Question of the Month: Guitar Love Stories
Guest picker Anthony Pirog of the Messthetics joins PG staff members and reader Wojtek Drewniak in sharing about where it all began with their love of the guitar.
Q: When and how did you first fall in love with the guitar?
Anthony Pirog of the Messthetics
A: As I remember it, the first time I fell in love with the guitar was at a Nirvana concert in 1993. I was 13 years old, and my mother took me to American University in Washington, D.C. to see the show. I had been playing for about two years at that point, and remember the guitar was just riveting in the way that it could be played at the dynamic of a whisper or scream with unhinged violence. Thanks for taking me to the show, Mom!
Current obsession: My current musical obsession is improvising off of small atonal melodic fragments that I compose. I was talking with Joe Morris about his book, The Perpetual Frontier, and it led me to this study. I’ll take a small phrase that might be only a measure or two long and move it around to different keys, play chopped up versions of it, or play it in retrograde for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. This gets me to where I want to be in terms of motivic free improvisation, and the surprising thing is that it’s changing the way that I improvise tonally.
Brett Petrusek - Director of Advertising
Photo by Bud Ingram-Lile
A: I started on bass when I was 8 years old. I couldn’t really reach the first fret. My instructor was teaching me 1950s bass lines from a Mel Bay Music book while I was busy listening to the debut Black Sabbath album. I loved the heavy sounds and giant riffs. Then, after a lesson, I was in the local music store and heard a guy playing the solo from “Whole Lotta Love.” I watched him bend the strings and thought, “Hm…. I’d much rather do that.”
Current obsession: Gibson Explorers (I’ve always been a Les Paul guy). I love the stripped-down simplicity. They hang great for me and have been inspiring new riffs and songs, plus they provide a new opportunity to change pickups and go down the rabbit hole and make them my own. I love wrenching on guitars.
Naomi Ruckus Rose - Graphic Designer
A: Dad would play goofy songs on his guitar when my sisters and I were little, and I just thought there was some kind of magical happiness that came from an acoustic guitar. Mom took me thrifting when I was 6 and I found a kid-sized guitar. I was hooked instantly.
Current obsession: ROCKS! I write a LOT of smart-ass songs (the rage flows easily, okay?). Now I’m spending more time soaking in nature and chilling the “f” out, and it’s altered the way I write. Taking rocks home lets me feel connected with nature without actually having to be in it. Namaste, punks.
Wojtek Drewniak - Reader of the Month
A: Hearing the SWAT Kats theme as a kid. I knew I loved it from this very moment and I remember it perfectly: A 6- or 7-year-old kid sitting on the carpet in front of the TV with his jaw dropped in delight. From then on, I started paying attention to the sound of the distorted guitar. After a few years, I decided that I wanted to create these noises myself.
Current obsession: Given that I love music of almost all genres, I was delighted to discover [Japanese electronicore band] Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas a few years ago. These people know no boundaries in music and I love it. Not everyone has to, but everyone should respect their musical courage. “Acceleration” is an absolute banger!
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