I thought it would be fun to find out what Korea Guitar’s readers listen to and what influenced them. I’ll run this in parts so there isn’t too much information overload.
This edition features yours truly, Van Walker of The Bump City Band in Daejeon, South Korea, Matt Ross of Atlantic A.M. and Fake The Future, also in Daejeon, Armin Kamal of Infrared in Ottawa, Canada and Chris Catero of Razer, from Phoenix, Arizona and David Robinson of Atlantic A.M. in Daejeon. These are their favorite Guitar Albums.
Ken Vantour (Daejeon, South Korea)
(Most of my choices are from the heart. Special moments that hold great memories for me.)
Rush – Permanent Waves
It was Moving Pictures that got me into Rush, but Permanent Waves quickly became my go to. In my humble opinion, this album and Moving Pictures both had perfect side 1’s. The solo in Jacob’s ladder sends chills down my spine and Natural Science is an absolute monster.
This is my trapped on a desert island album. The infamous Brown sound, this album redefined Rock and Roll guitar. The solo in Ice Cream Man is the reason I play guitar.
Guitarist: Uncle Eddie
Favorite Track: All of them
3. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Texas Flood
Had the distinct joy of interviewing Stevie’s bass player in Double Trouble, Tommy Shannon. This album was really the first record that got me into the blues. I love everything SRV did, but this one is a step above the rest. Texas Flood should be mandatory listening for every guitar player in the world.
I know this choice is a weird one for Maiden fans, but this album is the one for me. The first time I saw Maiden was on this tour and the songs from this album were definitely the highlights. Not many bands can record a 13 minute song (Rime of the Ancient Mariner) and not bore you. Not a bad tune on this one.
Screw More Than Words…This album rocks…hard. Nuno’s rhythms are out of this world and his solos ain’t too bad either. He’s one dude I want to feature on this site. (By the way, More Than Words rocks in its own way)
I know I’m in the minority on this one (Painkiller is usually the fav among Priest fans), but when I heard the first few seconds of Freewheel burning, I was hooked. This album is a tour de force guitar-wise. KK Downing was also the first international star to be interviewed on Korea Guitar. I owe him a beer or 12.
Honorable mention: Queensryche-Operation:Mindcrime, Every VH album, Aerosmith-Toys In The Attic, Scorpions-Love At First Sting, Triumph-Thunder Seven, Steve Vai-Passion and Warfare and the list goes on.
VAN WALKER (Daejeon, South Korea via Detroit and Chicago)
(Van was the first guitarist to answer Korea Guitar’s 20 Questions on August 30 2014. Check out his interview here)
Van is from Detroit but currently lives in Daejeon, South Korea. He is the singer/guitarist with Daejeon’s Bump City Band.
Van Halen – Fair Warning
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced
Steve Vai – The Story Of Light
Metallica – Master of Puppets
AC/DC – Back In Black
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand The Weather
Aerosmith – Rocks
ZZ Top – Tres Hombres
ARMIN KAMAL (Ottawa, Canada)
Armin Kamal, husband, father, ex P.I., Hi Tech worker and metal head!…..Currently the lead singer and guitarist of the thrash metal band Infrared, which was resurrected after a 27 year hiatus and are just about to release their first album in early 2016. (Korea Guitar: Hopefully to be featured on Korea Guitar Soon!)
Metallica –Master of Puppets
Perfect album start to finish
Metallica –Ride the Lightning
Great solos, the title track stands out for that.
Scorpions- In Trance
Uli Roth is the king of wicked and soulful guitar riffs….period.
A guitar album so crazy you can mistake the guitars for keyboards. Kevin Shields and Belinda Butcher pushed rock guitar to an almost unrecognizable place with pedals, loops, extreme multi-tracking, and dozens of other tricks.
(Chris was recently featured on Korea Guitar. Check out his interview here)
Chris is the bass player with Phoenix, Arizona based hard rock band Razer and was also the touring bassist with guitar legend Marty Friedman.
From Chris: The order of this list probably changes day to day for me but here are the guitar albums that are must-haves in my opinion:
1) Van Halen – “Van Halen”
Undeniably the greatest guitar album of all time…it spawned an entire generation of players unlike anything that had come before it and to this day stands as one of music in general’s watershed moments. Eddie’s tone and phrasing were totally unique, and the band itself kicked ass. Total game changer.
2) Ozzy Osbourne – “Blizzard Of Ozz”
To me this album was just a step behind “Van Halen 1” in influence but really was my introduction as a kid to classical music within the context of rock. The “Mr. Cowley” solo alone still inspires air guitaring of the highest order!
3) Stevie Ray Vaughn – “Texas Flood”
I hate overly technical guitar music that is all chops and no emotion, and this is the album I’d always point to for the best example of being able to have great chops AND play with amazing emotion and phrasing. What Stevie could do on guitar was unreal as you felt every damn note he played.
4) Iron Maiden – “Piece Of Mind”
This album is the pinnacle of twin lead guitar playing in heavy metal. Adrian Smith and Dave Murray took the 70’s Thin Lizzy-ish formula and made it the standard by which all metal bands after followed. Every young modern metal band who plays twin leads apes their formula yet never can quite do it as good…
5) Megadeth – “Rust In Peace”
Ok one could accuse me of being partial because I played and am friends with Marty Friedman, but well before I every met Marty this nugget of guitar mastery was infiltrating my guitar psyche. To me this is the absolute greatest thrash guitar album ever created. The material is super technical yet catchy as hell and makes you completely throw the horns at every turn, and Marty’s leads were so exotic and intoxicating he made all his contemporaries seem just a little quaint in comparison.
6) Whitesnake – “Whitesnake ’87”
John Sykes is a god, there I said it! I’ve heard a lot of guys try to cop his style but it’s never quite like the real deal, and Sykes’ tone was impeccable. His leads on a technical level aren’t quite as hard as they seem, but the feel, phrasing and sheer veracity in which they’re played is what totally sucked me in (addendum B to this album would be the first Blue Murder btw!). Awesome songs and awesome guitar playing = $ and this one is all money!
7) Scorpions – “Lovedrive”
Admittedly this might not be the quintessential album Michael Schenker played on but this one led me to all his other records as a young kid. And this one has probably my most favorite instrumental of all time in “Coast To Coast”. Schenker to this day plays 2-3 songs from this album every night in his own set which speaks volumes on the material here.
8) Judas Priest – “Screaming For Vengeance”
Kind of like Iron Maiden, Priest in my mind define two guitar hard rock/metal. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing worked so well together to make this HUGE wall of guitar on albums and like Maiden their styles complemented each other well. “Screaming For Vengeance” has a very unique guitar sound and there’s just tasty goodness on guitar all over this one.
9) Black Sabbath – “Heaven & Hell”
Tony Iommi nowadays deservedly gets massive props for being the godfather of heavy metal guitar but in the 80’s when shred was in full bloom a lot of people thought he was just “okay” as a soloist. But if you listen to “Heaven & Hell” (my fav Sab album btw) Tony’s tone is incredible and his licks and phrasing are totally memorable. The reverbed out guitar solos in “Die Young” and the outro of “Lonely Is The Word” just get me every time.
10) Scorpions – “Best Of Scorpions”
This is the one from the 70’s with Uli Roth on guitar. I could pick “Taken By Force” too here but it was the best of compilation that got me into Uli’s playing. Ritchie Blackmore usually gets cited as the master of bridging rock and more technical classical type guitar playing at the time, and I really love his playing too, but I think Uli was lightyears ahead of anyone else in the 70’s as far as the fusing hard blues rock playing with fluid and fiery technicality, Blackmore included. All you have to listen to is the intro solo in “Sails Of Charon” to get just how far ahead of other players he was at the time.
DAVID ROBINSON – (Daejeon, South Korea)
Anyway, I’m David. I’m from England. I live in Daejeon, and like to play guitar in bands. I currently play in Atlantic AM.
1. FLEETWOOD MAC – Rumours
The music you listen to as a kid really never leaves you. Lindsay Buckingham is still my guitar hero, and I catch myself ripping off FM melodies all the time!
Almost impossible to pick a single favourite Maiden album (just like The Replacements, I don’t actually think they ever made a completely fulfilling album front-to-back, and work better as a compilation band), but this one has Stranger In A Strange Land and Alexander The Great on it, so that seals the deal. It also brought in the synths which pissed a lot of people off, but I liked them.
My Dad bought me this album when I must’ve been 10 or 11, and I distinctly remember initially being disappointed and confused. Like, it was heavy and noisy so that was cool, but it didn’t sound or look like Skid Row, so that was weird. Eventually I came to love it, which I guess took me the first steps away from hair metal, and began a gradual ushering-in of thousands of bands with short hair and shitty recordings.
This was some of the first heavy music I heard that didn’t seem loaded with any of the embarrassing baggage often associated with heavy metal. Still sounds brilliant and fresh now; an amazing combination of crushing riffs and delicate melodies.
This album brought home to me what “punk” means, or at least what it can be. When I first heard “Cosmanaut” I had no real idea what I was hearing but realised that it was everything I liked about rock music.
Everything Greg Dulli has played on has been great. Can’t think of any other musician with a 25-year career who I can say the same about. Not sure if any other band in history would be capable of stealing the bassline of the Jackson 5 tune “I Want You Back” and the chords from the Twin Peaks theme, and somehow make a brilliant, snarling rock song documenting the ugly end of a relationship.
It’s an wonderful thing to live in a place where your friends are making incredible music and you can see their bands play regularly. When I lived in the States, in Portland, OR for a few years in the mid 2000’s I was fortunate enough to experience that. LATS did “emo” music properly and were pretty much my ideal band.