Tuning Up

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Neumann Pica Music - Promotion & Werbung

Choose wisely. Your fate as a guitar-playing clown or a sonic genius hangs in the balance.

We all know that, regardless of the genre we associate them with, our musical heroes typically have a pretty wide array of influences that affected their growth as original songwriters. But you might be surprised just how different their most treasured music often is from the genre(s) they play. This has been a fascinating point of interest for me over years of interviewing musicians, but over the last several months it's struck me even more as I've interviewed all sorts of players for our Big 5 video series. One of the five "big" questions is about their desert-island album, and whether I'm talking to someone like Dream Theater's John Petrucci or Melissa Etheridge or Andy McKee or Cradle of Filth's Richard Shaw, I'm often kind of blown away by what they choose.

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Photo by Laitche

It's taken 14 years to come around to this realization, but do I regret the journey? Nah.

I'm trying to remember exactly how it all started—and why. Some details are hazy, as the accumulation of reasons has collided and compounded into each other over the course of approximately 14 years.

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Is Alanis Morissette about to collaborate with Harley Flanagan, or am I just flying high on Delta-variant wings?

Believe me, the irony of writing what I'm about to write after my previous column called out "Guitardom's Biggest Crybaby" is not lost on me. As we once again put the final touches on our annual Pedal Issue—a mammoth effort stacked with 25 reviews of killer new stomps from both biggies and underdogs—I decided to take a look at how I commemorated the big event last year. In that little ditty ("This World Sucks, So I Made My Own"), I mentioned how the process had been complicated not just by the then-new pandemic wreaking havoc on the industry, but also by both a freak storm here at PG headquarters and a Mad Max-esque wildfire situation for PG staffers based in California.

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