Samick Motherlode

December 2014

July 2012 Staff Picks: Risky Business

A A
July 2012 Staff Picks: Risky Business

Musical endeavors carry a certain amount of pressure (inward and outward). Dethklok’s Brendon Small joins us in sharing the times we put ourselves on the line in hopes of charting new territory.


Gayla Drake -- Acoustic Editor
What am I listening to?
NY singer/songwriter Kelli Scarr’s Dangling Teeth from Silence Breaks records is packed with guitar-y goodness.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
Rediscovering standard tuning after 20 years in DADGAD. I’ve written some of the songs that make me happiest in E–A– D–G–B–E, and whether that’s because of the tuning or because of more musical maturity, I don’t care to guess.


Andy Ellis -- Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Howard Emerson, It Ain’t Necessarily So. Superb, old-school fingerpicking. A master of melody, Emerson has a bell-like flattop tone and a beautiful swing feel.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
In the early ’80s, I stepped onstage at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville to play a set with a rockabilly singer I’d met 10 minutes before showtime. Rehearsal? Bah. My ’67 ES-335 sounded fat through the backline Twin Reverb and the band was hot, so I was happy.


Shawn Hammond -- Editor in Chief
What am I listening to?
Shadows Fall, Fire from the Sky. I’m a sucker for tight, brutal rhythms, raging leads, and hummable choruses all in the same package. This new one delivers on all points.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
Sliding on my knees while playing a solo in front of a thousand kids at my high-school talent show when I was 14. It was very lame, but kind of funny.


Tessa Jeffers -- Managing Editor
What am I listening to?
A friend introduced me to singer-songwriter LP (Into the Wild: Live)—her performances raise my arm hair. She’s an Adele-level talent but her ukulele-wielding, eccentric edge is arresting.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
I tried out for and made it into a vocal competition while living in Qatar. A respiratory infection kept me from the show, but overcoming personal fear is something I’ll build on forever.


Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
I’ve been completely surrounding myself with my favorite tracks off of Opiate, ®nima, and Undertow to prime my ears for the one and only Tool show this year in Minneapolis.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
The reluctance to seek out a professional guitar instructor for lessons ... the jury is still out on the worth of this risk.


Rich Osweiler -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Stephane Wrembel, Orgins. French guitarist Wrembel learned how to play jazz manouche while hanging out in Gypsy camps in his early 20s, but his Django-influenced acoustic offerings also carry a cool spectrum of other flavors from flamenco to Middle Eastern to rock.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
Risking cool status, I stuck with the tuba and piano in my early years and am confident both helped me become a better bassist and guitarist.


Brendon Small -- Guest Picker
What am I listening to?
The new High on Fire, ELO’s Discovery, and Freur—a pretty great New Wave-ish band that I heard off the Let Me In soundtrack.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
Buying Pro Tools LE 10 years ago and teaching myself to use it. Now I make a living using it every day. It made me a better guitarist, and leaving it open to create is like keeping a big sketchbook open.


Charles Saufley -- Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
The Best of Merrell Frankhauser. Merrell (revered as sort of a psychedelic Zelig) is the spark behind unsung greats including Fapardokly, HMS Bounty, and the cosmically amazing Mu. But this collection also spans his early surf work and his ’70s metamorphosis into a country rocker. A cool snapshot of the work of a relentless guitar lifer.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
I love music so freaking much—I rarely think about it as a risk proposition.


Jason Shadrick -- Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Jimmy Herring, Lifeboat. I recently dug this one out again to remind myself how one combines insanely interesting lines with a huge tone and chops to spare.
What is the biggest risk you’ve taken musically, and did it pay off?
Mustering up the courage to work through Dave Matthews’ “Dancing Nancies” for my high-school talent show was a huge risk at the time. Glad it worked out in a big way.

A A