Think of a "guitar hero" and the image usually involves the over-the-top wankings of some limey with six-string phallus in hand, offering up trite "ROCK 'N' ROLL FOREVER!" proclamations. But the Valley's premier axman, Greg Simmons, has taken the road less extroverted to the top. A shy, sensitive sort offstage, Simmons becomes a reluctant firebrand when he straps on his trademark Telecaster.
Although Simmons' fretwork is front and center as part of his regular alterna-pop troupe, the Royal Normans, his most impressive playing has come during the loose-knit sets from roots-rock collective Los Guys. Simmons manages titanic blues runs, subtle country picking and fierce freeform jamming, all delivered with an "aw shucks" attitude -- one of those rare guitar slingers definitely notfrom the face-grimacing-smugly-smirking school of hard licks.