Van Halen - Eruption [Eddie Van Halen]
Eddie Van Halen was born today in 1955, Happy 62nd Birthday! In honour of this guitar-god’s birth, make a request to hear your favourite guitarist for the #SweetSolos 5 @ 5 – you have a chance to win tickets to tomorrow’s London Knights home game against Eerie.
The story behind what started as a warm-up routine from Eddie Van Halen in Guitar World:
“It wasn’t even supposed to be on Van Halen. While we were recording the album, I showed up at the studio early one day and started to warm up because I had a gig on the weekend and I wanted to practice my solo-guitar spot. Our producer, Ted Templeman, happened to walk by and he asked, ‘What’s that? Let’s put it on tape!’
“I played it two times for the record, and we kept the one that seemed to flow. Ted liked it, and everyone else agreed that we should throw it on the album. I didn’t even play it right—there’s a mistake at the top end of it. Whenever I hear it, I always think, ‘Man, I could’ve played it better.’”
As for the distinctive echo effect on the track, Eddie recalls that he used a relatively obscure unit—a Univox echo chamber. “It had a miniature 8-track cassette in it, and the way it would adjust the rate of repeat was by the speed of the motor, not by tape heads. So, if you recorded something on tape, the faster you played the motor back, the faster it would repeat and vice versa. I liked some of the noises I got out of it, but its motor would always burn out.”
Jimi Hendrix -Little Wing
From Guitar World:
“Jimi Hendrix’s stature as rock’s greatest guitarist is by now an absolute and indisputable fact… Jimi never played any song exactly the same way twice. Live or in the studio, he always strove for spontaneously inspired performances of every song…This version of ‘Little Wing,’ recorded at what is acknowledged as the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s greatest live performance—on February 24, 1969, at London’s Albert Hall—differs in many subtle but fascinating ways from the studio track heard on Axis: Bold as Love.
You can even try and learn the song > http://bit.ly/1B01evb
Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven [Jimmy Page]
No wonder we love Stairway to Heaven so much…as Jimmy admits while speaking about Zeppelin IV, the song builds up, much like an orgasm. Hear him speak about the moment the song became what we know and love.
Guns 'N' Roses - November Rain [Slash]
It is so hard to believe that somewhere on a demo tape featuring the loud riffs that accompany Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, and Mr. Brownstone (songs that would end up on Appetite for Destruction), “a sprawling, grandiose piano-driven ballad that would lie dormant for the remainder of the decade, eventually resurfacing in 1991 on the band’s two record set, Use Your Illusion.” – Guitar World
Slash on the topic:
“I think that demo session was the first time we played ‘November Rain’ together as a band…We actually did it on piano and acoustic guitar. As far as the guitar solo, it was so natural from the first time I ever played it on the demo that I don’t even know if I made any changes to it when we did the electric version on Use Your Illusion...I never even went back and listened to the old tapes. One of the best things about a melody for a guitar solo is when it comes to you the same way every time, and that was definitely the case with ‘November Rain.’ When it came time to do the record, I just went into the studio, played the solo through a Les Paul Standard and a Marshall [2555, Jubilee head] and said, ‘I think that sounds right,’ ” he laughs. “It was as simple as that.”
Ozzy Osbourne - Crazy Train [Randy Rhoads]
“One of rock’s enduring mysteries unfolded on March 19, 1982, as 25-year-old Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads — despite having a reported fear of flying — perished in a fiery crash at Leesburg, Fla., after a joy ride in a Beechcraft Bonanza. When it was over, the dead included Rhoads, one of the era’s most promising young guitarists, as well as Rachel Youngblood, a 58-year-old seamstress and cook for the Osbourne band, and Andrew Aycock, a 36-year-old bus driver with an expired pilot’s license.
Aycock had, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, commandeered the 1955 single-engine aircraft from the nearby Flying Baron Estates after deciding to stay the night at plane owner Jerry Calhoun’s home — a Georgian-style mansion adjacent to the airstrip. Aycock, who lived nearby, was reportedly friends with Calhoun, a country singer. Osbourne, his manager and future wife Sharon, bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Tommy Aldridge and keyboardist Don Airey were asleep in an adjacent tour bus.
Aycock made as many as three passes over the home, apparently in joy-riding attempt to buzz over the other band members. On the final pass, the plane clipped the tour bus, spun out of control, hit a nearby pine tree and then nose dived into the house. The ensuing fireball killed all three passengers, who were left unrecognizable by the flames. Rhoads had to be identified by his jewelry. Remarkably, no one was injured in Calhoun’s home.
‘I was awoken from my sleep by a loud explosion,’ Osbourne later said in a sworn statement. ‘I immediately thought that we’d hit a vehicle on the road. I got out of bed, screaming to my fiancee Sharon: ‘Get off the bus!’ After getting out of the bus, I saw that a plane had crashed. I didn’t know who was on the plane at the time.”
The report issued from the NTSB, which investigates plane crashes like Rhoads’, said this tragedy was the result of of poor judgment: ‘The pilot, who was a rock group driver, took an aircraft from the hangar without permission to joy ride members of the group,’ the report states. The FAA conducted toxicology tests on the plane’s occupants, concluding that Rhoads had only nicotine in his system. Aycock reportedly tested positive for trace amounts of cocaine.
Fans have had an uncommon struggle coming to terms with Rhoads’ sudden end, despite the fact that similarly sized Beechcraft planes have been involved over the years with the deaths of several famous musicians — including country music star Jim Reeves and, in what’s become known as the Day the Music Died, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The shy Rhoads was said to hate flying and, moreover, was known as a dedicated player who would spend nights off practicing, rather than joining in the debauchery that typically surrounded the rock star life.”
Metallica - One [Kirk Hammett]
From his page on the Metallica Website:
Kirk Hammett, never without a grin or a curious thought, is the true Bay Area band-member. Born in San Francisco, and raised in the East Bay town of El Sobrante, he gained an interest in music from his brother Rick’s extensive record collection, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and UFO. It all led to him properly picking up the guitar when he was 15, his first being a wholly unglamorous Montgomery Ward catalog special accompanied by a shoe box with 4 inch speaker for an amp.
After picking up a 1978 Fender Stratocaster, Kirk experimented by mixing and matching guitar parts to find his perfect sound before falling for a 1974 Gibson Flying V. In a determined (and successful) effort to upgrade his equipment, Kirk even took a shift at Burger King to get the cash together for his first Marshall amp. Around that time, Kirk also co-founded Exodus with Paul Baloff, and the East Bay thrashers crossed paths with Metallica twice, in late ’82 and early ’83, as a support act.
In April 1983, Kirk received a phone call from Metallica in New York. They were in the process of firing guitarist Dave Mustaine and wanted Kirk to fly out and audition. Kirk got the money together for the flight, left California for the first time and arrived in the late afternoon to find three guys who were still waking up. Immediately he, and they, knew the fit was right despite the fact nobody ever formally invited him to join.
Check out Rachel ripping that solo on her violin:
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb [David Gilmour]
David Gilmour played many instruments, but his best work was on the guitar with Pink Floyd.
From an interview in October 2014 on the topic of ‘The Endless River’ with Rolling Stone:
Some fans were hoping to see Roger play on this new record, maybe on just a song or two. Was that even discussed?
Roger was tired of being in a pop group 30 years ago. Why on Earth anyone thinks what we do now would have anything remotely to do with him is a mystery to me. He’s having his fun. He’s had his world tour, which went brilliantly well. And we are getting on with what we do. You’d have thought that after 30 years people might have thought, “Hmmm, maybe we won’t mention him every time.”
I guess people saw that you played with him at Live 8, that charity show and one of his Wall gigs, and them maybe just assumed he was at least somewhat back in the mix.
I think Roger is very used to being the power, the sole power, behind his career. And that’s great for him. But I think the thought of him coming back into something that has any form of democracy to it wouldn’t be be what he’d be good at. It’s been much, much too long. As you said, I was in my forties when Floyd last toured. Let me think, I believe I was in my thirties when Roger left. I’m 68 now. It’s over half a lifetime away.
You say anything could change, but you seem pretty definitive about this being the end of Pink Floyd.
I just try to imagine what it would be like and the thought of it makes me break out in a cold sweat. I’m an older person. I’m really enjoying my life. I’m really enjoying the music that I am making, and there’s no room for Pink Floyd.
There’s always have the memories…
Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade [Tom Morello]
You know Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine but you’ll find his riffs elsewhere; Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club, and at times on stage with Bruce Springsteen.
Good news; Tom Morello will be on stage with Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh, Beck and more at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. What we don’t know yet…is who will be paying tribute to who just yet.
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody [Brian May]
The story of guitarist #9 is pretty cool, especially since there’s a home made guitar involved. The story, from Brian May:
A little over 40 years ago, largely because we could not afford to buy a high quality electric guitar, and partly because we enjoyed a challenge, my Dad and I decided to make an electric guitar. I designed an instrument from scratch, with the intention that it would have a capability beyond anything that was out there, more tunable, with a greater range of pitches and sounds, with a better tremolo, and with a capability of feeding back through the air in a “good” way – i.e. in a self-sustaining mode.
Previously (ironically) electric guitars had been designed NOT to feed back, but in the hands of Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix, they were forced to! My Dad had the technical knowledge and skills to make the dream come true. The result, after two years of spare-time work, exclusively with hand tools, was the instrument I now call my “Red Special” – or the “Old Lady” – the guitar which has been a part of me through 30 years of live concerts and studio work with Queen, all around the world.
Through the years there have been a multitude of replicas of the Red Special, built by amateurs and professionals, including two major commercial issues, with Guild Guitars of the USA, and Burns Guitars of the UK. As of 2006, the commercial Red Special has at last come home. I was concerned that it ought to me personally who controlled the manufacture of these instruments, and so I have teamed up with Barry Moorhouse of House Music, and Pete Malandrone, my long-time tech man, and we have created BRIAN MAY GUITARS, our aim being to make the absolute best product at an affordable price, so that all may enjoy the special sound and feel of a Brian May guitar.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1LHBgXG
Alice in Chains - Man in the Box [Jerry Cantrell]
He’s known for his signature wah wah tone, so much so that Dunlop named a pedal after him:
“One of the most influential guitarists to come out of the Seattle rock scene, Jerry Cantrell’s epic riffs and searing tone have been the driving force behind Alice in Chains since the late 80’s. His melancholy wah-drenched melodies in modern classics like “Man in the Box” and “The Rooster” left an indelible mark on a generation of guitarists. Jerry favored wah-wahs with a wider, darker response, and Dunlop has painstakingly replicated that moody sound to create his signature pedal. It’s custom-voiced for a tight, punchy heel-down tone and a rugged side-control knob lets you fine tune the toe-down frequency. And with its antique, oxidized “road worn” brass casting and custom Alice in Chains tread, this is one pedal that looks as great as it sounds.”
More on the Cantrell Crybaby Pedal: http://bit.ly/1xoXkQD