wayne kramer

The cover of our June issue.

There’s logic and a process to how the artists we write about are selected, and how we strive to fulfill our commitment to serve the entire guitar community. Let us know how we’re doing.

Recently, we received a letter from a reader complaining that we didn’t write about enough artists that reader knew, so they were canceling their subscription. I was perplexed. Over the past few months, we’ve written about Kerry King, the Black Keys, Marcus King, the Melvins, the Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke, Judas Priest, Steve Albini, Sleater-Kinney, and, in this issue, Slash, the Decemberists, and Richard Thompson. Hardly a cavalcade of the obscure. Plus, one of the reasons I started reading guitar and other music magazines when I was 16 was to find artists I didn’t know, and decades later I still love discovering new musicians who excite me.

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Wayne Kramer in the ’90s.

The bone-rattling guitarist helped set a revolutionary path for expression in 6-string-based music, while drawing on the cultural explosion of the ’60s and elevating its promise for future generations.

Poet, author, patriot, rebel, felon, jailbird-turned-prison-reformer, and—most important—part of the twin-guitar engine of the influential rock band the MC5, Wayne Kramer died on February 2, at age 75, leaving a gap in the world of activist musicianship and a tear in the fabric of American music history. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

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Joe Satriani, Thurston Moore, Molly Tuttle, Tommy Emmanuel, John Doe, Lzzy Hale, Kurt Vile, Wayne Kramer, Chris McQueen, and eight more of today’s greats discuss the contemporary players who give them the shivers.

Guitars heroes don’t just play guitar. They live it, breathe it, and love it. And their lifelong fandom extends not only to the instrument but to the players they share it with. We asked 17 of today’s most interesting, inventive guitarists in a wide span of genres about their favorite peers. Their answers are thoughtful, heartfelt, and fascinating—providing insight into not only who they admire but the qualities in their heroes’ playing that inspire them, which in turn reveals much about what they love about guitar. So, plug in and read on!

Buddy Miller on Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot is my guy. I find him fearless, and he knows so much, but it’s not like he applies everything he knows to everything he plays. He can do anything, and it all goes through the filter of Marc, so he doesn’t try to stay in the idiom he’s recording. There’s something subversive about his playing, and him as a person. He’s an agitator. That’s what I love about him. He’ll turn over the applecart, but in a beautiful way. And when I play with him, he challenges me, and makes me play better, and makes me think … but not too much. You don’t wanna think too much, so what’s in you just comes out. And he can balance that. He’s got that brain on/brain off thing.
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