Guthrie Govan: Guitar Player interview

From Drop Box
What pops into your head if I ask you what the top two or three most inspiring live guitar performances are that you’ve ever witnessed? Without even thinking, I would say the most recent one was Derek Trucks. Before hearing Derek, I didn’t know a guitar could sound so vocal. With him, the guitar becomes this transparent thing, and through it we hear this great gospel singer that Derek hears in his head. Presumably, Derek can’t sing like that, but he’s made it so his guitar can. Then there was that mythical Eric Johnson show at the Marquee Club in London in the early ’90s that quite a few of us remember. I’m not much for lists, but if I had to list my top ten favorite live guitar sounds of all time, four of them were probably at that gig. Eric was just so in control of his gear and the notes he was playing. I can also mention that seeing Yngwie Malmsteen made a real impact on me. He wasn’t this academic looking guy just standing there with his music stand. He was going crazy, running around the place, and throwing his Strat while playing a million notes per second. And when he stopped and played just one note, it sounded like a violin or an opera singer. Yngwie has an incomparable vibrato, which his detractors choose to ignore. Any newer guitarists you find inspiring? There are—Alex Machacek is quite interesting— but, by and large, I am not interested in the kind of player who is often recommended to me. That player is usually someone who’s doing something a bit like what I’m doing. I want to hear things that are completely fresh to me. For instance, I’m big Bjork fan. You never really hear a guitar on her albums, but there’s something very intriguing about what she’s done with the human voice. It’s like Derek Trucks backwards. Instead of making an instrument behave like a voice, it’s the other way around. more