Look who decided to get into the Podcasting game. I decided to dip my toes into the Podcasting arena as a way to bring the most exciting part of technology to you, which is the conversation. While the focus of my site is primarily technology, the Podcast will delve into technology, music, media, sport technology and anything along that way that seems like it’s interesting.
I’ve always been a big fan of distinctive sound in music. This doesn’t just mean tonality, but in fact the entire texture of the music including the tone, rhythm and the emotion and feel that it brings as a listener. Because I’m a guitarist myself I will obviously tend toward that part of it. That said, I also play drums and can reasonably play bass or at least play a bass like a 4 string guitar.
Personal influence will be a part of any top pick list so some may agree or disagree with my own top 5 here. My choices were made based on the fact that these guitarists are both stylistically and sonically original. By that I mean that their style and sound can be picked out fairly easily; especially to long time fans and most definitely to musicians.
I’ve left off the rather obvious names that are typically found on these lists like Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and the like. This is less about having a massive
5. Jerry Cantrell
Jerry has honed his playing into the tonally and rhythmically distinct style that became the fingerprint of the Alice In Chains sound. It might even be said that it was one of, if not the most recognizable sound out of the Seattle grunge movement in the early 90s. A frequent user of alternate time signatures, mixed with a bluesy and never plain playing style became the inspiration of many guitarists over the last 20 years.
Combined with this distinct style is his moving vocals and powerful lyrical and musical writing, he is truly a triple threat in the rock/alt rock world. Having come out of the peak popularity in the 90s and continued a successful career since, many still regard him as a past and still current influence.
4. Billy Corgan
Another powerful figure of the 90s who has also proven his durability and influence. As the leader, head writer and arguably the entire personality behind the Smashing Pumpkins, his original and broad style stands out among the crowd. From the raw, emotional, melodic, deep textures to the phrenetic soloing style, Billy’s songs draw you in and penetrate your soul. Ok, maybe not quite that deep, but they are pretty amazing if you ask me.
By incorporating feedback and layers and, the guitar sound wraps around you like a blanket and takes you in so many directions. For anyone who didn’t think that Billy was the center of the band, it is made obvious by the fact that 3 different iterations of the band with wholly different lineups still holds the same Pumpkins sound that he brought us back in 1991 with Gish and on every album since.
3. Jagori Tanna
I may have caught you off guard with this one, but whether you know the name or not, you will know his sound from song to song. Jag Tanna and his brother Christian founded I Mother Earth. As you’ve guessed from my classic Gen-X influence, they came out in the 90s. Jag plays in a mixture of the flowing, Santana-esque style with the deeply emotional bluesy edge of a Stevie Ray Vaughan.
The worldly styles of the band and the lockstep rhythms between the Tanna brothers makes your heart beat along with them as they rock the stage and studio as if they were one in the same. Not only was Jag primary writer and guitarist, but also produced the band and continued to produce other bands throughout the coming years.
2. Adam Jones
The next guitarist may not be a household name, but for anyone who has listened to the powerful sounds of Tool, they will know the deep, dark and signature sounds of Adam Jones. The depth of Adam’s tone speaks volumes, and the rhythms weaved around the phenomenal musicianship of his bandmates tie in perfectly with the haunting vocals of Maynard James Keenan.
1. Zakk Wylde
If you are a fan of hard rock and you don’t live in a cave, you know Zakk Wylde. The axe man behind Ozzy Osbourne from 1998-2007 as well as the heart and soul of Black Label Society and Pride and Glory, Zakk’s inimitable style and sound is a beacon for hard rock and metal guitarists everywhere.
Combining his rockabilly roots with the spine shaking heaviness has been the trademark of this amazing musician. I recall a story from an early interview where Zakk was invited to play with Ozzy and given a rack of exotic processors and gear to only put it aside for the simple rig which is mostly comprised of his Gibson Les Paul and a classic Marshall tube stack. Regardless of where you hear him play, his sound stands out to me as a favourite distinct and unique sound.
So that is my personal top 5. What is yours? I’d love to see your comments and hear about what makes your favourite stand out for you.
Humble and Fred – Welcoming back a Canadian morning tradition!
If you are a gen-x kid like myself and familiar with Toronto morning radio then you probably already know who Humble and Fred are. Once a staple for morning radio in the greater Toronto area they have been on an unfortunate hiatus in recent years.
Before it was known as “The Edge”, CFNY (aka Edge 102) on FM 102.1 was a top pick for morning and all day radio listening for many Torontonians. In the days of battling for listeners with such classic rock stations as 97.7 and the well known Q107 this iconic duo stood above with their fast wit and amazing chemistry.
“Humble” Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson were my daily dose of comedy and news sprinkled with alt music. As long time radio personalities with varied backgrounds, they came together as an instant classic and built a fan base that rivaled any radio personalities throughout Canada. Anyone who was a fan would know that it was their natural humour and buddy style of comedy that gave you that comfort of sitting at the cottage with your pals chatting around the fire.
If you doubt the local love of Humble and Fred, you simply have to recall the introduction of Howard Stern as a syndicated show on mornings at Q107 from 1997-2002 where, despite the draw of the self proclaimed King of All Media, the Humble and Fred fans stayed true and rode out the storm.
After a fateful switch to AM radio on all talk AM640 known as “Mojo radio” (yes…we all cringe now when we look back) which despite its early draw, soon led to an unfortunate end to the pairing of the dynamic team as they, along with most of the lineup left the AM dial and returned to FM until the breakup of the duo in 2005.
Hindsight is 20/20
Now broadcasting (or Podcasting as it were) from picturesque Etobicoke we can get our daily dose of H&F in full unfettered and uncensored format. No pesky PDs (no offense to Alan Cross of course) and no limits it will be exciting to be along for the ride as the show finds it legs and builds the audience.
Sorry folks, no live stream yet, but I and many others look forward to seeing much more activity around the show and with any hope we will be able to bring back the funny with our old friends.
In cycling, one of the key techniques to make you a dynamic rider is the mastering of cadence. In music the same holds true. By applying different time signatures and stylistic tweaks such as “cut time” you can add an exciting dynamic to your songs.
As new musicians we are taught fundamentals. Hours and hours of learning to tap out 4/4 rhythm with a metronome to be able to nail down our meter.
Now it is time to take things to a new level and excite your listeners with some different rhythms. As a fan of Alt Rock (or grunge as we called it back then) I’ll cite Alice In Chains for my example. Let’s use Them Bones from the album Dirt to illustrate how a modified time signature can really bring a new edge to your music. AIC guitarist Jerry Cantrell is known for using alternate time signatures, and as a fan of his playing style I’ve found that it separated the group from many others.
The song opens with a 7/8 riff that immediately pulls you in. The chunking guitar and slightly dragging chord changes under the vocals are incredibly well placed. To add to the dynamic, the chorus is in 4/4 so you can clearly jump in and out with nice stops to delineate the parts.
Another great technique I like to use is “cut time” where you change from 4/4 to 2/2. This takes the natural rhythm to a half speed and when used right it creates what I call a “musical tension” which is kind of like slowly drawing a bow and arrow and then the switch back to 4/4 gives the release.
Since I’m on an Alice in Chains kick today I’ll use Sickman from the Dirt album. The song starts with a strong, quick rhythm followed by a short bridge to transition into the cut time chorus. The chorus closes with a clean stop and then back to the staccato attack of the verse rhythm.
By adding modified time signatures to your arsenal you will add new excitement to your songs and it will bring a great texture to your music. They do say that variety is the spice of life.