Sunday, March 14, 2010

Graham Bonnet : Every Guitarist's Dream

Graham Bonnet has long been the singer of choice for the cream of the crop of hard rock guitarists.  First Ritchie Blackmore pegged him to replace Ronnie James Dio in Rainbow, then Michael Schenker gave him the nod.  Soon afterwards, Bonnet started his own band, Alcatrazz and recorded three stunningly good records with three separate guitarists.  Alcatrazz first featured whizz kid Yngwie Malmsteen, then introduced Steve Vai to the world of hard rock, and rounded out their run with Danny Johnson, another extremely talented six stringer.

Bonnet also featured on albums by Impelliteri, Japan's Anthem, Bruce Kulick's Blackthorne, and of late, lesser know acts Taz Taylor, Electric Zoo, and Savage Paradise, amongst others.  When a hot guitarist needs a singer, Bonnet is often the man on the receiving end of the phone call.

Graham first came to my attention when I went to see Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, and expecting to see the diminutive, long haired Ronnie James Dio, I was instead greeted by a James Dean look alike who could not have been further from the Elf.  It soon became apparent that this was another band completely, and actually one that I preferred.  Still in place were Blackmore and Powell, but they were now joined by old Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist extraordinaire Don Airey, and this guy who looks like a rebel without a cause, but has incredible vocal talents that became immediately apparent as he blew through the Dio-era material with no problem aside from an occasional apparent smirk at the previous singer's proclivity for  semi-mystical imagery.  I love Dio, don't get me wrong, but I couldn't imagine singing those words, could you?

On Rainbow's newer material, Bonnet showed exactly what he was made of, and it blew me away.   He certainly had the power and range of a Dio, but he also had the most incredibly controlled vibrato and a much more highly developed melodic sense, as evidenced on Down to Earth's (the band's 1979 album featuring Bonnet), Eyes of the World.   Down to Earth presented a sharp right turn from their previous records, returning Blackmore to an earthier bluesy sound, and a more song driven approach.  The album's first single,  Since You Been Gone is still a staple of classic rock radio, and remains maybe the best example of Bonnet's talents.  The Russ Ballard written tune sounds as if it were written with Bonnet's huge range and power in mind.  The tune is simple enough on the surface, but try singing it in the shower and you instantly become aware that this is a vocal tour de force.  Bonnet brings to the song great inflection and dynamic range, going from a near conversational beginning to a more emphatic note on the pre-chorus, then exploding with emotion and power for the song's memorable refrain.  This is probably one of the most accomplished vocal performances you will ever hear on rock radio, and Bonnet pulls it off with a style that sells the song without sounding like he was trying to sing just for effect.  It sounds like a very real plea.

Throughout the whole of Down to Earth, Bonnet's performance is pretty amazing.  His bluesy wailing on Makin' Love and Love's No Friend are as strong as anything Blackmore had done with David Coverdale in Deep Purple Mk III.  In fact, Love's No Friend is as good a bombastic blues as I've ever heard, with Graham hitting notes that most singers can only dream of hitting, and his singing at the end of the chorus going into Blackmore's solo is a masterpiece of control, note length and inflection.  I've often played this to many people as a demonstration of sheer vocal artistry and it is an incredible example of the man's talent.

After leaving Rainbow, Bonnet released Line Up, an album that netted several singles which made the charts in England, but made little headway in America.  The Bonnet concert staple Night Games made it to #6 on the BBC charts and another Russ Ballard penned number, Liar ( a huge hit in America for Three Dog Night) also made a showing.  Line up featured Deep Purple family members Jon Lord, and Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell, who soon recommended Bonnet for the singing position in the Michael Schenker Group shortly thereafter.

Graham joined the Michael Schenker Group in 1982, replacing vocalist Gary Barden, and the band proceeded to make what serious listeners still consider to be one of the true classics of hard rock/heavy metal, Assault Attack.  Produced by Martin Birch, the record displays Schenker's huge talents superbly and never before had Schenker worked with a musician of equal technical prowess, and the fireworks are fantastic as Schenker and Bonnet take turns giving lessons in hard rock  history.  The Desert Song is a great example of the marrying of these two musicians skill and is a breathtaking performance.  Especially notable is Bonnet's ability to harmonize with himself on these tracks, weaving intricate layers throughout the album.  Birch and Bonnet often recorded several layers of vocals and the effect is superb. The vocal talents required to do this are astounding, mixing power, range and timbre into an intricate cloth of melody.

Managerial greed rose it's ugly head and forced the band on to the road without proper rehearsal time, and unfortunately this version of MSG never got a chance to tour or record again, and this was a huge disappointment to the hard rock audience.  Stories of this incident have circulated for a great many years and once again, but suffice to say that it would appear that the business killed the band, that same old song and dance.

In 1983 Bonnet moved to Los Angeles, and it was there that he formed Alcatrazz, a band built around his vocals and the rhythm section from the band New England, who had previously scored big in America with the hit Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya.  Formed in Bonnet's garage, the band discovered a young Swedish guitarist, Yngwie Malmsteen, a protege of metal guitar guru Mike Varney, who had brought the young Swede to America and produced his first record with LA band Keel.

The result became No Parole From Rock and Roll, yet another classic album of the era.  This is one of the albums most responsible for the birth of what became known as the shred guitar movement.  The influence of this record was immense.  Filled with great guitars, excellent songs, and Bonnet's amazing singing, it's as listenable today as it was in 1983.  Bonnet's lyric writing became filled with imagery of foreign lands, mysterious worlds, distant childhood memories, and created superb tales based around Malmsteen's guitar histrionics.  This was a creative pinnacle for both artists and remains a testament to their incredible skills.  Graham's singing throughout the album is a virtuosic masterpiece.  He does fantastic things on literally every track, and every aspiring rock vocalist would do well to spend dome time studying it.

Malmsteen left the band shortly thereafter to set out on a solo career, but never again made an album of such consistant quality.

Next up for Bonnet and Alcatrazz came Frank Zappa's stunt guitarist, the incredible Steve Vai.  Once again, Bonnet proceeds to assist a great guitarist in making the best record of his career.  Disturbing the Peace continued Bonnet's path of the lyrical nomad, with such tunes as Desert Diamond and the indian influenced Mercy.  This matched up perfectly with Vai's highly developed sense of melody and mysticism, and gives the album a great feeling of being a soundtrack to a global trek, featuring Bonnet and Vai as tour guides.

Once again the market stepped in and killed a golden goose of art for a golden goose of commerce, and Vai left Alcatrazz to join David Lee Roth in his first solo outing.  While I can't blame Vai for increasing his salary tremendously, I can mourn the loss of another great Graham Bonnet fronted band.

From there Alcatrazz reconvened, once searching for a new guitarist and coming across seasoned veteran Danny Johnson, who after being discovered by Rick Derringer and spending several years in Rick's band (doing great work incidentally - a smoking band, they were), had played with Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper and many others.  While not the sheer shredder of Vai or Malmsteen's ilk, Danny brought to the band a tasteful approach that emphasized song-craft over pure musicianship, though he certainly had the chops to fill their shred shoes, which he proved while touring with the band.

By now the band had landed on Capitol records doorstep, and the label demanded a more hit single type approach.  Bringing in veteran producer Richie Podolor (Three Dog Night),  the band produced Dangerous Games, a great record, but one that left fans confused over which Alcatrazz they were getting this year, after the two previous lineups.

Another great album of amazing vocals remains largely unheard, and that's a shame as Bonnet consistantly put out world class records to n indifferent marketplace.  Whether it's bad luck, timing or whatever hardly matters.  The fact is that Graham Bonnet put out great record after great record of some of the best rock vocalizing that's ever made it onto tape.

While he may not have had the impact of a Dio or a Halford in terms of record sales, listening proves that Graham Bonnet is as talented a singer as ever walked into a recording studio.  If you've not heard the Alcatrazz records, do yourself a favor and search them out.  You will be glad you did.

Peace, love, loud guitars, and great vocals!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cracker's John Hickman: "Hell yes, it's all I ever want to do"

One day last week I saw an amazing video of John Hickman singing Another Song About the Rain, accompanied by David Lowery from their Cracker Duo tour last fall.  Then I see a notice that Cracker is playing here in Dayton on May 15th.  Next thing I know I'm on the line with Cracker's PR folks and setting up an interview with John.  World's funny like that, and you have to pay close attention and go where it takes you.

John Hickman has been the lead guitarist and for Cracker for about twenty years now, and his partnership with David Lowery has been amazingly fruitful.  In a time of cancelled tours and disappointing records sales, Cracker is doing big business, selling out shows and moving units in an impressive fashion.  Their latest long player, Sunrise In The Land of Milk and Honey is yet another fine record and it sounds as fresh as their debut Cracker Brand back in 1992.  Lowery's songwriting is always as fine as you'll find, and in addition to being a fine writer himself, Hickman is as fine a right-hand man as there is in the business.  His tasteful playing is as big a part of Cracker as Lowery's distinctive twang, and places him in the same league as Richards and Ronson as brilliant sidemen.  In addition, Hickman released his solo album Palmhenge a few years back with excellent results and reviews.

Normally, I like to write a feature around an interview, but John Hickman's words are such that I thought a verbatim transcript would best serve.  A little less of me, a little more Cracker Soul.

John, my Facebook page lit up like crazy when news of a local Cracker show came across. With a tanked economy and in the throes of record-store deaths, how’s the road treating you?

JH: Surprisingly well I'm happy to say. The new Cracker CD "Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey" is still doing well after nearly a year and the shows have been selling out consistently both with the full band and with the David and Johnny duo shows. Cracker just competed a sold out tour of Spain which is like a second home to us now. It's sad to see the record stores going under one by one. We sell most of our CDs online or at shows now.

I saw David Lowery and yourself on youtube in Sebastopol, CA – “Another Song About the Rain” - one of the best “rain” songs ever written, right alongside Fogerty and Lennon’s.

JH: You're putting me in some heavy company. Thank you very much.

How much fun is it to sing and solo in a live setting over a really solid acoustic guitar underpinning? Lowery is really a solid rhythm player, no?

JH: It's a sheer pleasure. Yes, in addition to being a great songwriter David is a highly underrated guitarist. He spent four years in Spain as a kid and I think it got into his blood. He can finger pick very well and the next moment be beating hell out his guitar like some Flamenco demon. For the duo shows we run his classical guitar through sub woofers and it sounds like a kick drum. We mesh very well together as a live duo. We know intuitively how to follow one another and so it frees us both to take chances and be adventurous on stage. We never use a set list so it's always fresh and unpredictable. It's a little different every night. We love that and so do the fans.

"Another Song About the Rain" How did you come to write this song? Song-craft, autobiography, or perhaps a bit of both?

JH: I wrote the core of it alone in a cabin where I lived in the San Bernardino Mountains of California where I lived. I also wrote "Father Winter" up there which came out on my solo album "Palmhenge" years later. The original version of "Another Song About The Rain" was very long. I was listening to a lot of "Blood On The Tracks" era Bob Dylan when I wrote it and later my other co-writer and longtime friend Chris LeRoy edited the verses down, simplified it and shaped it into what you hear. Obviously it was a bad time in my life but that's where some of the best music comes from. It's the classic double edged sword. There is the cathartic purging of pain but yet you sort of give it eternal life if you write a song about it.

What was David Lowery’s reaction when he first heard it? Had you done a lot of writing prior to this?

JH: We were nearly finished with the first album when I brought it in. We had already written some pretty great songs together at this point so I think David was pretty open. If he didn't like it I would have tossed it aside immediately. I mean, we're talking about David Lowery, one of the best songwriters out there in my opinion. He and our producer Don Smith heard my demo and said "Let's record it". It was the last song to go on the record. Listening to the album version now I wished I had had time to do it better but that's often the case. It is what it is. I think David and I play it much better now.

How was the Cracker/Camper tour? Any competition issues between the bands?

JH: Sure, I'd be full of shit if I said there wasn't a little healthy competition between the two bands but we have also been brothers and friends, all of us for a very long time. Over the years we have had a lot of support for each other and share two band members. The tour was very successful. Most shows sold out pretty quickly.

Your tour blog shows you to be a pretty good and serious writer. Do you journal a lot, and what do you derive from it?

JH: Thanks. I'm pretty outgoing as a person and it's just an extension of that I guess. It just comes naturally for me to comment on whatever riles me up, humors me or outrages me somehow. Also I was tired of reading other writers get things so wrong so often. It's very satisfying when people tell me they were effected by one of my articles or blogs which happens all over the world now with the internet. Another reason I do it is because you have to be a hustler in the music business these days. It's another way to stay connected with our fans. I wish I had more time to devote to it.

I know you’re big fans of analog tape, so how do you approach recording your guitar digitally?

JH: We record everything to tape, move to the digital realm for editing and then bounce it back to analog to warm it back up as they say. When I record guitars I sometimes try people's patience because I set up a huge wall of very different sounding amps, going from one to another and combining them often. It gets loud as hell sometimes but that records well with certain amps. If I'm playing the same thing through two amps simultaneously I try to persuade the engineer or producer to give each amp it's own mic and track even if it bleeds a little. You can be a lot more creative in mixing that way. I learned that trick from the brilliant producer Don Smith who sadly, just passed on while we were in Spain. He used that technique with the Stones, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and others before us. I've read that Jimmy Page did this a lot too.

What do you listen to for enjoyment?

JH: Everything from outlaw country to Middle Eastern music to electronica. I put my ipod on shuffle on the long drives on tour and it runs the gamut from classical to punk rock to Irish ballads. As a musician and songwriter I think it's good to listen to current and ancient music and everything in between. It gets into your blood and challenges your sensibilities. It's good medicine.

What is your favorite band, and your favorite album?

JH: I'd have to narrow it down from 20 or 30 bands and to about 100 albums. Off the top of my head I'd put The Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet", Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" The Kinks "Muswell Hillbillies" and "The Harder They Fall" Soundtrack album right up there but I could never pick just one favorite. It changes daily. I'm anxiously awaiting the next Fleet Foxes album. I love Graham Coxon too.

With the demise of traditional record companies and record sales, is there any less recognition of newer material by fans on the road, or are they boned up on new stuff? Any noticeable differences?

JH: It's an every changing playing field with regards to the business side of things but you just have to roll with it. Cracker fans are very devoted to say the least. They have pretty much embraced every album and know that every album is going to shift gears a little. They don't really care whether it's on the radio or not. This new album HAS gotten on the radio and garnered us many more fans I'm happy to report. There are lot of free thinkers in the Cracker fan base. I've met many thousands of them and they all came to the party from different albums over the years, the latest one or the first one. We never have a set list but we try to play something from every album live. Every night is a little different.

Are there any bands or musicians you’d like to play with?

JH: Hell yes. Bob Dylan or The Replacements would be at the top of that list but I love to collaborate, jam, record, play live. It's all I do or ever want to do.

Your Les Paul….How long have you been playing it, how much work did you do or have done to it?

JH: It's a 1977 Standard and I bought it new. I was living on my own at a young age and actually gave blood to make the payments several times in those lean days. I've turned it into a bit of a Frankenstein monster over many years. I use Seymour Duncan Jeff Beck pick ups in it and it has a Kahler locking tremolo system. They don't even make those anymore. It's an odd set up but it works very well for me. It's ain't broke so I ain't fixing it as they say. I've also carved all over it, tattooed it, gouged it out and put a little piece of Muddy Water's birthplace wood in it. I've also attached some polished stones to it.

Your tone is often nearly as pure as a Tele’s. Any pickup height, or pole piece adjustments worth noting?

JH: I played up around Bakersfield for a while just before I got together with David and all the old cowboy players would say "You can't play country on no Gepson...get a FENDA boy!". I just worked at it until I could get those sounds with my hands and picking style on the Paul. I have my bridge pick up raised up pretty high and use fairly heavy strings. I like a lot of deep twang as well as psychedelic noise and overtones and that set up does it for me.

What is the difference in your rigs for the acoustic shows vs. Cracker full band shows?

JH: Actually I play with the same set up for both. David plays an Ibanez nylon string acoustic for the Cracker duo shows and I play with my usual electric set up which is: My Les Paul through a Boss tuner into an MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal into a Boss Blues Driver and then into a Fender Supersonic. I run the Supersonic through a 4x12 Marshall cabinet on bigger stages. I also have a clamp on holder on my mic stand with anywhere from 2 to 5 Lee Oskar harps in it for both duo and full band gigs.

What’s your favorite guitar or road story. The must tell story?

JH: My favorite guitar story is that I was once lucky enough to open a few weeks of shows for ZZ Top when they were at the top of their game in the 80s. I'm a big Billy G fan and would sound check with his licks before I had actually met him. One day I saw that beard poke around the corner and was afraid I'd pissed him off. I was wrong. He came to the dressing room and introduced himself with a grin. "heard ya playin my chops boy" Then he asked in that great Texas accent "Why'd you put a wiggle stick on a Les Paul?" I loved it. He was very cool to me on that tour which amazed the crew because he's kind of mysterious. He let me sit behind the P.A. speakers on stage every night and watched him up close. I'll never forget it.

David Lowery and John are currently on tour as Cracker Duo, and will commence full band touring in May co-headlining shows with The Reverand Horton Heat.  This will be a tour to see, maybe the hottest I've come across this year.

Thanks to John Hickman and the gracious folks at Pavement PR.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The RGD Hall of Fame (my favorite players)

Here's the first segment of Rock Guitar Daily's Hall of Fame.  The players who have left the greatest impressions on an impressionable mind.  The guys I go to frequently and forever shall sing their praises.  Some are larger than life, some you've probably never heard of.  Over the next few columns I'm going to list my favorite records, guitars, unknown guitarists and such.  It's a slow news period anyway, right? 

George Harrison  -  Beatle George looms large in my life, as much for his spiritual side as for his huge musical abilities.  He gave me the beginnings of any religious leanings I possess, and they are substantial.  As a guitarist, George defined melody and taste.  Early on Harrison brought a tremendous rockabilly vibe to The Beatles early recordings.  His tone cut through every mix and never clashed with Lennon and McCartney.  His chord voicings were usually played higher on the neck than John's chugging rhythms, and his solos were never less than both perfect for the song and exceptionally well played.  His phrasing and technique were superb.  As time moved on his playing evolved, becoming more melody driven and less influenced by his musical heroes.  As he became a more confident writer his use of sophisticated chord structures became a hallmark.  His first solo album, All Things Must Pass, is a remarkably beautiful production, with acoustic guitars creating a huge wall of sound, and the melodic Strat work by himself and Eric Clapton are gorgeous throughtout.  Clapton never played better than he did with George.

Mick Ronson  -  Mick's solo on Moonage Daydream remains as incredible as any solo to ever grace a rock and roll record.  With stunning speed, flash, and tone, it was and is the quintessential glam-rock guitar song.  However, it was Ronson's melodicism that always grabbed me most.  Not just a great guitarist, Ronno sang wonderfully, played great piano (Bowie's Lady Stardust), arranged strings as well as George Martin (Mott the Hoople's Sea Diver, Lou Reed's Perfect Day), and he wrote more than a few great songs.  He personified the right hand man in rock, making better everything he touched with his egoless approach to teamwork.  Many have never heard his solo album Play Don't Worry, but it perhaps is the best document that displays in full his huge range of talents.  The platinum haired spider died too damned soon.

Django Rheinhardt  -  I remember the first time I heard the mad gypsy.  I thought I'd fallen off the bus and missed school completely.  No guitarist's education is near complete without finding out why Beck and Blackmore both agree that he was the greatest that ever lived.  He played with a fire unmatched to this day, barrelling through every tune with neck breaking speed, perfect timing and a devil may care sense that remains unchallenged.  Many great guitarists dedicate their musical lives to his style and it's not hard to see why.  Shred?  Django invented it in the '30s.

Bill Nelson  -  Nelson's work with Be Bop Deluxe influenced Randy Rhoads tremendously.  He masterfully and seemingly without effort played dazzling guitar over everything he wrote, and what he wrote was brilliant (still is).  Be Bop's Sunburst Finish resides at the top of my desert island top 10.  After leaving the world of commercial rock behind, Nelson has continued to record inventive and endlessly interesting music for 35 years, practically inventing DIY.  He was recording in his attic years before it became the way of the world.  The world lost a lot when Nelson gave up big rock, but you gotta love a guy who sticks by his guns and follows his muse as opposed to chasing dollars.  A few years ago, Bill teamed with American guitar maker Campbell Guitars and they produced the Campbell Nelson Transitone, maybe the coolest signature guitar ever made.  He's been championed a bit over the last few years by Guitar Player's Michael Molenda, and that's a good thing.  Eveeryone should get to hear Sunburst Finish.

Gary Moore  -  Bluesman, rocker, bluesman, rocker....Truth is he's as good as they come at both.  Moore might be the most under valued guitar star on the planet.  His rock work in the '70s and '80s set a high mark for shredders, and he sings as well as he plays.  Whether solo or as an occasional member of Thin Lizzy, Gary never fails to bring tremendous passion to his work.  His right hand be the most authoratative I've ever heard.  Dazzling speed and a near Beckish melodicism graces his every note.  Not many have made the argument that he's the best that ever played and sang concurrently, but I will and with no apologies to the Stevie Ray crowd.  Moore has vocal chops for days, a great singer, not a 'good singer for a guitarist'....

Webb Wilder  -  Webb is the only basic rock rhythm player who's name I mention in the same breath as Keith's.  And more than that, he's consistantly produced great records for 25 years and in the process worked with some of the best guitar players you've never heard, such as Donny "The Twangler" Roberts, George "The Tone Chaperone" Bradfute, and Tony Bowles.  These fellows have been burning it up on Webb's records for years, and making his shows amazing displays of taste and virtuousity.  Wilder himself is an excellent soloist, and he trades licks with these great players fearlessly.  His last live CD, Born to be Wilder, has three guitarists tossing of great licks left and right as Wilder runs this guitar circus with wit, humor, piss and vinegar.  With one foot in country and the other in rock and roll, Wilder by his own admission is loved by dozens.

Ritchie Blackmore  -   No one's favorite fellow, Ritchie is still one of the most unique and skilled guitarists I've ever seen or heard.  Throughout his run with Deep Purple and Rainbow, Ritchie displayed a great combination of riffs and sophisticated soloing.  His playing sounds like his own and no elses.  It's almost impossible to hear anyone's influence on his playing with the possible exception of Django.  Blackmore alone brought that type of gypsy improvisation to heavy rock.  I wonder if he'll rock again....I almost hope not.

Jimmy Page  -  Led Zeppelin exist on the same plain as The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and Queen.  There's no real comparing them to anything, and you know them the minute they start playing.  Page is at times almost maddeningly sloppy, but so what?  He jammed more great guitar information into a single song than anyone else.  No one has come even close in terms of guitar orchestration.  Jimmy would combine tunings, techniques, and tones to create whole worlds of sounds.  His production syle defined the sound of Zeppelin on record.  A shame he never produced for others.  And he defines guitar player cool to this day.  The man reeks sophisticated rock coolness.

Uli Jon Roth  -  Best known for his incendiary performances with The Scorpions, Uli combined a love for Hendrix and classical music, and this combination became shred guitar.  More than any single player, Roth brought mind bending technique to the world of hard rock.  Early Scorpions tunes such as Catch Your Train, and Pictured Life woke me up to a post-Hendrixian world of guitar playing.  Never had I heard such a combination of technique and over the top rock madness.  His huge tone, incredible virtuousity, and melodic sensiblities still leave me breathless.

Jeff Beck  -  Keeps getting better, and better, and better....I first heard Beck on 1968's Truth, and there's been no looking back.  The man continually forges his own path and his brilliance has never wained.  Sure I wish he worked with a singer more often, but that's my problem.  Guitar Shop set a standard for rock instrumentals which has not yet been bested.  His transcendent meditation on The Beatles A Day in the Life might be the best guitar instrumental I've ever heard.  He's been the high water mark for guitarists since 1965.  Need I say more?  There's every guitarist and then there's Jeff Beck.  A breed apart.

Michael Schenker  -   I've saved my favorite for last.  He's had more ups and downs than you can imagine, more lives than a cat's nine, but for my ears, Michael Schenker is the finest purveyor of the rock and roll guitar solo.  His work is melodic, toneful, fast, and beautiful.  His years with UFO produced a lot of the finest guitar rock in existance.  He plays with a fluidity that perfectly matched his melodic sensibilities.  His turn to heavier rock with 1980's Michael Schenker Group still compares with the best metal of the 80s.  Forget the personal crap and listen to the man's playing.  I'm hoping that the end of The Scorpions here shortly will bring back together the guitar team of Michael and Rudolph Schenker.  They've parried together brilliantly, but never for a full record since before Michael found his footing.

There you have it.  No illusions that this is anything but MY favorites.  Every person SHOULD have a different list, it makes everything more interesting, right?

Peace, love, and pretty guitars.