In 1985, Roland was pushing its G-707 guitar controller and GR-700 synth module to guitarists who wanted to get into MIDI in a big way. Jimmy Page had used a guitar controller on the “Death Wish II” soundtrack and Roland got Page to endorse the G-707 in ads and in its brochures—one of the few times Page had endorsed a product to that point.
This Roland guitar synth model only lasted another year past the 1985 ad before being discontinued.
: Guns N’ Roses - “Appetite For Destruction.”
Released in 1987, GNR’s debut album force-fed piledriver guitar riffs, the heavy use of wah-wah pedals, and high levels of amplification back into the core of hard rock. Featuring the dual guitars of Izzy Stradlin (Jeff Isbell) and Slash (Saul Hudson), the album was one of the most intense American guitar creations since the heyday of Aerosmith and Van Halen.
From the opening freight train riff of “Welcome To The Jungle” to the closing spaciness of “Rocket Queen,” Slash and Izzy’s guitar sound was loud, abrasive, distorted, and unrelenting. Driven by Gibsons and Marshalls (Slash became Gibson’s de facto Les Paul face for the next two decades), the sound of “Appetite” was angrier than anything else that metal and rock guitarists were playing at the time.
In retrospect, it’s doubtful that any guitarist since Uriah Heep’s Mick Box has gotten as much mileage out of the wah wah pedal as Slash. It is certain to be in evidence on his upcoming solo album, which features a performance by Izzy.
Today is the 57th birthday of Church guitarist Peter Koppes. One of the bands that pioneered the use of the guitar wall of sound in new wave during the 80s, The Church’s layered guitar sounds as played by Koppes’ (and of co-guitarist Marty Willson-Piper) were influential on a host of indie bands over the past several decades. Here’s the band performing “Hotel Womb” live. Happy birthday, Mr. Koppes.
Brian Setzer was born on April 10th, 1959, making him 53 today. Setzer first gained notoriety for his true-to-the-original style of rockabilly as performed by his band “The Stray Cats”. In 1980, while other guitarists were looking for ways to fit into New Wave or were testing their shred chops, Setzer played stripped-down guitar a la Eddie Cochran and Scotty Moore.
Going on a 30-year career, Setzer has managed to maintain a singular identity in the guitar universe with his unique approach to “vintage” musical styles, an approach that very few others have attempted. Brian continues to play with the Orchestra and is part of frequent reunions with The Stray Cats. Here’s a live version of Brian doing the “Batman” theme. Happy birthday, Mr. Setzer.
Blues-rock guitarist Gary Moore would have been 60 years old today. Moore was one of the most explosive rockers of the past four decades, earning a reputation as a guitarist in bands like Thin Lizzy and Colosseum and later as a popular metal artist in the ’80s. In 1990, Moore switched gears and released “Still Got the Blues”, a tribute to the British blues heroes of his youth, such as Peter Green and Eric Clapton. For the past two decades, he was often seen playing, ironically enough, Peter Green’s famous 1959 Gibson Les Paul ‘Burst’ that Moore had purchased from Green decades earlier. Moore died on February 6, 2011 from a heart attack. Here’s something to remember him by, a live performance of “Don’t Believe a Word” with Thin Lizzy, c. 1978.