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
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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 : )
sean
Sean, thanks for the heads-up on Joe Stump. Music suggestions are key to what make Audiogon an internet destination. Joe's new CD Speed Metal Messiah, might be interesting. For me, the electronic drums are an issue on his earlier CD's. But given better production, "Speed Metal Messiah" will be on my buy list.
I'll check it out. allmusic.com trashes the guy, but I guess it is all a matter of taste. I see he is connected with the Berkley school of music so he must have something on the ball.
Haven't stuck on any Joe Stump for a few years, Guitar Dominance (93') is the earliest one i've heard. Think you'll agree that Night Of The Living Shred is recorded a little better and is also some seriously blistering poop, (a good recording is nice, but good ideas and playing gotta come first). A couple of Stump's later discs, Supersonic Shred Machine and Rapid Fire Rondo are also relentless head pummelers, but seem a bit formulaic after a few listenings. All four are on David Chastain's Leviathan label. Chastain is also a ridiculously dexterous flame thrower. My favorite from him is Within the Heat. Michael Harris put out a couple of amazing discs w/ Chastain and his Defense Mechanizms disc has some stuff on it that solidly puts him near the top of any good unsung heroes list (same w/ John Hahn's Out Of The Shadows). Dunno' if you've checked out Chris Poland's post Megadeth stuff, but Ohm and Return to Metalopolis have aged better than most shred efforts. Ron Thal's Adventures of Bumblefoot, the first Richie Kotzen and Greg Howe's Introspection (all on Shrapnel) transcend regular old instrumental hair farmer status and end up just being %##%&!!! good guitar records.
He tends to play in MI. alot. As well as IL.
I`ve seen him play 4 times at a club 5 minutes from
my house. He`s very good.
If you are into serious guitar playing you have to check out Steve Morse. His early band "Dixie Dregs" or "The Dregs" have incredible versatility in playing hard rock to country to classical. The band also had in my opinion, one of the best drummers of our time, Rod Morgenstein. Albums I would recommend are (1979) "Night Of The Living Dregs" (1980) "Dregs Of The Earth" and (1981) "Unsung Heroes". Worth checking out.
Sounds good. But its been done. He doesn't seem to add anything new to what Vinnie Moore, Tony McAlpine, Malmsteen (the most boring, redundant and overated of all).

The problem with neo-classicism is that it just takes fragments of classical music and throws them into a jam. It doesn’t really get as deep and complex as properly structured classical music. There is no guile, which keeps things interesting. You know what’s coming next because you've heard it a million times.

That's my opinion; I'm not attacking just adding to the discussion. I do appreciate the fact that you pointed him out. I like discussions about music rather than always about equipment. I think it is important for people to open eyes to talent that isn't in the mainstream and then not take personal any opposing opinion.

Thanks again for the mention!

Rob
Sounds good. But its been done. He doesn't seem to add anything new to what Vinnie Moore, Tony McAlpine, Malmsteen (the most boring, redundant and overated of all).

The problem with neo-classical metal is that it just takes fragments of classical music and throws them into a jam. It doesn’t really get as deep and complex as properly structured classical music. There is no guile, which keeps things interesting. You know what’s coming next because you've heard it a million times.

That's my opinion; I'm not attacking just adding to the discussion. I do appreciate the fact that you pointed him out. I like discussions about music rather than always about equipment. I think it is important for people to open eyes to talent that isn't in the mainstream and then not take personal any opposing opinion.

Thanks again for the mention!

Rob
Duane: Somehow, i knew that this guy was going to be "old hat" to you : )

Isellstuff: If you don't mind, what clubs in IL does he tend to play at? I'd love to see this guy live, just to see if he can duplicate what he does on record. I've seen WAY too many "guitar wizards" that should have been referred to as "studio wizards" fall flat on their face when performing on stage.

Byfo: I've had Steve Morse & the Dregs recommended to me many times, just never checked them out. What is a good disc to start with? Don't give me their best disc, as i hate to start at the top. Otherwise, everything other than that disc becomes a let-down. Something good enough to make me want to hear more is all i'm looking for : )

Rob: First you say "You know what’s coming next because you've heard it a million times" and then you repeat everything you said in a double post. Are you trying to make a point here ??? : )

Actually, i agree with what you're saying to a point. Upon first listen to the specific disc i mentioned, i found it both fresh and interesting enough for me to want to find out who it was. There was enough diversity of playing styles within a tune and amongst the multiple tunes presented that it got my attention. While i'm not saying that this guy is the best ever, i was "enthused" to find someone with talent that i wasn't familiar with. Who knows, after further listening and more exposure to his other recordings, i might not think so highly of him. All i do know is that on my drive home from Michigan on Friday night, and having just got done listening to Al Dimeola's "Splendido Motel", that disc fit the bill perfectly : ) Sean
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Not to step on Byfo's toes heres, but in response to Sean's question
about a Steve Morse/Dregs suggestion, I'd like to mention a live disc
they released in 1992 during a brief reunion tour. They nailed it. This
will qualify under your criterion, Sean, for two reasons. First, it's live, so
there's no studio magic. What you hear is what's being played at the
moment. Second, it's not their "best" release, so you'll have
somewhere to go from here. It's called Dixie Dregs "Bring 'Em
Back Alive". Highly recommended.
Tvad has a good suggestion. I would also recommend "The Best of Dixie Dregs" The Millennium Collection, 20th Century Masters. This CD has 11 very good selections from several albums and will give you an idea of studio recording quality. It's along the same lines as "Bring Em Back Alive" except there are only two tunes that were recorded live. It'll also give you a good taste of what they are all about.
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