Modern Guitar Gods
December 7, 2017 6:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm shopping for an impossibly difficult man (Hi Dad) and all he cares about is music — but he buys everything he wants for himself! However, I have an Edge and a Plan. Help me think of shredders outside his musical purview so I can make this my best gifting season ever.

He lives for 1960s-1970s hard rock, especially with a blues tinge. He also has a soft spot for Classical and Romantic music. However he abhors country, punk, jazz, electronica, hiphop, pop, folk, indie or alt rock, death metal, industrial or anything made after 1980... so he says. But he also doesn't know the wonders of Spotify! I don't think he's tried a new artist in two decades. Who else might he like? Especially women! He's always talking about how he wishes my sister or I had taken up guitar.

His faves are Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower and Rush in that order.

Black Sabbath
ZZ Top
Led Zeppelin
Iron Maiden
The Who
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Frank Zappa
Creedence Clearwater Revival

Sometimes he listens to:
Allman Brothers
The Doors
Pink Floyd
Queens of the Stone Age

He doesn't like:
Van Halen
Guns 'n Roses
Bon Jovi
White Stripes
The Beatles
Bob Dylan
Blue Oyster Cult
David Bowie
Fleetwood Mac
Neil Young
Janis Joplin

I've read this, this and this, this and this question. "Heavy, man."
posted by fritillary to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Has he tried Roy Buchanan? The bulk of his albums were pre-1980, and his sound was basically bluesy electric guitar. Not a woman, and not expanding his period range, but this sort of thing sounds like it might appeal.
posted by figurant at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

He might like Monster Magnet. Their 1998 album Powertrip (their most well-known one) might be too boring for him (or it may not), but he may like Last Patrol or Mastermind (both of those albums also have 'reimaginings': Milking the Stars and Cobras and Fire respectively). necessarily If he's into stoner stuff, he may also like Spine of God and Superjudge. Dopes to Infinity is good too. There are some other albums but take a listen and see what you think would appeal. Good luck and I hope you find your dad some new-to-him music!
posted by melissa at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2017

Tedeschi Trucks Band, which is Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, might be what you're looking for. Derek Trucks is a member of the Allman Brothers and Susan is his blues singer wife. They both play guitar but he's really outstanding. She's a belter and between the two of them they have a mighty fine sound.

I didn't see Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler on any of those lists.

What about Adrian Belew era King Crimson? Adrian was one of Zappa's stunt guitarists in the 80's.

The Yardbirds and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers are some heavy British blues that you didn't mention.

Tinariwen is one of the modern crop of "desert blues" groups. Bambino is another. Tinariwen have a particularly SRV sound.

One of my favorites from the global blues scene is a band from India called Blackstratblues. They might be a little too jam band-jazz sounding for your Dad but you never know what'll stick.
posted by irisclara at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Dire Straits
Jethro Tull
Mott the Hoople
posted by carmicha at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh and King Crimson
National Health
posted by carmicha at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2017

I feel like Clutch might be right up his alley
Heavy, bluesy, post 1980's making pre-1980's straight ahead hard rock.
posted by chocolate_butch at 8:06 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

St Vincent is a woman who genuinely shreds on guitar.
posted by matildaben at 8:10 PM on December 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

With that list, it's hard for me to put my finger precisely on what might appeal.

Some thoughts:

Wolfmother, RPLW, Joe Satriani, The Smithereens (Green Thoughts), early Pearl Jam, Eric Johnson, some of Buckethead's catalog, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Johnny Winter...
posted by jzb at 8:13 PM on December 7, 2017

He lives for 1960s-1970s hard rock
The two best 1970s rock albums released in 1993 that nobody has ever heard of are Big Sugar: 500 Pounds and
Sunrise on the Sufferbus by Masters of Reality. There's a Queens of the Stone Age/desert rock connection there; Chris Goss has worked with Josh Homme.

Speaking of Josh Homme/Queens of the Stone Age, there's Them Crooked Vultures, the one-off project he did with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones (!) in 2009.

Another Josh Homme connection: Eleven, with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider (RIP) who were also Chris Cornell's backup band for his 1999 solo album.

Speaking of Chris Cornell, your dad should definitely listen to Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger. I was a 1970s rock kid thanks to my big brother, and after suffering through the synth-and-gated-reverb-80s Badmotorfinger was a goddamn revelation when it came out in 1991.

If your dad's not one of those "I hate everything Zappa did after the Mothers" people, definitely Adrian Belew - Op Zop Too Wah (1996), perhaps. Also maybe Steve Vai's Flexable (1984. huge Zappa influence on this album, which he made after leaving Zappa's band) and Passion and Warfare (1990. instrumental shredding in the classic late 80s/early 90s style, but a lot more soulful than most.)

Speaking of soulful 80's instrumental shredding, there's Joe Satriani's Surfing with the Alien (1987) - He was Vai's guitar teacher.

He might dig Super 400.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 9:03 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Top Picks:
1. Blues Rock goddess Samantha Fish
2. The pyrotechnic Walter Trout
3. The late, great Gary Moore

Also: Everybody loves to hate John Mayer, but he's a damn fine blues player, heavily Hendrix influenced. Don't forget Buddy Guy, the guitarist Hendrix and Clapton proclaimed the best.
posted by EKStickland at 9:23 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

In the women who shred category: P.J. Harvey's first 2 albums (not so familiar with her later stuff)

Early-to-mid 90's Tragically Hip (especially Suddenly Completely)

Drive-By Truckers (especially Southern Rock Opera & Decoration Day)

All are pretty much guitar/bass/drum purists without the preening, big hair, and pretentiousness that (mostly) seem to be disqualifiers. (And I can very much relate to your dad's musical tastes.)
posted by wps98 at 9:52 PM on December 7, 2017

Kaki King is a guitar god! You could get him this full catalog of her work, shaped like the guitar she designed herself.
posted by a sourceless light at 10:37 PM on December 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't think I've met anyone who had Rory Gallgher and Rush as favorite artists :p

Having said that, he might like the Screaming Trees. Just maybe not their one hit (from the Singles soundtrack).

Or Govt Mule
posted by fshgrl at 10:46 PM on December 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Missed the edit window: but definitely have him listen to Alabama Shakes too. I've seen them live twice now and they have that thing that great live bands used to have.
posted by fshgrl at 10:54 PM on December 7, 2017

If he appreciates Frank, he will probably appreciate Dweezil appreciating Frank. In which Scheila Gonzales just kills on sax, keyboards and vocals.
posted by flabdablet at 1:00 AM on December 8, 2017

Free or Heart might work.
posted by terretu at 2:09 AM on December 8, 2017

Might be worth trying him on Buckethead as well.
posted by flabdablet at 4:11 AM on December 8, 2017

Since he likes Pink Floyd, he may like David Gilmour's solo work. The two most recent albums are On an Island, which was released in 2006, and Rattle That Lock in 2015.
posted by The Deej at 6:02 AM on December 8, 2017

My dad, too, is a guitar-shredding connoisseur, and three names come to mind for him: Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai (although Steve Vai has a "Van Haleny" sound and performed on David Lee Roth's albums so might not fit your father's needs). IIRC, Malmsteen is more heavy metal, Satriani is more rock/glam , and Vai is more 80s hair rock.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:41 AM on December 8, 2017

Funkadelic's Eddie Hazel? Maggot Brain

Frijid Pink?
House of the Rising Sun

Steve Tibbetts? Ur

Mahavishnu Orchestra, does fusion count as jazz? Birds of Fire

posted by a person of few words at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

Chris Rea
posted by Enid Lareg at 10:01 AM on December 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tough one. His standards match many of my own, but I also like a lot of his 'doesn't like'.


Blackberry Smoke for some modern 70s hard southern rock.

Gary Clark Jr., latter-day SRV.

Tab Benoit, bluesy swamp rock.

Tedeschi Trucks Band for sure, as already mentioned, and Susan Tedeschi solo is a fine blues guitarist/singer.

For other women, surprising that Bonnie Raitt hasn't been mentioned.

Ana Popovic is a pretty intense blues guitarist.
posted by Bourbonesque at 10:19 AM on December 8, 2017

Heartless Bastards
posted by axismundi at 1:01 PM on December 8, 2017

Seconding the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Sounds like he might also like Joe Bonamassa who is very much in the guitar god tradition. I have mixed feelings about his work, but his two albums with Beth Hart would be a great place to start.
posted by maurice at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2017

The respectful violence inflicted upon Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade might amuse him as much as it does me.
posted by flabdablet at 11:41 PM on December 8, 2017

The people your dad likes have chops but also really good blues instincts.

Seconding Chris Rea. It may seem like it's starting out too polished, but just wait. That solo...

Seconding Gary Moore, and I'd be surprised if your dad didn't already know this song.

Early Ian Moore. Stick to the albums "Ian Moore" and "Modern Day Folklore"

Jonny Lang. You have to pick and choose though, because he's hit some genres your dad might not like. (BTW, he was 15 when he did this song/album. No, really.)

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Brother Cane

Cry of Love. Here's another.

Somewhat different stylistically, but too good to leave off - Robert Randolph

Blues Saraceno

Greta Van Fleet is a band that people tend to either love or hate. They're just now starting to break out, so if he likes them, he can have the satisfaction of being into them before they were cool.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:00 AM on December 9, 2017

chops but also really good blues instincts

Good point.

Here's David Roback doing glorious things as half of Mazzy Star.
posted by flabdablet at 4:45 AM on December 9, 2017

These are fantastic! Thank you all. I'm compiling a playlist, I'll report back with the winners!
posted by fritillary at 11:40 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Dinosaur Jr. J mascis and dinosaur and murph and lou might float his boat.
posted by vrakatar at 7:15 PM on December 9, 2017

Orianthi Panagaris
posted by blob at 8:43 PM on January 22, 2018

posted by MexicanYenta at 10:24 AM on May 10, 2018

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