It seems that once you want to talk or write about guitar, and guitarists then most of the time you will bring mostly topics about Guitar Heroes. I’m not going to give their names first because just like super-heroes there are many of them, and second because you just need to look into a magazine, on a forum or guitar blogs to find who they are! I’m not about to denigrate either because they are guitar masters or virtuosos, and as such you can only respect their achievement whether you like this musical expression or not. Instead of talking about my favorite guitar heroes, I thought that for a change it might be cool write about my favorite Guitar Villains (to stay in the Comics metaphor) but it ain’t an easy mission!
First of all, here are my criteria to define what a guitar villain is:
- A Guitar Villain is not a bad guitarist! Just like the super villains of our favorite comic books their super powers are often more exciting than those of super heroes!
- A Guitar Villain often has a violent, and dirty tone from the fuzz, or larsen and/or natural distorsion he gets from his old tubes amplifier! But this is not mandatory…
- A Guitar Villain might be not a virtuoso (though sometimes you might suspect that they can do much more) but he totally masters his own guitar kung fu!
The following is not the ultimate top 7, these are just 7 of my favorite guitarists ranked in alphabetic order because I’m not that kind of dude who lowers himself to make a hierarchical ranking… I didn’t consider most old bluesmen to be in the 7 list because that wouldn’t be fair (I can barely imagine Charley Patton or Son House with an electric guitar!!)
Dan Auerbach – Black Keys
Jack White (who is a good candidate too) opened the mainstream road to dudes like Dan Auerbach who is the architect of the dirty bluesy tone of the Black Keys… Secret trick: he can play the most prestigious or the worst guitars with an equal ease!
Black Keys – Your Touch
Judah Bauer – Blues Explosion
Jon Spencer was a candidate too but I always thought of Judah Bauer’s guitar as the backbone of the Blues Explosion insane sound! Secret trick: edgy riffs & symbiosis with Jon Spencer!
Blues Explosion – Wail
Bob Log III
Mean & dirty blues with mean & dirty themes! Just watch the video, and you will need no further explanation on his super-power?? If you bring your girlfriend to one of Bob Log’s gigs, get ready to wash some panties once you’re back home!
Bob Log III – I Want Your Shit on my Leg
Bo Diddley – The Originator
Bo Diddley invented the Diddley beat! His super-power? The Diddley Beat with a weird shaped guitar! And if you need some evidence about his legend status: listen, and feel the original Diddley Beat! Then listen to the 6 next decades of recorded music… You see? You hear? The Diddley Beat can be found everywhere!!
Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
Armand Gonzalez – Sloy
I wanted to have a French guitarist in my list, and I thought Armand was a very good candidate! His super-power: listen to Pop or Idolize, and then if you don’t hear it then I can’t do nothing for you… Your case is hopeless!! Simple but efficient!
Sloy – Pop
Wilko Johnson – Dr Feelgood
Wilko Johnson’s right hand is a machine… It is nervous, precise, sharp… Do I really need to say more or is it enough as a super power?? Look at that right hand, and listen! If I had this ability I would be slicing eardrums from dusk till dawn!
Dr Feelgood – She Does it Right
3 strings missing … Here is the super-power, and the ultimate kung fu of Seasick Steve!! Why bother having 6 or 7 strings on a guitar??
I know that guitarists like Link Wray, Neil Young, Thurston Moore or Lee Ranaldo and many others could be in that Guitar Villains list but I had to narrow it down to 7 of ’em… At least for today!
And you? Tell me who are your favorite guitar villains? I want to know them, discover them… And I might even make a list from the guitar players you will tell me about in the comments below or on Muzicosphere Facebook page! Shout it out!