The unsettling feeling of reopening

I’ve been at two events in the last week, both of which have been a bit more crowded and involved with people than I’ve experienced in a long time. The environment was also louder.

And whilst it has been lovely to see people together again, it’s also admitted been disconcerting.

I consider myself someone to be introverted. I can easily spend weekends on my own, in my own company, either entertaining myself with music, movies or a long cycle.

And when you’ve not done something for a while, it takes some time to get used to such environments again. The quietness of everything has especially been apparent and I really struggled with things being a bit louder again.

So as the world opens, and humans can get together and speakers blast louder again, I’d consider it normal to initially find it strange or even unsettling for the time being.

Fuelling a divisive reaction.

Piers Morgan stands for so much of what is wrong about Twitter and social media in general.

No wonder he was spotted by Murdoch at so young an age for News of the World. He knows how to take a subject and throw a media storm over it, even if it contributes absolutely nothing beneficial to the narrative.

Morgan is a professional troll, and feeds off the excitement he causes by bloviating his undesirable opinion about high profile people, who, funnily enough tend to be black women. You can decide for yourself whether that is a noteworthy trend or not.

Simone Biles has nothing to prove. She’s overcome enough and achieved a significant amount already at the highest sporting level and if pulling out of the Olympic finals is the right thing for her to do, who am I or anyone else, especially a egoistic, narcissistic patriarchal media mogul maniac to dispute that?

Mental and physical connections are so important, especially when you are flying through the air, and the recent articles pertaining to Biles’ current struggle with twisties and the danger it creates in gymnastics means that Morgan has no argument whatsoever.

Not that he cares though, because his intention is about creating a reaction. An argument created for the sake of creating an argument.

He wants to fuel anger, he wants to have every reason to attack snowflakes and the woke and every time he does it, people take the bait. Look at his feed, and it’s depressing, but also illuminating of his mentality. You’ll quickly notice it’s about him being attacked now more than it is about what he said in the first place.

And what ensues is a 24 hour hate fuelled social media storm and what is ultimately achieved in the long run?

Nothing positive.

So what’s the solution?

Ignore him. Let him continue to be a keyboard warrior in his own echo chamber and don’t take the bait.

Easier said than done.

The social media companies don’t care about whether he’s fuelling hate and they’ll do nothing in response and his blue tick and platforms means his message is widespread.

But so long as we react, we give him what he wants.

My biggest guitar influences: Prince

Prince had so much charisma when he was alive it was beyond belief. I would have loved to have seen him live. He hired killer musicians and put on a killer show and had that special electricity to just put raw energy and groove into everything he did.

The guy had an enormous work ethic and listening to the vault podcast about his writing process is awe inspiring. He produced a catalogue that is relentless and ambitious. He was quite shy in person and during interviews, but on stage, he had a persona that could grip entire arenas.

The way he plays guitar mind is tremendous. He’s got killer groove but he can also solo and make the guitar soar.

It’s great that his music and live videos have become more available. I think more of my generation needs to know his music.

My top Prince tracks:

I wanna be your lover




Let’s go Crazy

When Doves Cry

Purple Rain

Sign of the times

Raspberry Beret

My biggest guitar influences: Jerry Cantrell

Dirt has possibly my favourite openings to an album ever. it was a defining album of the grunge era and Jerry Cantrell’s guitar sound has so much power to it, it blows my face off! It was great to see grunge riffs fused with really smart guitar soloing. There’s of course is iconic use of the wah pedal as well.

The identity of Alice in Chains is really strong and I loved seeing them live back in 2014.

If anyone would like to make a donation to help me buy a Friedman amp as well, that would be much appreciated!

My top Jerry Cantrell tracks

We die young

Man in the box

Them bones

Dam that River


Down in a Hole


Check my brain



My biggest guitar influences: Adam Jones

When I heard Tool for the first time, I knew it was a band that was special. Despite only having released five albums in 30 years, the band have a loyal following that is ridiculously passionate about their music…and with good reason.

The intricacy to which Tool write their pieces is quite remarkable, and they spend a long time agonising over guitar, bass and drum parts that interweave in a way that is not only technically sophisticated, but musically and aesthetically spot on for what they set out to achieve. I love the tribal quality of their music and Adam Jones plays a part that is reserved but subtly challenging. His riffs, tone and rhythms are always captivating. I’ve yet to see them live and really hope I get the opportunity to do so.

My top Adam Jones tracks.


Prison Sex


Forty Six and Two

The Grudge




The Pot



My biggest guitar influences: John Petrucci

I kept on finding all the technical guitar wizards. And what I really liked about Petrucci was he was an incredible part of a band with three other astoundingly good musicians.

The interplay with all members is crazy but the intricacy to which Petrucci and Rudess do things is unlike anything I’ve heard. The riffs and technical prowess draw me in but once again it’s Petrucci’s ear for melodies that keep me coming back.

His soloing is epic and the playing throughout the entire Dream Theater discography is extraordinary.

My top John Petrucci Tracks

Under a Glass Moon



A change of Seasons

The Spirit Carries On

Endless Sacrifice


The Dark Eternal Night

A Nightmare to Remember

Breaking All Illusions

My biggest guitar influences: Eric Johnson

You’ll now notice if you’ve read my last two articles that G3 introduced me to the beautiful world of guitar virtuosos. And amongst all of them Eric Johnson is the most tasteful that’s for sure!

The guy is on another level when it comes to playing, and he’s got a wonderful blend of rock, folk, jazz, blues and new age amongst his catalogue.

His catalogue is considerably more sparse, due to his desire for perfection but it’s been great to see him be more prolific in this last decade.

Johnson has inspired my playing really directly and there’s times where I willingly wear that on my sleeve. His chord voicings, economy picking, licks, string skipping are all things I’ve spent practising religiously and I’ve studied his songs relentlessly. Manhattan took me a good four years to master.

And his tone is absolutely gorgeous! Cleans are shimmering and otherworldly and his lead just sings and is full of clarity. I love interacting with EJ’s music, listening to it, playing it and referring to it for my own compositional work.

He’s also a delightful gentleman. Check out his recent lessons on social media where he’s also encouraging donations to local food banks in Texas.

My top Eric Johnson tracks:



High Landrons

Forty Mile Town



Battle we have won

Your Sweet Eyes


Fatherly Downs

My biggest guitar influences: Steve Vai

Discovering the music of Satriani would eventually lead me onto the discovery of his student Steve Vai.

The first track I heard was ‘Liberty’ and once again I find my head being blown off by the sheer audacity of the playing. But I knew Vai had something different about him. A lot of which is probably to do with his time spent playing with Frank Zappa.

Humour plays a huge role in his tracks and live performances and seeing him in the Hammersmith in London was so much fun. The guy is a hell of a confident and audacious performer.

Vai takes the technicalities of the guitar to the extreme but he knows how to do harmony and melody really well as well. The guy can construct absolutely monstrous solos and make the guitar squeal. It’s his ballads that really stand out for me.

Vai is also open, articulate and has a wonderful outlook on his music and how to enjoy life. An inspiration through and through.

My top Steve Vai tracks:

The Riddle

For the love of God

Tender Surrender

Rescue me or Bury Me

The Blood and Tears

Windows to the Soul

Boston Rain Melody

Whispering a Prayer

Fire Garden Suite

Building the Church

My biggest guitar influences: Joe Satriani

I first heard Joe on a compilation album by Brian May.

As someone already struck by the magic of the electric guitar, I heard ‘Surfing with the Alien’ for the first time and thinking ‘How is that even possible!?’

The playing was so ridiculous on a virtuosity level that it completely threw me and then I went down the portal of wanting to discover more and figure out how Joe did high speed, high gain techniques and replicate it myself so I could also be the best guitar player in the world!

Satriani inspired me to spend hours and hours and hours practising. Figuring out legato, tapping, fast alternate picking and bending notes so they soar into space…followed by the DIVE BOMB!

What I came to equally love about Satriani was the sheer joy in his playing, it was upbeat and so melodically rich! Speaking of rich, his tone is just that as well. Gorgeous.

He’s a top dude as well. Always lovely in interviews, the teacher of Vai and Kirk Hammet as well and someone who loves going hell for leather on his instrument and makes sure those willing to go along for the ride have a good time too!

My top Joe Satriani tracks

Crushing Day

Surfing with the Alien

Flying in a Blue Dream

Time Machine

Cool #9

Raspberry Jam Delta V

Made of Tears

Starry Night


Dream Song

My biggest guitar influences: Jeff Beck

I think of all the guitarists in the 60s Jeff Beck was the only one who kept on improving and innovating! Even to this day!

Refusing to play with a puck, his use of claw technique, using the volume pot, harmonics, whammy bar is all completely outstanding. He’s a complete outlier when compared to other players.

Besides that, Beck is also a genius at picking 2 or 3 notes that sing like magic!

Trying to learn to Jeff Beck has at times felt like learning another instrument. His playing is extraordinarily unique, lyrical and expressive.

My top Jeff Beck tracks.

Cause we’ve ended as lovers

Led boots

Star Cycle

Angel (Footsteps)

Where were you

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat


Scared for the children

Never Alone

I ain’t superstitious