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As a music forum, we talk music. Many of us have introduced other TRFers to artists, and been introduced to ones that end up becoming our own favorites! Feel free to credit your influencers here! For me, bean-tor - Beck, Judas Priest; Emerson, Lake & Palmer Day Of Light - KMFDM, Arcade Fire, Garbage Union 5-3992 - David Bowie, Devin Townsend, Porcupine Tree, Queens of the Stone Age, Steven Wilson (and probably more <3 ) Permanent-Rush - Cheap Trick Probably more. TRF Chat (thanks for keeping that dead, 73) was a great place to discuss and simultaneously listen to music, and I know additional forgotten souls there directed me to good music!
It's always aggravating seeing people arguing on the net about guitar players, and how often Alex Lifeson is overlooked. Some names of course will never go away - names like Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton, some of whose music I do indeed enjoy and, despite the fact that they’re really just glorified blues players, they’ve certainly earned their place in history. You’ve got your “melodic” giants like Jeff Beck and David Gilmour. Then there’s your out and out rockers such as Angus Young, Slash, Michael Schenker, all of whom tend to be more one-dimensional. These are all names that will always be part of the conversation, and there’s so many more one could mention, from so many sub-genres of rock music, let alone all the other music genres that boast some guitar greats of their own. Hence, it’s almost pointless to try and determine who is “the best”! It’s particularly amusing when people confuse the word “great” with the word “fast”. When you see 20 violinists in an orchestra playing in perfect unison at the same velocity as Paul Gilbert or Joe Satriani, I think it puts the whole speed thing and its relevance in perspective. And how does “speed picking” compare with the dexterity required by a Classical guitarist to play Bach’s “Chaconne” or the allegro movement to Barrios’ “La Cathedral”. So back to the “rock” world… might I suggest we consider using an asset such as “versatility” to level the playing field somewhat. Guitarist Steve Morse (of Dixie Dregs, Kansas, and Deep Purple fame) was voted “best all around Guitarist” five years running, back in the 80’s, in the Guitar Player magazine reader’s poll, owing largely to stellar picking technique, and a command of numerous playing styles, including rock, country, jazz, and classical. Ironically, most non-guitarists don’t even know who he is… an irony made all the sadder given the number of so-called “stars” out there whose notoriety exceeds their actual abilities. Morse acknowledges our fair-haired boy Alex Lifeson as an influence by the way (Steve toured with Rush at one point). And, as we know, “Lerxt” himself is often overlooked when name-checking the great guitarists. So, it is this proposed asset of “versatility” that I think vaults Lerxt firmly into the conversation of guitar greats!! Perhaps, not a versatility in terms of styles like Steve Morse, but a versatility of strengths… a multifaceted player like few others. It’s almost criminal the degree to which Lifeson is overlooked given that the range of his abilities is almost an embarrassment of riches. Even if one were to base things on “shredding” alone (I don’t just mean playing fast, but playing interesting lines as well), Alex could hold his own! - and this is coming from a fan of Steve Morse, Alan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Michel Cusson, Paul Gilbert, etc. To be sure, there's a number of players out there that can shred, and/or studied at Berklee or G.I.T., or whatever, but despite his lack of knowledge of fancy scales, Lerxt is a veritable compendium of lines and solos, dazzling both in their melody and dexterity. Furthermore, you take some of Lerxt's "shreddier" stuff and put it through a high gain/compression amp like a Soldano and I dare you to tell me the difference between that and the much vaunted Petrucci or Satriani! But, returning to the “Multifaceted” thing, if there's anyone whose a better balancing act of shredding, melody, soul, phrasing, and just sheer "balls out" guitar playing than Alex "Lerxt" Lifeson, they must live on another planet!! Specifically, it's Lifeson's "phrasing" that always astonishes me. Like I said, some of these other cats might have gone to "school", but there's some things that are just more "felt" than "learned", ie. phrasing, soul, etc... and it's in the phrasing department in particular, a domain usually allotted to the likes of Jeff Beck or Scott Henderson, that I maintain "Lerxt" has few equals!! I’m just glad he’s on our side. Rush is indeed well stocked in the virtuosic guitar department!!!