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October 2010 Staff Picks

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October 2010 Staff Picks
Hey Premier Guitar fans! This month our editors and Guest Picker are taking a trip down memory lane to revisit the first tune we got under fingers. For some of us, it began a journey that continues to this day, and for others it showed where we most definitely didn’t want to go.

Joe Coffey — Editorial Director
What am I listening to?
Los Lobos, Tin Can Trust. Los Lobos albums can teach a guitar player an awful lot about music, and this latest release is no exception. I expect tradition, exploration, and great tone from Los Lobos and they always deliver.
What is the first song you learned on guitar?
Do incorrect barre chord versions count? Then I’d have to say “Smoke on the Water,” of course.



Rebecca Dirks — Web Content Editor
What am I listening to?
Menomena, Mines. Thick with guitar, keyboard, alto and baritone sax, glockenspiel, and loops, the fourth and latest album from the new-to-me Portland trio has 11 songs that are both catchy and fascinatingly detailed.
What is the first song you learned on guitar?
Everclear’s “Santa Monica.” A friend handed me his guitar and showed me the chords. It wasn’t long before I shelled out $200 for a used purple Strat.



Andy Ellis — Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Joe Robinson, Time Jumpin’. Hearing this 19-year-old acoustic fingerpicker is inspiring and humbling in equal measure. It’s rare to encounter such musicality in any player, much less a teenager. A protégé of Tommy Emmanuel, which explains a lot.
What is the first song you learned on guitar?
“In the Pines,” as recorded by the great Lead Belly. I learned it in the key of E, and I had to wrestle with B7 for about a week. To this day, the IV-bVI-V7 change gives me goose bumps.



Shawn Hammond — Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
The National, High Violet. Masterfully spare arrangements of oboe, trombone, trumpet, accordion, drums, melancholy acoustic guitars and frenetically moody Jazzmasters, and one of the most compelling voices on the indie scene today. “Runaway” may be the most achingly bittersweet song of 2010.
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
Something like “Tom Dooley.” My first couple of instructors didn’t seem to realize their curriculum might actually turn students—in this case, a young Van Halen acolyte—away from guitar.



Chris Kies — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Rx Bandits, Mandala. Over the past three records and 10 years, the sextet of So-Cal ska masters have morphed into a progressive rock quartet that reached a new high with Mandala’s catchy rock hooks, timely solos, and culturally necessary lyrics.
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
Misfi ts “Last Caress.” My best friend listened to the Misfits non-stop, so when I asked him to teach me a song it had to be one of their cryptic hits.



Adam Moore — Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Arcade Fire, The Suburbs. The band’s latest release lacks a lot of the bombast and obvious guitar hooks of their debut, Funeral, but more than makes up for it with haunting, reflective songs about life outside of the city.
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
“Horse With No Name” by America. At the tender age of 8, my uncle showed me that I could play a (relatively) popular song by simply sliding an Em chord around the fretboard. Cue inevitable folk-rock phase.



Jake Cinninger (Umphrey’s McGee) — Guest Picker
What am I listening to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of the first wave of black metal, such as Emperor, Enslaved, Darkthrone, Immortal, Bathory, and Burzum. The sound is like a blizzard rolling over iced mountains. This music makes me feel like a teenager all over again—all pissed off for no reason!
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
I formed a little garage band called Live Bait. I remember the only riffs I knew were “Bang a Gong,” by T. Rex, and Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy.” We were pretty awful, but my Marshall JCM 800 sounded like hell on earth!



Charles Saufley — Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Lloyd McNeil Quartet, Asha. No guitar on this reissue of an LP McNeil released himself in 1969. Just beautiful flute and piano playing with restrained, melodic phrasing that translates beautifully to guitar. Fun to play along with this thing.
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
“I Can’t Explain” by The Who—but only the three chord intro. Took me about ten years to get around to the rest. Killer hook though.



Jason Shadrick — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Jeff Richman, Like That. After being a go-to guy on the LA fusion scene for a number of years, Richman gathers a bunch of his A-list colleagues to create one of the most cohesive jazz-rock albums of the year. He proves yet again why a Strat is one of the most versatile instruments around.
What is the first song I learned on guitar?
“My Friends” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After an afternoon of working through the “cowboy” chords, I somehow pieced this tune together.
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