There's a set of guitar heroes that the public knows. Ask any music fan to name his favorite guitarist and you'll likely get one of a certain set of names. Eric Clapton. Brian May. Jimmy Page. Jimi Hendrix. Slash. Stevie Ray Vaughn. Eddie Van Halen. Angus Young. Tom Morello. Jack White. Probably a dozen others.
Name a guitarist to name his favorite guitarist, it'll be different. Clearly, the above names clearly belong in the pool, but you're as to see James Burton, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, Michael Hedges, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Ritchie Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Buddy Guy or Danny Gatton. I think that Danny was once called the most overrated underrated guitarist, meaning that nobody but guitarists had heard of him, but all the guitar players and the guitar press thought he was brilliant. (It is the opinion of this blog that he was brilliant. It is also the opinion of this blog that his brilliance is a fact, not just an opinion of this blog.)
I'm looking for the really unsung heroes, the guitarists who nobody knows and more people should
Today, I am listening to Michael Lee Firkins.
Who?, you say.
Michael Lee Firkins has had four albums on Shrapnel Records, the shred guitar label. So, he's a shredder. Clearly. All about the sweep picking and whammy bar. Well, yeah, but not entirely like that.
Michael Lee Firkins does not play slide guitar on any cuts , the liners say. They have to, because on things like "Hula Hoops" and "Deja Blues", it sounds like he's doing slide and even Hawaiian lap steel. Most shredders bang on their Floyd Roses, down until the strings go slack and up a major third, Vai-style. Firkins holds the whammy between his pinky and ring finger, using it gently to get slide effects.
I am also listening to Mattias IA Eklundh.
Who?, you say.
Mattias IA Eklundh is the kind of guitarist who can play Kiss like it's Django and Django like it's Zappa. He's the kind of guitarist who can imitate his inkjet printer with his guitar. He's the kind of guitarist who plays "Smoke On The Water" doubletime and a sixth up so his dog will enjoy it, too. He's a Freak, so much that his album is called Freak Guitar, and Vai liked it so much that he put it out on Favored Nations.
So, who is your really unsung guitar hero?