Sunday, June 29, 2008


OK, so I'm catching up on writing about some stuff I'd been meaning to get to. I really enjoyed the recent Rolling Stone issue with the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs. Of course, no list will ever please everyone, but I personally enjoy reading these types of things anyway. I have to admit some surprise that it was so classic rock heavy, and also heavy on some really overplayed songs like "Purple Haze" and "You Really Got Me." But I guess those songs get overplayed for a reason. I made an iPod mix with most of the songs, and it sounded great (mainly because I've completely ignored classic rock radio for many years).

I also love when Rolling Stone does interviews with a historical bent, so that it's not just about the artist plugging their album/tour/etc. There were some great moments in the interviews. My favorite quote was by B.B. King, talking about the first time he saw an electric guitar. It was in his church: "It was heaven! Heaven! It was unusual to even have electric light in the area, and there he was plugging in an electric guitar." Well, that puts stuff in perspective a bit.

I've had the pleasure of interviewing Carlos Santana a few times, he always says interesting stuff and has a cool take on the world. His interview didn't disappoint. On his early influences: "I had my ear on Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley, on B.B. King and T-Bone Walker. There was nothing plastic about those guys. They went deep, and each note carried something important." How many artists can you say that about now? And then on the blues: "I still love the blues. You need to marinate yourself in that music daily. It's like putting syrup on pancakes. If you don't have any syrup, the pancakes are not that cool. If there's no blues in it, I won't listen."

John Mayer is also a really interesting interview, and he didn't disappoint here. He is hyper-self-aware: he discusses the importance of guitar to him: "For me, it's my floatation device, becuase now I exist in this celebrity sort of world. But I don't feel like anybody's been able to truly knock me off my legs, because I have a trade. You can't just walk onstage and start playing guitar 'cause you thought it looked neat."

There's lots of other great stuff in the issue, but the cover alone - a picture of B.B., Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta, Carlos, Kirk Hammett, Mayer and Buddy Guy - is worth the cover price.

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