1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … Unfortunately, like a lot of musicians from my generation, most of the first albums I bought would ultimately have negligible lasting or meaningful impact on my life/music. I remember buying a lot of ’80s hair-band rock early on, trying to find music that had energy to it, and where the guitar was featured prominently. Thankfully, I also had wise family members and others who exposed me to Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream and, most importantly, Neil Young, whose music I became fanatical about as early as age 14 or 15. In fact, both of my uncles gave me Neil Young cassettes at that time, including “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” and the “Decade” collection. As a beginner guitar player listening to Young, I had never before heard rock music where the rhythm-guitar playing was as complex as the lead-guitar playing, and where the guitar solos were rooted as much in melodic lines as in blues-based figures. (Previously, I had only been familiar with the Clapton/Page/Hendrix blues-based sound, which I also loved.) From “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” especially, I learned that a guitar solo can gurgle violently like a pot of boiling water one second, then splash like mist the next. Young’s sound is as mercurial as his ever-changing choice of genres.
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