Saturday, July 22, 2006

And Sometimes...

...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.

8 comments:

beyond passionate said...

Hot damn!!! Now I can listen to that shit all night long. This must have been in his Rick Derringer period, right?

My turn...I've got a kick-ass song from Cactus that, when I play it on my Strat it makes my nipples hard

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Yeah - very nice job Ned. That "chordy" rhythmic / lead style of guitar always rocks the house down. (HA! Just heard the ROAR!)

I really know the feeling. Stop by my place later today...

vboat - The boat waiting to take me away...

Bob Dwire said...

No facilities to listen to the song, Ned, but I would like to point out that Mr Winter's Highway 61 remains the version to beat.

You shoulda been at the Iota last night. Maybe you were. It was totally lmbeew.

Kevin Wolf said...

Damn tune is stuttering. Haven't figured out out to have competing media players not stutter: if one doesn't the other does, so I adjust and suddenly it's vice versa.

Still, I got the idea. What I could hear sounded heavy, man. I'll try again at work tommorrow.

I din't listen to a lot of this stuff when growing up but it was simply part of the 70s soup and I have a real soft spot for it all today.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

Owwwww my fucking baaaaaack. And now I gotta bruise on my forehead and a dent in th' wall too. F-fuck.

If there is a giving-up in here I can't hear it. The only surrender I hear is surrendering to the urge to rawk out with yer cawk out.

I think your singing is fuckin' A. There's about as much premeditation as a Bush war. But I've thought that since the one and only run-through of "Sorry" with Th' Harridans. I give it the highest Malarian compliment: it's "teenage".

And the bass tone stinks harder than a 10 buck hooker's armpit. Better pull this one down before Homeland Security hears it.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

p.s. I love the thing about th' sounding hard/being easy dynamic. I remember trying to teach riffs to very stage-savvy guitarists and getting the thumbs-down "because they couldn't play it lying on the stage after a fifth of Jack Daniels". An excellent criterion.

blue girl said...

I thought it was good Jeddie! I didn't hear any giving-up either.

It *did* sound Derringer-ish.

I saw Rick Derringer at The World Series of Rock concert in 1977. With what seemed to be 50,000 crazed drug addicts. It was fun!

:)

I caught a frizbee Peter Frampton threw from the stage. How cool was I at that point in time?

:)

I love when you post your music.

You rock! Now throw me a frizbee!

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

"...if you're finding a particular riff difficult to master, you're probably playing it in the wrong inversion or something."

Everything I play is like that. I jumped in on guitar when I was 17 or so with no lessons -- just some guy who gave me a hand-written chart of bar chords. When any guitar players see me play, they're always left in a state of confusion. On the plus side, I figure I innovated a few things out of pure ignorance -- e.g., the ability to play a number of tunes in standard tuning that were actually written with special tunings.

Anyway, I'm unfamiliar with that tune, so I dind't notice any gaffe like you mentioned. Sounded pretty damned good to me.