Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tones Continued

A tone is not a solo. A tone is the sound that accompanies it.  Sometimes the combo is godlike, one of a fucking kind . Tones are a guitarist's signature or an experiment gone wonderfully wrong. This, when executed with love and mad scientist precision will transport you man. You will glide on your goosebumps to sweet pillows of sky high bliss, fists clenched, lips puckered, tears rolling sort of a sounds will get you there.  Now I continue with my list of favorite tones.

1) Impossible Germany solo by Wilco- Nels Cline   Look him up, he's a genius.

2) Cheap Sunglasses by ZZ Top -Billy Gibbons: Sure you've heard it a gazillion times, but have you ever heard a tone like it before or since? No you haven't. Gibbons is a tone MASTER.Not just for his perfected dirty Texas blues, for ALL genres.

3) Sound Chaser by Yes- Steve Howe. : Inexplicable, extraordinary.

4) Ball and Biscuit solo by The White Stripes-Jack White  :  Great white hope for a new generation, no Gibson needed.

5) And The Cradle Will Rock
     Hear About It Later
    Atomic Punk- Van Halen by Eddie Van Halen.  The Brown Sound WILL NEVER BE DUPLICATED. A sonic master of masters.

6) Wire
     Bad-by U2. The Edge's trick box of subtle sonic swatches and warm tone blankets is truly one of a kind.

7) Teaser-Tommy Bolin- one of the gone too soon greats.

8) Flower by Soundgarden-Kim Thayil. Weird High end shots of early echo-ey Seattle rock.

9) Geek USA by Smashing Pumpkins-Billy Corgan.  Bundles of dirty guitar tracks pressed together in an unbelievable distortion sandwich.

10) See No Evil by Television-Tom Verlaine: Godlike downtown tone by a New York legend.

11) Breakdown  verses/solo by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-Mike Campbell- Another classic rock rusty nugget, but that tone mesmerizes to this day. I'm always floating through the song with a tired grin.

12) Life's a Gas by T. Rex- Mickey Finn? Mark Bolan?- Its an octave pedal, used in a glam ballad. Genius.

13)  Song For the Dead by Queens of the Stone Age-Josh Homme: Along with Jack White, Josh uses an almost un-equalled knowledge and prowess for blending pawn shop guitars and obscure amps for mammoth, unique tones. Like a punch in the face repeated at 3/4 strength.

 Yeah, that's it for part two.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

List of Tones

List of Tones rhymes with Game of Thrones and Roll the Bones, only one of which I am currently obsessed with, but it's a catchy title to another Circle of Fits list.

In the thick of my recent headphone research, I've been noticing the magnificent one of a kind guitar tones that do a cerebral stick in my head  unlike thousands of other bland, plug and play forgetful licks and riffs that go by the proverbial wayside. I'm not going to explain why a specific tone made this list. My friend Bob once told me, "One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain".  It's about an emotional response, whatever emotion you choose to utilize.

While coming up with this always growing list, I was very specific about the song, or section of a song, or solo FROM the responsible axeman, not just his name or accompanying star power. These are my favorites so far, and this list will most likely never end. Some of us have a hard time separating " favorite"  from "best". I'll let you in on a little something in the world of the critic. There are no " bests" , only favorites. Don't let any magazine, blog, awards show or cranky old entertainment pundit tell you otherwise.  so have at it.  Here we go.

Solo from "Killer Queen" by Queen- Brian May
Search and Destroy by Iggy and the Stooges- James Williamson
Slide Guitar in My Sweet Lord- George Harrison
Good Times Roll by The Cars- Elliott Easton
Burning of The Midnight Lamp by The Jimi Hendrix Experience-Jimi Hendrix
SWABLR by Cream-Eric Clapton
Bastard Samurai by High on Fire- Matt Pike
Ending Solo from Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden-Dave Murray
Crazy Mama by JJ Cale- JJ Cale.
Air Blower from Blow By Blow- Jeff Beck
Cause We've Ended as Lovers from Blow By Blow-Jeff Beck
Blue Wind from Wired-Jeff Beck
You Can't Kill Rock and Roll from Ozzy Osbourne- Randy Rhoads

That was part one. Stay tuned for parts 2-75.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Boy

My son Hudson is five years old today. I'm overwhelmed with pride and joy every time I see him. It isn't every day any more, which truly breaks my heart. But I know he will be OK. I know he will excel in a world of wonder, creativity and self discovery. 

Happy Birthday my sweet little rock will be all that you want to be.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Heavy Metal Under the Sea: Sharks Act Calmer When Listening to AC/DC

Heavy Metal Under the Sea: Sharks Act Calmer When Listening to AC/DC

I failed to put the second part of the article in because it seemed so tragic to me. Those same sharks flipped the boat over for some deep sea hors d' oeuvres , then ate through the steel shark cage bars and made bloody Vegemite out of those researchers when they switched the selection to the latest Glee Soundtrack.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Real Short Reviews

Ukelele Songs-Eddie Vedder- I love Eddie. But Ukelele Songs is like reggae to me. 3 songs in and I realize I'm not really high sitting around some beach campfire letting the tide or lack thereof control my emotions.  I'm sleepy, I smell like firewood and I just want a sandwich.

Circuital-My Morning Jacket- Perennial "grow-er not show-er" from perennial best live band on the planet if you care to stand next to 30 thousand others at any and every festival on the planet and smell their sweat funk and get dirty looks from stepping on their blankets. If you're on the bus, bike, or in the car you'll wanna dance in place to "Outta My System" or "First Light". You'll notice Jim James' voice for the very first time as he has put the reverb in storage and laid back a bit. Can anyone name anyone else in this band?

Move Like This-The Cars- Ric Ocasek finally got pissed enough to leave the mixing board when the New cars ventured out to the Live Nation tents a few years back with Tod Rundgren on the mic. So what do we get after decades of nothing?  This album covers NO new ground. It sounds like THE CARS. Robotic new wave riffs, warm keyboard runs, hand's all there YESSSS!!! I mean...the single "Sad Song" has the exact same Elliot Easton intro and tone as "Best Friend's Girl" and I don't a GOOD way. It's kind of like running into an old girlfriend on the street after 20 years and noticing she hasn't hit the wall. It puts a spring in creaky knees.  I could have used much more of Easton's short blasts of solo brilliance in certain cuts, like "Free" and "Keep on Knocking", which both could be extra tracks from Candy-O and you would never know. There are a few ballads, sung by Ric, which made me long for long gone Ben Orr, but overall its a glorious surprise from The Cars, one of the most unsung influential bands of all time.

That's all I have today. Gotta get back to tweeting about Gaga's butterface.