Pete Townshend. Another guy I came around to late. My buddy was a big Who fan while I was casual at best. We played a lot of Who stuff when we had a band, and I never realized how much of Peteís stuff I was stealing - or trying to, anyway. One of the greatest rhythm players ever. I got a lot of the more percussive stuff I do from him.
Michael Hedges. One of those transcendent players that has to be seen in person to be believed. At one of the shows I saw, a guy sitting with us said, ďThat must have been what it was like to see Hendrix.Ē For all the technical fireworks, the key is that the music is there. I tend to think of Hedges more as a musician than a guitarist. Iíve read some of the Stropes stuff about his work, and there is so much going on in there that Iíve only barely scratched the surface of. And other than Johnny Cash, Hedges was the best Iíve ever seen at taking a cover song and making it his own.
Stevie Ray Vaughan. My big entry into the blues. Not my introduction - Iíd heard it before, but SRV was the guy who dragged me in deeper and finally led me to guys like Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and a host of others. To this day, I regret leaving during his set on the tour he did with Jeff Beck because a) I wasnít feeling up to par; and b) Iíd already seen him a couple times and Iíd just catch it the next time. Except there was no next time for me.
Ted Nugent. Another guy I was way late to, but got into in a big way. Leaving politics aside, the man can just play. And he can still bring it today. I wish I could get the boogie he has.
John 5. Another one of those guys who just makes my jaw drop. He does things I look at and think ďthatís just not possibleĒ. Yet another guy to aspire to.
And one more...