Derek Trucks (Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band) is one of my favorite guitarists. I recently saw him perform at the Beacon Theater along with the rest of the Allman clan, and it was the most magical concert experience I’ve ever had. I couldn’t even bring myself to write about because I didn’t (and still don’t) have words for it.
I stumbled upon this video of a 13 year-old Trucks playing Duane Allman’s legendary slide guitar solo from Layla. Even at 13 the guy was unbelievable.
What’s so interesting is that his stoic and professional manner is completely unchanged.
Almost two decades later here he is alongside his wife and one of my favorite vocalists Susan Tedeschi performing another Derek & the Dominos song, Anyday.
Two of the most moving concerts I’ve ever had were seeing this Derek Trucks live. As great as he is on a record or YouTube, they really don’t capture the power of seeing him perform. Treat yourself next time he’s in town. I promise you won’t regret it.
Rory Gallagher is one of the best guitarists you’ve (probably) never heard of.
The Irish blues rocker shredded his way through the 70′s and 80′s, and produced an exceptional yet under-appreciated discography. He may not have had mainstream success, but he is regularly cited as an influence by bands like Guns N’ Roses and Queen’s Brian May.
Gallagher’s live album, Irish Tour ’74 demonstrates his range and virtuosity (as well as his crappy album covers).
Some of the standout tracks include:
Tattoo’d Lady - Catchy and firey, this song could easily have been a radio hit. The guitar work is so passionate, as is the crazy keyboard work of Lou Martin. I freakin love this song.
(The music in the video starts 40 seconds in)
As the Crow Flies – This cover of a Tony Joe White song is a beautiful acoustic slide track. It’s a great blues song, and it underscores Gallagher’s range as a guitarist.
Walking on Hot Coals – 11 minutes of blues rock insanity. I read somewhere that Eric Clapton prefers solos that have a “madness” to them. This song is jam packed full of guitar madness.
Give Irish Tour ’74 a listen.
Famed belligerent drug addict, and Cream/ Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker launched a new website that is boldly crass.
The design isn’t remotely noteworthy, but I’m very fond of the written content on the homepage.
“Am I to blame if people try… to emulate my life and die?”
No, but you don’t need to celebrate it.
“Official Website and Online Store of the World’s Greatest Drummer.”
Would you look at that, he even has a store.
What a jackass.
Have you ever loved a song, and then completely forgotten that it exists?
Edge of Darkness by Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen is one of my favorite songs, and I didn’t even remember it.
Last week I stumbled upon a CD case filled with mix CDs I made in early 2005. Listening to them has been a fun experiencing; I had pretty good taste back then… Only a few songs made me cringe with embarrassment, or wince in disgust. One of the CDs contained Edge of Darkness.
Anyway, Edge of Darkness was scored by Clapton and Kamen as the theme song to a BBC show of the same name. The original recording is alright, but nothing worth blogging about. This orchestrated version is a completely different story. It’s both beautiful and intense. The buildup is magnificent, and then it explodes with raw emotion. Have a listen.
Whatever my mood is, this song amplifies it.
On December 8th, 1980, Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed outside the entrance of the Dakota apartment, in New York City. His influence and significances don’t require any explanation.
On December 8th, 2004, Pantera/ Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot on stage during a live performance; a most grisly scene. Dime was one of the most influential metal guitarists of the last thirty years. His significance was even greater during the 1990′s because he continued to play lengthy guitar solos, even when they weren’t in style. He carried the torch for the current generation of shredders.
When I realized that both of these men were murdered on the same day 24 years apart, I felt it was fitting to write a piece on fallen musicians in their honor. I have been planning on writing this for some time, but I didn’t know what I was going to say until I sat down to write.
So many exceptional musicians have died far too young.
Duane Allman lead guitarist for the Allman Brothers (1971), John Bonham drummer for Led Zeppelin (1980), Jeff Buckley (1997), Cliff Burton bassist for Metallica (1987), Kurt Cobain vocalist & guitarist for Nirvana (1994), Jim Croce (1973), Bobby Darin (1973), Jimi Hendrix (1970), Buddy Holly (1959), Robert Johnson (1938), Janis Joplin (1970), Phil Lynott bassist and vocalist for Thin Lizzy (1986), Freddie Mercury vocalist for Queen (1991), Keith Moon drummer for The Who (1978), Jim Morrison vocalist for The Doors (1971), Berry Oakley bassist for the Allman Brothers (1972), Randy Rhodes guitarist of Quiet Riot & Ozzy Osbourne (1982), Stevie Ray Vaughan (1990), Allen Woody bassist for Gov’t Mule & the Allman Brothers, and most of the original members of Lynyrd Skynyrd come to mind, but there are many many more.
These people died young, many of them before they hit the peak of their career. Guys like Duane Allman, Cliff Burton, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, and Randy Rhodes were so ahead of their time. Their innovations still impact music today. Nevertheless, I can’t help but imagine what they would have done with the rest of their lives. The bright side is that they will forever live on through their recordings, and in the hearts and minds of those who have been touched by their music.
The more I think about it, as sad as it is that so many talented musicians died prematurely, it’s amazing how many have lived and continue to live long lives… many in spite of their lifestyles.
I read Eric Clapton’s autobiography when it came out two years ago, and the book read like a combination music history/ twelve step program pitch pamphlet. With all of the shit that Clapton did to his body, the man is still alive and on stage; and he’s not alone.
BB King is well touring well into his 80′s, and Buddy Guy is 73 (going on 50). Greg Allman managed to escape what seemed like certain death. He was a partial influence for the song “That Smell,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd; the chorus was written about him:
Ooh, ooh that smell
Can’t you smell that smell?
Ooh, ooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you.
I’m shocked that all of the guys from Aerosmith are alive (although I wish Steven Tyler was in better shape). And all of the longtime members of Pink Floyd have lived long lives (Pianist Richard Wright passed away last year at age 65).
I could go on forever with this. So many more incredible musicians have continued to live, create, and entertain than those who have died.
In honor of Lennon and Dime, I am choosing to focus on those who have survived them.
It’s easy to fixate on tragedy.
Death is a story, life isn’t.
For many of you, any Beatles set list was going to be satisfying, but I am not the biggest Beatles fan. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate them for their historical importance, influence, and even a lot of their music, but they have never ranked among my favorites.
That being said, I am a big fan of George Harrison.
So, onto the set list. The complete list of tracks is available at GameSpy.
The high points for me are:
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Ranks among my favorite songs ever. The song is written by Harrison, but the extensive solo work is Eric Clapton (w00t!). It will be years before I can actually play the solo, but I’ve got the rhythm guitar down.
- Here Comes the Sun – This song is just incredible.
- Taxman - Another Harrison classic.
- Helter Skelter - This song still feels so uncharacteristically edgy and aggressive to me.
- I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
- Octopus’s Garden – The SCUBA diver in me has a soft spot for this song.
There are a number of other interesting tunes on the list, but those are the ones that excite me at first glance.
The presence of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes the Sun really sell me on the game. Who knows, maybe this game will increase my appreciation of the Beatles. It wouldn’t be the first time that a music game has made me see brilliance in music that I had previously ignored (See Dinosaur Jr. & the Killers).
The Beatles: Rock Band is due out on September 9.