Fuck Jimi Hendrix... with a splintery, Icy Hot-covered stick. Do it hard and deep. Get your wrist into it.
While you're at it, violate Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, and Joe Satriani too. Fuck Satriani especially rough.
As we dedicate this issue of the Mercury to the rock 'n' roll phenomenon that is the "Guitar God," I say fuck them all.
They're worthless wastes of sperm for a number of reasons...
The Guitar God is the rock 'n' roll equivalent of a knuckle-dragging ape, pulling a groupie by the hair with one hand, and a Marshall stack with the other. He uses the 17-minute solo like a monkey beats on his chest, or flings dung in the wild—17 minutes of doodling designed to draw every ounce of attention away from the rest of the band, and force all eyes squarely on him. "Hey, look at me! Look at me!"
I like a lot of stuff, but there are very few things I like for 17-minutes straight. I don't even like sex for 17-minutes straight. I get winded, and chafed—something like the way I feel after watching some bozo go up and down the guitar neck for as long as it takes me to get off, disappoint my girlfriend, smoke a cigarette, and make a sandwich.
Still going, huh? Wow.
Think about it. How many times have you been to a concert, spending all day in the sun, drinking, smoking weed, and standing on your feet, only to have some slimebag with a Strat make you sit through his extended version of a godforsaken song that wasn't that great in the first place? How many times have you wished they'd just shut the fuck up, unplug, and let everyone go home? The guitar god never wants you to go home. If they could hold you hostage for the rest of your natural life, they would—gagging you Pulp Fiction-style, and blistering you with never-ending, meandering riffs. The guitar god isn't complete unless he's wanking and wailing. They don't feel adequate unless they're dazzling someone with the speed of their nimble fingers. They're always looking to show off the scales they've mastered. They're attention fiends.
There's a reason Townshend can't hear and has no fingertips, and it's not because he's an amazing guitarist. It's because he couldn't leave well enough alone. He couldn't just be a great guitarist; he had to be a legend. He had to pull out every bell and whistle to grab the spotlight. He had to make himself a god. He couldn't just play the damn thing; he had to beat it, windmill it, bust it, and blow it up. He couldn't just be loud; he had to be the loudest. He couldn't just write a rock album; it had to be a rock opera. The aura of self-importance is mind-boggling.
If you're such a god, Pete, why'd your career go to shit when Keith OD'd? What, Tommy can't hear me?
While disputing the fact that guitar gods are talented musicians would be ridiculous, it would be no more ridiculous than the way the guitar god has turned the position of guitarist in a rock band into a role of mythic proportion. The guitar existed before the guitar god. Rock 'n' roll existed before the guitar god. These shmucks weren't sent from the heavens to dispense lengthy and technically intricate licks to the masses, they're just people who think they're bigger than the band they play with, bigger than the music itself. They've turned a respectable thing, playing guitar in a band, into a miserable sideshow—complete with smoke and mirrors, ass-hugging jeans, and choreographed moves for the groupies. If they're so good, why the stunts? Robert Johnson never needed a guitar that shot flames. He never played with his teeth. I'm pretty sure he was never hoisted by harness above the crowd. He didn't tour with 47 different guitars. His songs were short.
Shit, did he even tour, or need a stage?
The answer is no. He played guitar because he loved it. Guitar gods remove every iota of sincerity and heart from what they do, choosing back flips, cartwheels, and somersaults instead—all part of a misguided effort to prove their greatness, and, of course, sell their latest DVD.
They're egomaniacs. They're arrogant. They're prima donnas. They wear sunglasses at night. They strut around in foolish outfits, guitar slung too low to be played properly, making sure you can see every vein and ridge of their package, and bastardize art—so 14-year-old girls will tear their picture out of Tiger Beat, and 16-year-old boys will idolize them.
Look up "guitar god" on Wikipedia. There are no pictures of Randy Rhodes, or Jimmy Page playing his axe with a bow. You simply get redirected—to "guitarist." It's either because the people responsible for Page's PR haven't gotten there yet, or because that's all a "guitar god" is. A guitarist. You can dress it up like anything you want. You can shoot it from a cannon. You can coat it with glitter or put it in leather. You can package it 87 ways, but the truth is simple.
They're a gimmick. Guitar gods are guitarists, strung out on the spotlight, doing circus tricks where decent licks would suffice. Their antics might be amusing, but that's where it ends. Seventeen-minute solos are impressive, but then again, sticking your thumb up your ass for 17 minutes is impressive. We'd all be better off if they had the balls to step back every once in a while, relinquish the spotlight for a moment, and play for the music, not the spectacle.
So, yeah, fuck Hendrix. He created this monster. Fuck him and his upside-down guitar. If the lucky bastard weren't dead, he'd be ashamed.