THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
talent, ﬂash to
place in history
By Larry Rodgers
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
imi Hendrix setting ﬁre
to his Fender Stratocas-
ter. Pete Townshend
windmilling his arm
through power chords.
Jimmy Page stroking his Gibson
Les Paul with a violin how. Eric
Clapton rampaging through
Crossroads. Joe Satriani playing
1000 notes a minute
Since Chuck Berry cooked up
his “duck walk“ and classic riffs
in the mid-’SOs, guitar players
have been trying to top him, and
the image of the guitar hero
An elite group of players has
managed to combine vision,
technique, onstage swagger, un-
forgettable music and other ele-
ments to earn the title guitar
hero Valley rock fans have a
Chance to see three artists who
have attained that status when
Townshend and the Who visit
Wednesday, Clapton rolls in
March 11 and Satriani brings his
G3 collaboration on March 14.
There are heroes in all ﬁelds,
from athletics to the military to
entertainment to politics to regu-
lar people doing admirable
things. But according to one na-
tional expert on popular culture,
“the guitar player in America is
in a class all his own."
“There’s a whole iconography,
a repertoire of moves." said Pro-
fessor Robert Thompson of Syra-
cuse University. “It's so seduc-
tive, and you so much want to
imitate it. Even those who
haven‘t taken lessons or started
garage bands want to get into the
“There are a lot of people in
this country who the only instru-
ment they play is air guitar. And
they play it pretty well."
. Itheon of styles
Air-guitar maestros have
several prototypes to
' choose from.
Pete Townshend she
thoughts about the
new CD and tour. [5
3 big names
Guitar heroes have been wowing fans since the birth of u
rock and roll, when Chuck Berry invented his "duck walk
and classic sound. Since the 19505, scores of master pla’y~_
ers have taken to the stage and attracted millions of fans.
Valley music lovers will get a chance to see three of those
heroes — Pete Townshend of the Who, Eric Clapton and
Joe Satriani —— in concert in the next few weeks.
Here is a look at that trio:
Background: He co-founded the Who
in England in 1964. The group's primary
songwriter Townshend, 61, virtually invented the
rock opera with 1969' 5 Tommy. He had an extensive solo can
reer after the band broke up in 1982; wrote more rock operas,
including one in 2006 for a reunited Who i
Why he's a hero: He helped make over- -the- t-op theatrics a '
rock- show staple. He used a windmilling right arm to pound
out chords and pioneered the art of smashing guitars.
He deals more with power chords than fiery
leads but can unleash the latter when needed.
Fast fact: He has also been prolific in the I
literary world for three decades, writing
essays, books and scripts.
Tracks to download: My Generation (1965),
Pinball Wizard (1969), Young Man’s Blues
(1970), Wont Get Fooled Again (1971).
Catch him: Wednesday at US Airways
Center, Phoenix. '
Background: He mastered gui-
tar at age 14 and taught such
students as Metailica's Kirk
Hammett and Counting Crow's
David Bryson before launching
his performing career. He created
the G3 guitarist-collaboration
tour 10 years ago.
Why he's a hero: His superior
songwriting and technique made
him an immediate sensation in the
guitar community when he de-
buted in the mide'SOs. Since
then, he has been an idol to
"shredders" impressed by
speed and dexterity.
Fast fact: He was recruited
as lead guitarist in 1988 by
Mick Jagger for Jagger's
first solo tour.
hacks to download:
Surfing With the Alien,
Satch Boggie (1987),
Summer Song (1992),
Super Colossal (2006).
Catch him: With 63 on
March 14 at Dodge
Theatre in Phoenix.
ErIc Clapton :
Background: His love of the
blues led to ,
stints with the i ""7
Yardbirds and i t
in the mid-'60$.
Clapton, 61, co-founded
the groundbreaking British power
trio Cream in 1966 and launched a solo
career in 1970. His focus on the blues pro-
duced the classic albums From the Cradle
(1994) and Me and Mr. Johnson (2004).
Why he's a hero: Clapton arguably is the
most talented and versatile living rock
guitarist. He can fire off finger-blurring
rock leads as well as craft smooth and
emotion-packed blues solos. His eyes-
shut style of playing early in his career
made for a striking stage presence.
Mind: He has been inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times,
through the Yardbirds, Cream and his
M! to download: Crossroads (1968),
Badge (1969) Layla (1970), Groanin’ the
Catch him: March 11 at US Airways
0. ' V 5 _ V