Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar...

For discussion of all general music topics, Favored Nations artists, Vai-related musicians and all other artists and bands.
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Shy Boy
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I think it’s unfortunate that relatively recently there’s been a surge amongst instrumental guitar circles, of hear artists say, “My new album has vocals and I’m placing a greater emphasis on the songwriting than the guitar aspect.” Most instrumental guitar soloists have side-bands that do more generic vocal rock or metal, and the original idea of the solo album was to express what they couldn’t get out through the band (since not many people want to hear a fifty minute guitar solo). So why is it that this vocal stuff is suddenly the greatest aspiration of so many of my once favorite players?

Milan Polak’s new CD, Bumblefoot's new Normal album, Marcel Coenen’s Color Journey, Elias Viljanen's new vocal metal band, Rusty Cooley’s vocal metal band Outworld, and Buckethead’s Enter the Chicken… all of them in this vein (though Buckethead least of all, since that vocal stuff isn’t his new direction, just a once-off). Even Vai is moving towards this in a way.

I mean, I don’t want to just bash vocalists or something. Instrumental guitar is my personal taste and it’s not my place to tell someone what to do with their career, but I do find it a little disappointing that so many artists seem to see instrumental records as a dirty little side habit. It’s like they feel they can’t put a greater emphasis on songwriting without making the album sound like generic rock/metal… like they’re trying to be a heavier Dream Theater or something.

I can respect what Coenen is doing with Color Journey… he’s offering more styles and more flavors of music, but that does lead to a certain inconsistency. One minute you’re listening to a Satriani inspired instrumental track, and the next minute some vocal trance music swings by. If you’re going to invite a dozen other players from your other bands, at least keep it sounding like you, and not like the other bands you’re in. If it’s going to sound just like the other bands, then just release the tracks on records with the other bands instead! All I really wanted from Coenen was a follow-up similar to his awesome debut Guitartalk album, but with even better playing from the experience gained since the last record, improved production quality, and even better songwriting inspired by new experiences and expressions. Instead I’m going to have to siv through the album for whatever appealing tracks there are to be had, and then hope that those are good enough to make the CD worth the purchase. Like I said, I can’t really blame Marcel, since it’s his career and his decisions that shape it, but I’m bummed about the direction he took with this album.

I guess Polak isn’t content with his lifestyle and wants to make more money with a vocal album that could appeal to a wider audience and sell more (I’m not making this up, he’s actually said he wanted to get rich and popular from it). He also seems to suddenly desire recognition for his voice and songwriting talents outside of guitar music (which he says is his greatest passion at times, but then claims to almost do unintentionally other times).

I’m surprised at Cooley’s decision to finally make Outworld his focus, because he never sounded totally content with his statement on his solo debut album. Why isn’t he going on to write even more complex and intense speed guitar albums? This average metal rhythm stuff just doesn’t cut it regardless of my personal tastes. He should take the time he’s spending on Outworld efforts and use it to practice instead. Rusty is great, but there’s always room to grow, and he’s not going to when he doesn’t challenge himself for more than an hour a day.

So many players are overly content with their level of skill, so they never evolve to something greater than what we’ve seen before. I’d like to hear what Vai would sound like today if he was still practicing for over nine hours a day. And that goes for all the guitar greats who never even tried to keep that up. Other responsibilities don’t have to mean you stop practicing as much as you can.

Anyways, maybe you agree with me or maybe you love the sound of this new stuff… nevertheless, I apologize for that if you actually bothered to read all of it. That was a rant, but I wanted to get it off my chest however I could!


- Dave B. - 16 - TX
j1mi_h3ndrix
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too long for me.. but i did read the first sentence and the title. lol
dweezil 9
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j1mi_h3ndrix wrote:too long for me.. but i did read the first sentence and the title. lol
Then why bother replying?

Shy boy, how do you know how many hours Vai plays these days a day? I think he still plays a fair bit. And didn't it use to be 15 hours a day or something?
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RAI
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I think it just becomes to one-dimensional for alot of guitarists.
All guitar, all the time.
How about actually writing some songs?

Some guys (like Steve) take it one step further, by insisting on singing themselves. If you're truly trying to express yourself (and not just write a bunch of cookie-cutter lyrics), how could you hand it over to some Primadonna that will just butcher your attempt at actually saying something?

So, I say "Bring on the lyrics!".
But only if they mean something.

:)
Mikey
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Steve has always had singing on his albums. It's not a recent development. While Steve is widely and deservedly respected as a guitarist, there's a LOT more to him than just that...

Mikey
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Well, I think I was read in an interview with Joe Satriani, that he said the guitarists love to play with other people, other instruments, etc.
Maybe this wasnt exactly the reply you are looking for but I have another espect :P
You said it yourself, that not all people can bear listening to 50 minutes of guitar solo, so maybe it's a way to reach a broader audiance, plus sometimes it can be a bit hard to express yourself using only your instrument, Steve manages to do it, but most people dont share he's unique gift, and with words, It's just ALOT easier.
I personally enjoy listening to the great styles of guitarist like Steve, Satch, PG, JP, and the rest of them, combined with the talents of other musicians and I think that as long as the bands dont hurt the individual preformance of the musicians then it's only better!
I hope you understood what I was tryin to say here, I might have side tracked a bit :o
sisterinlaw
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Actually Steve explains on the EVO bonus CD why he sings on the album himself.....
****listens to CD while writing****
He says he was turned down by anybody and didn't want to wait for anybody and so he did it himself. But that's about RI:R. I do not know about earlier albums.
Mikey wrote:Steve has always had singing on his albums. It's not a recent development. While Steve is widely and deservedly respected as a guitarist, there's a LOT more to him than just that...
Oh hell yeah!

What Mikey says is so true. I actually got to know Steve only 13 months ago through the Aching Hunger phase 1 webcasts. I knew he plays guitar as well, obviously, but The first thing I heard was his Aching Hunger work. Well that I know of, I surely had heard some of his stuff at my brotherinlaws but never realized. So I got to know Steve as a composer, not as a guitarist at first. In his music for me are always some surprises. You're never able to predict what is going to happen. That's one of the things I love. In his guitarwork but in the Aching Hunger work as well. You hear new things every time you listen to it.

Wait a minute.... this is not what the thread is about. Sorry.

I do not mind him singing, he sure can sing! He's a complete artist, he is even a joker! LOL, with the EVO show he started joking on me. I felt a bit embarrased (huh, how does one spell this?) but it was fun! :lol:

Ok, let's stop talking and talking. Enough Sis! :twisted:

8)
j1mi_h3ndrix
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dweezil 9 wrote:
j1mi_h3ndrix wrote:too long for me.. but i did read the first sentence and the title. lol
Then why bother replying?
because i love you
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