Photo by Larry DiMarzio
Joe Satriani on Steve Vai
Photo by Joseph Cultice
Photo by David Robinson
Baroness’ John Baizley on Converge’s Kurt Ballou
Photo courtesy of Abraxan Hymns
Photos by Janis Tillerson (left) and Chris Sikich (middle)
X’s John Doe on Kevin Smith, Kelli Mayo, and John Bazz
Photo by Autumn De Wilde
Kelli Mayo from Skating Polly only uses three strings on her custom Fender, but that’s all she needs. She follows the punk-rock ethos where anything is possible. I truly love her fearlessness and innovation. I play chords on electric bass and she does, too—maybe that’s why I like her.
John Bazz from the Blasters is an old friend and contemporary, but every time I see him play, I want to be him. He simplygets it. He finds new ways to say something in rock ’n’ roll or roots music that may have already been said. I don’t know any other bass player who has broken two strings in a night playing with his fingers and mounted a bottle opener on his P bass.
Photo by Bob Hakins
Kirk Fletcher on Chris Cain
Photo by Jonathan Ellis
I saw Chris the first time when I was 19 at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Universal City. I played in the opening band, and I remember him being so nice and paying me a compliment. I had no idea what I was about to witness. Chris took the stage and my life was never the same again. I was heavily into Larry Carlton and Robben Ford, as well as B.B. King and Albert King. I viewed those as two different worlds until I heard Chris. He’s not a copy of these guys but created his own signature. I think one of the big things is his effortless fluidity and horn-like phrasing. And the sweetest bends in the business. As a performer he is just top notch. His wit and sense of humor makes you forget about this crazy world.
Photo by Linda Harvey
Kurt Vile on Dallas and Travis Good
Photo by Jo Mccaughey
Dallas is the psychedelic one, and Travis, the older one, is very traditional. A show-stopping trick is that they can grab each other’s guitars and play each other’s frets. Dallas, the more psychedelic one, is like a brother to me, if my brother was the same age and we weren’t twins. Whereas Travis is definitely like the older brother that you truly look up to because it’s just unbelievable how much soul and speed he has. He plays a Gretsch-style with the Bigsby. It just pours through them both.
They’ve backed up everyone from Neil Young to Neko Case. We’ve worked together and we plan to work together more. They are the realest things out there today. They do plenty of contemporary guitar things, but I feel like they’re just not affected or altered whatsoever by the modern age, which is what I try to do as well. So, it’s just traditional but not like retro or pastiche, either, because they’re influenced by things like punk and the Gun Club, and modern things as well. They’re influenced by their surroundings, but I feel like a lot of music is affected by computers. It’s very hard not to be. Their shows are just unbelievable to see, it’s beautiful.
I’m inspired and I’m also influenced by them. I take some things from them. Their music gives me chills, in the same way that draws you to your favorite bands and records. Whatever punches you in the gut … somewhere between the guts and the heart, or both—their music does all those things.