Monday, May 11, 2009

Shred guitarists I have known

Sometimes following certain bands or artists' musical output becomes taxing. For example, I followed shred guitar for a while. This was during the dark days before guitar hero, when everyone hated guitar solos. Though I will argue that things aren't much brighter now, and that guitar hero is really a sham and most of the people who play it don't really like guitar solos.

Years ago I found a Serbian guitarist named Borislav Mitic who is really talented, and tried to follow his career. He put out two albums. He hasn't put out any new discs in almost ten years. I checked his website for updates every few months, and the new album is coming soon. It is always coming soon. It has been coming soon for years.

Shred excellence

He is actually a very versatile guitarist.

From there I discovered another Serbian master, Bane Jelic. His CD was very hard to come by. While Borislav was on Shrapnel Records and available at distros like amazon, Universe was hard to come by. My copy was shipped from Belgrade (spelled Beograd on the package!). He recorded a follow up album called East/West that the internet just can't find, which sounded much better. He plays a Jem, and the thing about a Jem is that it is meant to cut through a lot of effects with a pure tone. Just listen to Vai. He carefully layers a lot of effects. So it isn't going to sound good with a dry signal. East/West was a lot wetter, and much the better. But impossible to get.

Sure, you might look at his getup and guitar and say "mini Vai". Well, he isn't so much a new agey sort of guy, more pure heavy fusion. Besides, the world can use another Vai, right? Last time I checked his domain expired. No website, only myspace where he has his resume posted.

I also followed a group called Project Alcazar. They had one album, called Reasons for a Decade. I don't really know what that means, but this was some of the most tasteful shredding around. Not the best chops ever, but really good and really thoughtful playing. I waited and waited for the follow up album, alleged to be called The Scarlet Letter, and it never happened.

Well, really it was one guy named Chris Steberl.

If guitar hero has really brought back guitar playing and the guitar hero, then why haven't my guitar heroes made albums in ten years apiece? Because no one but I bought their albums. Because people didn't really change their attitude since the 90s. Guitar solos are still lame and 80s. The same kids that loved Limp Biscuit in the 90s threw away Chocolate Hotdog and listen to the Shins today and wear thick rimmed glasses and listen to Dragonforce "ironically" because they are making fun of it. Because they still think it is stupid 80s crap. Because of couse Jimi Hendricks and Chuck Berry were playing 80s music.

Fuck guitar hero.

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