Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sergie Loobkoff / Top 10 guitarists series, Part 1

Sergie Loobkoff  (photo: Joseph William)

By Andy

Sergie Loobkoff: The man with the low-slung Gibson SG -- lunging, swaying, grinning and riffing up a storm.

There are certain Samiam songs where you figuratively need a crowbar to pry the guitar melodies out of your head. You know the tunes: "Bad Day," "Dull," "Full On," "Did You Change" ... the list goes on.

For us mediocre six-stringers out there who feel we need to air-guitar to get in the game, don't even try mimicking Loobkoff. You will fail every time. Just fucking watch his reliable hands attack the strings, stand back and dig the show. You will win every time.

Loobkoff is and has been in other bands, as well -- including the mighty Knapsack -- but Cat and I have only seen him with Samiam in Northern California, Seattle and at The Ramones Museum in Berlin (acoustically there, and equally entertaining).

So, here we've got Loobkoff's top-10 guitarists that he sent our way:

Jimi Hendrix October 1968 TTG Studios in Hollywood/ Chuck Boyd / (c) Authentic Hendrix, LLC

1. Jimi Hendrix - His songs are over-exposed, so, nowadays, I rarely, if ever listen to him. It would seem odd to put him on the top of my list…but he is the smoothest, most effortless rhymic player. I think I watch more videos on YouTube of him than actually listen to his songs.

2. J Mascis - For 3 decades, I’ve never stopped listening to Dinosaur, the Fog or J solo. He is the greatest guitarist/singer/songwriter/drummer (at least in rock) for me. I go and see him every time the opportunity arises…even though he disappoints most of the time by improvising instead of playing his catchy recorded leads…and he usually plays so loud that both his tone and the band overall sounds shitty. Just saw him at Fun Fun Fun fest, though, and with a large PA /open-air, it was awesome.

J Mascis (photo: Tim Harvey Pekar Clarke)

3. Adam Franklin - I have loved Swervedriver since the late '80s…and when his recent solo records came out, it really revived my appreciation. I don’t think anyone has figured how to replicate obscure pedal-driven sounds live, as well. Really a master of unique tones and effects.

Adam Franklin (photo: Cat Rose)

4. Jimmy Page - Much like Hendrix, Zep music is sort of played out in my mind, so I don’t listen to it often. But every once in a while, I'm reminded why he was so great.

5./6. Thurston Moore/Lee Ranaldo - Neither of them would probably be thrilled to be considered as one entry…but Sonic Youth  singlehandedly opened my mind free of punk or metal. Guitar/bass/drums can be a conventional approach to making music and this duo knew how to make it sound unconventional.

7. Doug Martsch - Like Dinosaur, Built to Spill is still on heavy rotation after decades of listening.  He just comes up with timeless melodies with his instrument.

8. Chris Cheney - Most people in America don’t know the Living End…and if they do, they know one song ("Prisoner of Society"). But this guy is the perfect blend of a punk guitarist and Eddie Van Halen and Brian Setzer. I know that doesn’t sound too appealing…but he is fucking amazing. Great singer and songwriter, too.

9. Elliott Smith - He is probably not thought of as a guitarist as much as a singer/songwriter… and I know in the wide definition of the genre "folk," amazing guitarists are a dime-a-dozen. But for my limited knowledge of that world, he is the guy that I connected with. Call me a folk-rock poser, I can take it.

10. Anyone that writes amazing songs but isn’t necessarily a virtuoso at the instrument: That could be Beck, Noel Gallagher, John Lennon, Nick Drake, Bob Mould, the list goes on. I don’t give two shits about the metal technicians, or fusion or jazz finger athletes… it’s all about the song.

Bob Mould (photo: Cat Rose)

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