Once a week I’ll be talking about a band, a person or a record that has really inspired my guitar playing. The point of this is to draw some kind of map and to try to get some insight to why I play the way I do. The “inspiration” does not have to include guitar, there are many ways to be musically inspired. This week is totally focused on guitar though…
Images & Words
Where to begin with this one… First I thought, ‘perhaps it’s stupid to start the whole “Inspiration segment” with a record I discovered only 5 years ago’. But when I think of how much this record (and prog rock in general) changed the way I play and the way I listen to music this was the perfect choice.
Dream Theater is one of those bands you either love or you hate. At first, I really didn’t care for them at all. A buddy of mine sent me songs 2 years before my “discovery” and I totally neglected them. It was too weird and too complex, but most importantly, I didn’t discover them myself. That’s a big deal for me, over-hyping and self-discovery. If I go in with high expectations I almost always dislike the record at first.
The first song I heard was Under A Glass Moon. It’s hard to explain the feeling I felt, but it felt like home. It felt like I finally found “my” sound and that I’ve finally broke out of the “metal shell”.
This totally changed the way I play guitar and it completely changed my relation with music. I started learning advanced music theory and became obsessed with rhythm and time signatures. I also started perfecting my guitar sound and I became a lot more open minded when listening to music in general.
So if you’re feeling musically stuck and out of inspiration check out Images & Words. I could write an essay about the record, but over-hyping and putting it up on a pedestal may scare away some people. For me the record has a bit of everything and all all of the songs are unique. Under A Glass Moon is still one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, so I’m leaving you with what I discovered 5 years ago. Don’t let the “proggy” parts scare you away, they take a couple of repeated listening to make sense. If you want something a bit more mellow, listen to the two last songs “Wait For Sleep” and “Learning To Live”.
I think every person who has the slightest interest in music have that one record that they always come back to. As cliche as it might sound, mine is Sgt. P.
This record has been with me since I was 10 years old, probably earlier. We had it on when we were home, when we where in the car and I’ve always had at least 1 or 2 songs in my mp3-player/cd-player. Yes, I was a HUUGE mix CD guy. I made atleast 5 CD’s a week, and they often had the same songs on them. Almost every CD ended with A Day in The Life, because to me, it’s the absolute perfect end track. I’m almost glad I was born in the CD era, because otherwise my entire room would be filled with cassettes.
I still to this day play through Sgt.p on a daily basis. Never just one song, always the whole thing. I think it’s one of those albums, you just have to play through all the songs to get the full experience. It’s a great source of inspiration as well. All songs are unique and they each bring something new to the table. And it’s the little things that make it so great, those small things. It could be a single guitar note or just someone singing a “Hoo” out of place. To this day I still keep finding new stuff, like a note here and there. Some may call them mistakes, perhaps even The Beatles at the time. But I think it’s what makes a song, and especially what makes this album. I first got into this mindset when I heard John Lennon singing “She Loves You” in “All You Need is love”. That’s when I started to search for these little secrets.
To me this is one of the greatest albums ever made and even though it was released in 1976 it still feels fresh and new.
When I’m discussing music with people, which is something I do almost every day, everyone just assumes I’m a metal guy. Sure I played and listened to a lot of metal when I was younger but I was never a “metalhead”. I’ve always been very broad when it comes to music, as long as guitar is involved I’m usually interested.
I would never call myself a jazz musician. But I listen to jazz almost everyday and when I play it’s clear that jazz has influenced me a lot. Jazz is a very broad genre or term, so to say “I listen to jazz” sounds pretty stupid. Fusion is the genre is I feel most at home with when it comes to jazz. Not too surprising since almost all virtuoso guitar players I listen to get put in that box.
Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Al Di Meola and Greg Howe. Great players who have influenced me in a number of different ways. But the one who really stuck with me is Wes Montgomery, strangely enough. Sure I like the classic octave licks he’s famous for, but I never really embraced his style. Still I listen to him almost every day, and have done so for the past 10 years. Along with the names I mentioned of course, which when compared to each other sounds nothing alike. That’s what I like about guitar and guitarist. It doesn’t matter what the genre is really, it’s the player that matters.
Here are 4 great, and very different guitar players. If I had to put them in specific genre boxes I’d say “Jazz/Hardbop” “Jazz Fusion” and “Fusion/metal” and “Progressive metal”.