For me, some of the best metal songs, like many of the classic tracks on Metallica’s Master of Puppets or Megadeth’s Rust in Peace, have these qualities. The majority of the riff is played in even eighth notes, and I stick with alternate (down-up) picking throughout.
“Bad Asteroid” is a song that’s been bubbling away in my collection of unused tunes for about 18 or 19 years, and this new album gave me a good excuse to finally record it properly. In addition to requiring wacky and unusual tapping procedures, it features some nice harmonic interest in the chord progression over which the riff is played—what I like to describe as the “budget Steely Dan” chords.
I maintain it’s my absolute prerogative to wear whatever hairstyle goes with my guitar at any point in my life. It amazes me when people make a big deal about people changing their hair. Surely that’s one of the bonuses of being in a band. When I was a kid, David Bowie was big, so that’s where it started for me.
When Jimi Hendrix first exploded onto the scene, much attention was riveted on his radical reinvention of guitar-soloing vocabulary, technique and sound, inspired by a now-familiar roster of great blues soloists. But Hendrix had another musical asset that set him apart from similarly influenced British blues-rock contemporaries: years of experience as a professional R&B rhythm guitarist.
What inspired Eric Johnson to start playing the guitar? "It was Nokie Edwards of the Ventures. He was one of the first guys I ever heard play guitar, and I really enjoyed the sound. And when I was a kid it was something new and different to try. Then I got into guys like Clapton and Hendrix, who had these amazing sounds, which further inspired me to play."