If you were to pen a list of The World’s Most Hated Bands, the Eagles would almost certainly be at or near the top (especially if your name is Jeffrey Lebowski). Now, we’re not saying that said assessment is fair, exactly, but this fact is undeniable. So, just how much do people hate the musical output of Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the rest of the laidback desperados who make up the Eagles? Well, one South Carolina man’s refusal to stop pumping Eagles tunes after repeated requests recently resulted in him getting stabbed (!!!).
Nirvana‘s third studio LP, In Utero, was released 20 years ago last week. At the time of that album’s release, the trio made up of singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer Dave Grohl were the biggest band on the planet, a position that the group was entirely uncomfortable with. So, in the words of Novoselic, they set out to “commit commercial suicide” with this collection of songs recorded by Steve Albini, which were entirely more raw than what producer Butch Vig had assembled on their gamechanging LP Nevermind. Their strategy, in large part, worked: The dirty-white-baseball-cap-clad boys who moshed in their frat houses to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” never really connected with In Utero, but there were two songs from this period that entered the zeitgeist: one was “All Apologies” (specifically, the MTV Unplugged version) and the other, “Heart Shaped Box.”
Elton John fans can rejoice. The Rocket Man is set to release a new studio album, his first such solo effort in years. So what can we expect from the iconic rock pianist when the LP drops September 24? Well, get a taste today by listening to a free stream of The Diving Board.
Paul McCartney has been hearing the same (unfair?) criticism of his musical output for the past fortysomething years, something that goes roughly like this: “Meh, it’s not as good as his Beatles stuff.” This happened with Wings, his collaborations with Michael Jackson, and all of his solo material, due in no small part to McCartney’s aversion to making music that sounds anything like the tracks he wrote with John Lennon. However, on his new single, Macca has teamed up with the acclaimed producer Mark Ronson, the mastermind behind the retro sound of Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Christina Aguilera’s Back To Basics, the results of which sound—dare we say it?—positively Beatles-esque.
Dave Mustaine’s reputation precedes him. He is perhaps the greatest guitarist of his generation; if not, certainly of the musical movement he helped inspire. The man whose outsize talent fueled two of thrash metal’s greatest groups and whose confrontational attitude got him booted from the biggest metal band of all time. His ensuing rise from the ashes with Megadeth and their artistic and commercial triumphs testify to his immense musical gifts and his steely determination to succeed. He is imposing in person but his answers are thoughtful and deliberate. We caught up with Mustaine when he was in the middle of the latest installment of his Gigantour Tour, which he has been personally putting together since 2005 to showcase a diverse away of heavy metal bands with an emphasis on musicianship in general and great guitar playing in particular. Megadeth have a busy touring schedule this year and will soon be on the road with Iron Maiden in support of their latest album Super Collider, their first album for Universal Music Group.
Fans of classic rock and early heavy metal were saddened to hear of the passing of Blue Oyster Cult’s Allen Lanier yesterday from heart disease at the age of 67. Lanier was a founding member of the group, playing keyboards and guitar on their seminal records of the 1970s and early ‘80s which blended atypical proto-metal riffing with art rock flourishes and cryptic lyrics inspired by science-fiction and fantasy novels. The group were a major concert attraction throughout the 1970s and have been cited as an influence by a diverse array of bands including first generation Australian punk rockers Radio Birdman, indie rock legends the Minutemen, metal titans Metallica, the jam band moe. and modern horror rockers Ghost B.C. Besides his work with B.O.C., Allen Lanier was an esteemed sideman and session musician, most notably contributing to albums by former-girlfriend Patti Smith and poet-turned rock singer Jim Carroll.
They may not get the glory like lead singers and guitarists but any great rock band you can think of usually has a great bass player holding down the low end. Ever since Leo Fender introduced the Precision Bass in 1951, rock bands have anchored their rhythm sections around the 4-string electric bass guitar, replacing the unwieldy, acoustic double bass with it’s more portable and easily amplified offspring. Initially relegated to the back of the bandstand, Paul McCartney in The Beatles and The Beach Boys‘ Brian Wilson helped raise the instruments’ profile in the early 1960s and when Cream‘s Jack Bruce plugged his Gibson EB-3 into a Marshall amplifier stack, bassists were ready to take on those pesky guitarists in the volume wars. Take a gander at these master bassists, old and new, and see if you can recognize them just by their instruments.
The sound of the electric guitar is the sound of rock ‘n’ roll, plain and simple. American blues musicians were the first to crank their amps into overdrive to be heard above the din of juke joints and find the rich, saturated tones pleasing to the ear. In the mid-60s British fans started spray-painting “Clapton Is God” around London in honor of Eric Clapton’s groundbreaking lead guitar work with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. The age of The Guitar Hero had arrived. And no guitar god worth his weight in groupies goes without a signature six-string by his side. Peruse these legends of rock guitar and see if you can guess who they are just from pictures of their iconic axes.