...You just have to ROCK.
Really fuckin' hard.
I loved this Johnny Winter song so goddamned much when I was 14. What 14-year-old wouldn't? It ROCKS. Really fuckin' hard. I would piddle around on a little acoustic guitar I had, unable to form so much as a regulation A chord, and dream of the day when I could actually master the riff -- let alone the lead guitar.
Thing about the classic rock guitar riffs: They often sound hard to play, but it's a mortal lock that if you're finding a particular riff difficult to master, you're probably playing it in the wrong inversion or something. Rock guitarists are for the most part really lazy, drunk and stoned bastards, and they have to be able to whip these things out under the most ridiculous conditions -- they're not gonna write something for themselves that's hard to play. They're gonna write something that sounds hard -- but in the same way that physicists subject new theories to the test of elegance and simplicity, a rock riff absolutely must sound hard while being ridiculously untaxing. That's why they put on those stupid rock-and-roll Tortured Suffering Faces while playing them. It's what gets them the Big Blow Job after the gig.
Ahem. Well, enough about that. Mom.
While studying up to record this, I got the riff down pretty cold, but trying to copy Johnny's stunningly deft lead lines, I kept tripping all over my fingers. Those are hard to play -- if you're as familiar with Johnny's version as I am, you'll laugh your ass off when you hear me actually give up in the middle of one phrase in the trading-fours part of the solo -- I just don't have Johnny's chops. So I copied what I could, and the rest in my own flava.
It only took me 30 years to learn it.
Here it is:
Still Alive and Well. (Pops.)
Bass playing's not too shabby either, if I may say so myself. Sorry about the mechanical drums. I don't know any drummers. (Inside Joke.)
Oh, and one admission: I am not now, nor will I ever be, a Great Rock Singer.