Lots of well-known axe-slingers are quoted in Neil Zlozower’s new (and awesome) Eddie Van Halen book. One is the current white bluesman extraordinaire, Joe “gingers o’ fire” Bonamassa. What he says is interesting, and not sure I can hear what he’s hearing.
Bear in mind a couple things:
1. EVH has said many times that he’s a crazy Clapton (Cream-era) fan, and that he considers himself most influenced by Clapton even though folks find it easier to make an EVH-Hendrix connection. BUT don’t think I’ve read a single instance of anyone else making that EVH-Clapton connection – with their ears, that is.
2. Joe is a blues student/fan/librarian and then some. Seems to know it all, and obviously is well-versed in many blues guitarist styles. He also has crazy good ears for tone.
So bearing those in mind, here, in part, is what Joe says in the EVH book:
What I want to talk about here is what I’ve always heard in Eddie’s playing: the British blues, and Eric Clapton in particular.
If you listen to the solo on “Hot for Teacher” and Eric’s solo on “Have You Heard” from the John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers’ Beano album, you will hear the same entry, phrasing, timing and fire.
It’s not about copping the same phrases or lead lines. It’s about summoning the passion of the blues and interpreting it in a way that makes sense for the music you are making….
Naturally after I read that I hit the “improved” (imo slower) YouTube. And I…don’t…hear it. Dang it!
Here are the two songs Joe mentioned – do you hear what he hears?
Starts at 1:16, finishes at 2:30.
Ed’s HFT solo, regular speed and half speed.
Do you hear what Joe is talking about?
A couple more Joe quotes from the book:
Edward’s playing begins and ends with the blues – in the same way Clapton’s and Richie Blackmore’s does. It’s timeless and classic.
So why do we all refer to Edward as one of the greatest of all time? It is simple because every time he picks up his guitar he plays with bad intentions.