Monthly Archives: May 2008

My Guitar Genome

If you know me at all, you probably realize I spend between 50 and 99% of my time thinking about guitars. Sometimes I play them (but probably not enough). So I decided (cause I’m boring) to figure out why I play guitar the way (read: as badly as) I do, and here’s what I came up with- in semi chronological order of influence, of course.

-Jimmy Page: because I am, and have been obsessed with Led Zeppelin since I was about 11 or twelve. I think I got most of my “sloppiness is cool” ethos from that occult-lovin’ sonofabitch, and it’s come in handy a time or two. Also helped me realize, at a early age luckily, what guitars (and records in general) should sound like, and how to make them sound like that. My desire for a Les Paul and an Orage is still based around watching The Song Remains The Same during my formative years.
-George Harrison, Lennon & McCartney: Songs, songs, songs. Open chords, composition, creativity, barre chords (after I got over my fear of them). More than I can understand.
-John Frusciante: Though I find most of it unlistenable now, in 7th and 8th grade I listened to Blood Sugar Sex Magik night and day. Admittedly, it’s a pretty sleazy record for a young kid to listen to, which I thankfully realized early enough to keep it on the down low in regards to parental ears. But Frusciante has always been unbelievably talented. He tends to be kind of sloppy too, flowing in front of and behind the beat, which I latched on to. And his, dare I say, “funkiness” subconsciously interested me too. Also, his clean guitar tone is unfathomably perfect, as far as I’m concerned. Also probably the first time I laid eyes on a Fender Jaguar, too. Much later, after he rejoined RHCP and putting out tons of awesome solo records, he got even more influential to me. His acoustic playing and use of vocal harmonies are also very big chapters in my book.
-Kurt Cobain: You knew it was coming. Not only did Nirvana teach me (and everyone else, according to the lionizing press) that I could be in a band, but they instilled in my psyche- I think most importantly- that your guitar playing is only as good as your songwriting and vice versa. Oh, and POWERCHORDS. Growing up in a shitty, white trash, small-ass town severely limited my ability to get turned on to stuff like real punk records- but without Nirvana I wouldn’t have know about them anyway. Thanks to following Nirvana’s exploits I learned about a lot of my favorite bands: The Wipers, The Vaselines, Black Flag, Black Sabbath and Steve Albini. And guitars too: Jaguars, Mustangs (and Jag-Stangs), Mosrites/Univoxes, and Pat Smear’s awesome Hagstroms.
[Here’s the abridged version of the rest.]
-Lyle Preslar/Minor Threat: Hardcore.
-Sonic Youth: The greatness of noise.
-Operation Ivy: Shitty tone is cool. 
-Black Flag: Hardcore jazz noise.
-The Beastie Boys: Jamming is the world’s worst term, but the most fun activity.
-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The importance of studying the classics.
– Descendents: The greatness of real pop punk.
-Weezer: Is heavy. And Pinkerton is awesome.
-Refused: Add up all of the above and throw in more awesome, and some communism too.
-Foo Fighters
-Jimmy Eat World
-At The Drive In
-Drive Like Jehu
-Smashing Pumpkins
-The Hives
-Sunny Day Real Estate
-Nine Inch Nails
-Converge
-The Get Up Kids
-Queens of the Stone Age
-The Stooges
-Joy Division
-The Darkness
-Frank Zappa
-Slint
-Mogwai
-Shellac
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Filed under Uncategorized

Ben Gibbard is the Mazda Miata of songwriting.

People who are into him think he’s totally capable of taking on other sports cars- but he’s really just underpowered and hopelessly cheesy. I’d just call him a pussy, but I’m no misogynist.
Not that I hate Death Cab- Transatlantacism is a super good record. The band itself is capable, and Chris Walla is mighty talented as a guitarist/instrumentalist/producer. But fuck- a song about glove compartments? Yes, I know it’s a “metaphor,” but it’s still insulting to my intelligence.
Oh wait, it heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting.

I call bullshit.
“I will possess your heart?” Seriously? Come on dudes.

Moral of the story- I would punch the Gibster in the balls if he had any (but again, not a misogynist).

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Filed under Hipsterism, I call them 'records' and not 'cds' because I'm an elitist, Lameness, Ranting

"Good artists copy, great artists steal."

I forget who said that. [Google update: it was Picasso. Sweet.]
Anyways, today, I’m attempting to steal the idea of “95% Albums” from Andy. And to make it my own, I’m titling it “95% Records.” See what I did there? Creative, huh? Yeah, I know.
Just what the internets need- another douchebag pontificating on on music. Oh well. What else do I have to say? Unless you want me to ramble about the benefits of true-bypass vs. non true-bypass and buffered effects loops, or why 1970’s Hagstroms are cooler than PRSes, this is what you get.

Coming soon:
Led Zeppelin III & IV (and I & II, and Houses of the Holy, and Physical Graffitti, and Prescence, and In Through the Out… Fuck. Nevermind. Led Zep (and The Beatles)=disqualified for being too good).
Refused: The Shape of Punk To Come…
White Stripes: White Blood Cells
Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers
Weezer: Pinkerton
Wipers: Is This Real?
The Damned: Damned Damned Damned
Fugazi: In On The Kill Taker
Hot Snakes: Automatic Midnight
Nirvana: In Utero
Minor Threat: Complete Discography
Bad Brains: ROIR s/t
Descendents: Milo Goes To College
Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf
Foo Fighters: The Colour and the Shape
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads and Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!
UNKLE: War Stories
Beastie Boys: Check Your Head

Yeah, most of those are pretty obvious, but, you know… my apologies for having good taste. As I used to say: “I get paid for my good taste in music.” (Actually, I don’t anymore, but I did at the time.)

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Filed under Empty Promises/Threats, Hipsterism, I call them 'records' and not 'cds' because I'm an elitist