The Friday Morning Listen: Angel – White Hot (1978)

So we were standing around the Something Else! water cooler the other day, getting a lot of laughs from an absolutely ridiculous article we’d read about guitar players. It was ridiculous for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that, well, isn’t “douchey” in the eye of the beholder? Also, they called John Mayer an “accomplished jazz shredder.” Seriously? And fun was made of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen for his five-necked guitar: “And c’mon, what does it really add to anything he plays in the band? Can you say ‘over compensating’?”

Woah, can you say: missing the point?

The article was not without its merits though, as we discovered that Esteban was a real person and, uhm … well OK, that was about it.

Apparently though, one of the important aspects of guitar douchery is providing too much “O” face during a solo. Well, as a guitarist myself, I am here to defend my six-string brethren with this simple scientific fact:

A guitar player has as much control over his soloing “guitar face” as he has over his “O” face.

That is: none. You ever tried to control your face during orgasm? You can’t. And you can’t do it while playing a killer guitar solo either. People, this is science!

You’ve got to remember that guitar face, generally speaking, is the result of exertion. When you’re really applying the torque to a guitar solo, the amount of guitar face is in direct proportion to the level of physical and mental exertion. And doesn’t that sound like sex? Of course it does! Of course, there are quite a few other factors that go into determining the final guitar face, which is why a player’s look can span the entire spectrum from pensive to angry to pained.

We were sort of busy that afternoon, so our water cool break ended without a consensus as to the “best” guitar faces. The list that follows is unordered and does not reflect the views (mostly) of the Something Else! management.

John Mayer

gface-JohnMayer

I’ve always liked John Mayer, partly because he seems to be able to get under peoples’ skin simply by existing. Also, I sort of like his guitar playing. When he really gets onto a solo, his face seems to go all quaalude rubbery. Pretty good for a jazz shredder.

Joe Walsh

gface-JoeWalsh

To hear Joe tell it, he was mostly unconscious during many of his tours. His sobriety has not altered his extreme guitar face. Also, he’s looking a little like Grandpa Al Lewis from The Munsters.

Neil Young

gface-NeilYoung

Even when Mr. Young is playing something as simple as a single-note solo, his face is an open window to just how hard he’s leaning into it.

Pat Metheny

gface-PatMetheny2

Ah, an actual jazz shredder. As our own S. Victor Aaron put it, “To Pat Metheny, there is no difference between ‘guitar-face’ and ‘orgasm-face.” Indeed.

Punky Meadows

gface-PunkyMeadows

You may have never heard of Punky Meadows or his band Angel. They were supposedly the Casablanca Records alter-ego to Kiss. Or something. I got to see them play once, opening for Styx on the Pieces of Eight tour. I remember them sort of just appearing onstage; a great special effect. Or maybe I just imagined that that happened. However, I did not imagine Punky Meadows and his ridiculous pooched out mouth. Look at that face! It’s kind of…douchey.


Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

One Comment

  1. Kate Riggo says:

    John Mayer can make any face he wants to – as long as he keeps playing.! Best guitarist EVER, and the most fun to watch. And by the way, Katy and friends, we’ve all seen his nearly-naked “member” in the Borat suit pics and it looks just as fine as the rest of him! That comment was just creepy and immature.

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