The Complete Guitar World Columns

|December 2, 2010 | Ibanez Iceman, Philosophy, Photos Of J.Yuenger, White Zombie

In the mid-90s, I was approached by Guitar World magazine to write a monthly column. I was taken by the idea insofar as I wondered if I could pull it off, but columns in guitar mags are about how to play stuff on the guitar ..which I am, evidence to the contrary, not very interested in. A crazy new sound? Awesome, you’ve got my attention. A dangerous band with matching guitars and a singer who’s pacing like a caged animal? Okay, yeah. Music I’d be absolutely incapable of making? Sure, let’s go. Learning to play other peoples’ solos note-for-note or teaching people mine? Not so much. While I might admire the skill of a speed-shredding virtuoso player, it is in passing and in the same way that I’d admire someone with an aptitude for long-distance running, or mimicry, or speed-typing.


What I decided to do was write nothing about how to play guitar. Back then, you could take lessons or buy Mel Bay books ( or do what I did, which is to spend hours and hours listening to records and trying to keep up ) but there was no practical guide for what to do once you’d figured a few things out and were ready to go jam with other people. Unless there was someone to teach you how to be in a band, you learned everything the hard way – doing it, gaining experience, and making lots of mistakes. Those were very different times : I wrote most of the pieces out longhand on a tour bus and faxed them in from a truck stop or a gig or wherever, and I never really knew if anyone was reading the thing at all — but I’ve been hearing from people who got a lot out of the column, and many of them have been asking if there’s any way to read it again ( to which I’ve been like, ‘I don’t know, eBay?’ ) – and now there is. All 21 columns are transcribed here.


Polaroid 3