, but the Boss did appear on Ness’ 1999 solo disc <em>Cheating at Solitaire</em>. Springsteen also named Social Distortion’s <em>Heaven and Hell</em> as his favorite record of 1992. Brian Setzer is another kindred spirit and musical collaborator. Ness is one skate punk kid who has stood the test of time.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QVRpOXGcZ9Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JAMES HONEYMAN-SCOTT</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>November 4, 1956 (died June 16, 1982)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> The Pretenders<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1980 custom metal-front Zemaitis<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Tattooed Love Boys”—<em>The Pretenders </em></p> <p>James Honeyman-Scott’s moment in the spotlight was far too brief. He recorded only two albums with the Pretenders before he died of heart failure, but those tracks revealed incredible talent and versatility that quickly made him the most revered guitarist to emerge during the early days of post-punk new wave. </p> <p>Honeyman-Scott’s solos were concise and economical, getting the point across in only a few measures. His solo on “Kid” is a pop song unto itself that evokes the Beatles’ finest melodic moments, while his three- and four-second bursts on “Tattooed Love Boys” unleash more emotion, fire and style than most guitarists can convey in an extended 15-minute solo. </p> <p>Unlike most new wave guitarists at the dawn of the Eighties, Honeyman-Scott had impeccable fashion sense. He always maintained a timeless detached rocker look, and his aviator shades, medium-length shag haircut, suit jacket and jeans attire never really went out of style, unlike the geometric haircuts and DayGlo suits that many of his contemporaries wore. He always played the coolest guitars onstage as well, from classic Gibson Les Pauls and Firebirds to custom-made Hamers and Zemaitis metal-front guitars. </p> <p>He even married a model with coolest imaginable name for a guitarist’s girlfriend—Peggy Sue Fender.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/erW_1wA8smo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BRIAN SETZER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 10, 1959<br /> <strong>Bands </strong>Stray Cats, Brian Setzer Orchestra<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gretsch 6120<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Runaway Boys”—<em>Stray Cats </em> </p> <p>Most musicians who revive a musical style from the past are like classic-car restorers, refusing to modify it in any way and insisting on keeping it exactly as it was back in the day. Brian Setzer is more like a hot rodder, keeping certain essential elements as a foundation but updating them with a lot more power, speed and style. </p> <p>With the Stray Cats he made rockabilly sound as dangerous as punk, and his fleet-fingered solos impressed even the most technically minded metalheads. He pulled off a similar feat in the Nineties with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, making big-band jazz appealing to rockers. </p> <p>Although Gretsch went out of business and ceased making guitars about the same time that the Stray Cats emerged, Setzer helped bring the company back to life by showing players just how cool Gretsch guitars could sound. As a result, Setzer was the first artist since Chet Atkins to be honored with his own signature-model Gretsch guitar. </p> <p>For those of us who dread Christmas music, Setzer’s holiday collections with the Brian Setzer Orchestra provide relief, giving guitar fans plenty of shredding solos to enjoy in between schmaltzy verses about figgy pudding and some fat, creepy man in red velvet pajamas.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YLwqaAJgFsI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>DJANGO REINHARDT</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> January 23, 1910 (died May 16, 1953)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Quintette du Hot Club de France<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Selmer Modèle Jazz<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Mystery Pacific”—<em>The Very Best of Django Reinhardt </em> </p> <p>Electric guitarists like Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker rightfully get a lot of credit for introducing the concept of the single-string electric guitar solo, but many historians forget that Belgian Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt was shredding the strings a few years before those gents—and he didn’t need electricity. </p> <p>The acoustic solos Reinhardt recorded with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France between 1936 and 1940 are simply astounding displays of virtuosity, melodic taste and speed that left indelible impressions on players throughout several generations, including Les Paul, Jimmy Page and Michael Angelo Batio. Django didn’t even need all four fretting fingers either, using only two left hand fingers to play complicated chords and hyperspeed solos (his third and fourth fingers were badly burned in a fire). </p> <p>Django’s “handicap” later inspired Tony Iommi and Jerry Garcia to keep playing guitar after they permanently injured their fretting hands. Django lived life as hard and fast as he played guitar. A notorious gambler, drinker, gourmand and womanizer, he died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 43, but his solos continue to awe players today.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wufCkIla_ic" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>T-BONE WALKER</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> May 28, 1910 (died March 16, 1975)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Solo, Sebastian’s Cotton Club Orchestra, Freddie Slack’s Orchestra<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gibson ES-250<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Strollin’ with Bone”—<em>The Complete Imperial Recordings, 1950–1954 </em> </p> <p>As the first blues guitarist to pick up an electric guitar and play single-string solos in the late Thirties, T-Bone Walker didn’t just lay down the foundation for electric blues and rock and roll—he also built the first three or four floors. John Lee Hooker credits T-Bone Walker with making the electric guitar popular, claiming that everybody tried to copy T-Bone’s sound. </p> <p>That’s not an overstatement, as traces of T-Bone’s influence can be heard in the early recordings of Albert, B.B. and Freddie King, Muddy Waters, and especially Chuck Berry, who adopted many of Walker’s signature licks as his own. A sharp-dressed, flamboyant performer who played the guitar behind his head and did the splits without missing a note, Walker helped reposition the guitar player from the sidelines to center stage, inspiring Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan to copy his impossible-to-ignore moves. </p> <p>Walker’s licks were so fresh and ahead of their time that his solos on the 1942 single “Mean Old World” and his 1947 breakthrough “Call It Stormy Monday” still inspire guitarists today.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/JxaTaDs_uC0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JIMMY PAGE</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> January 9, 1944<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, the Firm, Coverdale/Page<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Black Dog”—<em>Led Zeppelin IV </em> </p> <p>Normal people define cool as laid-back, excellent or highly skilled, but most guitarists define cool as Jimmy Page circa 1975 in a black velvet bellbottom suit decorated with embroidered dragons, playing a Les Paul slung down to his knees. As the musical mastermind behind Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Page elevated the guitar riff to an art form, crafting orchestrated overdubbed parts that bludgeoned listeners like the hammer of the gods. </p> <p>Page’s musical contributions with Led Zeppelin are well known to readers of this magazine, but here are some cool facts about him you may not know. As a session musician in the Sixties, Page played guitar on the singles “Gloria” by Them, “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks, “I Can’t Explain” by the Who and “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones. </p> <p>He’s owned homes previously lived in by Richard Harris, Michael Caine and Aleister Crowley, and his guitar collection consists of more than 2,000 instruments. The devil sold his soul to Jimmy to learn how to play the blues. As for that guy in the Dos Equis ads, forget him—Jimmy Page has already won the title of Most Interesting Man in the World.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6tlSx0jkuLM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BILLY GIBBONS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> December 16, 1949<br /> <strong>Band</strong> ZZ Top<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, a.k.a. “Pearly Gates”<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Heard It on the X”—<em>Fandango! </em> </p> <p>Bumper-sticker philosophy says that he who dies with the most toys wins. If that’s true, Billy Gibbons would be the hands-down champion. </p> <p>The sharp-dressed ladies man known to his friends as “the Reverend Willie G” owns more hot rods, Harleys, vintage and custom guitars, amps, stomp boxes, museum-quality African art pieces, cowboy jackets, tortoise-shell combs and cheap sunglasses than two dozen sultans of Dubai could ever hope to acquire. </p> <p>Every ZZ Top tour is a treat for guitar geeks, as Gibbons uses the occasions to unveil a six-string surprise. (Last year it was an elusive Gibson Moderne.) But what really makes Gibbons cool is a certain undefinable quality called “vibe.” Anyone who has ever met Billy and gotten to know him—however briefly—has an outrageous story to tell about the encounter. </p> <p>Gibbons has also twisted more than a few towering tall tales in his time, but his life is so surreal that it’s hard to tell where the truth ends and the trip takes over. His colorful manner of speech, known as “Gibbonics,” has made him one of <em>Guitar World</em>’s favorite interview subjects, especially since his poetic ponderings are loaded with insight, wisdom and a unique sense of humor.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/CPAR2zSV84I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>ZACKY VENGEANCE &amp; SYNYSTER GATES</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> December 11, 1981 (Vengeance); July 7, 1981 (Gates)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Avenged Sevenfold (both), Pinkly Smooth (Gates)<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars</strong> Schecter Vengeance Custom (Vengeance); Schecter Synyster Custom (Gates)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Unholy Confessions”—<em>Waking the Fallen </em> </p> <p>You’d be hard-pressed to find a more distinctive guitar tandem in modern metal than Zacky Vengeance (Zachary Baker) and Synyster Gates (Brian Haner, Jr.). From their sound, to their look, even to their names, the duo routinely go down guitar paths other metal axmen don’t dare travel, spicing up Avenged Sevenfold’s otherwise dark and aggressive attack with, among other things, hooky, major-key melodies, laid-back acoustic picking, buoyant, carnival-esque rhythms and a whole lot of style. </p> <p>They can also shred like nobody’s business: Though Vengeance largely fills the role of rhythm player while Gates handles the majority of the solos, almost every A7X song finds the two locking up for at least one or two rampaging runs of dual-guitar harmony leads. </p> <p>Vengeance and Gates’ ascent to the top of the metal guitar heap did not always seem inevitable. Avenged Sevenfold began life as a somewhat traditional Orange County–style metalcore act, as evidenced on their 2001 debut, <em>Sounding the Seventh Trumpet</em>, for which Vengeance served as the primary guitarist. But the band has been reinventing and refining its sound ever since. By A7X’s third effort, 2005’s <em>City of Evil</em>, they had morphed into a swaggering, thrashy unit with an adventurous edge that showed itself in everything from the grand, instrumentally dense songs to the band’s theatrical image. </p> <p>On 2007’s self-titled effort and the new <em>Nightmare</em>, Avenged Sevenfold have continued to expand their sonic template, leaving Vengeance and Gates plenty of space to explore a range of different styles. At the end of the day, however, metal is metal, and at its essence that means killer riffs and shredding solos, which the duo unleash in abundance. A7X staples like “Bat Country,” “Almost Easy” and the latest single, “Nightmare,” are chock full of blistering rhythms and finger-twisting, speed-of-light leads, while they tread that sweet spot between catchy melodicism and all-out aggression. </p> <p>As metal guitar continues to evolve in even faster and wilder ways, expect Vengeance and Gates to be two of the players leading the pack for a long time to come.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/vSaBveD7zvA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>MUDDY WATERS</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 4, 1915 (died April 30, 1983)<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> 1958 Fender Telecaster<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Rollin’ and Tumblin’ ”—<em>The Real Folk Blues</em> </p> <p>The father of electric blues, McKinley Morganfield was born in rural Mississippi, where he absorbed the folk blues stylings of Son House, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson. But in the Forties, he made the pilgrimage to Chicago, picked up an electric guitar and forged a bold new style all his own. </p> <p>He assumed the stage name Muddy Waters and released a series of historic recordings on the legendary Chess Records label. These discs established the quintessential Muddy Waters persona—the jive-talkin’, sharp-dressed, tough-as-nails, mojo-workin’ Hoochie Coochie Man. Waters’ confident, cocky vocal delivery was augmented by the knife-edge drama of his bottleneck guitar leads. This steely, highly electrified sound galvanized a new rising generation of British rock musicians when Muddy first visited those shores in 1958. </p> <p>A group of blues-crazy Brits even took their name from one of his songs: the Rolling Stones. The blues in general, and the recordings of Muddy Waters in particular, became the “roots music” for the youth counterculture that sprang up in the Sixties. Countless bands, from the Stones on down, have assayed Waters classics like “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” “Got My Mojo Workin’,” “You Shook Me,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” and “Mannish Boy.” </p> <p>Leading rock publications Rolling Stone and Mojo also paid proud titular homage to Muddy Waters, who passed away in 1983. It’s no overstatement to say that there would be no rock and roll had Muddy Waters not come along.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/x6Q2uTqB3lM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>BILLY ZOOM</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> February 20, 1948<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> X, Billy Zoom Band<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gretsch Silver Jet<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline”—<em>Los Angeles </em>(X)</p> <p>As guitarist for the seminal punk band X, Billy Zoom played a key role in launching the L.A. punk scene in the late Seventies. His raw-nerved guitar work with X drew heavily on Fifties rockabilly, spelling out the connection between punk rock and the original rock and roll music. </p> <p>But Zoom also served as the perfect foil for X’s principal songwriters, singer Exene Cervenka and bassist John Doe, who were arty, bohemian denizens of hip L.A. environs like Silverlake and Venice. Zoom was a politically conservative Christian greaser from the notoriously uncool southern L.A. suburbs of Orange County. In the now-classic L.A. punk documentary <em>The Decline of Western Civilization</em>, he is famously shown refusing to get a tattoo. </p> <p>But opposites not only attract—sometimes they also make groundbreaking music together. This is certainly true of Zoom’s collaboration with Doe and Cervenka. Since that band broke up, Zoom has gone on to do session work with everyone from the late John Denver to the Raconteurs. He’s also become semi-legendary as a guitar amp hotrod guru, having tweaked circuitry for Jackson Browne, the Black Crowes, Los Lobos, L7 and Social Distortion, among many others.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1Nt-vGexNDE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>WAYNE KRAMER &amp; FRED "SONIC" SMITH</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> April 14, 1948 (Kramer); September 13, 1949 (Smith; died November 4, 1994)<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The MC5 (both), Gang War (Kramer), Sonic Rendezvous Band (Smith)<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars </strong>Custom Strat with American Flag finish (Kramer); Mosrite Ventures (Smith)<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Ramblin’ Rose”—<em>Kick Out the Jams</em> (MC5)</p> <p> The MC5 were the nexus where radical politics and proto-punk belligerence first came together. This dangerous mixture touched off an explosion that’s still rocking the world today. The group burst out of Detroit in the cataclysmic year of 1969, with its roots firmly planted in mid-Sixties garage rock, and mutated by injections of inner-city R&amp;B and free-jazz mayhem. </p> <p>The MC5 was founded by guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred “Sonic” Smith, friends since their teen years and veterans of the Detroit garage rock scene. They honed a two-guitar attack that owed much to the heavy rock sounds being popularized at the time by acts like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin. But Kramer and Smith laid down their riffs with more reckless abandon and a greater sense of desperate urgency than any of those groups. </p> <p>Many Sixties rock acts made political statements, but the MC5 were among the first rockers to make a serious commitment to revolution, aligning themselves closely with the White Panther Party (a Black Panther offshoot organization) and effectively serving as the White Panthers’ agitprop machine. Their blue-collar Detroit roots lent a certain gritty gravitas to their stance. These weren’t effete rock stars dabbling in left wing chic but working-class guerrillas with ammo belts strapped across their bare chests and guitars brandished as rifles. </p> <p>Kramer served a prison sentence on drug-related charges after the MC5 split up. When he got out, he teamed up with Johnny Thunders to form Gang War and later re-emerged as a solo artist on L.A. punk label Epitaph. Smith went on to lead the punishingly loud Sonic Rendezvous Band and married New York punk rock poet, artist, singer and originator Patti Smith. He passed away in 1994. But from the Clash to Fugazi, Crass and Green Day, the politicized wing of punk rock continues to fly the banner first raised by the Motor City 5.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/8XhQRFO4M7A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>CHUCK BERRY</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> October 18, 1926<br /> <strong>Band</strong> Solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Gibson ES-355<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Johnny B. Goode”—<em>Gold </em> </p> <p>Chuck Berry is probably the only man alive who could kick Keith Richards ass, and not only would Keef let him get away with it, he’d thank Chuck afterwards. That’s because Keef knows that without Chuck there would have been no Rolling Stones, let alone the Beatles or Beach Boys. </p> <p>Chuck Berry is the true founding forefather of rock and roll. His guitar playing in the mid Fifties defined the true personality and vocabulary of rock and roll guitar so comprehensively and conclusively that it’s impossible to find any rock player who doesn’t still steal his licks, riffs and tricks today. In fact, Berry doesn’t even tour with his own band; instead, he hires local musicians to back him up, because almost everyone all over the world knows how to play his songs. </p> <p>Berry is also an energetic performer who invented perhaps the ultimate rock and roll stage move: the duck walk. Surprisingly, Chuck still performs this signature move when he plays onstage, even though he’s now in his 80s.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6ROwVrF0Ceg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>LOU REED</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> March 2, 1942<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Velvet Underground, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitars</strong> Gretsch Country Gentleman (Velvets), Schecter, Klein, Sadowsky and other customs<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff</strong> “Sweet Jane”—<em>Loaded </em>(The Velvet Underground) </p> <p>The dark underbelly is Lou Reed’s comfort zone. Despair and degradation are his muses. Emerging in the mid Sixties at the helm of the Velvet Underground, he offered up a gritty black-and-white alternative to the rainbow-colored pyschedelia of the prevailing rock culture. He brought us along, albeit reluctantly, to meet junkies and hustlers, S&amp;M bondage goddesses and suicidal transvestites. He was one of the first rock guitarists to embrace chaos truly and wholeheartedly. </p> <p>But the avant-garde din of Velvet Underground rave-ups seemed a genteel curtain raiser compared with the full-bore cacophony of Lou’s 1975 solo opus <em>Metal Machine Music</em>. The noise-guitar side of Lou’s legacy set the stage for cutting-edge genres like industrial, art damage, dream pop, grunge and present-day noise exponents, like Wolf Eyes and Yellow Swans. </p> <p>But Lou’s edgy lyrical stance and image spawned something even more fundamental to deviant aesthetics: punk rock. It is with considerable justice that he graced the first cover of <em>Punk</em> magazine in 1976 and was subsequently dubbed the Godfather of Punk. Lou embodied a new kind of rebel hero, an amalgam of two distinctly different but equally vilified social pariahs: the disaffected intellectual and the scumbag street hustler. In recent years, he’s added a third persona: the grumpy old man. </p> <p>And let's not forget his recent album with Metallica ... Still, there can be no underestimating Lou’s immense contribution to rock or the fierceness of his commitment to obtaining guitar tones and lyrical images that cut like a knife and leave a permanent scar.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Uc26EFI1_nw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOHNNY MARR</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> October 31, 1963<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> The Smiths, Electronic, the Pretenders, The The, Johnny Marr and the Healers, Modest Mouse, the Cribs, solo<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar</strong> Rickenbacker 330<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“What Difference Does It Make?”—<em>The Smiths </em> </p> <p>Johnny Marr is a chief architect of the post-modern rock-guitar aesthetic. As the guitarist for seminal Eighties poetic pop stars the Smiths, he created a tonal palette and crisp stylistic approach that still forms the roadmap for much modern rock guitar playing. It was Marr who created the orchestral guitar soundscapes that enhanced the moody drama of Smiths singer Morrissey’s introspective lyrics and ironically detached vocals. </p> <p>From the low-string riff for “What Difference Does It Make?” to the deep tremolo textures and swooning string bends of “How Soon Is Now,” Marr always seemed to have the notes and the tone to suit the moment perfectly. Marr’s work has been profoundly influential to guitarists of the Nineties and beyond. Noel Gallagher of Oasis dubbed Marr “a fucking wizard,” and Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien has cited Marr as the reason he picked up a guitar. In essence, Marr is a classicist, drawing much of his approach from the guitar sounds of the Sixties British Invasion, yet deftly adapting those influences to rock and roll modernity. </p> <p>He embodies the stylish sideman identity forged by guitar greats like George Harrison and Keith Richards: a neatly trimmed pudding-basin haircut, and a stage presence that never upstages the frontman. Yet, he is intriguing in his own right. Marr’s post-Smiths career has been stellar. He’s worked with everyone from New Order’s Bernard Sumner (in Electronic) to Oasis to John Frusciante, and has been quite active recently with both Modest Mouse and the Cribs. He has an uncanny knack for being around whenever cool music is happening.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r8VgouaH4No" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>RITCHIE BLACKMORE</strong><br /> <strong>Born </strong>April 14, 1945<br /> <strong>Bands</strong> Deep Purple, Rainbow, Blackmore’s Night<br /> <strong>Iconic Guitar </strong>Fender Stratocaster with scalloped neck<br /> <strong>Coolest Riff </strong>“Smoke on the Water”—<em>Machine Head </em>(Deep Purple) </p> <p>The original dark knight of metal guitar, Ritchie Blackmore boasts a surname that evokes Medieval England and a pedigree that goes back to the beginning of classic rock. Early studies in classical guitar left him with an astounding legato technique that laid the groundwork for the neoclassical and shred movements several decades later. </p> <p>In the early Sixties, Blackmore did sessions with legendary British producer Joe Meek and apprenticed with U.K. session ace (and Jimmy Page mentor) Big Jim Sullivan. Blackmore founded Deep Purple in the late Sixties and led the group through various incarnations. He also spearheaded metal icons Rainbow with the late Ronnie James Dio and has more recently played a role in Blackmore’s Night with his wife Candice Night. </p> <p>The history of metal wends ever onward, but, much like Mephistopheles, Ritchie Blackmore has a way of always turning up.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7mCK05dgwgU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><strong>JOE PERRY</strong><br /> <strong>Born</strong> September 10, 1950<br /> <strong>BANDS</strong> Aerosmith, Joe Perry Project<br /> <strong>ICONIC GUITAR</strong> Gibson Les Paul<br /> <strong>COOLEST RIFF </strong>“Walk This Way”—<em>Toys in the Attic</em> (Aerosmith) </p> <p>Joe Perry is the American distillation of the good-old Keith Richards/Jimmy Page recipe for sideman/lead guitarist cool. He’s got the look and the licks, and he’s maintained both over the course of three or four decades—despite all odds. Jagger and Richards are the Glimmer Twins, but Perry and Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler went down in history as the Toxic Twins. </p> <p>They took the Sixties formula of sex, drugs and rock and roll to new heights in the decadent Seventies. Yet they also cranked out a steady stream of hard rock gems throughout a career that has known more ups and downs than a roller coaster. What’s perhaps most amazing about Tyler and Perry’s partnership is that Perry is the <em>sensible</em> one. </p> <p>He averages only about one meltdown to Tyler’s every three and keeps the Aerosmith juggernaut anchored with endless heavy guitar hooks. He’s even marketed his own brand of hot sauce. How cool is that?</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZS3YYzecik0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buddy-guy">Buddy Guy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/aerosmith">Aerosmith</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deep-purple">Deep Purple</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jimmy-page">Jimmy Page</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/30-most-badass-guitarists-all-time#comments Articles Buddy Guy Chuck Berry Django Reinhardt GW Archive T-Bone Walker ZZ Top Guitar World Lists News Features Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:46:42 +0000 Alan Di Perna, Chris Gill, Richard Bienstock 3497 at http://www.guitarworld.com Magnatone Amps Are Back, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Is Rolling Out the Red Carpet http://www.guitarworld.com/magnatone-amps-are-back-and-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-rolling-out-red-carpet <!--paging_filter--><p>After 40 years of dormancy, Magnatone amplifiers, one of the great names in guitar amplification has returned—and not in name only. </p> <p>While the front end and power sections of the new Magnatones have been modernized and vastly improved, the company’s engineers have faithfully recreated their legendary patented vibrato circuit from 1958, which is nothing short of heaven for true aficionados of classic guitar sounds.</p> <p> Among those who are cheering the boutique company’s return is Billy Gibbons. “We’re pleasantly amazed that the mythic Magnatone has resurfaced in such a big way,” Gibbons says. “This is nothing short of a rockin’ resurrection, and the sound is every bit as great as the look.”</p> <p> Acknowledged as one of rock’s most discriminating tone freaks, the ZZ Top guitarist is currently using the company’s Super Fifty-Nine head in his live rig and in the studio. </p> <p> “The Super Fifty-Nine specializes in delivering a very open sound,” he says. “It doesn't require an array of pedals to get great sound, and the master volume feature is one of the best I've heard. It's a lot of loud, and it's the good loud!"</p> <p> Magnatone president and CEO Ted Kornblum says his focus is on making high-end, American-made products that a musician will want to use for a lifetime. His entire line, he explains, is 100 percent tube powered, crafted using point-to-point wiring and top-notch quality control. “I’m not interested in making thousands of amps,” he says. “ I’m interested in making great amps.”</p> <p> The product line is currently divided into three groups: the Traditional Collection, the Studio Collection and the Master Collection. The Traditional amps (Twilighter, Stereo Twilighter and Single V) are built in the style of the American combos of the Sixties and feature true pitch-shifting vibrato using silicon-carbide varistors, American-inspired 6V6 and 6L6 tube circuitry, a tube-driven spring reverb, custom-designed ceramic speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers, and gold and brown aesthetics that are based on the original Magnatone amps.</p> <p> The Studio Collection (Lyric and Varsity) models are built in the tradition of the smaller amps of the Fifties and Sixties and offers those vintage tones but with improved power for the modern player. Visually stunning, compact in size and offering tons of headroom, all of the amps in this line are offered in TV and Cathedral cabinet designs.</p> <p> For those looking to make a bigger noise à la Mr. Gibbons, the Master Collection (Super Fifteen, Super Thirty and Super Fifty-Nine) features EL84 and EL34 British-inspired tube circuitry, master volume, custom British-style speakers made by Warehouse Guitar Speakers and the company’s patented pitch-shifting vibrato.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/magnatone-amps-are-back-and-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-rolling-out-red-carpet#comments Billy Gibbons Magnatone November 2014 ZZ Top Amps News Gear Magazine Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:45:59 +0000 Brad Tolinski 22787 at http://www.guitarworld.com Guitar World's Battle of the Greatest Live Bands: Round 2 — ZZ Top Vs. Queen http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-battle-greatest-live-bands-round-2-zz-top-vs-queen <!--paging_filter--><p>We don't know about you, but around here, September brings to mind tours and massive live shows — probably because it's the only month where summer and fall, the two biggest rock touring seasons, collide.</p> <p>So, as our thoughts turn to the gigs we've reported on, witnessed and celebrated this year, we thought we'd get our readers — as in, you guys! — involved as we attempt to pinpoint rock's greatest live band or artist!</p> <p>Welcome to <em>Guitar World</em>'s official readers poll for September (It's the first readers poll we've conducted since November 2013, all you poll haters out there), the Battle of the Greatest Live Bands. It kicked off Wednesday, September 3.</p> <p>Although we (obviously) had thousands of artists and/or bands to choose from, we decided to narrow things down to a mere 32 names, which is perfect for a month's worth of intense — and fun (it's supposed to be fun, people!) matchups. All the artists were carefully selected by <em>Guitar World's</em> entire editorial staff. </p> <p><strong>Most importantly, note that this poll involves ONLY still-existing bands, so you won't get to watch the Doors duke it out with Led Zeppelin! Pantera will not go head to head with Cream. The Jimi Hendrix Experience will not compete with ... you get the idea.</strong></p> <p>Here are our 32 artists, in alphabetical order, and you can check also out the entire bracket of matchups at the end of this page.</p> <p><strong>AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Dillinger Escape Plan, Eagles, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Jack White, Kiss, Korn, Metallica, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, Phish, Queen, Radiohead, Rammstein, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rolling Stones, Rush, Slayer, Slipknot, Soundgarden, Tool, U2, Van Halen and ZZ Top.</strong><br /> <br /></p> <h1>Today's Matchup: Voting Closed!</h1> <p><STRONG>QUEEN</strong> (54.83) edged out <STRONG>ZZ TOP</strong> (45.17). Thanks for voting!</p> <h1>Let's Go to the Video!</h1> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ai-aLzd5imI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sTgRlWdzUWA?list=PL2tMgWgIvcWm43buGy5qfDwO38eq3T7vY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <h1>Yesterday's Winners</h1> <p><strong>RUSH</strong> (87.34 percent) defeated <strong>MUSE</strong> (12.66 percent). Thanks for voting! Head <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/battle-greatest-live-bands">HERE</a> to see every matchup so far. Tell your friends so that they, too, can see every matchup so far!</p> <h1>Behold the Latest Bracket</h1> <p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"> <a title="View Bracket 9-23 on Scribd" href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/240698689/Bracket-9-23" style="text-decoration: underline;" >Bracket 9-23</a></p> <p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" src="//www.scribd.com/embeds/240698689/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" scrolling="no" id="doc_77838" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> <br /></p> <h1>How the Bracket Was Compiled</h1> <p>Here's how the bracket was — very unscientifically — compiled.</p> <p>We drew the artists' names out of a hat (It was, in fact, a Quebec Nordiques baseball-style cap) to help us create our bracket, which is available for your viewing pleasure below. Obviously, none of these of bands are ranked or come from a previously compiled list, so we chose purely random matchups to have as little impact as possible on the final outcome. We're actually pretty pleased with the way the bracket turned out!</p> <p>Remember that, as with any poll, genre might occasionally clash against genre, so you'll just need to decide which artist has (or has had) the most to offer within his/their genre, perhaps which one has or had more natural talent or technical skill, which one had the biggest influence on other live acts, etc.</p> <p>As always, you can vote only once per matchup (once per device, that is), and we'll be posting match-ups pretty much every day of the month, sometimes more than once per day, just to give you an early warning!</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/queen">Queen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-battle-greatest-live-bands-round-2-zz-top-vs-queen#comments Battle of the Greatest Live Bands Poll Polls Queen ZZ Top News Features Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:34:43 +0000 Guitar World Staff 22379 at http://www.guitarworld.com Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons Discuss the Rocking Relationship Between Guitars, Cars and Everything in Between http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-s-billy-gibbons-discuss-rocking-relationship-between-guitars-cars-and-everything-between <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus new Gibbons/Beck photos by Ross Halfin, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, MXR &amp; Eddie Van Halen, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-november-14-billy-gibbons-and-jeff-beck/?&amp;utm_source=email&amp;utm_medium=daily_enews&amp;utm_campaign=GWNOV14">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><strong>The Surreal Thing: As they prepare to hit the road together for a summer tour, Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons wax philosophical on the rock and roll relationship between guitars, cars and everything in between.</strong></p> <p>It’s a hot, sunny California day as Jeff Beck and ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons stroll through the lush courtyard of Hollywood’s swanky Sunset Marquis Hotel. </p> <p>Ripe for caricature, they are perhaps two of the most distinctive-looking performers in rock history. Beck, with his much-imitated rooster shag haircut, and Gibbons, dressed in full hipster Wild West drag, look almost disconcertingly the same as they have for the past three or four decades. </p> <p>If we hadn’t invited them ourselves on the eve of their first tour together, it would be easy to mistake them for a mirage from one of those surreal ZZ Top videos that dominated MTV in the Eighties. </p> <p><em>Surreal</em> is actually a word that pops up quite often in conversations with both musicians over the next few days. It’s certainly a fitting adjective to describe aspects of their music. </p> <p>Since Beck’s stunning 1965 debut with the Yardbirds, he has thrilled and confounded guitarists with his exciting and often avant-garde approach to the instrument. His playful and imaginative take on Willie Dixon’s “Ain’t Superstitious” from <em>Truth</em>, his 1968 album with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass, certainly rivaled anything Jimi Hendrix was creating at the time. </p> <p>And his consistently innovative work on tracks like “Going Down” (1972), “Blue Wind” (1976),” “Where Were You” (1989) and “Hammerhead” (2010), which won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, continues to push the limits of what can be done on a Fender Stratocaster without getting arrested.</p> <p>And anyone with even a passing knowledge of ZZ Top knows how strange they can be. Comprised of Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard, the Little Ol’ Band from Texas has defied any civilized notion of what traditional rock musicians should look and sound like. Yet, their wonderfully skewed take on the blues has helped them sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million albums, and they continue to play the world’s biggest concert halls.</p> <p> Gibbons, in his inimitable deep Texas drawl, concurs that surreal is indeed the word of the day. “One of the highest compliments that ever came my way was sent from [guitarist] Jimmie Vaughan,” he says, chuckling. “He said, ‘Oh yeah, Gibbons is out there.’ But if there’s actually an ‘out there,’ guess what? We’ll go out there and find Jeff Beck!”</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-november-14-billy-gibbons-and-jeff-beck/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=GibbonsBeckExcerpt">Enjoy this excerpt from our interview with Gibbons and Beck. For the entire story, pick up the November 2014 issue of Guitar World.</a></strong></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6qr1Lc9Gm7k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: Billy, what does Jeff Beck mean to you? What is his importance as an artist?</strong></p> <p><strong>BILLY GIBBONS</strong> Before Jeff and ZZ Top embarked on this tour, I received a phone call from the production office asking about design preferences for our backstage passes. The reply was simple: “Well, there’s a juicy guitar image fitting to go on the ZZ side of the pass, and there awaits a superb geetar view for Jeff’s side as well.”</p> <p>On one side, we chose a view of the infamous, Pearly Gates, my fine ’59 Les Paul ’Burst, and on the other side, we landed an image of Jeff’s magnificently battle-scarred 1954 Fender Esquire used with the Yardbirds. When you’re using the word importance, one can easily find it in the guitars that Jeff Beck and I pounded the sides off long ago. Jeff’s guitar certainly stands as a pivotal piece, marking the point where bravery stepped in with a willingness to experiment, moving the six-string expression far outside any previously proven lines. The visual impact of that beat-up war club is still meaningful and forceful to the extreme. </p> <p><strong>Jeff, what do you find cool about Billy and ZZ Top? </strong></p> <p><strong>JEFF BECK</strong> Just think about how people went for Billy’s sound and the band’s image. ZZ Top went completely against the grain of all one would expect iconic rock to be. That’s what I love about them—they are this wonderful quirky backfire. Billy’s tone is great, and so are his songs. You wouldn’t really expect these bearded guys to write all these great tunes about cars and girls. </p> <p><strong>Both you and Jeff introduced a surrealistic element into the blues. In Jeff’s case, his versions of “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “Going Down” wink at traditionalism. ZZ Top often references the blues, but they also have a little irreverent fun with the genre. How important is it for you to let your audience know that you are self-aware? You know: “I’m not from the Delta, but I still love this music and there’s a way to modernize it.”</strong></p> <p><strong>BECK</strong> When you are taken with any music with inner gusto, you don’t think too much about it—you just have to have it! </p> <p>For example, I was playing in a blues band before I joined the Yardbirds, and I was really into Bo Diddley, who made the best use imaginable out of playing one chord. His outrageous jungle rhythms were so powerful and hypnotic, he didn’t have to change keys. We basically took his idea of the one-chord vamp, and while the band played, I would just slack all my strings and then really pull on them to make the most ridiculous and surreal sounds with slap echo so that people would just look up.<br /> It wasn’t premeditated. </p> <p>I just wanted the audience to look at me and listen! I did all kinds of outrageous things like that at the time, like taking two guitars and have them feedback against each other, and it was that kind of attitude that eventually got me the job with the Yardbirds. They didn’t want someone to play a beautiful slide guitar solo, or someone that sounded like Earl Hooker. </p> <p>They wanted someone that would hold an audience. I had something no one else had, and however crude or outrageous it was at the time, it worked. It wasn’t all that calculated. It was just my way of saying, Here I am. Ultimately, I had to tone some of it down when I joined the Yardbirds, because we were going on television playing pop singles. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/i9OJB_AEePQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Billy, how important is it for you to add a little touch of the “untraditional” to your traditional blues?</strong></p> <p><strong>GIBBONS</strong> This position was being prodded in a discussion in Memphis, Tennessee, with a dear friend, Waltaire Baldwin. We came up together in Houston and kept our friendship for a long time. Waltaire is a poet. Gave me a John Lee Hooker disc when we were 12 and then showed me how to draw blues harmonica. </p> <p>Waltaire and I were in deep contemplation at 89 Union Street Saloon, sitting atop a table right near the corner window, overlooking the Mississippi. We both agreed that although we never picked cotton, didn’t grow up on plantation, it did not necessarily prevent creating an honest attempt making the truth of the blues a backbone of interpretation. The one ZZ tune that really captures this thought is, “My Head’s in Mississippi.” </p> <p>Although it ain’t the Thirties, all that hard-rhythm shuffle boogie coupled with a surrealistic Howlin’ Wolf’s delivery creates a subdued assembly of visual pictures. The great Memphis guitarist and producer Jim Dickinson once remarked, “Oh yeah, you guys are doing what I like. You’ve become a Salvador Dali—the Dali of the Delta.” Once you get that far along, the point’s made!</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/pN69GC2amTg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>What is the cosmic connection between the appreciation of an automobile and a guitar?</strong></p> <p><strong>GIBBONS</strong> It’s a big question, but a good one! What’s really the wicked connection is that they can be loud and fast; yet, they can also be quite elegant. While I was in Spain visiting Nacho Baños, the noted authority on early Fifties blackguard Fenders, we spent more than a day and a night—make it days and nights—talking about automotive elegance and the connection with the unchanged beauty of that original Fender. Call it the Telecaster, the Esquire, the Broadcaster or call it the No-caster—it’s become one of those timeless things.</p> <p><strong>BECK</strong> Guitars and cars offer experiences that are both quite amazing. The other day I was thinking, Why are there so many people in cars? It’s because it’s such a pleasure to have that experience, regardless of where you are going. It’s almost habit forming. You want to control your movement, but at the same time your brain is going at an unnatural speed and you’re putting yourself in danger. </p> <p>There’s that element of excitement every time you turn the ignition. It’s not that you’re just driving from point A to B—you’re enjoying every second of being in control of your life…or avoiding death! Listening to great rock and roll music also gives you this exhilarating sense of awareness similar to what you have when you are driving. </p> <p>There are other more obvious connections. Hot rods are cool looking and rock and roll is cool looking, and they both came of age at the same time in the Fifties. If America never created anything else, thank you very much for the hot rods and rock and roll!</p> <p><em>This is an excerpt from the all-new November 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus new Gibbons/Beck photos by Ross Halfin, not to mention features on Weezer, George Thorogood, MXR &amp; Eddie Van Halen, the guitar pick revolution, Nita Strauss and Black Veil Brides, plus gear reviews (Epiphone, Zoom, Gretsch, TC-Helicon, Mesa and more) and lessons by Marty Friedman and Steel Panther's Satchel, <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-world/products/guitar-world-november-14-billy-gibbons-and-jeff-beck/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=article&amp;utm_campaign=GibbonsBeckExcerpt">check out the November 2014 issue of Guitar World!</a></em></p> <p><em>Photo: Ross Halfin</em></p> <p><img src="/files/imce-images/1114_Gib%26Beck.jpg" width="620" height="805" alt="1114_Gib&amp;Beck.jpg" /></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-s-billy-gibbons-discuss-rocking-relationship-between-guitars-cars-and-everything-between#comments Billy Gibbons Brad Tolinski Jeff Beck November 2014 ZZ Top Interviews News Features Magazine Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:34:29 +0000 Brad Tolinski 22338 at http://www.guitarworld.com Guitar World's Battle of the Greatest Live Bands: Round 1 — Soundgarden Vs. ZZ Top http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-battle-greatest-live-bands-round-1-soundgarden-vs-zz-top <!--paging_filter--><p>We don't know about you, but around here, September brings to mind tours and massive live shows — probably because it's the only month where summer and fall, the two biggest rock touring seasons, collide.</p> <p>So, as our thoughts turn to the gigs we've reported on, witnessed and celebrated this year, we thought we'd get our readers — as in, you guys! — involved as we attempt to pinpoint rock's greatest live band or artist!</p> <p>Welcome to <em>Guitar World</em>'s official readers poll for September (It's the first readers poll we've conducted since November 2013, all you poll haters out there), the Battle of the Greatest Live Bands. It kicked off Wednesday, September 3.</p> <p>Although we (obviously) had thousands of artists and/or bands to choose from, we decided to narrow things down to a mere 32 names, which is perfect for a month's worth of intense — and fun (it's supposed to be fun, people!) matchups. All the artists were carefully selected by <em>Guitar World's</em> entire editorial staff. </p> <p><strong>Most importantly, note that this poll involves ONLY still-existing bands, so you won't get to watch the Doors duke it out with Led Zeppelin! Pantera will not go head to head with Cream. The Jimi Hendrix Experience will not compete with ... you get the idea.</strong></p> <p>Here are our 32 artists, in alphabetical order:</p> <p><strong>AC/DC, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, Black Sabbath, Dillinger Escape Plan, Eagles, Foo Fighters, Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Jack White, Kiss, Korn, Metallica, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, Phish, Queen, Radiohead, Rammstein, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rolling Stones, Rush, Slayer, Slipknot, Soundgarden, Tool, U2, Van Halen and ZZ Top.</strong><br /> <br /></p> <h1>How the Bracket Was Compiled</h1> <p>Here's how the bracket was — very unscientifically — compiled.</p> <p>We drew the artists' names out of a hat (It was, in fact, a Quebec Nordiques baseball-style cap) to help us create our bracket, which is available for your viewing pleasure below. Obviously, none of these of bands are ranked or come from a previously compiled list, so we chose purely random matchups to have as little impact as possible on the final outcome. We're actually pretty pleased with the way the bracket turned out!</p> <p>Remember that, as with any poll, genre might occasionally clash against genre, so you'll just need to decide which artist has (or has had) the most to offer within his/their genre, perhaps which one has or had more natural talent or technical skill, which one had the biggest influence on other live acts, etc.</p> <p>Let's get started! As always, you can vote only once per matchup (once per device, that is), and we'll be posting matchups pretty much every day of the month, sometimes more than once per day, just to give you an early warning! </p> <p>Today's matchup finds <strong>SOUNDGARDEN</strong> going head to head with <strong>ZZ TOP</strong>!</p> <h1>Behold the Latest Bracket</h1> <p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"> <a title="View 2014.09.08 32 Bracket on Scribd" href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/239047534/2014-09-08-32-Bracket" style="text-decoration: underline;" >2014.09.08 32 Bracket</a></p> <p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" src="//www.scribd.com/embeds/239047534/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="undefined" scrolling="no" id="doc_15447" width="100%" height="500" frameborder="0"></iframe><br /> <br /></p> <h1>Today's Matchup: Voting Closed!</h1> <p><strong>SOUNDGARDEN</strong> (26.71) were crushed by <strong>ZZ TOP</strong> (73.29). Thanks for voting!</p> <h1>Yesterday's Winner</h1> <p>Former Beatle <strong>Paul McCartney</strong> (53.62) defeated <strong>the Eagles</strong> (46.38). Thanks for voting! Head <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/battle-greatest-live-bands">HERE</a> to see every matchup so far. Tell your friends so that they, too, can see every matchup so far!</p> <h1>Let's Go to the Video!</h1> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9SezaTc6uf0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ai-aLzd5imI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/soundgarden">Soundgarden</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-battle-greatest-live-bands-round-1-soundgarden-vs-zz-top#comments Battle of the Greatest Live Bands Poll Polls Soundgarden ZZ Top News Features Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:38:46 +0000 Guitar World Staff 22279 at http://www.guitarworld.com Jeff Beck and ZZ Top Announce Tour Suspension; Beck to Fill Dates Through August http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-tour-suspension-beck-fill-dates-through-august <!--paging_filter--><p>Jeff Beck and ZZ Top have announced the suspension of the remaining scheduled double-bill tour dates due to an injury sustained by ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill.</p> <p>According to a story posted by <a href="http://www.wcsx.com/zztopannouncement.aspx#.U_9BzcakSDX">wcsx.com</a>, Hill, who is 65, slipped and fell on his hip while in his tour bus last night. </p> <p>As a result of his injury, which requires immediate attention, ZZ Top's shows have been suspended while he recovers. Dates affected by the suspension include all of the scheduled concert bills shared with Beck through September 13.</p> <p>Earlier today, Beck's camp provided the following update:</p> <p>Jeff and his band — Jimmy Hall on vocals, Rhonda Smith on bass, Jonathan Joseph on drums and Nicolas Meier on guitar — will move forward with the following three previously scheduled dates, with Tyler Bryant opening:</p> <p>• August 29 Seneca Allegany Casino Salamanca, NY<br /> • August 30 The Concert Venue @ Harrah’s Atlantic City, NJ<br /> • August 31 MGM Grand Theater @ Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT</p> <p>Dates scheduled for West Palm Beach, Tampa, St. Augustine, Atlanta, Thackerville and Houston will potentially be rescheduled. Patrons should hold onto their ticket stubs for a possible future announcement.</p> <p>“While we are very disappointed to not continue this tour with ZZ Top, our thoughts and best wishes are for Dusty to have a speedy recovery,” Beck said.</p> <p><strong>Canceled dates include:</strong></p> <p>• August 28 Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL<br /> • September 2 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA<br /> • September 3 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD<br /> • September 4 Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/7ZAgJMKjfjY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-tour-suspension-beck-fill-dates-through-august#comments Jeff Beck ZZ Top News Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:09:02 +0000 Damian Fanelli 22228 at http://www.guitarworld.com ZZ Top and Jeff Beck Play "Sixteen Tons" at Greek Theatre — Video http://www.guitarworld.com/zz-top-and-jeff-beck-play-sixteen-tons-greek-theatre-video <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-north-american-summer-tour">As we've reported</a>, ZZ Top and Jeff Beck are in the midst of a summer North American tour that kicked off August 8 in Montana and is scheduled to wind down September 13 in Oklahoma.</p> <p>On August 13, they made a stop at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. </p> <p>Below, you can check out a bit of decent-quality fan-filmed footage from that night. It shows ZZ Top and Beck performing "Sixteen Tons," a Merle Travis song made famous in the mid-Fifties by Tennessee Ernie Ford.</p> <p>For the rest of this story, I hereby borrow heavily from <A href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-zz-top-jeff-beck-hoax-video-sixteen-tons-greek-theatre-20140819-story.html">a fine latimes.com piece by Randy Lewis:</a></p> <p>Even though this is the first tour by Beck and ZZ Top, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons and Beck <em>did</em> perform together for the first time in 2009 at Madison Square Garden for the 25th-anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert. That night, they played ZZ Top’s “Rough Boy” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”</p> <p>A few years later, a bizarre <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2aqvKY6zLc">fan-created video appeared on YouTube</a>. The clip, which was full of footage from their 2009 performance, was set to a rocking new version of “Sixteen Tons.” The video was meant to be a hoax, since it made it seem Beck and Gibbons were actually performing the song.</p> <p>When Beck heard about the clip, he said, “Bloody hell, we can do this!” and worked up the same arrangement used in the fan’s video. </p> <p>Anyway, we've included the original fan-created video (bottom clip, also featuring the lovely and talented Tal Wilkenfeld on bass) and the recent performance by Beck and ZZ Top (top video, of course)! Enjoy!</p> <p>As always, let us know what you think of the performance in the comments or on Facebook. Be sure to stay tuned for a taste of Beck and Gibbons in an upcoming issue of <em>Guitar World</em>! </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/r-GZB56yyt0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/J2aqvKY6zLc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/zz-top-and-jeff-beck-play-sixteen-tons-greek-theatre-video#comments Billy Gibbons Jeff Beck ZZ Top Videos News Sun, 24 Aug 2014 17:42:15 +0000 Damian Fanelli 22184 at http://www.guitarworld.com Jeff Beck and ZZ Top Perform "La Grange" — Video http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-perform-la-grange-video <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-north-american-summer-tour">As we have reported a few times</a>, Jeff Beck and ZZ Top have hit the road for a joint tour that kicked off August 8 in Missoula, Montana.</p> <p>Below, you can check out a bit of fan-filmed footage from the tour's second stop — August 9 at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Washington.</p> <p>In the clip, the ZZ Top boys call Beck onto the stage for a rollicking, four-piece performance of ZZ Top's "La Grange," with Beck handling the guitar solo. As always, take a look and tell us what you think in the comments or on Facebook!</p> <p>For more about this tour, <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-north-american-summer-tour">head in this general direction.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6qr1Lc9Gm7k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-perform-la-grange-video#comments Jeff Beck ZZ Top Videos News Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:24:26 +0000 Damian Fanelli 22090 at http://www.guitarworld.com Jeff Beck and ZZ Top Set to Launch North American Tour August 8 http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-north-american-summer-tour <!--paging_filter--><p>ZZ Top and Jeff Beck will kick off their summer tour August 8 — and you can check out all the dates below.</p> <p>The tour is formatted to offer a free-standing set from Beck, a free-standing set from ZZ Top and a joint performance where Beck joins ZZ Top for the finale.</p> <p>On the heels of releasing <em>Live at Montreux 2013</em> DVD/Blu-ray and <em>The Baddest of ZZ Top</em> CD/2CD retrospective, “that little ol’ band from Texas” will be cranking out classics such as “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs” and “Tush.” The lineup of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill and Frank Beard has been holding steady for more than 44 years. </p> <p>Beck’s touring band will consist of <em>Flash</em>-era vocalist Jimmy Hall (Wet Willie), bassist Rhonda Smith, drummer Jonathan Joseph and guitarist Nicolas Meier. </p> <p>Texas guitar prodigy Tyler Bryant had recently been announced as the opening act for the vast majority of the tour dates. Bryant already has experience as an opener for Beck and also has cut his teeth on bills with Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, B.B. King, Heart, Vince Gill and others.</p> <p>While ZZ Top and Beck have never toured together, this isn't the first live collaboration between the two camps. Gibbons joined Beck and his band on stage at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 at Madison Square Garden, where they performed Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady” and ZZ Top’s hit “Rough Boy.” The following year, Beck joined ZZ Top in Lucca, Italy, for an extended rendition of “La Grange.”</p> <p>“Ever since experiencing ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’ the prospect of performance with Jeff Beck on the deck brings us into focus with the curator of crunch,” Gibbons said. “We could never figure out what Beck was doing on his instrument to get those sounds, and it was that mystery that inspired us to push our own sound to the next level. It is an honor to be sharing the stage with the curator of crunch.”</p> <p>Beck added: “Ever since <em>Eliminator</em>, I thought it would be great to play with ZZ Top.” He went on to call Gibbons “the Professor of Grunge.”</p> <p><strong>2014 Jeff Beck with ZZ Top Tour</strong>:</p> <p>August 8 Ogren Park Missoula, MT<br /> August 9 Chateau Ste. Michelle Woodinville, WA<br /> August 10 Cuthbert Amphitheatre Eugene, OR<br /> August 12 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA<br /> August 13 Greek Amphitheatre Los Angeles, CA<br /> August 15 Ironstone Amphitheatre Murphys, CA<br /> August 16 The Joint Las Vegas, NV<br /> August 17 AVA Amphitheatre Tucson, AZ<br /> August 19 Sandia Casino Albuquerque, NM<br /> August 20 Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre Englewood, CO<br /> August 22 Zoo Amphitheatre Oklahoma City, OK<br /> August 23 Starlight Theater Kansas City, MO<br /> August 24 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Maryland Heights, MO<br /> August 27 DTE Energy Music Theatre Clarkston, MI<br /> August 28 Ravinia Festival Highland Park, IL<br /> August 29 Seneca Allegany Casino Salamanca, NY<br /> August 30 Concert Venue @Harrah’s Atlantic City, NJ<br /> August 31 MGM Grand Theater @ Foxwoods Mashantucket, CT<br /> September 2 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA<br /> September 3 Merriweather Post Pavilion Columbia, MD *<br /> September 4 Nikon @ Jones Beach Theater Wantagh, NY<br /> September 6 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater Alpharetta, GA<br /> September 7 St. Augustine Amphitheater St. Augustine, FL<br /> September 9 Cruzan Amphitheater West Palm Beach, FL<br /> September 10 Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater Tampa, FL<br /> September 12 Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion The Woodlands, TX<br /> September 13 Winstar Casino Thackerville, OK **</p> <p>*Tyler Bryant and Gary Clark Jr. open<br /> **ZZ Top and Jeff Beck only</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZhgPu6PBJh0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jeff-beck">Jeff Beck</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/jeff-beck-and-zz-top-announce-north-american-summer-tour#comments Jeff Beck ZZ Top News Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:18:12 +0000 Damian Fanelli 20928 at http://www.guitarworld.com Video: Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan Perform ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" http://www.guitarworld.com/video-paul-gilbert-and-guthrie-govan-perform-zz-tops-cheap-sunglasses <!--paging_filter--><p>Here's a fan-shot video of Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan jamming on ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses."</p> <p>The video, which was posted to YouTube last October, was shot at Gilbert's 2012 Great Guitar Escape at Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, New York.</p> <p>Note that while the clip itself is pretty lengthy, the song actually kicks off at the 5:01 mark. The guitar solos take flight at 7:08.</p> <p>This August, Gilbert is hosting the G4 Experience, which he describes as, "more than a show, more than a seminar, more than a backstage pass." Attendees will give you inspiration and ideas that'll keep you playing guitar for years. Those who have attended Gilbert's Great Guitar Escape camp know he puts everything into making these camps into unforgettable events. </p> <p>Gilbert will be performing, teaching and offering everyone who attends a chance to jam with him. For the G4 Experience, Gilbert will team up with Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons and Mike Kenneally. </p> <p>For more about the G4 Experience, visit <a href="http://www.g4experience.com/">g4experience.com</a>.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/35dWeDgQ7v8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/video-paul-gilbert-and-guthrie-govan-perform-zz-tops-cheap-sunglasses#comments Guthrie Govan Paul Gilbert ZZ Top Videos News Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:06:38 +0000 Damian Fanelli 20708 at http://www.guitarworld.com Dear Guitar Hero: ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons Talks Pinch Harmonics, Gear, Setup, Strings and More http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-talks-pinch-harmonics-gear-setup-strings-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p><em>From the GW archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2005 issue of </em>Guitar World.</p> <p>He's been known to play guitar through a pack of cigarettes and his wooly mammoth tone-and facial hair-have inspired guitarists for decades. But what <em>Guitar World</em> readers really want to know is...</p> <p><strong>Why did you start using a peso as a pick?</strong> — Paul Shuffield, Jr.</p> <p>Tommy Carter of Jimmie Vaughan's Dallas band the Chessmen used a quarter to play bass. He described the serrated edge of the coin as producing a delightful scratchiness as he scrubbed the strings. That gave me the idea, and our love of the Mexican border is what drew us to the peso. The peso coin is a rarity, but we've still got a few filed down for the ready.</p> <p><strong>Does the fur affect your beloved tone? — Chris Tracyr</strong></p> <p>The fur on the guitar or my face?</p> <p><strong>You use six Bixonic Expandora pedals for distortion, which would seem to create a muddy mess. Do you set the levels differently on each one to create the desired sustain while maintaining a cleaner distortion sound? Please help. Not knowing makes my medication less effective. — Kevin Potts</strong></p> <p>You are correct. Combinations of multiple effects are manageable when using a slight edge from each, which avoids the unwanted collision of tones. However, at this point, sometimes the grind of excessive noise becomes its own thing! Experiment...just not with your medication.</p> <p><strong>Do you really use .008 gauge strings? If so, how do you keep them from flapping when detuning? And how do you get such a great tone, since I have always believed the bigger the strings, the better the tone? — Brian Wachter</strong></p> <p>I, too, once believed in the heavier gauge string as a superior tone source. However, thanks to the graciousness of B.B. King I learned that a lighter gauge string offers superior playing comfort. Detuning requires some adjustment of attack, approach and feel. Try it. You may like it.</p> <p><strong>Where can I get one of those pimp-ass hats? — Garen Henry</strong></p> <p>From a Bamileke tribal member in Cameroon, West Africa. Be sure to take a Texas 10-gallon along for good trading.</p> <p><strong>Please tell me about your fantastic-sounding Pearly Gates. Was it love at first sight, and how and why does it sound so damn good? — Peter Ohmer</strong></p> <p>She is a 1959, and I acquired her when I was 18. While I have always been in love with her, I would have to say it was luck, not love, at first sight. We've studied the varying construction techniques used on a wide range of Les Pauls, and Pearly Gates seems simply to have been on the assembly line on the right day at the right time. It was the right glue, the right wood, the right finish on the right day. It's just all good.</p> <p><strong>I apologize if my question causes you nightmares, but if you had to choose between blowing up all of your custom hot rods and chopping up all of your guitars and amps with an ax, which would you do? — Dallas Tringali</strong></p> <p>Oh my God! We'd probably prefer to take a quick cruise and play each guitar, and burn the whole house down!</p> <p><strong>Did Frank play drums on <em>Eliminator</em> and did you play any guitar synth on the album? — AC Johnson</strong></p> <p>Frank played his trusty acoustic kit and used triggers to activate sounds on his drum modules. Although a guitar synth was present, we focused our attention on one of Mr. Moog's keyboard contraptions.</p> <p><strong>Ever jam with Johnny Winter when you were both young Texas bucks? — Michael Mosley</strong></p> <p>I was fortunate enough to join the legion of Johnny Winter fans when he first launched the great Johnny Winter trio [with bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner]. We were content to remain in awe and admiration without attempting to crowd the stage. </p> <p><strong>What was your gear setup for Rhythmeen? I'm interested in how you obtained such a great low-end growl for that album. — Steve</strong></p> <p>That was the fine work of a detuned '55 Goldtop running through a modified Marshall 100, in conjunction with Marshall's JMP-1 preamp. The two amp sources working together created a curious organic delaylike effect that we still use in our studio today.</p> <p><strong>As a fan of ZZ Top and Queens of the Stone Age, I am wondering how you ended up appearing on Queens' new <em>Lullabies to Paralyze</em> album, how you felt about the experience and what gear you used. — St. Jimmy</strong></p> <p>The invitation to work with Josh Homme and company came by way of a phone call to our on-road production office. At the insistence of our road crew, I engaged in a studio session and had an absolute blast. Those guys are quite creative. They're willing to go out and try things. They had so much great gear in there that I really cannot relate what I ended up using, but they had an incredible array of choice-sounding guitars, amps and effects, both vintage and current. I just showed up and started trying out gear, having a blast. Hard to say what ended up on the tracks.</p> <p><strong>You are the king of artificial harmonics. How do you hit them so smoothly and exactly? — Matt Bush</strong></p> <p>Quite simply: it's meat on metal on wood. Roll the picking fingers slightly off edge of the plectrum and move around a bit. The sound changes drastically and requires some experimentation until you get comfortable finding your sweet spots.</p> <p><strong>You are well known for your pinch harmonics. What boggles my mind is how you do harmony between the pitches on the same fret. I'm thinking of "La Grange." How do you know each note's pitch and harmonize them perfectly? — Josh Berry</strong></p> <p>See the answer to the question above. It's a tricky thing to do, until muscle memory becomes second nature. Striking exactly where you want to requires some guesswork, especially while you are learning the technique. Again, experiment until you're playing what you want to hear. </p> <p><strong>I love the way it sounds like two guitar players dueling back and forth on Deguello and would like to confirm what I know but still find hard to grasp: that is all you, right? — Russell d Lancaster</strong></p> <p>Correct. The magic of multitracking turned our trio into a multipiece combo. Having to do it all simply requires the virtue of patience.</p> <p><strong>Why don't you use Marshall amps onstage anymore? — Scott Cronn</strong></p> <p>Marshalls are still present in our lineup and remain the cornerstone for our guitar and bass tones, though their presence may not be as visually apparent. We're using the Marshall tube preamp and loading that into Marshall's now out-of-production 120/120 power amp.</p> <p><strong>You had a keyboard player on the first ZZ album. How did the group decide to become a three-piece? What are your likes and dislikes about playing in a trio? — Brian Birckbichler</strong></p> <p>Our first recording did feature ZZ top as a trio, but instead of using guitar, drums and bass, we used guitar, drums and a Hammond B-3 organ. [<em>ZZ Top's first single, "Salt Lick" b/w "Miller's Farm," features this lineup. The tracks are available on the <em>Chrome, Smoke &amp; BBQ</em> box set (Rhino)</em>]. The power of the kick [bass] pedals from the keyboard allowed us to create a four-piece sound with the minimalism of a trio, which is what we have always loved. Presently, ZZ Top enjoys the challenge that trio performance requires. Quite lively.</p> <p><strong>Have you always been a sharp-dressed man? I saw some old photos of you guys in cheesy blue cowboy suits, which stopped me in my tracks. — Ryan Jones</strong></p> <p>To borrow Dusty's expression, we're immune to fashion. Thank goodness for the notion that accompanies the vision of sharp-dressed man. We're still trying to figure that one out. </p> <p><strong>You have always had fabulous tone. What amps and guitars did you use on ZZ Top's first few albums? — Rick Paulus</strong></p> <p>Thanks very much. We have been fortunate to enjoy the luxury of a spot-on crew, and we've maintained an archive of each instrument, amp, drum kit and ancillary devices used on each track. It's all on record, and any piece of gear can be lifted from the vault for most particular sounds. At the heart of almost everything we've done, however, is Pearly Gates run through either a Marshall or an old Fender. That simple-but-deadly combination is still tough to beat.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-zz-tops-billy-gibbons-talks-pinch-harmonics-gear-setup-strings-and-more#comments Articles Billy Gibbons GW Archive May 2005 ZZ Top Interviews News Features Mon, 16 Dec 2013 17:13:51 +0000 Brad Angle 132 at http://www.guitarworld.com Video: John Fogerty and Billy Gibbons Perform "Sharp Dressed Man" and “Born on the Bayou” http://www.guitarworld.com/video-john-fogerty-and-billy-gibbons-perform-sharp-dressed-man-and-born-bayou <!--paging_filter--><p>John Fogerty, who kicked off his current tour at the Nokia Theatre in LA on October 10, was joined last Thursday night, October 17, by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top in Tulsa, Oklahoma.</p> <p>They teamed up to perform ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” and Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Born on the Bayou.”</p> <p>“The all-too-brief session will stand as one of the tallest highlights that's come down the pike in quite a while. Wow!” Gibbons said backstage after his guest appearance. </p> <p>“’Twuz killer diller. John &amp; Co. certainly were on top of the game and the bonus of participation is quite the reward.”</p> <p>You can check out clips of both songs below.</p> <p>To read <em>Guitar Aficionado</em>'s recent interview with Fogerty, which details his new album and more, <a href="http://www.guitaraficionado.com/john-fogerty-enlists-brad-paisley-keith-urban-and-dave-grohl-to-reinvent-his-best-loved-tunes.html">head HERE.</a></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lAOKwD0gabU?list=UUHIt01zPTy4QKG9fVCMh3eA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="620" height="380" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WfIlDk-FoCQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/john-fogerty">John Fogerty</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/video-john-fogerty-and-billy-gibbons-perform-sharp-dressed-man-and-born-bayou#comments Billy Gibbons Creedence Clearwater Revival John Fogerty ZZ Top News Tue, 22 Oct 2013 10:04:08 +0000 Guitar World Staff 19517 at http://www.guitarworld.com Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Readers Poll: Round 1 — "Sultans of Swing" (Mark Knopfler) Vs. "Sharp Dressed Man" (Billy Gibbons) http://www.guitarworld.com/greatest-guitar-solos-all-time-readers-poll-round-1-sultans-swing-mark-knopfler-vs-sharp-dressed-man-billy-gibbons <!--paging_filter--><p>A few years ago, the editors of <em>Guitar World</em> magazine compiled what we feel is the ultimate guide to the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time.</p> <p>The list, which has been quoted by countless artists, websites and publications around the world, starts with Richie Sambora's work on Bon Jovi's “Wanted Dead or Alive” (Number 100) and builds to a truly epic finish with Jimmy Page's solo on "Stairway to Heaven" (Number 1). </p> <p>To quote our <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-1-stairway-heaven-jimmy-page">"Stairway to Heaven" story that ran with the list</a>, "If Jimmy Page is the Steven Spielberg of guitarists, then 'Stairway' is his <em>Close Encounters</em>." </p> <p>We've kicked off a summer blockbuster of our own — a no-holds-barred six-string shootout. We're pitting <em>Guitar World</em>'s top 64 guitar solos against each other in an NCAA-style, 64-team single-elimination tournament. Every day, we will ask you to cast your vote in a different guitar-solo matchup as dictated by the 64-team-style bracket. </p> <p>You can vote only once per matchup. The voting for each matchup ends as soon as the next matchup is posted (Basically, that's one poll per day during the first round of elimination, including weekends and holidays). </p> <p>In some cases, genre will clash against genre; a thrash solo might compete against a Southern rock solo, for instance. But let's get real: They're all guitar solos, played on guitars, by guitarists, most of them in some subset of the umbrella genre of rock. When choosing, it might have to come down to, "Which solo is more original and creative? Which is more iconic? or Which one kicks a larger, more impressive assemblage of asses?"</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Yesterday's Results</span></p> <p><strong>Winner</strong>: "Reelin' in the Years" (57.05 percent)<br /> <strong>Loser:</strong> "Aqualung" (42.95 percent)</p> <p><strong>Today, two great guitarists make their first appearance in this summer's Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time readers poll. We have Mark Knopfler's classic Strat solo on Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing" (22) going up against Billy Gibbons' fretwork on "Sharp Dressed Man" (43), one of ZZ Top's massive early '80s hits. Get busy! You'll find the poll at the bottom of the story.</strong><br /> <br /><br /> <span style="font-size:18px;font-weight:bold;">Round 1, Day 17: "Sultans of Swing" Vs. "Sharp Dressed Man"</span></p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/100_greatest_guitar_solos_22_quotsultans_of_swingquot_mark_knopfler">22. “Sultans of Swing”</a></strong><br /> <strong>Soloist</strong>: Mark Knopfler<br /> <strong>Album</strong>: Dire Straits—<em>Dire Straits</em> (Warner Bros., 1978)</p> <p>“ ‘Sultans of Swing’ was originally written on a National Steel guitar in an open tuning, though I never performed it that way,” recalls Mark Knopfler. “I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat in 1977, the whole thing changed, though the lyrics remained the same. It just came alive as soon as I played it on that ’61 Strat—which remained my main guitar for many years and was basically the only thing I played on the first album—and the new chord changes just presented themselves and fell into place. </p> <p>"It’s really a good example of how the music you make is shaped by what you play it on, and is a lesson for young players. If you feel that you’re not getting enough out of a song, change the instrument—go from an acoustic to an electric or vice versa, or try an open tuning. Do something to shake it up. As for the actual solo, it was just more or less what I played every night. It’s just a Fender Twin and the Strat, with its three-way selector switch jammed into a middle position. That gives the song its sound, and I think there were quite a few five-way switches installed as a result of that song.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xo-J1wf2KHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-guitar-solos-no-43-sharp-dressed-man-billy-gibbons">43. "Sharp Dressed Man"</a></strong><br /> <strong>Soloist</strong>: Billy Gibbons<br /> <strong>Album</strong>: ZZ Top—<em>Eliminator</em> (Warner Bros., 1983)</p> <p>In 1983, a smart gambling man would have bet the house on ZZ Top’s imminent doom. After all, it wasn’t the best of times for good and greasy Texas blues and boogie music. Then the Little Old Band from Texas surprised everyone with <em>Eliminator</em>, a brilliant merger of roadhouse blues and synthesizer swells and looped beats. The album quickly became their biggest hit ever, spurred in large part by the irresistible “Sharp Dressed Man.”</p> <p>“That song and the whole album really embrace the simplicity of blues and techno music with the complex challenge of how to blend them together,” says guitarist Billy Gibbons. “If you zero in on the middle solo, you will find a slide guitar part played in open E tuning on a Fender Esquire and a sudden shift halfway through the solo to standard Spanish electric tuning played on my good ol’ Les Paul, Pearly Gates. Both were played through a Marshall plexi 100-watt head with two angled cabinets with Celestion 25-watt greenbacks. It was a compound track, two parts blended to one.</p> <p>“To this day, the song certainly stands among one of the band’s favorites and we’re particularly delighted to share spotlight on a solo that enjoys such favoritism. There are, of course, the more intricate and demanding solos, but we will gladly finger through the solo of ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ at any requested moment! The track just has a really raucous delivery, which is a good ignition point onstage, sitting on the tailgate out in the middle of nowhere, sipping a cold one, or wherever you may be. It just does something to you.”</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TZxJIG77xPs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <h1>Voting Closed!</h1> <p><strong>Winner:</strong> "Sultans of Swing" (86.29 percent)<br /> <strong>Loser:</strong> "Sharp Dressed Man" (13.71 percent)</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/greatest-guitar-solos-all-time">Head HERE to see all the matchups that have taken place so far!</a></strong></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-gibbons">Billy Gibbons</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dire-straits">Dire Straits</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mark-knopfler">Mark Knopfler</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/greatest-guitar-solos-all-time-readers-poll-round-1-sultans-swing-mark-knopfler-vs-sharp-dressed-man-billy-gibbons#comments Billy Gibbons Dire Straits Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time Mark Knopfler Poll Polls ZZ Top News Features Wed, 26 Jun 2013 14:51:58 +0000 Guitar World Staff 18642 at http://www.guitarworld.com ZZ Top's First 10 Albums to Be Released as Box Set in June http://www.guitarworld.com/zz-tops-first-10-albums-be-released-box-set-june <!--paging_filter--><p>ZZ Top’s first 10 albums will be reissued in a boxed set titled <em>ZZ Top: The Complete Studio Albums (1970-1990)</em> on Warner Bros Records. It will be available starting June 10 for a suggested list price of $59.98.</p> <p>Included are the group's first albums initially released on the London label, as well as the string of Warner Bros. hit albums that followed. </p> <p>The box features <em>ZZ Tops’ First Album</em> (1971), <em>Rio Grande Mud</em> (1972), <em>Tres Hombres</em> (1973), <em>Fandango! </em> (1975), <em>Tejas</em> (1976), <em>Degüello</em> (1979), <em>El Loco</em> (1981), <em>Eliminator</em> (1983), <em>Afterburner</em> (1985) and <em>Recycler</em> (1990). </p> <p>Each album will be presented in a wallet sleeve that faithfully reproduces the original artwork, including the gatefold designs used for <em>Tres Hombres</em> and <em>Tejas</em>. </p> <p>The set also presents, for the first time on CD, the original mixes for <em>ZZ Tops’ First Album</em>, <em>Rio Grande Mud</em> and <em>Tejas</em> that have long been on the wish lists of the band’s most fervent fans. </p> <p>The collection spans 100 tracks that follow the band’s journey from the honky tonks of Texas to the stages of the world, starting with the earthy blues and electrifying boogie that defined their Seventies sound — “Just Got Paid,” “La Grange,” “Tush” and “Cheap Sunglasses.” <em>The Complete Studio Albums (1970-1990)</em> closes with the familiar synthesizers featured on the group’s biggest singles from the Eighties — “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man” from the Diamond-certified <em>Eliminator</em>, and the Number One hits “Sleeping Bag” and “Stages” from its multi-platinum follow-up <em>Afterburner</em>.</p> <p>ZZ Top are currently on the road for concert dates in the U.S. and Europe through July 7. For complete information on the tour dates, visit <a href="http://www.zztop.com/events">ZZ Top’s web site</a>.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-additional-content"><legend>Additional Content</legend><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-artist"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Related Artist:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zz-top">ZZ Top</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/zz-tops-first-10-albums-be-released-box-set-june#comments ZZ Top News Thu, 09 May 2013 15:03:10 +0000 Guitar World Staff 18329 at http://www.guitarworld.com