FABULOUS guitar wanking
Somehow, i missed this guy. Never heard of him as an individual, never heard of any bands that he's been in, never heard any of his music, etc... Joe Stump KILLS on guitar.
When i listened to an all instrumental disc that he put out, i was blown away. No, it wasn't the usual "guitar wanking" by the likes of "techno-players" that lack power, harmony and "feeling" like Joe Satriani, it was real music that jammed. At the same time, Stump was able to amaze me with phenomenal speed and technical prowess without making it feel like i should bow down and worship him. If this guy was a hi-fi system rather than a guitar player, he would have both detail and musicality.
In a review that i just stumbled across, he lists his biggest guitar influences as being "Wingwang" Malmsteen, Blackmore, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Al Dimeola, Stevie Ray, Dave Chastain, etc.... Other than paying homage to multiple different styles by naming those guys, the big difference that i could hear in his playing style was that you could hear quite a bit of classical influence. He has the ability to retain melody and structure while his guitar just wails away. In that same interview, Stump says that Bach, Paganini, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, etc... are all some of his favourites. Quite honestly, i don't doubt it as the classical influences were out in the open for all to hear and recognize.
When listening to this recording, i instantly heard bits of every great hard rock / metal guitarist that i could think of, but done in his own style with great flair, finesse and energy. Some that popped into my mind were Jeff Beck, Eddie VH, the ultimate master of rock guitar Jimi and a highly under-rated yet kick-ass guitar player known as Ross the Boss ( Manowar ). Beck has the ability to make individual notes just "melt together" with a great sense of ease. Eddie can throw in all kinds of crazy "noodling" on the strings yet find a way to make it seem like it fits and was meant to be there. Hendrix was the master of power and emotion, making the guitar talk to you in a psychedlic manner. The speed & finesse along with the classical influences are what brought Ross to mind, given Manowar's tendency to draw upon "classical" music when writing their "anthems". Blend all of this together and then combine bits of Dimeola with bits of grinding metal thrown in here and there and you've got one helluva combo.
For sake of reference, the only disc i've heard by this guy is called "Guitar Dominance" and it is all instrumental. Having said that, this is NOT like most "instrumental guitar wanking" discs that you've heard before. It's not boring, it has "feeling", it does go places and you can listen to the whole disc in one sitting without your mind wandering. I've not heard anything else by this guy, but if you like rock & roll guitar that doesn't follow a formula, you've GOT to check this out. If others are familiar with some of Stump's other recordings, i'd like to know what are worth picking up and in what order. This would also be a great chance to mention other "lesser known" guitar wizards too : ) Sean
PS... I'm not sure about sound quality as i heard this on a second hand recording on cassette that was given to my Brother a few years back. For some reason, i had never listened to it. I ended up listening to it on a factory stock car stereo last night on the way home from Michigan, so don't yell at me about recording quality. From what i could tell, the drums were recorded digitally, so it has that "digitally triggered kick drum sound". If you can get past that, you'll probably be okay : )