Features http://www.guitarworld.com/taxonomy/term/5/all/%22/pantera%22%3EPantera%3C/%3Ehttp%3A/www.sunflowerdead.com/shop en Keith Richards Discusses the Making of The Rolling Stones' 'Exile on Main St.' http://www.guitarworld.com/rolling-stones-keith-richards-making-exile-main-st <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>Critics snubbed it upon its release in 1972, but <em>Exile on Main St.</em> has become one of rock’s greatest landmarks. Keith Richards recalls the making of the Rolling Stones' masterpiece and how the album’s new reissue project became a walk down memory lane.</strong></p> <p>"To me, <em>Exile on Main St.</em> was probably the best Rolling Stones album as far as the connection between the band members,” Keith Richards says. “We were coming up with song ideas like crazy. And the ideas were catching on. Everybody was going flat-out.” </p> <p>The anniversary reissue of the Rolling Stones’ landmark double album this May will provide a heavy blast of nostalgia to those who were around when <em>Exile</em> was first released, in 1972. The newly remastered tracks, as well as the session outtakes, will also be a revelation even to those who know the album inside and out. </p> <p>But perhaps no one feels the nostalgia, or the revelations, as profoundly as Keith Richards. There’s no denying that the album is quintessentially Keef in its swagger and the cocky sprawling grandeur of its musical scope. Hedged all about by rough edges, <em>Exile</em>’s elegantly wasted, slightly messy nonchalance is what imparts a frisson of raw truth to the overall beauty of the thing. Perhaps it’s not coincidence that <em>Exile</em> was recorded, amid scenes of legendary rock star decadence, in the vast, dank cellars beneath Richards’ home at the time, a palatial villa called Nellcôte, on the sunny French Riviera.</p> <p>“I’m listening to these tracks, and suddenly I’m back in that old basement in the south of France,” marvels Richards, phoning in from another tropical paradise, a small island in the West Indies. “It’s amazing, especially for me, that ability to transport myself back in time.”</p> <div style="float:right; padding:5px 0 10px 10px;width:300px"><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/The_Rolling_Stones_1972_by_Dan_Volonnino.jpg/800px-The_Rolling_Stones_1972_by_Dan_Volonnino.jpg" width="300" style="padding-bottom:5px" /><strong>The Stones in 1972 (Photo Credit: Dan Volonnino)</strong></div> <p>The Stones guitarist played a key role in preparing the <em>Exile</em> reissue, which will be released in three formats. The basic package is a CD containing newly remastered versions of the 18 tracks from the original album. The Deluxe version includes a bonus disc with 10 previously unreleased tracks from the album’s era, while the Super Deluxe release adds on two 30-gram vinyl albums containing the original album and bonus tracks, a DVD on the making of <em>Exile</em> and a 50-page collector’s book with photos.</p> <p>The <em>Exile</em> reissue project reunited Richards and his lifelong Glimmer Twin Mick Jagger with Jimmy Miller, the Rolling Stones’ late-Sixties/early Seventies producer who recorded and mixed the original album and many other great Stones records. A rock-solid drummer in his own right, Miller has always had some kind of primordial connection with the Stones’ profoundly rhythmic essence. Richards says, “I look back on it all, and I’ve got to say Jimmy Miller was the perfect producer for the Rolling Stones.” </p> <p>Also onboard for the reissue project was the band’s present-day producer, Don Was, who sorted through hours of tapes to resurrect the bonus tracks. These include alternate takes of “Loving Cup” and “Soul Survivor,” plus an early version of “Tumbling Dice” titled “Good Time Women.” There’s also a cache of previously unreleased tracks, including “Dancing in the Light,” “Plundered My Soul,” “Following the River,” “Aladdin’s Story” and “Pass the Wine,” which has appeared on bootlegs under the working title “Sophia Loren.” For the <em>Exile</em> reissue, every effort was made to unearth fresh material from the vaults. In some cases, Jagger wrote and recorded brand-new vocals for what had previously been instrumental tracks. Richards overdubbed some guitar on a few tracks, but he stresses that he did as little as possible to the original recordings. </p> <hr /> “I brushed a little acoustic guitar,” he says. “I can’t even remember on which song now. The original guitar track sort of stuttered and fell apart halfway through, so Don said, ‘Well, we better replace that.’ But that’s all I did really. As I said to Don, these tracks already are <em>Exile</em>, because they come out of that dusty basement. You can’t really screw around with them that much. Just tack them on. They are what they are, right from the same place.” <p>For Richards, the project triggered fond memories of those who have since departed the Stones, including original bassist Bill Wyman, and those who have since departed this life, such as session piano great Nicky Hopkins. “To hear Nicky Hopkins’ piano on ‘Sophia Loren’ was a treasure,” he says quietly. “And Bill’s solid as a rock, man. What a bass player! I’m actually more and more impressed with him, listening to this. You can get used to a guy, but listening back, going over this stuff to make this record, I’d say, ‘Jesus Christ, he’s better than I thought!’ ”</p> <p>Richards also speaks fondly of his former Stones co-guitarist Mick Taylor, who joined in 1969 as a replacement for founding member Brian Jones. But Richards denies murmurings that Taylor, who left the band in late 1974, contributed overdubs to the reissue package. “That’s a rumor, babe,” he says. “If he was on there, I would know. We’ve had no contact with Mick for a long time.”</p> <div style="padding:5px 0 10px 10px;float:right;width:200px;"><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1a/Keith-Richards_and_guitar.jpg" width="200" style="padding-bottom:5px;" /><strong>Keith Richards, circa 1972 (Photo Credit: Dina Regine)</strong></div> <p>Hearsay seems to be dogging Richards’ footsteps these days. There’s another story going around that he has completely forsworn alcohol and all other intoxicants. “That’ll be the day, honey,” he says. The remark is punctuated by one of those long, slow Keef laughs, a groundswell that starts as a faint rumble in the nicotine-coated larynx and terminates in a rheumy expulsion of breath. “Let me put it this way: the rumors of my sobriety are greatly exaggerated. Hey, I cut down a little.” </p> <p>Perhaps these suspicions of temperance are fueled by the disciplined rigor of the guitarist’s schedule these days. Along with preparations for the <em>Exile</em> reissue and DVD, Richards has been the subject of a new film biography directed by his longtime friend—and most dead-on impersonator—Johnny Depp. Keef is also completing a book-length autobiography, due out in October, with co-writer James Fox. “It’s the story so far, so to speak,” he says. “James has really put me down memory lane. It’s weird, man, trying to remember everything, and then reliving it as the memory comes back. Like, ‘Oh God, I gotta go through this thing twice!’ ”</p> <p>But one life experience that Richards doesn’t seem to mind reliving is the making of <em>Exile on Main St.</em> It would be difficult to overstate the album’s importance in the great scheme of rock music. It is the climax of the Stones’ four-album winning streak that began with 1968’s <em>Beggars Banquet</em> and continued to gain momentum through the superb <em>Let It Bleed</em> and <em>Sticky Fingers</em>, as the Sixties gave way to the Seventies. On <em>Exile</em>, the Stones attained a perfect balance between the American roots genres that had inspired them all along: blues, country, R&amp;B, early rock and roll, and gospel. In this regard, <em>Exile</em> is almost like an Olympian athletic feat, one of those rare moments when nature, human effort and sheer random happenstance all come into graceful cosmic alignment. </p> <p>“All those musical styles were part of what we’d been picking up while touring America,” Richards explains. “To us English boys, hanging out watching guys in America play music was like a dream come true, man. We were soaking stuff up like sponges wherever we could find it—south side of Chicago, those downtown juke joints…anywhere. New Orleans… Shit, man.” </p> <hr /> <em>Exile on Main St.</em> is also one of rock and roll’s archetypal double albums. Although it was released a few years after the Beatles’ <em>White Album</em>, the Who’s <em>Tommy</em> and Hendrix’s <em>Electric Ladyland</em>, <em>Exile</em> nonetheless had an immense role in establishing the double-vinyl album as a distinctive and unique art form. It’s an eloquent lesson in how open-ended jams like “I Just Wanna See His Face,” can slot in amid well-wrought rockers like “Rocks Off” and calypso-tinged acoustic ballads like “Black Angel.” Like all of rock’s great double albums, <em>Exile</em> takes the listener on an epic journey, one that commences with a sheer blast of energy on side one, moves into acoustic mode on side two and glides languidly to a stirring gospel conclusion over the course of sides three and four. In this regard, <em>Exile</em> represents the apotheosis of album rock—the move away from hit singles and into longer formats that had begun circa 1966. <p>“I think this is the first album where we didn’t have a 45 [rpm single] hit on it,” says Richards. “We picked some singles off it, but it was made for what it was. It was an album album. Of course, when it first came out, sales were not up to par to start with. But after six or nine months, they started to pick up as people got into it.”</p> <p>Created with sublime indifference to the pop market, <em>Exile on Main St.</em> is one of the first DIY rock albums, recorded at the guitar player’s house at a time when that sort of thing simply wasn’t done. While <em>Exile</em> is not exactly lo-fi, there’s a delicious murkiness to the sound, a sense of mystery shrouded in messiness. It’s a sure bet that the New York Dolls were listening to <em>Exile</em> when they were getting started in the early Seventies. The roots of punk are right there in the snarling, brittle mesh of Keith Richards and Mick Taylor’s guitars. You can’t quite tell who’s doing what. It’s not too far a leap from that to the intertwined double-guitar approach of Television’s Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, which in turn gave rise to thousands of latter-day punk bands. And, of course, <em>Exile</em> also set the pattern for the dual-guitar dynamic that Richards and Ronnie Wood have pursued ever since Mick Taylor’s departure, a guitar style that Richards often describes as “an ancient form of weaving.” </p> <p>So, many roads lead back to <em>Exile on Main St.</em> “The thing about recording <em>Exile</em> was it was the first time we weren’t in a studio to make a record,” Richards says. “It all sort of happened by circumstance, really. We all decided we were going to move out of England, due to great pressure from H.M. Government. So we said, ‘Let’s keep going. We’ll do it somewhere else.’ And we figured, Oh, the south of France sounds good. I mean what’s wrong with that?”</p> <p>The “great pressure” he refers to came from Britain’s graduated tax laws, which required big earners like the Stones to pay some 90 percent of their income. That, combined with the band’s frequent drug busts and harassment from the police, forced them out of England. But the early Seventies were a time of heavy change for the Stones in many regards. They’d moved away from their manager, the notoriously belligerent Allen Klein, and launched their own label, Rolling Stones Records. Mick Jagger married Nicaraguan beauty Bianca Pérez Morena de Macias and settled down to a life of quiet domesticity in France, with the other Stones living nearby. </p> <p>Richards had been together with Anita Pallenberg since 1969, after he’d won the striking blonde German/Italian fashion model away from Brian Jones. But, unlike Mick and Bianca, Keith and Anita had never felt the need to sanctify their union via anything as bourgeois as marriage. Their son, Marlon, was about a year and a half when they settled into Villa Nellcôte, a grand maison with stately neoclassical columns, capacious salons and a killer view of the Bay of Villefranche. Built in 1899, Nellcôte had been inhabited by a succession of financiers and diplomats before it became the domicile of Keith Richards and his bizarre ménage. “Anita and I went looking at a couple of places, but Nellcôte kind of chose us immediately,” he says. “It was just an incredible joint. It was like a mini Versailles, and it didn’t cost a lot.”</p> <hr /> While the other Stones lived fairly quiet lives at home, Nellcôte quickly became Party Central, with an endless stream of friends, friends of friends, drug dealers, celebrities and gangsters passing through the villa’s grand portals. Guitars, amps, records, stereo gear, empty bottles, books, discarded foodstuffs and assorted pets were soon all over the floor and furnishings beneath Nellcôte’s magnificent crystal chandeliers. Richards says that Marlon, now in his early Forties, has no memories of the place. “He was too young, probably around two years old,” the guitarist says. “He was running around bare-assed. Although he probably remembers the smell.” <p>Nellcôte’s basement became the Stones’ recording studio by default. The original plan was to find a commercial facility nearby. “We figured there’s gotta be some decent studios in Cannes or Nice or somewhere around there, even if it was Marseilles,” Richards says. “But we checked them all out, and it was pathetic. This was 1971. No doubt they’ve got great joints there now, but then, no. It was, like, forget about it. So then it became, ‘Let’s rent a house and see if we can do it there.’ Which is where the idea of bringing our mobile truck came in.” </p> <div style="padding:5px 10px 10px 0;float:left;width:220px;"><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Interior_pix_3.gif" style="padding-bottom:5px" /><strong>The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio</strong></div> <p>That would be the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Though mobile recording facilities are now commonplace, they were in their infancy in the early Seventies. The innovative Stones had put their own recording truck together, income source than for their own use. The unit had been loaned out to Led Zeppelin for their third and fourth albums, and the Stones had used it when recording tracks for <em>Sticky Fingers</em> at Jagger’s home, Stargroves. It had also been used for “location recordings for TV and the BBC, and stuff like that,” Richards explains. “But suddenly we realized, We got a truck, man—a mobile control room. But then we couldn’t find a house to record in. So we ended up using my basement.”</p> <p>Below Nellcôte’s ground floor lay three levels of basement, subdivided into chambers of various sizes and shapes. Together with pianist/road manager/de facto sixth Stone Ian Stewart, Richards set about hanging microphones and carpets to control acoustic reflections. Home recording was virtually unheard of in 1971. The equipment was bulky and expensive and, thus, strictly the province of rock royalty like the Beatles and Stones. People didn’t really know much about recording in spaces that weren’t acoustically designed for that purpose. The Stones were moving into uncharted territory when they ventured below stairs at Nellcôte. </p> <p>“There were all these little subdivisions in the basement, almost like booths,” Richards recalls. “So what would happen was that, for a certain sound, we’d schlep an amp from one space to another until we found one that had the right sound. Sometimes the guitar cord wasn’t long enough! That was in the beginning, anyway. But once we started to work there, my little cubicle became my cubicle, and we didn’t change places much. </p> <p>“But at first, it was just a matter of exploring this enormous basement, saying, ‘What other sound is hiding ’round the corner?’ ’Cause you’d have weird echoes going on. Sometimes we wouldn’t be able to see each other even, which is very rare for us. We usually like to eyeball one another when we’re recording.” </p> <hr /> Summer came to the French Riviera as sessions got underway. The basement was very hot and humid, and keeping guitars in tune was sometimes a challenge. The environment no doubt inspired the album’s working title: “Tropical Disease.” But it’s the dust that Keef recalls most vividly. <p>“It was a dirt floor,” he says. “You could see somebody had walked by, even after they disappeared ’round the corner, because there’d be a residue of dust in the air. It was a pretty thick atmosphere. But maybe that had something to do with the sound—a thick layer of dust over the microphones.” </p> <p>Despite the challenging environment, the songs came fairly quickly. Before leaving England, the Stones had started some tracks at Olympic Studios in London and at Stargroves. Down in France, they picked up these threads. Keith remembers the acoustic-driven country number “Sweet Virginia” as one of the first they worked on. “I can’t remember if that was the actual first,” he says. “That would be beyond even my phenomenal memory. But I recall that Mick had ‘Sweet Virginia’ prepared and ready to go. I have a feeling that we’d been playing around with that one on the last sessions. Maybe on Sticky Fingers, or whatever. So it was a work in progress.” </p> <p>Another work in progress was the aforementioned “Good Time Women” which soon became <em>Exile</em>’s one big single, “Tumbling Dice.” “I know we did that one fairly early on in France because I remember the weather,” Richards says. “The basic idea, as you can hear from ‘Good Time Women,’ was already there. But it took a while for it to turn into ‘Tumbling Dice.’ We were stuck for a good lyrical hook to go with this really great riff, so we left it in abeyance for a bit. And then I think Mick came up with the title ‘Tumbling Dice,’ although he may have got it from someone else. Ha!”</p> <p>The evolution from “Good Time Women” to “Tumbling Dice” is a classic example of the Jagger-Richards songwriting partnership at work. It also exemplifies the way the Stones will often allow a track to develop over time, re-recording it repeatedly and often in many different locales. “If you chase a song far enough, you’re gonna corner it—like a rat!” Richards says with a laugh. </p> <p>But the pace was generally brisk. “Sometimes we’d get two tracks in a night down there,” he says. “And then there’d be other times when we’d be three days on one song.”<br /> The work schedule was fairly regular, the guitarist recalls. “Charlie Watts was living a long way away, a six- or seven-hour drive, for some reason. But then drummers are quirky, you know. So we’d generally work for four days a week, five at a push. But the weekends would be off.”</p> <p>Various Stones would sleep over at Nellcôte from time to time, but occasionally inspiration struck when some of the members were away. Such was the case when Richards’ signature track, “Happy,” came into being. </p> <p>“It was pretty early in the afternoon,” he recalls. “Jimmy Miller was there checking on the previous night’s session tapes. I said, ‘Oh shit, I’ve got an idea, Jimmy.’ He said, ‘Well, just lay it down with the guitar.’ So I start laying it down, and suddenly Jimmy’s behind me playing the drums. He’d come down from the truck, and I hadn’t even noticed. I’m just hammering away, figuring this thing out. Suddenly I hear these great drums behind me, and now it’s starting to rock. It’s one of these ‘three feet off the ground’ feelings. And then, suddenly, I hear this baritone sax, and there’s Bobby Keys honking away. Suddenly it’s becoming very happy.” </p> <p>Even the song’s lyrics sprang from that initial inspiration. “Most of ’em anyway, in some garbled form,” Richards says. “The whole idea was there. ‘I never kept a dollar past sunset…’ That was all there.” </p> <hr /> The preeminence of “Happy,” at the top of the album’s third side, coupled with the preponderance of great Keef guitar hooks on <em>Exile</em>, has led some observers to describe the disc as “Keith’s album.” But the guitarist is having none of that. “I don’t really get that,” he says. “Mick was incredibly involved. Look how many songs there are. And he wrote the bulk of the lyrics. He was very involved. I don’t think I was putting in more than anybody else. Charlie was amazing. Everybody was in great form.” <p><em>Exile</em> does contain some of the most sympathetic guitar teamwork that Richards and Mick Taylor ever committed to disc. They mesh seamlessly, almost telepathically, on track after track. With the exception of “Happy” and possibly “Ventilator Blues,” Richards left the bulk of the slide guitar work to Taylor. But where Taylor’s leads can stand out a little too assertively on some earlier Stones recordings—particularly the live <em>Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out</em> album—here he’s dug in deep, roiling along with Keef and fully integrated into the guitar juggernaut. Perhaps this is in part due to the album’s ad hoc recording circumstances, combined with the fact that Taylor had been a Stone for about two years at this point and was well settled in. And maybe by living close by and actually sleeping over at Nellcôte on many occasions Taylor had fallen into sync with Richards on some elemental level.<br /> “I also think it was because we were writing songs on the spot,” Richards says. “So I automatically fell into doing the chording and figuring out the whole thing, which gave Mick Taylor a freedom. He just came up with line after beautiful line. What a player, man.”</p> <p><em>Exile</em> is also awash in great guitar hooks based around Richards’ signature five-string open G tuning (omitting the low E string and tuned, low to high, G D G B D). He’d first used this tuning on “Honky Tonk Women” in 1969 and had integrated it into his approach more and more thoroughly on <em>Let It Bleed</em> and <em>Sticky Fingers</em>. But it really explodes on <em>Exile</em> and is the secret behind riff-mad classics like “Rocks Off,” “Tumbling Dice” and “Happy.”</p> <p>“I was really bathing in that stuff at the time, finding out more and more about the tuning as I was going along,” Richards acknowledges. “In a way, with a lot of the five-string stuff on <em>Exile</em>, I’d just found that space. You’re listening to me in school!” </p> <p>For a few magic months at Nellcôte, everything seemed to fall into place. With sax player Bobby Keys and trumpeter Jim Price right on the premises, the horn charts on <em>Exile</em> are a deeply organic part of the music, rather than an overdubbed afterthought, as horn parts all too often tend to be. </p> <p>“I think that’s another one of the beauties of the album,” Richards says. “The fact that the horns are actually playing with the band. There is something to be said for having it all in one room. Bobby and Jim were amazing, ’cause they had to make up their parts virtually on the spot. The songs were coming out two or three a night. Sometimes I’d lay an idea for a song on them at the end of a session, early in the morning, so they’d have it in their heads by the time they got back the next day. There were only two of them, a sax and a trumpet, but Jimmy played great trombone as well, so we’d double them up until they became a section.” </p> <p>Many extraordinary musicians passed through Nellcôte during the <em>Exile</em> sessions. The list of those who were there but didn’t play on the album is as impressive as the roster of gifted players who did. John Lennon stopped by at one point, drank a bottle of red wine and vomited. Country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and his girlfriend Gretchen were long-term houseguests. The American musician and tunesmith was a major factor behind the Stones’ pronounced country influence in the early Seventies; he was also a close friend and drug buddy of Keith’s. There has been much speculation about Parsons’ uncredited, behind-the-scenes role in writing many of the Stones’ country-tinged classics. But if he was hanging around Nellcôte for so long, how come he didn’t end up playing on <em>Exile</em>? Or did he?</p> <hr /> “No, he didn’t,” Richards replies. “But why he didn’t play is a good question. Gram and I would play around a lot upstairs in the living area, and he would play with Mick [Taylor] a lot up there. So I don’t know… Gram was a little shy, and we were too busy to say, ‘Hey, Gram, come down here. We need another guitar.’ He would distance himself from us when we were working. He’d come and listen a bit, but that was it. But you know, if I have a friend—and Gram was my friend—Mick sometimes gives off a vibe like, ‘You can’t be my friend if you’re his.’ It could be a bit to do with why Gram’s not playing on the record.” <p>The basement sessions were a separate world from the ’round-the-clock party taking place upstairs and in a small adjacent guesthouse, where the roadies were residing. “Upstairs was a continual ball, if you know what I mean,” Richards says. “Unfortunately the Stones were rarely involved, ’cause we were busy working.”</p> <p>But every party has its price and painful morning-after hangover. And on October 1, 1971, burglars got into Nellcôte and made off with somewhere between 11 and 17 guitars (accounts vary), purportedly in retribution for money not paid to dope dealers who had been supplying guests at the villa. For Richards, the memory is especially unpleasant.<br /> “When they put the documentary ogether for <em>Exile</em>, they showed me some footage, and there I am, holding my favorite stolen guitar, a 1964 Telecaster. It was like, ‘Oh baby, don’t rub it in.’ There she was. Had a lovely sound. I just got used to that one, you know? I can play almost any Telecaster, but the more you play just the one, the more it becomes attached to you. I almost went into a blank after the guitars were stolen. I didn’t want to think about it. But I slowly started to build up a new collection since then. I haven’t lost one since. I learned my lesson: don’t leave them hanging around on a Saturday night!” </p> <p>Just about every notable rock and roll junkie has a tale of guitars going missing, and Richards is no exception. It’s well known that he and Pallenberg were heavily into heroin during their tenure at Nellcôte. In one famous incident, the couple were so out of it that they accidentally set fire to their bed. Observers have marveled at Richards’ ability to be as creative and prolific as he was during the making of <em>Exile</em> while seriously strung out on dope. </p> <p>“Well, I’m not going to get into those questions.” He laughs and then assumes a thick Northern English accent. “ ‘Did Charlie Parker play better because he was on the stuff?’ I found that [heroin] didn’t inhibit whatever it was I wanted to do. If I thought it was diminishing me or that I wasn’t putting my fair share into the music, then I’d have been off the stuff right away. And that’s a fact. I’m a funny kind of guy. I’ve got a metabolism you wouldn’t believe.” </p> <p>Still, as the glorious Mediterranean summer gave way to winter’s chill, the idyll at Nellcôte was clearly drawing to a close. The local police were starting to get ugly, and the Stones’ phenomenal creative streak was wending toward a natural conclusion. Richards remembers “Casino Boogie,” as one of the last <em>Exile</em> songs to fall into place.</p> <p>“I think when we got to ‘Casino Boogie,’ Mick and I looked at each other and just couldn’t think of another lyrical concept or idea for the song.” At that point Richards recalled another great junkie artist, the novelist William Burroughs. “I said to Mick, ‘You know how Bill Burroughs did that cut-up thing—where he would randomly chop words out of a book or newspaper and then try to sort them up?’ That’s how we did the lyrics for ‘Casino Boogie,’ and that was Bill Burroughs’ biggest influence on the Rolling Stones.” </p> <p>At the end of November, barely one step ahead of the police, the Stones decamped for Los Angeles. Working at the historic Sunset Sound studio, they began laying overdubs onto the tracks they’d cut at Nellcôte. Billy Preston, who just a couple of years before had worked with the Beatles on <em>Let It Be</em>, lent his formidable piano and organ talents to “Shine a Light.” Pedal steel ace Al Perkins imparted a tearful country lilt to “Torn and Frayed,” and upright bass player Bill Plummer left his mark on no fewer than four tracks: “Rip This Joint,” “Turd on the Run,” “I Just Wanna See His Face” and “All Down the Line.” A phalanx of backing vocalists added loads of soul and gospel grandeur. Among their ranks, on “Let It Loose,” was none other than Mac Rebennack, better know as the celebrated New Orleans pianist and singer Dr. John. “He just walked in,” Richards recalls. “Mac Rebennack’s like that. If there’s music going on, in one way or another, he’s gonna get his ass in there. I love the guy.” </p> <hr /> By the time overdubs were completed, there were too many tracks in the can to do a single album. And so the Rolling Stones joined the Beatles, the Who, Jimi Hendrix and other classic rockers who have left the world with a monumental double-album statement. <p>“The fact that the Beatles had done it probably gave us a sense of, ‘Oh, there is a precedent,’ ” Richards says. “But our point was that we’d put down this body of work and when it came to chopping it down to one album, nobody could agree on which songs to cut. After a while, Mick and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is impossible. How about a double? This is all one piece. It’s gonna be unique just because of where it was recorded and the way it was recorded.’ We sort of nodded at one another and said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Which gave us hell from the record company: ‘Aw, the public hates double albums,’ and all of that. But we insisted.” </p> <p>Richards adds that mixing the album was daunting, “only from the point of view that there was so much of it. Mixing a double album was different than mixing a single album. So we were going into uncharted territory. Mick and I would look at one another and say, ‘How many more songs to go?’ mopping our brow, so to speak. But I can’t remember it being that difficult. I think we were so intimate with the tracks by then that, listening to the overdubs and mixing, it just put the icing on the cake. I remember it as being a very joyous couple of weeks. We were all on top of it. Jimmy Miller, all of us—we all knew what we were doing. It was just a matter of watching it fall into place. It was one of those rare things: a perfect mixing session.” </p> <p>Sequencing the album, however, was more of a chore. As mentioned previously, much of <em>Exile</em>’s magic lies in the way the songs flow from one to the next. But that magic didn’t just happen spontaneously. </p> <p>“Trying to get the track order down was murder, actually,” Richards says, laughing. “I’d be sending cassettes to Mick in the middle of the night—putting my version of what the order should be under his door. I’d come back to my room and there’d already be a cassette under my door with his version of what it should be. ‘Hey, Mick, that’s pretty good, but you’ve got four songs in a row in the same key. We can’t do that!’ You’d come across all these weird little problems that you never thought of. It was like making a jigsaw puzzle. By the time I got the final version, I didn’t give a shit anymore!” </p> <p>While the music on <em>Exile</em> is a product of that summer in the south of France, the album’s packaging and conceptual framework were largely inspired by L.A.’s late-Seventies aura of faded Hollywood decadence. The “Main Street” referenced in the title was a seedy thoroughfare in downtown Los Angeles, which harbored a Chinese restaurant that the Stones liked to frequent at the time. The black-and-white cover images—a bizarre and vaguely disquieting assortment of showbiz freaks and geeks from days gone by—were snapped from the walls of an L.A. tattoo parlor by photographer Robert Frank. All these elements contributed to a wistful fin-de-siècle mood that permeates the album packaging and perfectly reflects the mood at the time of the album’s creation. It was indeed the end of an era. The Sixties were dead and long gone by the time <em>Exile</em> was released on May 12, 1972; so were Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, as well as the Beatles, a band with which the Rolling Stones had long been associated. The hippie dream had failed to materialize. </p> <p>And so on <em>Exile</em>, the Stones seemed to be enshrining themselves among the yellowing photos of yesteryear’s forgotten entertainers. A series of 12 postcards included with the original album—and faithfully reproduced in the Deluxe reissue—offered a comedic depiction, also in blurry black and white, like an old movie, of the Stones arrival “in exile.” The caption for the final card reads:</p> <p>“Taylor realizes the fall is complete, ‘they’ll be Forever Exiles on Main Street.’ He suggests early retirement. ‘No better not, it’s getting quite late and we’ll be fogged in forever quite soon.’ ”</p> <p> The reference to “early retirement” is especially rich 40 years on. But what was it that enabled the Stones to not only endure but also triumph when so many of their Sixties contemporaries had either dropped dead, split up or become woefully irrelevant? </p> <p>“I’m probably the worst person in the world to answer that question,” Richards replies. “I suppose at that particular period, the early Seventies, everything else had run out of steam—the Beatles and whatever. And I think maybe it’s just the fact that we kept going that did it. At the same time, what was picking up then was stuff like Zeppelin. A whole new energy came in from another generation. There was a lot going on. As I think about it, we didn’t see any reason to stop, and we were on a roll. So we just followed it. And suddenly, you find you’re 66 years old.” </p> <p>As for the possibility of the Rolling Stones or some younger band making a modern-day equivalent of <em>Exile on Main St.</em> today, Richards demurs. “I’m not saying it’s impossible,” he says. “But, hey, it’s probably highly unlikely.”</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="/keith-richards">Keith Richards</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/rolling-stones-keith-richards-making-exile-main-st#comments GW Archive Keith Richards Mick Jagger Rolling Stones Interviews News Features Magazine Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:12:11 +0000 Alan Di Perna http://www.guitarworld.com/article/11884 Celebrate the Holidays with 'The Ultimate Christmas Guitar Songbook' http://www.guitarworld.com/celebrate-ultimate-christmas-guitar-songbook <!--paging_filter--><p><em>The Ultimate Christmas Guitar Songbook</em> is <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/copy-of-fingerpicking-christmas/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=UltimateXmasSongbook">available now a the Guitar World Online Store for $19.95.</a></p> <p>The book features 100 songs in a variety of notation styles, from easy guitar and classical guitar arrangements to note-for-note guitar tab transcriptions. </p> <p>Includes: All Through the Night • Auld Lang Syne • Away in a Manger • Blue Christmas • The Chipmunk Song • The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) • The Gift • (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays • I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm • Jingle Bells • My Favorite Things • One Bright Star • Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree • Santa Baby • Silver Bells • Wonderful Christmastime • and more.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/copy-of-fingerpicking-christmas/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=UltimateXmasSongbook">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/celebrate-ultimate-christmas-guitar-songbook#comments News Features Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:10:09 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/22933 Guitar World's 50 Best Albums of 2014 http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-50-best-albums-2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>Despite a few nasty rumors to the contrary, the guitar is alive and well in 2014. </p> <p>It survived the rise of the keyboard in the Eighties and the overwhelming bass-barrage of electronic dance music of the early 21st century and, as evidenced by the 50 selections below, shows no signs of waning in relevancy.</p> <p>This year, for instance, we experienced new riffs and glorious runs by guys named Marty Friedman, Alex Skolnick, Joe Bonamassa and Eric Johnson. We also were treated to a healthy dose of Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter (RIP) and a slice of Satchel, Slash and Brian Setzer—not to mention Machine Head, Mastodon and Of Mice and Men and yes, even Sturgill Simpson.</p> <p>Whether you're plugging into a vintage Vox AC30 with a medium-aged Nash Guitars TC63 or you just got your hands on an Axe FX and a new Ibanez eight-string, the guitar isn't going away any time soon.</p> <p>Below, check out <em>Guitar World's</em> picks for the 50 best albums of 2014, as chosen by the editorial staff. The list features staff-consensus picks plus several personal choices from individual editors. Of course, we can't get or listen to every new release, so if you feel something is seriously missing, let us know in the comments below or on Facebook. And, in keeping with GW tradition, this top 50 list actually contains 51 albums. It's what we do. Enjoy!</p> <p><em>As always, click on each photo to take a closer look. See you next year!</em></p> <p><strong>Check out the rest of <em>Guitar World's</em> 2014 year-end content (Note: More is coming soon!) <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/year-end-2014">right here.</a> And be sure to take <em>Guitar World</em>'s <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/pick-best-shredder-best-album-and-more-take-guitar-worlds-2014-readers-poll">2014 year-end readers poll</a> to vote on the best album, best GW cover, best shredder, best blues guitarist, <em>Guitar World</em> MVP and much more!</strong></p> <p>See you next year!</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="/slipknot">Slipknot</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-50-best-albums-2014#comments Jack White Reverend Horton Heat Slipknot Sturgill Simpson Year End 2014 Guitar World Lists News Features Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:02:54 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/21750 Final Day of Massive Savings at Guitar World Store: DVDs, Books, T-Shirts and More http://www.guitarworld.com/final-day-massive-savings-guitar-world-store-dvds-books-t-shirts-and-more <!--paging_filter--><p>Yes, <em>Guitar World</em>'s 12 Days of Holiday Days sale is over, but we're giving you <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/12-days-of-deals/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals13">one more day to enjoy the holiday savings!</a></p> <p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/12-days-of-deals/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals13">Head to the the Guitar World Online Store</a> right now to save on instructional DVDs, T-shirts, books and more!</p> <p>Honestly, there's too much to list here, so <a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/12-days-of-deals/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals13"><br /> visit the "One Last Day" sale page now!</a></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/final-day-massive-savings-guitar-world-store-dvds-books-t-shirts-and-more#comments 12 Days of Holiday Deals News Features Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:01:15 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23129 ‘Only to Rise’: George Lynch Talks New Album with Michael Sweet, Plus Lynch Mob and Dokken http://www.guitarworld.com/only-rise-george-lynch-talks-new-album-michael-sweet-lynch-mob-and-dokken <!--paging_filter--><p>When most people discuss potential supergroups, the last combination of artists they toss around are Michael Sweet of Stryper and George Lynch of Lynch Mob, Shadow Train and Dokken. </p> <p>Yet these two masters of shred have joined forces for <em>Only to Rise,</em> the debut album from their new project, Sweet &amp; Lynch, that will be released January 27.</p> <p>Joining the Sweet &amp; Lynch adventure are bassist James Lomenzo [Megadeth, White Lion] and drummer Brian Tichy [Whitesnake, Foreigner, Ozzy Osbourne]. </p> <p>From the opening notes of the “The Wish” to songs like “Dying Rose,” “Love Stays” and “September," it’s evident the blend of Sweet’s unmistakable voice and Lynch’s signature guitar tone has yielded exceptional results.</p> <p>I recently caught up with Lynch to find out more about <em>Only to Rise</em> and get an update on the new Lynch Mob record, <em>Sun Red Sun,</em> and his <em>Shadow Nation</em> documentary and Shadow Train band projects. Lynch also puts to rest any rumors of a Dokken reunion.</p> <p><strong>GUITAR WORLD: How did the collaboration with Michael Sweet begin?</strong></p> <p>Lynch Mob and Stryper share an agent, and we’ve done a few tours together. During a few of those dates here and there, Michael and I would hang out and casually start talking about the idea of working together. We enjoyed each other’s company and had mutual respect for each other musically and as people. It was a good fit. So when the opportunity from Frontiers Records came along to do this record, it was an easy decision. Just a handshake and off to the races!</p> <p><strong>How would you describe the sound of <em>Only to Rise</em>?</strong></p> <p>There are so many elements to it. Even though we're both legacy players who have influences that go so far back, the album doesn’t sound dated. At the same time, we've also matured as writers, and that really comes out in our music. If you can construct really great songs, it doesn't matter what era or what genre it's from. In the end, a good song is a good song. </p> <p>One of the examples on this album is “Dying Rose,” which has a country-esque, Nashville element to it. I could hear a modern country outfit do it as well as a rock band. It's a beautiful melody and chorus with a nice hook. There's also some showing off and old-school metal kind of stuff on this album as well. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jmmolV-B7xE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><strong>Did you approach the songwriting process for Sweet &amp; Lynch differently than some of your other projects?</strong></p> <p>Michael and I talked a little about it. His idea was to take the Eighties thing and make it sound more modern. When I write, I'm always aware of who I'm writing for and in what context. But as far as direction, I tried not to think too hard about it and just went in and had fun. I'm very happy with the sound of this record.</p> <p><strong>Do you have plans to tour as Sweet &amp; Lynch?</strong></p> <p>We're kicking around a few ideas right now. Since we share the same agent, there's even been talk about possibly doing a Lynch Mob/Michael Sweet thing. If that happens, one of our bands would play and then I would come out with Michael's band or vice versa. But we'll be playing in some context next year.</p> <p><strong>What can you tell me about the new Lynch Mob record, <em>Sun Red Sun</em>?</strong></p> <p><em>Sun Red Sun</em> is a record we started more than two years ago. It was from the last incarnation of the band, which is a great version. There are also four bonus tracks on there as well. We're also just finishing up the music for another new Lynch Mob record that will be coming out next spring. Jeff Pilson is playing bass, Brian Tichy is playing drums along with Oni Logan (vocals) and me. It's a very trippy record. </p> <p><strong>Can you give me an update on the <em>Shadow Nation</em> documentary and Shadow Train band project?</strong></p> <p>We're looking to release the film later in 2015. It's going to be a double CD soundtrack that's very eclectic. We did the first record with Vinnie Nicastro on drums. It was a different style, which was something a little cooler and mellower. The second record has Jimmy D'Anda on drums and is a little more focused and heavier. The second record is more of what the band is about. </p> <p><strong>The last time we spoke, you mentioned the long-shot possibility of a Dokken reunion and record. Do you have an update on that?</strong></p> <p>We tried for the umpteenth time to get that together as best we could because it made sense on so many levels. We thought we had triangulated all of the issues and finally agreed on things. But everything just blew up with the last few communications from Don. We gave it the old college try, but at the end of the day, it's just not going to happen.</p> <p><em>For more about Sweet &amp; Lynch, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SweetLynch">follow them on Facebook.</a></em></p> <p><em>James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, <a href="http://gojimmygo.net/">GoJimmyGo.net</a>. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/JimEWood">Twitter @JimEWood.</a></em></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="/george-lynch">George Lynch</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/only-rise-george-lynch-talks-new-album-michael-sweet-lynch-mob-and-dokken#comments George Lynch James Wood Michael Sweet Sweet & Lynch Interviews News Features Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:11:44 +0000 James Wood http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23127 Guitar World's 10 Best Box Sets of 2014 http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-10-best-box-sets-2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>While this was a somewhat uneventful year for new rock releases, it was bananas for interesting box sets. </p> <p>Record companies reached deep inside their vaults and discovered some really cool and weird things. </p> <p>The following are 10 ways to completely blow your holiday money, and it runs the gamut from classic the Beatles and Zep to bizarre prog oddities like Captain Beefheart and Jethro Tull. As is customary at GW, this top 10 list is actually a top 11 list. Enjoy!</p> <p><strong>Check out the rest of <em>Guitar World's</em> 2014 year-end content (Note: More is coming soon!) <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/tags/year-end-2014">right here.</a> And be sure to take <em>Guitar World</em>'s <a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/pick-best-shredder-best-album-and-more-take-guitar-worlds-2014-readers-poll">2014 year-end readers poll</a> to vote on the best album, best GW cover, best shredder, best blues guitarist, <em>Guitar World</em> MVP and much more!</strong></p> <p>See you next year!</p> http://www.guitarworld.com/guitar-worlds-10-best-box-sets-2014#comments Year End 2014 News Features Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:27:07 +0000 Brad Tolinski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23114 12 Days of Holiday Deals from Guitar World: Day 12 — Get Any Guitar World DVD for Only $5 http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-12-get-any-guitar-world-dvd-only-5 <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/12-days-of-deals/dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals12">Today is Day 12 of our third annual 12 Days of Holiday Deals Sale at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>You can expect a great new deal every day, including today's deal:</p> <p>Get any <em>Guitar World</em> DVD for only $5!</p> <p>These things make perfect stocking stuffers! And again, they're only $5 each.</p> <p>Titles include:</p> <p>• <em>20 Essential Acoustic Rock Licks</em><br /> • <em>20 Essential Beginner Blues Licks</em><br /> • <em>20 Essential Bluegrass Licks</em><br /> • <em>20 Essential Classical Licks</em><br /> • <em>20 Essential Jazz Licks</em><br /> • <em>20 Essential Metal Licks</em><br /> • <em>30 Hot Country Licks</em></p> <p>... and many more!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/12-days-of-deals/dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals12">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-12-get-any-guitar-world-dvd-only-5#comments 12 Days of Holiday Deals News Features Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:26:26 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23117 Great Musical Moments and Mistakes Made Magnificent in Headphones http://www.guitarworld.com/five-musical-moments-made-magnificent-headphones <!--paging_filter--><p>OK, so you have your headphones out. </p> <p>What do you want to listen to? Something beautiful? Something cool? Something you’ve never heard before? How about all three? </p> <p>The following are five tracks by some of your favorite bands worth putting under the microscope for reasons listed below. Enjoy!</p> <p><strong>Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love"</strong></p> <p>Someone laughs briefly at the very beginning, must be Robert Plant. </p> <p>It’s nearly impossible to detect except on headphones, but the laugh exudes a “get a load of this” confidence and sets the stage for one of the most crushing songs ever recorded. But most importantly it provides part of the human element that helped make Led Zeppelin one of the most revered and heralded bands of all time. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Mln0RciE2o0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Steve Howe, "Sketches in the Sun"</strong></p> <p>Most folks know Steve Howe’s fabulous “Mood for a Day” instrumental, but some folks may not be as familiar with his “Sketches in the Sun” track. </p> <p>On headphones, listen to the tender articulation of this performance and the interaction between the guitar and the lush reverb; the song takes on an amazing orchestral quality.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/guSzFIv3N_A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>David Lee Roth, "Drop in the Bucket"</strong></p> <p>There is so much going on in this song it is ridiculous, from a spunky acoustic guitar intro, to Jason Becker’s subtle finger-picked clean lines, to a signature sweep picking solo break. </p> <p>But starting around 3:37 the guitar and vocals begin a magnificent interplay where at one second you think you are listening to David Lee Roth singing in falsetto, but it is actually Jason Becker’s guitar, and the next second it is the other way around. This passage is just beautiful and gives me the chills every time I listen to it.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OksMf5ALal8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" from <em>Live Alive</em></strong></p> <p>This song is a pure treat on headphones as the guitar slathered in a slow panning effect just struts around the stereo field destroying all in its path. </p> <p>Stevie had a masterful way of making his guitar scream that was utterly unique. You can just feel the volume and the amount of air being pushed out of his amps. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FR_EAeFAyn8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /> <br /><br /> <strong>Nirvana, "In Bloom"</strong></p> <p>This song jumps right out of the speakers and with incredible power. </p> <p>If you listen on headphones, you will notice that instead of simply double tracking the same exact guitar rig/EQ setup and panning hard left and right, the left side guitar was recorded with a different rig/EQ setup. These two different guitar sounds combine to make this track sound absolutely huge, and accentuates the quiet/loud verse/chorus structure of the song. </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6vqfuAczm7g" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><em>Brad Tolinski is the editor-in-chief at </em>Guitar World.</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="/stevie-ray-vaughan">Stevie Ray Vaughan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/led-zeppelin">Led Zeppelin</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/steve-howe">Steve Howe</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/nirvana">Nirvana</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/david-lee-roth">David Lee Roth</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/five-musical-moments-made-magnificent-headphones#comments Blue Microphones David Lee Roth Led Zeppelin Nirvana Steve Howe Stevie Ray Vaughan News Features Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:50:47 +0000 Brad Tolinski http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23112 From the Archive: The Definitive Kurt Cobain Gear Guide http://www.guitarworld.com/archive-definitive-kurt-cobain-gear-guide <!--paging_filter--><p><em>This classic article from the August 1997 issue of </em>Guitar World<em> serves as the definitive guide to Kurt Cobain's grungy assortment of pawn shop prizes, turbo-charged stomp boxes and blown woofers.</em></p> <p>Kurt Cobain must have been amused when magazines like <em>Guitar World</em> and <em>Guitar Player</em> requested interviews and when Fender approached him to design a guitar. But here's where another irony exists — although Cobain often said he didn't care very much about equipment, he certainly possessed more than a passing interest in the tools of his trade. </p> <p>Cobain may not have collected vintage <strong>Gibsons, Martins, D'Angelicos</strong> and what-not, but he owned an eccentric cache of budget models, low-end imports and pawn shop prizes — most pursued with the same passion as a Gibson collector seeking a mint '59 Les Paul. Even when he could afford the best, Cobain's taste in instruments never changed. "Junk is always best," Cobain stated matter-of-factly to Jeff Gilbert in a February 1992 <em>Guitar World</em> interview. "I use whatever I can find at junk shops."</p> <p>Over the years, rumors about Cobain using special processors and studio trickery to obtain his sound have proliferated, so we figured the time had come to get to the real bottom of the truth about Cobain's equipment to be revealed. To do so, we contacted the most reliable sources available — the dealers who sold him his equipment, the engineers and producers who worked with him in the studio and the technicians who looked after his gear on the road. </p> <p>A couple of well-researched websites, Chris Lawrence's site and Brian Haberman's site [<em>2013 Editor's Note: These websites no longer exist. Remember this story is from 1997!</em>], also supplied many useful details. Michael Azerrad's <em>Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana</em> (Main Street/Doubleday) provided excellent background information and photographs, and we also pored over the few interviews on the subject granted by Cobain himself.</p> <p>Cobain almost certainly would have laughed at the idea of a magazine scrutinizing the minute details of his gear. "I've never considered musical equipment very sacred," he once said. But for the thousands of guitarists who consider Cobain's music sacred, it's important to understand what he played and why he played it.</p> <p><strong>SCENTLESS APPRENTICE: COBAIN'S VIRGIN MUSICAL YEARS</strong></p> <p>Kurt Donald Cobain was born in Aberdeen, Washington, on February 20, 1967. His first guitar, a used electric, was a 14th birthday present from his uncle Chuck. "As soon as I got my guitar, I just became so obsessed with it," Cobain told Michael Azerrad. "I don't think it was even a Harmony. I think it was a Sears." </p> <p>Cobain took guitar lessons for less than a month — just long enough to learn how to play AC/DC's "Back in Black." Those three chords served him well when he began writing his own songs shortly thereafter.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/kurt-cobain-talks-gear-and-more-his-final-guitar-world-interview-1992">[[ Read Guitar World's Final Interview with Kurt Cobain from the February 1992 Issue ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Cobain soon set his sights on forming a band. One day, a couple of friends invited him to jam in an abandoned meat locker they used as a practice space. Afterwards, Cobain foolishly left his guitar in the locker and was subsequently unable to return and get it back. </p> <p>When he finally made it back to the rehearsal space a few months later, he found his guitar in pieces. He salvaged the neck, hardware and electronics and made a new body for the guitar in wood shop, but Cobain lacked the skills to make the restored instrument intonate properly.</p> <p>When Cobain was 17, his mother married Pat O'Connor, whose ensuing infidelity led to a situation that greatly facilitated Cobain's acquisition of musical gear. After Cobain's mother learned that Pat was cheating on her, she dumped his gun collection in the river. Cobain observed his mother's antics and later encouraged some of the neighborhood kids to fish his stepdad's weapons out. Cobain sold the guns and bought a used <strong>Peavey Vintage</strong> amplifier with two 12-inch speakers with the proceeds.</p> <p>In early 1985, Cobain moved in with his natural father who discouraged his son's musical pursuits and convinced him to pawn his guitar. After about a week, Cobain got his guitar out of hock and moved out. He almost lost the guitar again when he loaned it to a drug dealer, but managed to repossess it a few months later. With this unknown guitar and the Peavey amp in hand, Cobain formed his first band, Fecal Matter, in late 1985.</p> <p>The Peavey amp disappeared sometime between early 1986 and late 1987. Krist Novoselic remembers that Cobain gave the amp to him for about a week, in what apparently was a friendly attempt to get him to join Fecal Matter. Novoselic declined on both offers. </p> <p>The amp disappeared sometime after that. By late 1987 Novoselic finally agreed to form a band with Cobain and drummer Aaron Burckhard, which they called Skid Row. Photos from this era show Cobain playing a right-hand model sunburst <strong>Univox Hi-Flyer</strong> flipped over and strung for left-handed playing. According to Azerrad, Cobain's amp during this period was a tiny <strong>Fender Champ</strong>. Also around this time, Cobain acquired a <strong>Univox Superfuzz</strong>, but it was stolen from his rehearsal space.</p> <p>The band's name changed frequently, from Fecal Matter to such similarly choice monikers as Ted Ed Fred, Pen Cap Chew, Throat Oyster, Windowpane and Bliss. Eventually they settled on Nirvana. When Burckhard proved too unreliable, Cobain and Novoselic kicked him out of the band and enlisted drummer Dale Crover, who they temporarily stole from the Melvins. Three weeks later, on January 23, 1988, Nirvana recorded its first studio demo at Reciprocal Studio with Jack Endino-whose early production/engineering/mixing credits include Soundgarden, Green River, Tad and Mudhoney-behind the board.</p> <p><strong>BLOND AMBITION: THE <em>BLEACH</em> YEARS</strong></p> <p>A few months after working with Nirvana for the first time, Endino played the band's demo tape for Jonathan Poneman of Sub Pop Records, who signed the band to the label. Three of the songs that Nirvana recorded during that session ended up on <em>Bleach</em>, the band's first album.</p> <p>The band liked working with Endino, and they returned to Reciprocal Studios several times during the year to record more songs, although Chad Channing replaced Crover on drums. Nirvana signed a contract with Sub Pop, and in late December 1988, they entered Reciprocal Studios to record <em>Bleach</em>. The album was recorded in three days for $606.16, although five tracks from earlier sessions were included on the final album. Most of the remaining songs from the various Reciprocal sessions were released several years later on <em>Incesticide</em>.</p> <p>"When they recorded <em>Bleach</em>, Kurt's <strong>Randall</strong> was in the shop so they borrowed my amp, which was a Sixties <strong>Fender Twin</strong>," Endino recalls. "I'm a tube nut, so everything was tweaked and up to spec on that amp, but it didn't have speakers because I had fried them. Kurt brought in a little closed-back 2x12 cabinet with two <strong>Celestions</strong>, most likely 70-watt models. He was using a little orange <strong>Boss DS-1</strong> distortion pedal and these Univox guitars [Hi-Flyers] that looked like <strong>Mosrites</strong>. The pickups were stock. I ended up getting one of those pickups from him once, because he was smashing those guitars all the time. I said, `You must have some extra pickups,' and he said, `Oh yeah. Here's one.' It was in two pieces. I was able to stick the wires together and use it. It's not the greatest sounding pickup in the world, but it seemed to work for him."</p> <hr /> <p>In 1989, Nirvana went on its first American tour. According to Earnie Bailey, a Seattle guitar repairman who was friends with Novoselic and who often worked as a technician for the band, Cobain's live rig during this period was a red <strong>Epiphone ET270</strong>, a solid-state <strong>Randall</strong> amp head, a <strong>BFI Bullfrog</strong> 4x12 cabinet and a <strong>Boss DS-1</strong> distortion. When his guitar was destroyed beyond repair, Cobain would look for cheap replacements in pawn shops or have Sub Pop ship him guitars via Federal Express.</p> <p>"I heard stories about Kurt's guitar destruction from the Sub Pop people early on," says Endino. "When he was out on the road he'd call them up and say, `I don't know what got into me, but I just smashed up my guitar.' I don't think he was planning on smashing guitars from day one. It was just something he did. The poor Sub Pop people would call all the pawn shops up and down the coast, looking for Univox guitars."</p> <p>Between tours, Cobain often bought equipment from Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma, Washington, and Danny's Music in Everett, Washington. According to Rick King, owner of Guitar Maniacs, Cobain "bought a whole bunch of <strong>Univox Hi-Flyers</strong> — both the P-90 version and ones with humbuckers. Those pickups have huge output and are completely over the top. He broke a lot of those guitars. We sold him several of them for an average of $100 each over the course of five years."</p> <p>Although humbucker-equipped Univox Hi-Flyers apparently were Cobain's favorite guitars in the pre-<em>Nevermind</em> days, he often appeared on stage with other models, including a blue Gibson SG and a sunburst left-handed Greco Mustang copy he bought from Guitar Maniacs.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.guitarworld.com/kurt-cobain-talks-gear-and-more-his-final-guitar-world-interview-1992">[[ Read Guitar World's Final Interview with Kurt Cobain from the February 1992 Issue ]]</a></strong></p> <p>Cobain purchased what probably was his first acoustic guitar, a <strong>Stella</strong> 12-string, for $31.21 on October 12, 1989. He brought the Stella to Smart Studios in Wisconsin to record some demos with Butch Vig in April 1990. The guitar wasn't exactly a studio musician's dream. </p> <p>"It barely stays in tune," Cobain told Jeff Gilbert in a February 1992 <em>Guitar World</em> interview. "I have to use duct tape to hold the tuning keys in place." At some point in the Stella's history, the steel strings had been replaced with six nylon strings, only five of which were intact during the session. However, the guitar sounded good enough to Vig, who recorded Cobain playing a solo acoustic version of "Polly" on that guitar. That track can be heard on <em>Nevermind</em>.</p> <p>Cobain didn't seem to be exceptionally particular about what equipment he was playing through, with the notable exception of his effects pedals. Sometime in 1990, he bought an <em>Electro-Harmonix Small Clone</em> from Guitar Maniacs, and it remained a favorite and essential part of his setup to the end of his life. On January 1, 1991, Cobain used the Small Clone to record "Aneurysm," which later was issued as the b-side to the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" single. </p> <p><strong>BREEDING GROUND: THE RECORDING OF <em>NEVERMIND</em></strong></p> <p>Prior to formally signing with Geffen Records on April 30, 1991, Nirvana received a $287,000 advance for the recording of <em>Nevermind</em>. The advance was somewhat meager, but it gave the band some freedom in choosing equipment. However, Cobain didn't exactly go wild with his spending.</p> <p>"I sold Kurt a bunch of guitars and effects for the <em>Nevermind</em> album," says Rick King. "When they got signed to Geffen and started getting money, Kurt was still very frugal. He bought some Japanese left-handed Strats and had humbuckers installed in the Strats' lead position. He didn't spend very much money on guitars."</p> <p>Apparently Cobain developed a taste for Fender guitars just prior to recording <em>Nevermind</em>. "I like guitars in the Fender style because they have skinny necks," said Cobain in a late 1991 interview. "I've resorted to Japanese-made Fender Stratocasters because they're the most available left-handed guitars." During this period, he also acquired a left-handed <strong>'65 Jaguar</strong> that had a <strong>DiMarzio Super Distortion</strong> humbucker in the bridge position and a <strong>DiMarzio PAF</strong> in the neck position in place of the guitar's stock single-coil pickups. These modifications were made before Cobain purchased the guitar. Cobain also bought a left-handed, Lake Placid Blue <strong>'69 Fender Competition Mustang</strong> around then.</p> <p>"Out of all the guitars in the whole world, the Fender Mustang is my favorite," Cobain told GW. "They're cheap and totally inefficient, and they sound like crap and are very small. They also don't stay in tune, and when you want to raise the string action on the fretboard, you have to loosen all the strings and completely remove the bridge. You have to turn these little screws with your fingers and hope that you've estimated it right. If you screw up, you have to repeat the process over and over until you get it right. Whoever invented that guitar was a dork. I guess I'm calling Leo Fender, the dead guy, a dork." To overcome these tuning problems, Cobain had his '69 Mustang fitted with a <strong>Gotoh Tune-O-Matic</strong> bridge, a modification that was routinely performed on the Mustangs he subsequently acquired.</p> <p>Some claim that Cobain's preference for low-end guitars was a punk statement, but he insisted that it was a matter of necessity. "I don't favor them," Cobain told <em>Guitar World</em> in 1992. "I can afford them. I'm left-handed and it's not very easy to find reasonably priced, high-quality left-handed guitars." Before entering the studio, Cobain purchased a rack rig consisting of a Mesa/Boogie Studio preamp, a Crown power amp and a variety of Marshall 4x12 cabinets. "I can never find an amp that's powerful enough," Cobain told GW. "And I don't want to deal with hauling 10 Marshall heads. I'm lazy-I like to have it all in one package. For a preamp I have a Mesa/Boogie, and I turn all the midrange up." Cobain brought this rig along with his Mustang, Jaguar, a Japanese Strat and his Boss DS-1 and Electro-Harmonix Small Clone pedals to Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, where the band recorded Nevermind with Butch Vig.</p> <p>"Kurt had a Mesa/Boogie, but we also used a Fender Bassman a lot and a Vox AC30 on Nevermind," Vig recalls. "I prefer getting the amp to sound distorted instead of using special effects or pedals, which lose body and the fullness of the bottom end."</p> <p>Still, Vig allowed Cobain to use a few pedals on the album, especially since the guitarist felt that the DS-1 was the main factor in his tone. Cobain also used the Small Clone liberally. "That's making the watery guitar sound you hear on the pre-chorus build-up of `Smells Like Teen Spirit' and also `Come As You Are,'" says Vig. "We used an Electro-Harmonix Big Muff fuzz box through a Fender Bassman on `Lithium' to get that thumpier, darker sound."</p> <p>Cobain's pawn shop Stella was used again for "Something in the Way." Vig recorded the performance while Cobain sat on a couch in the control room. Against Vig's wishes, Cobain plugged his guitar direct into the board for "Territorial Pissings." During the recording of "Lithium," Cobain instigated the noise jam that became the "hidden" track "Endless, Nameless." (This track does not appear on the first 50,000 copies of the CD.) Towards the end of the track, Cobain can be heard smashing his Japanese Stratocaster.</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="/nirvana">Nirvana</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/kurt-cobain">Kurt Cobain</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/archive-definitive-kurt-cobain-gear-guide#comments August 1997 GW Archive Kurt Cobain Nirvana News Features Gear Magazine Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:23:16 +0000 Chris Gill http://www.guitarworld.com/article/11150 The 100 Greatest Metallica Songs of All Time http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-songs-by-metallica <!--paging_filter--><p>Metallica are undeniably the most influential rock band of the past 30 years. That fact can be perceived simply by looking at the numbers. </p> <p>They are on the exclusive list of music artists who have sold more than 100 million records, and each of their albums has enjoyed multi-Platinum status, an achievement that even AC/DC, the Rolling Stones and U2 haven’t matched. </p> <p>And while they’ve never really had a bona fide pop hit, dozens of Metallica songs — including “Seek and Destroy,” “Master of Puppets” and “Enter Sandman” — have become vital landmarks on the vast landscape of music history, inspiring new generations of music fans and aspiring guitarists much the same way “Johnny B. Goode,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Stairway to Heaven” inspired previous generations.</p> <p>In that respect, Metallica’s influence can be observed simply by tuning into the very culture of modern music. To put it simply, Metallica redefined metal music. During the early Eighties, bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were considered heavy metal. But after Metallica burst out of the underground and into mainstream awareness, the terms heavy and metal didn’t quite seem to fit those bands any more. </p> <p>Metallica’s sonic signatures — extreme high-gain distortion, rapid-fire down-picked riffs and jackhammer double–bass drum rhythms — became the new vernacular for metal. Since Metallica’s arrival in 1983, thousands of bands—including industrial groups like Ministry, nu-metal newcomers like Korn and unabashed Metallica clones like Trivium—have adopted those characteristics as their own. </p> <p>Having deep influences has certainly helped Metallica hone their craft. Drummer Lars Ulrich’s vast collection of Seventies Euro metal, punk rock and NWOBHM records provided a bottomless well of inspiration during Metallica’s early days, when the band consisted of Ulrich, guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (who replaced founding guitarist Dave Mustaine) and bassist Cliff Burton. </p> <p>The band members never stopped searching for new inspirations, discovering unlikely muses like Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western scores, Tom Waits’ lowlife junkyard blues and Nick Cave’s gothic post-punk swamp rock. Along the way they lost members: Burton died in 1986 and was replaced by Jason Newsted, who left in 2001 and was later replaced by Robert Trujillo. But even as Metallica evolved from progressive thrash epics in the Eighties to shorter and more melodic songs in the Nineties, they never lost the essence of their personality — an indefinable intensity that makes Metallica songs as recognizable as any classic from the Beatles or Led Zeppelin catalogs.</p> <p>Considering the band’s lasting and ever-growing influence, we felt an examination of its contributions was long overdue. The following 100 songs are significant mileposts that have shaped and defined much of the hard rock and metal music made today, and they’re also the source of some of the coolest riffs ever written for the guitar. No wonder Metallica remain a powerful force to be reckoned with.</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="/metallica">Metallica</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/100-greatest-songs-by-metallica#comments GW Archive Metallica Guitar World Lists News Features Magazine Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:04:00 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/11301 12 Days of Holiday Deals from Guitar World: Day 11 — 'Guitar Legends: 50 Greatest Classic Rock Guitar Songs' for $5 http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-11-guitar-legends-50-greatest-classic-rock-guitar-songs-999 <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-legends/products/guitar-legends-50-greatest-classic-rock-guitar-songs/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals11">Today is Day 11 of our third annual 12 Days of Holiday Deals Sale at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>You can expect a great new deal every day, including today's deal:</p> <p>Get <em>Guitar Legends: 50 Greatest Classic Rock Guitar Songs</em>, with DVD, for only $5!</p> <p>A collection of the best classic rock songs of all-time featuring Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nirvana, the Allman Brothers Band and the Eagles! PLUS, this issue includes an instructional DVD with TABS from the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.</p> <p>The editors of <em>Guitar World</em>, the world's best-selling guitar magazine, have compiled an entire issue dedicated to the 50 all-time greatest classic rock songs. The issue, which includes greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles, celebrates the finest of the classic rock anthems.This diverse list not only details every song and artist, but also provides perspective on how each song has influenced musicians. In <em>Guitar Legends: 50 Greatest Classic Rock Guitar Songs</em>, you'll learn everything there is to know about how classic rock impacted the music world.</p> <p>Also included inside the issue: a 60-minute instructional DVD featuring guitar tabs!</p> <p>DVD video lessons on how to play songs from classic rock greats:</p> <p> The Beatles - "I Saw Her Standing There"<br /> The Rolling Stones - "Honky Tonk Women"<br /> Grateful Dead - "Casey Jones" &amp; "Friend of the Devil"</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/collections/guitar-legends/products/guitar-legends-50-greatest-classic-rock-guitar-songs/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals11">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-11-guitar-legends-50-greatest-classic-rock-guitar-songs-999#comments 12 Days of Holiday Deals News Features Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:33:17 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23098 12 Days of Holiday Deals from Guitar World: Day 10 — Get the Ultimate Wild Metal DVD Pack for $15 http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-10-get-ultimate-wild-metal-dvd-pack-15 <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/ultimate-wild-metal-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals10">Today is Day 10 of our third annual 12 Days of Holiday Deals Sale at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>You can expect a great new deal every day, including today's deal:</p> <p>Get the Ultimate Wild Metal Pack (three DVDs) for only $15! Get three metal DVDs for the price of one!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/ultimate-wild-metal-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals10">Heavy Metal Hybrid Picking</a></strong></p> <p>Guitar World's instructional DVD Heavy Metal Hybrid Picking features Dave Davidson, with over 60 minutes of instructional lessons you'll learn how to combine sweep picking with fingerpicking, one-note-per-string arpeggios, and hybrid picking double-steps. Plus access to:</p> <p> • Zakk Wylde-style chicken pickin' techniques<br /> • "Jimi Hendrix-chord" arpeggio rolls<br /> • Hammer-ons, open strings, palm muting and note clusters<br /> • Wide-interval licks with string skipping<br /> • Legato seventh-chord arpeggios<br /> • Whole-tone and diminished scale runs<br /> • Blues organ licks</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/ultimate-wild-metal-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals10">Metal and Thrash Rhythm Guitar</a></strong></p> <p>Learn the secret techniques of metal’s greatest riffmasters:</p> <p> • Gallop and reverse-gallop rhythms in the styles of bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer<br /> • Palm muting and chugging<br /> • Double and quadruple picking<br /> • Machine-gun-like bursts punctuated by “holes of silence”<br /> • Chromatic alternate-picking exercises<br /> • Chord stabs and jabs<br /> • Power chord riffs with pedal tones<br /> • String skipping, raking and fret-hand muting<br /> • Natural-and pinch-harmonic “squeals”<br /> • Integrating riffing up and down one string with fret-hand muting<br /> • Stacked power chords, and much more!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/ultimate-wild-metal-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals10">John Petrucci's Wild Stringdom</a></strong></p> <p>Guitar World's instructional DVD, Wild Stringdom by John Petrucci featuring Dream Theater's frontman. This master lead guitarist shows you:</p> <p> • Prog-style shred runs<br /> • Melodic shapes<br /> • Scale and arpeggio patterns<br /> • Unusual fretboard paths</p> <p>This DVD is an exclusive to the Guitar World Online Store--you won't find this anywhere else! </p> <p><strong><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/ultimate-wild-metal-pack/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals10">Head to the Guitar World Online Store now!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-10-get-ultimate-wild-metal-dvd-pack-15#comments 12 Days of Holiday Deals News Features Sun, 14 Dec 2014 18:13:54 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23096 12 Days of Holiday Deals from Guitar World: Day 9 — 'Guitar World Presents the Best Instruction Book Ever' for $15 http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-9-guitar-world-presents-best-instruction-book-ever-15 <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-presents-the-best-instruction-book-ever-hardcover-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals9">Today is Day 9 of our third annual 12 Days of Holiday Deals Sale at the Guitar World Online Store!</a></p> <p>You can expect a great new deal every day, including today's deal:</p> <p>Get <em>Guitar World Presents the Best Instruction Book Ever</em> (Hardcover/DVD) for only $15!</p> <p>Guitar World and the all-time greatest players show you how to play guitar the easy way - with the most exciting method ever devised! </p> <p>Instructors Andy Aledort, Jimmy Brown and Paul Riario combine their decades of experience to help readers master every aspect of playing the guitar, from the four types of guitars and how to read music, all the way to teaching their readers the most advanced tricks and techniques. Throughout the lessons readers will also receive encouragement and advice from guitar legends like B.B. King, Slash, Buddy Guy, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and Brian May of Queen. </p> <p><em>Guitar World Presents the Best Instruction Book Ever</em> simplifies the learning process by including hundreds of full color how-to photos, charts and diagrams as well as an instructional DVD to supplement each lesson and make learning even more enjoyable.</p> <p><strong><a a href="http://guitarworld.myshopify.com/products/guitar-world-presents-the-best-instruction-book-ever-hardcover-dvd/?&amp;utm_source=gw_homepage&amp;utm_medium=daily_scroller&amp;utm_campaign=14XmasDeals9">Purchase your copy today!</a></strong></p> http://www.guitarworld.com/12-days-holiday-deals-guitar-world-day-9-guitar-world-presents-best-instruction-book-ever-15#comments 12 Days of Holiday Deals News Features Sat, 13 Dec 2014 21:58:11 +0000 Guitar World Staff http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23095 Dear Guitar Hero: Lenny Kravitz Talks Vintage Gear, 'Let Love Rule' and New Album, 'Strut' http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-lenny-kravitz-talks-vintage-gear-let-love-rule-and-new-album-strut <!--paging_filter--><p>He’s a vintage-gear-loving gunslinger whose mom starred in <em>The Jeffersons</em>. But what <em>Guitar World</em> readers want to know is…</p> <p><strong>You’ve said that your new album, <em>Strut</em>, is a very “raw” album. What do you mean by that? — Judah Kershner</strong></p> <p>I mean it’s raw in its execution as well as in the way it was recorded. All of my records are done very organically, on real instruments and with beautiful vintage gear. But this one also came together very quickly. I actually didn’t even realize I was making a record. </p> <p>I was shooting a movie by day [<em>The Hunger Games: Catching Fire</em>], and the music was all coming to me at night. I wrote it very quickly, recorded it very quickly and refrained from putting too many overdubs on there. It’s really just a guitar-bass-and-drums record. So it was a very raw experience, and a very spontaneous one, too.</p> <p><em>Your new single, “The Chamber,” has an almost early Eighties disco sound to it. What was the inspiration for that song? — Chris Kaysen</em></p> <p>What I like about that track is it’s got a very groovy feeling, but it’s still based in guitars. As for what inspired it, my inspirations are always based on my life, my experiences, my feelings, things I’ve observed. </p> <p>But I can’t really say what it was, exactly. It just came. I had nothing to do with any of it. That’s how I work. I wait for it to come. But it is a little bit of a different sound. You couldn’t really base the sound of the rest of the album off of that song. It would throw you. The record is all over the place, even though there’s a thread throughout it. </p> <p><strong>For years you’ve been talking about a “very funky” album that you already have recorded called <em>Negrophilia. Strut</em> sounds like it has a lot of funk elements on it. Is this it? — J. Goodman</strong></p> <p>This album is not that. <em>Negrophilia</em> is a very psychedelic, cool funk album. Very, very loose, and very free. Very free. It’s something I’ve been holding onto for a long time, and it’s almost time to have it see the light of day. In fact, I’m most probably going to release it right after this one. </p> <p><strong>What gear did you use on <em>Strut</em>? — Josh Lind</strong></p> <p>It was very simple. I only used two guitars. One was a ’59 Les Paul “Goldtop” that’s really muted and faded and has the most brilliant-sounding PAFs I’ve ever heard. Then there was a three-pickup black Les Paul Custom from the late Fifties. For amps, I used a modded Fender Super that has the most amazing sound. That’s the only one on the entire album, except for on the song “Strut,” where I played one guitar through a Fender Bassman.</p> <p><strong>You usually play all the instruments yourself on your albums. Why record that way rather than with a band? — Rick McDough</strong></p> <p>That way, when I’m writing and recording, I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. I don’t even have to talk about it. I just do it. So I’ll usually lay down drums first, then guitar, and then bass last. But really, more than anything, I think I do it because I just love to play.</p> <p><strong>I love the guitar tone on your early albums, like <em>Let Love Rule</em> and <em>Are You Gonna Go My Way</em>. What was your setup in the studio on those records? — Grayson Malloy</strong></p> <p>On <em>Let Love Rule</em>, it was primarily a tweed Fender Deluxe cranked to 10. When you turn that amp all the way up, it compresses itself and makes this beautiful tone. That’s pretty much the dirty sound on the album. I think I also had a Fender Twin Reverb for the cleaner stuff. </p> <p>The guitar, for the most part, was actually an Epiphone Sorrento. I used a Telecaster for some of the clean stuff, and that was it. <em>Are You Gonna Go My Way</em> was a little different. There were so many amps on the album that it’s hard to remember all of them. But on that song [“Are You Gonna Go My Way”] in particular I used a Gibson Skylark, a little tiny amp that has the most brilliant sound. And the guitar was a Les Paul—not the Flying V that’s in the video. Oddly enough, I’ve never used a V in the studio, even though I’m so associated with that guitar.</p> <p><strong>When you came out with <em>Let Love Rule</em>, it sounded so different from what was going on at the time. Did you feel like you were going against the grain of what was popular? — Elias Kaplan</strong></p> <p>I knew I was going in the complete opposite direction that everybody else was going. It was 1989 when it came out, so I was making it in 1988. And everybody back then was doing this really sort of Eighties sound, very effected, very bombastic, big drums. So I went the other way, to a very organic space. A very intimate space. And I used all this amazing vintage gear. So yeah, I was quite aware of it. But since I made the record on my own before I had a record label, I didn’t have anybody trying to tell me anything different, thank god.</p> <p><strong>Do you feel like you get pigeonholed as “retro”? — Jenny Gray</strong></p> <p>Not anymore. It was kind of the catchphrase at the time, but I make music, that’s it. Whatever color is required, I use. I don’t relate to any labels.</p> <p><strong>What was your first guitar, and can you remember the first song you learned to play on it? — Mike Hannon</strong></p> <p>It was a Yamaha acoustic with a pickup in it and two knobs on the front. My parents got it for me from Manny’s [in New York City] for my ninth birthday. The first thing I learned to play? What’s that song? “Country roads, take me home…mountain mama…West Virginia…” The John Denver song [“Take Me Home, Country Roads”]. That was it!</p> <p><strong>You and Slash attended Fairfax High School in L.A. at the same time. Were you friends? — Clark Daniels</strong></p> <p>Not really. We knew each other from the hallway, like, “Yo, what’s up, dude? What’s happenin’?” But that was the extent of it. We met later on when he was in Guns N’ Roses and I had come out with <em>Let Love Rule</em>. We started talking and I went, “Wait a minute. I know you, man. You look so familiar. Oh my god! We went to high school together! You were that guy!” So that’s how it happened. Because he pretty much looked the same.</p> <p><strong>A few years back there was a rumor that Velvet Revolver wanted you to fill the singer slot after Scott Weiland. Was there any truth to that? — Cooper Abraham</strong></p> <p>They reached out to me, but it wasn’t something that I could do at the time, because I was in the middle of my stuff. So we never actually jammed. But I was flattered. I love those guys. </p> <p><strong>Is it true you have some of the recording gear the Beatles used at Abbey Road in your studio in the Bahamas? And if so, how did you get it? — Gord Engber</strong></p> <p>Yup, I have the mixing board [the REDD.37] that they used. [The group used the REDD.37 console throughout 1963 and again in 1969 during the recording of tracks for <em>Let It Be</em>.] Right after I made <em>Let Love Rule</em>, that stuff came up for sale, and at that time nobody really gave a shit about that kind of gear. Then, all of a sudden, a couple years later, vintage gear was “it.” Everybody was using it, everybody was buying it, everybody was trying to find it. </p> <p>Fairchild compressors started going for $25,000. All these things were desired. So I was lucky enough to get it early. I have the board in my place in the Bahamas, but it moves around. Sometimes it’s in Paris. In general, though, I don’t buy gear anymore. I’ve got so much stuff that I don’t even see. I have a great collection of about 200 guitars that are all amazing. I have great drums and keyboards and synths, orchestral instruments and basses, and then recording equipment. So I’ve got enough for a lifetime. I’m good!</p> <p><strong>Are there any new artists you’re currently digging on? — Dave Fasciano</strong></p> <p>There’s a lot of stuff out there. I was talking about these kids today that I’ve been enjoying called the Strypes. They're from Ireland. A great band.</p> <p><strong>I read that you were named after your uncle Leonard, who was killed during the Korean War, and that earlier this year he received a posthumous medal of honor. What did he receive it for? — Pete DeLucie</strong></p> <p>That’s correct. He saved an entire platoon in Korea and sacrificed himself. In fact, the bill that got all the gentlemen their awards—because there were 24 given out that day, to people who should have gotten it already but didn’t—they were calling it loosely the Leonard Kravitz bill, because it was his example that kind of started the whole thing. [The medals were primarily given to Jewish and Latino servicemen who had been overlooked, due to discrimination.] </p> <p>A friend of his petitioned and worked hard to help make this thing happen. So it was a real honor to go to the White House and receive this award, knowing that he deserved it back when he passed. Because out of the original 24, there were only three who were still alive. But there was a whole ceremony, and President Obama gave out the medals. It was beautiful.</p> <p><strong>Do you have words of advice for musicians just starting out? — Jack Felton</strong></p> <p>Be yourself. We all have our gifts that we were given, and there’s nothing like being authentic to what you were created to be. So don’t follow the crowd. Follow what’s inside of you.</p> <p><strong>Looking back over your career, is there anything you would change? — Aaron Mitchell</strong></p> <p>No. You can always think of things you could have done differently and probably would have, if given another chance. But what I’ve done makes me who I am, and I take in all the lessons I was taught as a result. So I take the ups and the downs. I take all of it, and I accept it and I do my best to grow from the things you might call mistakes. But I’ve been quite happy with my journey, and I continue to be happy with it. I thank God for it.</p> <p><em>Photo: Greg Kadel</em></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="/lenny-kravitz">Lenny Kravitz</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/dear-guitar-hero-lenny-kravitz-talks-vintage-gear-let-love-rule-and-new-album-strut#comments Dear Guitar Hero December 2014 Lenny Kravitz Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:17:37 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23094 Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan Discuss Mr. Big’s New Album, '…The Stories We Could Tell' http://www.guitarworld.com/paul-gilbert-and-billy-sheehan-discuss-mr-big-s-new-album-stories-we-could-tell <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been just over 25 years since virtuoso guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan formed Mr. Big with singer Eric Martin and drummer Pat Torpey. </p> <p>At the time, Gilbert was just out of shred-metal act Racer X, and Sheehan was fresh off a two-album stint with David Lee Roth’s band. Mr. Big had huge success in little time with instrumentally dazzling pop-metal songs like “Addicted to That Rush” (from 1989’s <em>Mr. Big</em>) and the smash acoustic ballad “To Be with You” (from 1991’s <em>Lean Into It</em>). </p> <p>Today, they’re still going strong despite a past lineup change (Gilbert left in 1997) and a hiatus from 2002 to 2009. </p> <p>They’ve just released their eighth studio album, <em>…The Stories We Could Tell</em>, their second since reuniting, and it boasts the band’s characteristic mix of vibrant, hi-octane melodic rockers (the grinding opener “I Forget to Breathe,” the syncopated funk workout “Monster in Me”) and soaring ballads (the harmony-laden “Fragile,” the acoustic “The Man Who Has Everything”). </p> <p>As always, the music is filled with Gilbert and Sheehan’s nimble and mind-boggling guitar and bass interplay.</p> <p> It’s a thoroughly enjoyable and highly accomplished hard-rock record, which, like the band’s best work, manages to be instrumentally vigorous without sacrificing melody and songcraft. </p> <p>But while the Mr. Big formula has remained true all these years, there were significant differences in how the band approached the making of <em>…The Stories We Could Tell</em>. Some had to do with the fact that, these days, the members are busy with individual musical endeavors. </p> <p>Gilbert recently released a solo album, <em>Stone Pushing Uphill Man</em>, and teaches a web-based guitar course, Online Rock Guitar School with Paul Gilbert, among various other undertakings. “My life is a glorious tornado of musical projects!” he says with a laugh. Sheehan, meanwhile, has his hand in several ventures, most notably playing in the power trio the Winery Dogs, which also features drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist Richie Kotzen, who spent several years in Mr. Big in the late Nineties and early 2000s when Gilbert exited the group.</p> <p>Additionally, prior to making <em>…The Stories We Could Tell</em> the band was hit with the sobering news that Torpey had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The symptoms, which the drummer had been battling for the past few years, were advanced enough that Gilbert and Sheehan ultimately wound up recording their parts to a click track, which was later replaced by programmed drums. </p> <p>“We had to do a lot of stuff backward and inside-out,” Sheehan says. “It took extra work on our part, but we were happy to do it. And the drums really do sound a lot like Pat’s playing. He was there with the programmer, and they did a lot of moves that Pat does. So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard it. But right from the beginning of discussions with this record, when we first found out about Pat’s situation, all of us said, ‘Pat is still the drummer, and Pat is gonna be our drummer, no matter what.’ We did what we had to do, because this is the band.” </p> <p><iframe width="620" height="365" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6smE1qhlghE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>It’s a camaraderie that perhaps was not always so evident in Mr. Big. Back in the early Nineties, even as they were gaining fame in the U.S. and becoming superstars abroad—particularly in Japan where, Gilbert says, “We couldn’t walk in public. It was Japandemonium!”—the members weren’t always on the best of terms. </p> <p>“I remember one time we headlined three sold-out nights at Budokan [in Tokyo],” Gilbert says, “and we all had our separate backstage areas, didn’t want to talk to each other. And I just thought that was a shame. We should have been having the best time in the world.”</p> <p>In 1997, Gilbert had finally had enough and left the band to pursue a solo career and reignite Racer X. A few years later, after a dust-up that resulted in Sheehan being relieved of his position, Mr. Big called it quits. Says the bassist, “That animosity happens in bands because there’s a lot of passion. Everybody wants it to be awesome. And it’s inevitable you’re gonna step on someone else’s toes with your awesome idea and their awesome idea vying for position.” However, Sheehan says that since reuniting in 2009, the group has been reinvigorated. “We’re older and wiser. Now it’s a blast.”</p> <p>And judging by <em>…The Stories We Could Tell,</em> there are still plenty of awesome ideas to go around. The key to the band’s continued success is that, despite the abundance of instrumental acrobatics—and one only need listen to the first few bars of a song like “Monster in Me,” or the tandem guitar-and-bass lead-riffing in “Light of Day” to hear a sampling of them—the emphasis has always been on the songs. </p> <p>“And that was a conscious thing,” Sheehan says. “Both Paul and I, as much as we love to do wild-ass playing, the real people we try to play for are the non-musicians. Because I think it’s in every musicians’ best interest to have your expertise applied to something that has great appeal. We didn’t think it through philosophically like that back in the day, but we knew that’s what we were going for.”</p> <p>Gilbert concurs. “The band that made me want to be a musician in the first place was the Beatles. And I think John Lennon used to say something like, ‘We’re just a singing group,’ when he talked about the band. So that’s what I say about Mr. Big—we’re a singing group! And that’s a side of us that you can hear on the new album, and that certainly isn’t overlooked by the average Mr. Big fan. They know that we have big melodies and lots of vocal harmonies, the whole thing.” </p> <p>Gilbert laughs. “Of course, at the same time there are always those people that are going, ‘Yeah, yeah, melody, sure. Now, what fret is he hitting there?’ ”</p> <p><strong><em>The Stories We Could Tell</em> Axology</strong></p> <p><strong>Paul Gilbert:</strong><br /> <strong>GUITARS</strong> Ibanez Fireman FRM250MF and FRM25, Ibanez PGM401 modified with Wilkinson tremolo<br /> <strong>AMP</strong> Marshall 2061X with THD Electronics Hot Plate power attenuator<br /> <strong>EFFECTS</strong> TC Electronic MojoMojo and Corona Chorus, MXR Distortion+, Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q Multi-Wah and Jimi Hendrix Signature Wah, Fulltone Mini-Dejavibe, A/DA Flanger<br /> <strong>STRINGS</strong> Ernie Ball RPS-8 and RPS-9<br /> <strong>PICKS</strong> Dunlop Tortex T3</p> <p><strong>Billy Sheehan:</strong><br /> <strong>BASS</strong> Yamaha Attitude<br /> <strong>PREAMPS</strong> EBS Billy Sheehan Signature Drive, Avalon VT-737sp<br /> <strong>PEDAL</strong> MXR M87 Bass Compressor<br /> <strong>STRINGS</strong> Rotosound Billy Sheehan Signature Set (.043–.110)</p> <p><em>Photo: William Hames</em></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="/mr-big-0">Mr. Big</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/paul-gilbert">Paul Gilbert</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/billy-sheehan">Billy Sheehan</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.guitarworld.com/paul-gilbert-and-billy-sheehan-discuss-mr-big-s-new-album-stories-we-could-tell#comments Billy Sheehan December 2014 Mr. Big Paul Gilbert Interviews News Features Magazine Fri, 12 Dec 2014 20:57:36 +0000 Richard Bienstock http://www.guitarworld.com/article/23093