Bill Frisell: Rocking Out

In his youth, Bill Frisell mixed a healthy dose of distortion and dissonance with his pastoral lyricism. For those who think the balance may have, in recent years, tipped a bit towards mellow Americana, I give you Frisell the rocker.

Here he is with Power Tools, employing a Gibson SG Junior equipped with a Seymour Duncan JB. I recommended the pickup to him when I worked at Rudy’s Music Stop in the Eighties. He came in looking for a replacement for the original P-90. I think he was having hum issues.


And a rare instance of Frisell on slide.

In fairness, he occasionally evidences brief flashes of the old fire, as in 4:35 here.


11 thoughts on “Bill Frisell: Rocking Out

  1. I love shronky, SG-wielding, volume pedaling , Rat steppiing Bill the best. All of his music is great I prefer his earlier music. His duet cd with Vernon Reid, Smash and Scatteration is definitely worth checking out.

  2. Power Tools was amazing, but Bill still shows plenty of angular tooth on his “Where in the World” release, especially the tune “Unsung Heroes”, an absolute desert island tune and record for me.

  3. So true. Currently, Bill usually puts me to sleep, and has been doing so for many years. I love not just Early Bill the rocker, but Early Bill the Unamericana in other modes. to cite two examples – his very first solo album on ECM, which is very quiet and subtle but SO different from anything else at the time, and harmonically so rich; and Rambling, with the trombone mariachi stuff among other oddball goofiness. Anyway, the Power tools video is great – thanks.

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