I love 60-70s Classic Rock music, the one the Rolling Stones created out of the Blues, of which the Led Zeppelin are the highest expression. I also dig the Pink Floyd a lot, though they should be considered more a psychedelic prog-rock band. David Gilmour is one of the guitar players I appreciate most and there’s a lot of Blues in what he does; of course I love Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, the authors of the British Blues revival. I also like Eric Clapton as a man, though. Together with Gilmour, they are to me the ideal guitar players, normal people that play guitar at the highest levels, without behaving like typical rock stars, not even needing to be shredders to impress people. I also appreciate some more recent bands that in my view adhere to the same musical canons of the 70s. Among them I prefer the Pearl Jam, and I wouldn’t call them Grunge but a very good modern interpretation of the 70s rock music. They music has not been the soundtrack of a revolution, but this is another story…
Lately, since I resumed playing in a band, I’ve been strongly driven, and rather obviously, towards the Blues, where it all comes from. My favorite active guitar player of my generation is Warren Haynes and his wonderful band, the Gov’t Mule, a spin-off of the modern edition of the Allman Brothers Band. Then I also discovered some young American bluesmen like Joe Bonamassa and John Mayer, to which I am grateful for continuing to play guitar like it was done in the old days.
Probably, it all started from Robert Johnson. T-Bone Walker laid the foundations of Blues lead guitar and the 3 Kings of Blues, BB King, Alfred King and Freddie King, were inspired by him to make it great. Through Chuck Berry and Buddy Guy at first, the Kings’ respective British interpreters Peter Green (BB), Mick Taylor (Alfred) and Eric Clapton (Freddie) revived that way of playing in the 60, while the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and the Led Zeppelin created Rock out of it. Jeff Beck and Rory Gallagher experimented even more.
When Duane Allman founded the Allman Brothers band, the Blues made its rightful way back form UK to US, especially in the south with the Lynyrd Skynyrd. Inspired by all those great guitar players, the gigantic Stevie Ray Vaughan kept the Blues alive in the 80’s along with a great Gary Moore, while Bruce Springsteen and the U2 were maybe the only ones to play real Rock.
The Grunge of the 90’s, with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains went on playing a kind of Classic Rock. Warren Haynes and the Gov’t Mule went on playing the Blues with a right to do so. And they are continuing in the 2000s, with the likes of Joe Bonamassa, alone or with the Black Country Communion, Eric Gales, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Jack Black and Philip Sayce, with some work from John Mayer who has also a strong Pop side.
It is a strange feeling, though, when I think that all this great Music would not exist if there had not been slavery in the United States: it all comes from the sad songs the African workers sang while working in the cotton fields in America. Blues, Jazz, Rock, all have their roots in Africa, just like the whole human genre.