Originally published in Guitar World, October 2010
The Australian virtuoso drops his solo debut with Lick ’Em.
“I love creating techniques that blow people’s minds,” Australian guitarist Glenn Proudfoot says. “It keeps your playing original, and it’s exciting when you come up with something that you don’t think has been done before.” Proudfoot unleashes a knuckle-buckling arsenal on his debut album, Lick ’Em, which features a dozen instrumental tracks bursting with mad sweep picking, monster arpeggios and some of the most insane finger-stretching licks this side of Allan Holdsworth. “I really let all my techniques and musical styles fly,” he says. “There is something on it for everyone.”
Recorded in Prague in 2009 and 2010, Lick ’Em runs the range of styles, from the adrenalin-fueled boogie of “Truffle Shuffle” and blissed-out balladry of “Evangel” to the blistering blues of “S.R. Vicious” and the harmonic-hammering sweep of “Escaping.” Using his Strat exclusively, and backed by drums and bass, Proudfoot goes for the throat with a less-is-more attitude. “On an
instrumental album, the guitar must tell the story rhythmically and melodically,” he says. “Stevie Ray Vaughan was a master at this with songs like ‘Lenny’ and ‘Little Wing.’ ”
Elements of Vaughan, Hendrix and even Angus Young abound on Lick ’Em, but they’re a far cry from the heavier neoclassical work in which Proudfoot indulges when he performs with legendary Czech prog-rockers Pražský Výber. Since joining Výber in 2005, he has laid string-burning riffs all over their 2007 album, Vymlaceny Rockovy Palice, and 2008 DVD, Pražský Výber Live in Teplice. The group plans to drop a new album later this year, to be followed in 2011 by Proudfoot’s followup to Lick ’Em, for which he’ll step in front of the mic.
In addition, the guitarist is currently working on a two-hour DVD that will reveal the secrets behind his devastating techniques. “You don’t have to play a million miles an hour or have the coolest guitar,” he explains. “Just find your thing and go with it. When I was growing up, I was a small, shy kid, and I lived in tough neighborhoods. But when I had a guitar in my hands, I felt 10 feet tall. I wasn’t scared of anything.”