So, if you listened to 1UP Yours last week you know I bitched about what Activision/Neversoft did to the female characters of Guitar Hero, especially Judy Nails, whom a lot of people loved to play for her brash, tomboyish punk look. Look at them side by side now: Judy Nails 2, totally fierce! Judy Nails 3, totally trashy! Totally slutty! Totally gross!
Ugh. Anyways, I have to admit that while I love playing the Guitar Hero series, I have never really listened to heavy metal or classic rock, so none of those dudes were really my personal guitar heroes. Slash? Carlos fucking Santana? WTF? Who cares? When I was learning guitar back, oh, a decade or so ago, I was inspired by my own heroes - and heroines, because frankly, the whole Guitar Hero series is missing some serious diversity there. Most of the musicians I swooned over as role models are women. And some day when we can import our own music to play along to, these are the musicians whose tracks I will import and play my heart out for. Keep on rocking in the free world!
|Joey Santiago, The Pixies. Oh my god, the ultimate god of guitar. I had such a crush on him in my youth. His playing is really simple and spare, and very tasteful. I loved that he also seems self-taught - not a traditional virtuoso with hammerons and fancy fretwork and whatnot, the wankery of which I generally despise, but he made the guitar sing with such a distinctive voice, and established it as a base for The Pixies' unique style. Joey, I will always *heart* you. Fave songs: Alec Eiffel, Gigantic, Where is My Mind?|
|Johnny Marr, The Smiths. Oh Johnny, Johnny. His beautiful, jangly, bright, almost cheery guitar tones, often played on the upbeat, were such a great complement to Morrissey's broody voice. So light, so agile, and especially in production, such great tones and layered effects. I could just close my eyes and listen to him playing guitar for hours and hours, lying helplessly on the floor. Take me now, Johnny Marr! Fave Songs: There is a Light That Never Goes Out, How Soon is Now, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want (Yes, I am a sentimental sucker).|
|Joan Jett, The Runaways and The Blackhearts. I'll admit it, I longed to get an awesome punk mullet (a pullet? Punklet?) because I so so so so wanted to be Joan Jett. Either that or jump on top of her. Yeah, I was confused. I love the way she attacks her guitar, and snarls out her vocals. She's the mistress of the power chord, and her stage presence is just electrifying. Fave Songs: I Love Rock N Roll, Cherry Bomb, Do You Wanna Touch Me, Bad Reputation (the last is sort of a theme song of my early 20s!)|
|Corin Tucker, Sleater-Kinney. Doesn't Corin seem like someone you could totally get drunk with in some dim Irish pub with a sticky floor and darts boards? Back in 1996 when my band was just getting things together we heard Call The Doctor and it blew our minds. Corin and Carrie (see below) do things together that no two guitars had ever done before. The sound was so fucking rebel! I was like, fuck yeah, who needs technique? I'm just going to kick ass. That's how I earned my nickname, Guitardo.|
|Carrie Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney. I might like Carrie even more than Corin... don't make me choose! But it's really about them together that is special. Carrie's voice mellows out Corin's harsh wail, her guitar lines give shape and structure to the songs in a rough but elegant way that I really admire. God, I so wanted to start my own riot grrrl band! Fave Songs: Dig Me Out, One More Hour (omg this song gives me chills), Words and Guitar.|
|Martin Gore, Depeche Mode. I know you don't think "guitar" when you think Depeche Mode but Martin is an excellent guitarist - and songwriter. I love nearly every single thing he's ever worked on. He has such a mastery of melody, pulling out those fat hooky chord progressions... sheer genius, and so distinctive. Fave Songs: Personal Jesus (acoustic version), Stripped, Blasphemous Rumours, Shake the Disease, But Not Tonight. Plus everything off Violator. Martin, I'm pining for you - call me!!|
|Joni Mitchell. If Corin and Carrie are about energy over technique, then Joni is pure technique. I could never play like her, but her supremely innovative tuning and her gorgeous, pure, lovely folk playing is just sheer joy to listen to. And her voice just kills me. I could lose myself in that voice. Fave Songs: California, A Case of You (I dare you not to cry when you listen to her guitarwork here) Help Me.|
|Ani DiFranco. Speaking of innovation - jesus, this girl has a new tuning for every song, seems like. And she knows how to make the guitar sound as gentle as a lover's whisper or as angry as a storm. Her chops are masterful. And yes, I'll admit that like every alt pseudo-lesbian rocker girl in the 90's I went through a big Ani DiFranco phase. Unfortunately I don't have the tats to prove it. Fave Songs: Both Hands (seeing this live make me fall in love with her), Blood in the Boardroom (so cheeky!) Angry Anymore (bluegrass influence!)|
Well, there's my pantheon of guitar gods and goddesses. Listening to all this music makes me want to go play some of my own, now! Let creativity flow...!