Thursday, February 7, 2008

Three of Slash's Favorite Guitarists

If you think Slash listens to a nonstop diet of hard rock and heavy metal, guess again. The lead guitarist in Velvet Revolver enjoys a diverse array of music, from The Beatles and ragtime pianist Scott Joplin to French classical composer Erik Satie.

Slash, who has recorded with Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan, is also a fan of Cat Stevens and The Raspberries.

Here's a look at three of his musical favorites:

Artist: Davey Johnstone
Backstory: The longtime lead guitarist in Elton John's band, Johnstone plays with equal taste and fire. He has also worked with Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, Joan Armatrading and others. Some of his most memorable playing with Elton John includes the riff-happy “Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting” and the epic ballad “Candle in the Wind.”

Slash: “This will probably be the first time I've been prompted to say this in an interview, but when I think of '70s rock guitar – which I was hugely influenced by – one of the major guitar players I was attracted to was definitely Davey. His playing is very melodic and always appropriate for the song.”

Artist: Albert King
Backstory: Although not as famous as his still-active namesake, B.B. King (with whom he shared the same Mississippi hometown), Albert King was no less impressive as a guitarist, singer and songwriter. A big influence on Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, King – who was 69 when he died in 1992 – made dozens of albums, including such classics as 1968's “Live Wire” and 1972's “I'll Play the Blues for You.”

Slash: “I'm a huge Albert King fan. I never got to see him play live, but he was a monster and an enormous influence on my playing.”

Artist: Roy Clark
Backstory: During the 20 years he was a host on the TV show “Hee Haw,” Clark was known as a prime purveyor of country-music corn. But he's also a dazzling guitarist who soared on his Grammy-nominated 1994 duo album with jazz guitar great Joe Pass. Now 74, Clark has also recorded with Wanda Jackson, Supertramp and such jazz stars as saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

Slash: “Roy Clark is another big influence on me. I was exposed to him and Chet Atkins at the same time when I was young. Even now, they are the kind of guitar players who will stop me dead in my tracks and make me think: 'I've got a lot of homework to do!' ”

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