On the occasion of John’s birthday (which he shares with two of my other top five favorite guitarists: Robben Ford and Billy Gibbons, as well as with my wife), here is the remembrance I shared on the occasion of his death and a tune with his most avant of ensembles, Gateway.
Despite plague, lockdown, transportation issues, and touring revenue loss, a surprising number of artists managed to release new material last year. Current modern guitar legends, Eivind Aarset, Stian Westerhus, and Nels Cline all make appearances. Legends in the making Ádám Mészáros, Tim Motzer, Nick Milevoi, and Eyal Maoz’s chime in as well. On a sad note, rumor has it that the Rare Noise label is folding. They are going out with a bang though, contributing three records to this year’s list. I hope I am misinformed.
A few years ago, I was contacted by Andy Summers’ publicist regarding interviewing him about his then new record, Metal Dog, a masterpiece of modern guitar mayhem. Now he has a new book of hilarious short stories, Fretted and Moaning, and a new record, Harmonics of the Night, so it seemed like a perfect time to chat again. We spoke in general terms about gear but he was kind enough to also send me a more specific list, available below.
I deem November 4th Fuzz Day, as two major pedal companies have chosen it to reveal their latest entries into the fuzz world. The new Hizumitas is a collaboration with Wata of the Japanese band Boris and EarthQuaker Devices. It ticks off the Big Muff box, while Boss’ new FZ-1W Waza Fuzz resides more in Fuzz Face territory.
Guitar Moderne occasionally features what we call Roots Moderne players: guitarists who have pushed a genre’s envelope. Seth Lee Jones was pitched to me as a blues guitarist, but when I checked him out on YouTube he was using multiple string-benders, picking behind the nut, and generally bringing the blues forward. Oh, did I mention he builds guitars?