The Valley's Top 10 Local Guitarists
It's no secret that the guitar is a very sexy instrument. Any guy older than 10 knows that guitars can be chick magnets, and good guitar players are treated like demigods among their peers.
But it's not enough to just own a guitar and be able to eek out the chords for Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Six-string slingers are a dime a hundred, but ax men who excel at their craft are a much rarer breed.
Phoenix teems with guitar players, and some of them are actually pretty good. A handful of them are exceptional. Here we offer our take on...
The Valley's Top 10 Local Guitarists (in no particular order):
photo by Jesse "Cap'n"
1. Michael Johnny Walker (Sonic Thrills, The Love Me Nots): Walker's style is equal parts garage rock and punk, and he brings some old school style to the stage, too, playing vintage Mosrite guitars and twisting four simple chords into catchy little hooks. (Famous six-string kindred spirit: Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls).
photo courtesy of www.myspace.com/jackripperaz
2. Jack Ripper: At just 12 years-old, Jack Ripper has shredded his way to acclaim (literally), formerly playing with local metal band Kraized and opening solo for national acts. Ripper is heavily influenced by old school metal, and he plays the solo for "Crazy Train" better than anybody except, perhaps, the late Randy Rhoads. (Famous six-strong kindred spirit: Tommy Iommi of Black Sabbath).
3. Matt Harris (Another Killer Afternoon): Harris sings and plays lead guitar in Another Killer Afternoon, a band formerly known as Sinner Lane. Harris' guitar parts aren't particularly catchy, but his smoking solos are incredibly melodic and stand out because they're built to fit the harmony of the song, and not to necessarily show off dexterity and speed. (Famous six-string kindred spirit: Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains).
photo by Jeff Ambrose
4. Danny Godbold (What Laura Says Thinks and Feels): Godbold's an eclectic player — he can rock out on a wailing solo or pull back and do a breezy blues progression. His playing is mostly ornamental, adding punctuated chords and melodic backbones to his band's already multi-layered, multi-instrumental songs. (Famous six-string kindred spirit: George Harrison of The Beatles).
photo by Tony Winfield
5. Carvin Jones: Eric Clapton once called Carvin Jones "the next up-and-coming blues player," and Jones has just kept on coming, holding down weekly gigs at local venues like The Dirty Drummer, where he wails out blues standards and classic rock covers with aplomb. This man's finger's are fast and flashy, and he never misses a note. (Famous six-string kindred spirit: Stevie Ray Vaughan).