This installment of the Mercury Music Issue is about guitar gods, and I have very mixed feelings about guitar gods. On one hand I don't believe in dissing something because it's "indulgent." It's a critical construct; most of the time when someone's calling an artist "indulgent" it's just a matter of taste. So bring on the "offensive" 10-minute guitar solos. Bring on the 20-minute psychedelic rock crushers; I don't give a fuck. I love it all.

What I don't love so much is arrogance—especially false confidence. More so, I can't abide arrogance when there are no good ideas, soul, or creativity behind the music. For that reason, lionized idiots like Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Steve Vai make me want to (A) drive a pickup truck full of pus, cat shit, and vomit into their tour van. (B) Set the truck on fire. (C) Walk away feeling like I did my good deed for the day. And for that very reason, I am in awe of smart, creative guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Mick Barr from Orthrelm, Adam Forkner, Ron Asheton, Muhammed Suicmez from Necrophagist, Big Joe Williams, John Fahey, Tony Iommi, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Lou Reed (for the chicken scratch), David Gilmour, Carlos Santana (sometimes), John McLaughlin (when he's playing with Santana), Geeshie Wiley, Chuck Berry, Robert Quinn from the Voidoids, Neil Young (Dead Man!), Bobby Bray from the Locust, Bo Diddley (shuffle beat!), and Agata from Melt-Banana. These fuckers are pure white-hot passion and originality—and to them I dedicate this issue. For the others, the clowns with their bankrupt shredding, I am laughing at you. Can you hear me laugh? I hope to god you can.