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Guitar World 2012: The Year in Quotes

Over the course of the last 12 months, we've once again endeavored to track down your musical heroes and return with the greatest stories, biggest news and best playing tips, all in the name of rock and roll.

As a final retrospective on 2012, we picked through our favorite interviews of the year and compiled a list of the best quips, advice and quotes, all of which you'll find below, complete with links to the full interviews.

And if you want even more from rock's most inspiring six-string icons, check out a couple of new products in the Guitar World online store, Guitar World Presents Dear Guitar Hero and Play Like a Guitar Wizard.

"I never sat there and thought, I’m going to take the guitar beyond what anyone’s done with it before. I always thought I was the worst! And frankly, I think one of the reasons why I can do the things I can do is because I never thought I was good enough. I always felt like I could do better and better and better." — Steve Vai

"There’s a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody." — Carlos Santana

"What do you have to do to get people to take an interest? I'm not going to go out and cause a silly sex scandal just to sell a record!" — John Lydon

“My playing was shaped by an intentional step away from the influences that I’d had up to the time that I got really serious about playing, because I realized that the lesson all of those guys were teaching me was to not be like them—the whole point was to try to find my own thing." — Wayne Krantz

"I wanted to come strong but have people experience more than one emotion. I wanted a rollercoaster of sadness, anger and hope." — High on Fire's Matt Pike

"At the end of the day, it’s an X-factor, a mojo thing, like the wind. You can’t wrestle the wind into being your slave. It is what it is. We have to realize our limitations as humans and go with that universal flow. Then we can become bigger and better. If we try to do it ourselves, you just keep running into brick walls." — Eric Johnson

"When we make a record, we take every line of the lyric and every note of the music as seriously as possible, and try to make it sound as good as a band would want it to sound. And we take it really seriously, so people don't know whether we're kidding or not." — Dethklok's Brendon Small

"I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just real basic shit. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get a rock band together and go out and make music and play, you know? You just have to have the love for doing it. And I love doing it." — Slash

"It's about time we go to space, you know?" — Municipal Waste's Ryan Waste

"I think every band has to hit that moment where you get so enraged and get so crazy and fucked up. It's an important moment to do, because after it's all over, you're either able to hold it all together or things start to get acrimonious and the difficulties start to set in." — Judas Priest's Rob Halford

"Expressing myself through my art is everything. And I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be able to do it for a living. So what the hell else should I spend my time doing?" — The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez Lopez

"Dad likes to call me a rhythm bassist, like I’m a rhythm guitarist and a bassist put together. I haven’t tried to change how the band sounds. I just play what I feel sounds cool." — Wolfgang Van Halen

"So if it’s a question at all about Peter or Ace, we couldn’t be here today had it not been for them being in the band. But we couldn’t be here today if they were still in it. And the proof is in the music." — Kiss' Paul Stanley

"Solos are basically 16-to-24-bar marathons. If you run a marathon, you can’t start sprinting, but at the start people need a little fireworks to grab their attention. Then you have to back off and say something with a melody before you start barnstorming." — Joe Bonamassa

"Beautiful is what Tony Iommi smells like." — Coheed and Cambria's Claudio Sancez

"There’s this revelation that if you put in work on something you can’t do at first, eventually you can do it. And the first time that happens it is kind of like an addiction. You want it to happen again. And the more it happens, the more you’re confident that it can happen. So you start chasing your potential. You realize, Yeah, eventually I might get as good as I try to get. It feeds itself." — Tosin Abasi

"The evaluation of people outside yourself will go up and down related to your amount of success. It’s hollow. If you expect all your happiness to come from outside, then you are putting your happiness in someone else’s power." — Ihsahn

"With record labels getting smaller, record sales going way down, local record shops closing up, it’s harder for people to find the stuff that’s under the radar but still as easy for people to find all the big pop stuff. That stuff’s not for transcendence; it’s kid stuff. It’s for people who buy one or two CDs a year. Music is not their thing." — The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach

"It is important for us to come across in a certain way. It's pretty important for us to come across in a way that's honest and not put-on." — Metallica's Kirk Hammett

"I hope to think I'm generally an optimist. I'm a happy guy. But I think with this band we often take from the other side of life, which isn't like that. And everyone sort of has that in their life. It just goes into the music, it goes into what we want to do. We want to write stuff that's like evil, that scares people." — A Place to Bury Strangers' Dion Lunadon

"The goal as a guitarist is to just keep evolving." — John 5

"By the time I really got into guitars and stuff, I already had a basic knowledge of what was going on in terms of the signal — amps and how to fix them and how to tweak them. I’ve kind of always been like that. And I strongly feel that if you’re gonna be a guitar player, you should open yourself up and know about it. I firmly believe that makes you a better musician and a better guitar player." — Joe Walsh

"No one in the band has ever set out to be in a metal band. We're musicians, progressing in a way that is natural and comfortable." — Baroness' Peter Adams

"It is challenging to try to create as big a sound as I think we have, particularly live—you can do anything on record, of course. So when you come offstage, knowing that you nailed it, that’s an amazing feeling." — Rush's Alex Lifeson

"There’s a misconception that we have this primary directive to stick to certain guidelines. But it’s just not true. There is no rulebook. In fact, there’s an unspoken current between us where we’re like, ‘Let’s see if we can get away with this.’" — Lamb of God's Mark Morton

"If I were to describe a day of writing songs, it would start off by saying hello to everyone, rolling a couple joints, getting real high, jamming out for a little bit, stopping, smoking some more and then playing again." — Deftones' Chino Moreno

"I was just a huge fan of metal, so I was just lucky that the stuff I liked other people seemed to like. But there's nothing other than just a huge love of the music and I've been lucky enough that other people have liked what I've liked." — Metal Blade Records' Brian Slagel

"I’ve always loved power pop and I’ve just tried to push it forward, see how far I could take it and make it even more powerful. I just feel like we’ve continued this tradition of rock and roll and punk rock and made it better. I mean I’m slightly biased, but…" — Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong

"You shape your music around the sound you want to put out. Obviously, during the first six months you’re playing guitar the cool stuff in your head is not gonna come out of your hands. But the longer you do it, you start to figure out how to manipulate that piece of wood so that the sounds in your head come out of it." — Marty Friedman

"People get so caught up with the technical aspect of things. If you’re just after sheer speed and technical prowess, there are a lot of other bands that would be more interesting to watch than us. But the technical aspects are never something we seek out. They’re a byproduct of what we want to sound like." — Meshuggah's Mårten Hagström

"With rock music, the amount of power that you can generate, the intensity behind the intentions of your lyrics that you can really reflect through rock music — you can't do that in jazz. You can't do that with classical." — Serj Tankian

"I grew up with synthesizers and weird, spacey music—hip-hop, R&B, modern rock—that I heard on the radio. That’s influenced the way I play music. It’s natural for me to go with what I feel. If I didn’t let that other stuff out and stuck to a certain format, I would feel like I was missing out on something. I’m just enjoying my ride and being who I am." — Gary Clark Jr.

"I remember that the Alice in Chains guys at the time were more like a glam-metal boogie band, and one day I ran into Jerry [Cantrell] at a D.O.A. concert, and he says to me, “Man, I love that song ‘Nothing to Say.’ What are you doing there?” And I told him, “Well, it’s in drop-D tuning.” And Alice in Chains became a different band almost overnight!" — Soundgarden's Kim Thayil

"When you are a band in the music industry, you are always dancing between that line of art and commerce. You are trying to monetize your creativity as best and as efficiently as you can without destroying the artistic side. And it’s a dance that you do every day, but you have to manage the business side of it or it will go to crap and people will take advantage of you." — Periphery's Misha Mansoor

"It’s become acceptable to address that which is emanating from a spiritual and soulful spot within—something that doesn’t necessarily have a requirement to be perfectly boxed in forms of 12 bars or 16 bars—like a math problem." — ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons

"Technically, we don’t challenge each other in terms of how fast can you play or how many sweeps can you fit into a song. It’s more a case of we challenge each other in how to make our songs better and make the next album better than the last one." — Asking Alexandria's Ben Bruce

"You have to be talented and you have to be lucky. Record companies are not signing classic rock groups anymore." — Leslie West

"I'm just a guitarist in a kick-ass rock and roll band. What more could I ask for?" — Eddie Van Halen

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Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.