This whole business of Christmas gifts leaves me uncomfortable, but fuck me, right? I will get them and damnit, I will give them. It’s like voting.
One gift this year is a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Great! I exclaim, I can read Hunter Thompson every week! Whoops. That shut down the room.
I am handed the issue with the “100 greatest guitarists of all time,” a challenge to my capacity as a cynic and a musician to comment. Fortunately, I’m already blind drunk . Besides, everybody has already heard my biases and stopped listening. Including me.
1. Jimi Hendrix
2. Eric Clapton
3. Jimmy Page
4. Keith Richards
5. Jeff Beck
6. B.B. King
7. Chuck Berry
8. Eddie Van Halen
9. Duane Allman
10. Pete Townshend
Also wrong: David Gilmour (14), Neil Young (17), Chet Atkins (21), Brian May (26), and the absolute wrongest: Mark Knopfler (44).
Page is the sloppiest, least original guitarist in the bunch. Van Halen is at best a technician. Duane Allman was very, very limited, great at what he did, but he didn’t do that much. Gilmour is a top-tenner, as is Knopfler. Brian May was fucking brilliant. Neil Young isn’t even a guitarist, especially compared to Chet Atkins.
Hendrix was the greatest guitarist of his era. You really shouldn’t compare eras in guitarists any more than, say, major league pitchers. Was Cy Young a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan? Walter Johnson vs. Sandy Koufax? Stop this silly shit.
Hey – it’s all fun and opinion, right? And me, I’m just the bass player anyway. That’s my 1967 Rickenbacker 4005. I also play a 1967 Guild Starfire, with pre-Humbucking pick-ups, and a fretless Gibson Ripper. That Rick model was discontinued in the 90s. People kill for them today. I would, too.
I’d be pleased beyond words to play with any of these guys.
And when they poll for the top 10 bassists, I better finish up there with them. But I won’t.