Steve Gaines

where does Steve Gaines fit into the all-time guitar Discussion?  of Skynyrd’s two excellent lead players (Ed King being the other) Gaines is my favorite.  SERIOUS slide guitar chops on this dude, too.
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  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,783
    edited July 2018
    The Skynyrd guys are all good, tasty players within the realm of very basic, 70s pentatonic guys. Gaines isn the most fluid. Rossington is tasty, but a bit more choppy and staccato.  Collins is even more nondescript.

    But there's not one of them who's "special" IMO. Not one of them who's Gorham or Robbo, or Perry or Whitford. What they played is as hard as falling off a log.  Any bar band in the world can play ANY of these songs with ease.  And at least half the DRG guitarists could have stood on stage with Skynyrd and ripped out pentatonc licks over those Skynyrd songs that are just as good and tasty as what those guys did.  (Not as sacrilegious as it sounds -- they were all in their 20s in their glory days, and guys our age have 20-30 years on them.)
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • cvansicklecvansickle Posts: 6,212
    I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd this past March. It was the warm up show for the current farewell tour, a special concert put on by SiriusXM from which all attendees won tickets. About 200 fans were packed into a tiny Atlanta theater. Of course, Gary Rossington is the only original member left, but it was still Lynyrd Skynyrd, or at least the best Skynyrd tribute band you'll ever see.

    Rossington is still everything Dave said, a tasty player who kept his head down the whole time. He wasn't about to chance any mistakes and made none. Sharing the front stage and playing the Alan Collins parts was Rickey Medlocke, who was a lot more animated but very solid. The real surprise was a relatively new guy, Mark "Sparky" Matejka, who played all the Ed King and Steve Gaines parts. Sparky played with the professional precision of a high caliber studio player, and was most likely the best musician to ever grace a Skynyrd stage since Billy Powell.
    Death Or Glory - Who Dares Wins!
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd this past March. It was the warm up show for the current farewell tour, a special concert put on by SiriusXM from which all attendees won tickets. About 200 fans were packed into a tiny Atlanta theater. Of course, Gary Rossington is the only original member left, but it was still Lynyrd Skynyrd, or at least the best Skynyrd tribute band you'll ever see.

    Rossington is still everything Dave said, a tasty player who kept his head down the whole time. He wasn't about to chance any mistakes and made none. Sharing the front stage and playing the Alan Collins parts was Rickey Medlocke, who was a lot more animated but very solid. The real surprise was a relatively new guy, Mark "Sparky" Matejka, who played all the Ed King and Steve Gaines parts. Sparky played with the professional precision of a high caliber studio player, and was most likely the best musician to ever grace a Skynyrd stage since Billy Powell.
    Johnny Colt is my favorite of the current band, Rossington included.  that dude IS rock n roll.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    edited July 2018
    The Skynyrd guys are all good, tasty players within the realm of very basic, 70s pentatonic guys. Gaines isn the most fluid. Rossington is tasty, but a bit more choppy and staccato.  Collins is even more nondescript.

    But there's not one of them who's "special" IMO. Not one of them who's Gorham or Robbo, or Perry or Whitford. What they played is as hard as falling off a log.  Any bar band in the world can play ANY of these songs with ease.  And at least half the DRG guitarists could have stood on stage with Skynyrd and ripped out pentatonc licks over those Skynyrd songs that are just as good and tasty as what those guys did.  (Not as sacrilegious as it sounds -- they were all in their 20s in their glory days, and guys our age have 20-30 years on them.)
    i don’t hear it that way.  i know a hundred guys that think like this, as though the notes are all that matter, but they can’t bring the sauce live, because they can’t grip the groove and swing that make the track pop.  Freddie King and Don Rich play simple notes too, but how many people do you know that mangle their tunes, because they cannot place the phrases correctly?  simple and easy aren’t the same thing.  Dave, i can take a first act guitar and eat most people’s LUNCH on this type of stuff, going DIRECT, and often with a shitty drummer, because i know how to groove the track.  that’s EVERYTHING where Gaines is concerned.  much more than meets the ear initially.
    Post edited by bourbonsamurai on
  • cvansicklecvansickle Posts: 6,212
    Johnny Colt is my favorite of the current band, Rossington included.  that dude IS rock n roll.
    Colt wasn't there, and apparently isn't in the band any longer. It was Keith Christopher that night.

    Here's one of about 100 pictures I took that night. My wife worked her charms and got us right in front of the stage on Gary's side. That's Sparky and Keith flanking Gary in this shot.



    Note the American flag on Johnny Van Zant's back. FWIW, there was not a single Confederate flag in sight that night.

    Death Or Glory - Who Dares Wins!
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,783
    edited July 2018
    Dave, i can take a first act guitar and eat most people’s LUNCH on this type of stuff, going DIRECT, and often with a shitty drummer, because i know how to groove the track.  
    I agree. And as I said, any decent player can. And you may be prizing that trait higher than I am, because I feel that all pros, and most semi pro players who play live regularly can do that.

    I was trying, last night to think of the LS guys' 70s pentatonic peers (not the stunning virtuoso guys), and these are the guys I came up with:

    Gorham
    Robertson
    Pat Travers
    Angus Young
    Ace Frehley
    Perry
    Whitford
    Mickey Moody
    Bernie Marsden
    Mick Taylor
    Ronnie Wood
    Duane Allman
    Dicky Betts
    Billy Gibbons
    Mick Ronson
    Glen Buxton
    Michael Bruce
    Davey Johnstone
    Leslie West
    David Gilmour

    And to MY ears (this is just my opinion), none of LS guys are as talented or distinctive as ANY of those guys above based on the things I personally value in hearing in lead players.  





    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    edited July 2018
    I don't think Dave is referring to "just the notes," nor was I.  It's more of an overall aesthetic issue.  This is not to say that the Skynyrd guys are not good players, they definitely are, they just aren't "special players."  Skynyrd bears the distinction of being a guitar band, without having "guitar Gods."  The thing that makes Skynyrd Skynyrd is their very charismatic, cowboy hat wearin' barefoot lead singer, The Honkettes for a gospel tinge and great great songs.  Skynyrd are like....nearly 90% all about those songs.  There, they excel.  The players play what is right for those songs.  That's likely their strongest trait as players.  Skynyrd are....a "Southern driven bar band with a God up front."  

    Before we went to bed last night, Dave and I went and lined all four players up with their peer group, this is to say "other notable guitar players of the 1970s" who use a blues based or quasi blues based approach, and the truth is, we could not think of any band that wouldn't best them not only in "notes" but in feel, technique and overall presentation.  They just don't stack up ahead of really anyone, save for the other "Southern Rock" bands, all of whom had this thing wherein they all took basic tasty players and just added 2 or three others, so there would be all this heft.  Even the Allmans, who everyone unfairly compares the band to, I'd argue that while Dickey Betts and Duane Allman (and later Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks) had more going on with their guitar units, who are also for the most part blues based players but both guitarists take it so much further and do more with it, Dickey is more nimble, has more chops and Duane's slide work alone is far more impressive than any member of Skynyrd.  This is to be fair, because the Allman's are ultimately a different kind of band they branch out into jazz, and AfroCuban areas at times, it's the difference between a "jamband" (which The Allman Bros fall into gracefully) and a Southern Rock Band, like BOA or Molly Hatchet.

    The players Dave lists above are all way bigger badder and more original beasts than the Skynyrd players.  You mention "how many guys play those songs wrong" but I mean...bad players, play everything wrong anyway!  If you can't nail those Skynyrd parts with any semblance of prowess, you're probably just a bad player.  There is nothing in their music that requires very much.  The argument made about "feel" here, is the same argument you could make about ANYTHING, all things done well requires great feel. I mean Ritchie Blackmore has spent the better part of his life watching nearly EVERYONE play Smoke On The Water incorrectly.  

    Even the EAGLES players- Felder, Frey and Walsh are better players than the Skynyrd guys with WAY more reach.  The other guys Dave forgets on his list are Leslie West, Paul Kossoff, Rick Derringer, Ronnie Montrose, Robin Trower, and of course, the guy from whom ALL THESE GUYS took from, Msr Jimmy Page who...would clean everyone's clock for the most part.  So yeah, I mean this whole....thing bout "feel?"  If you have a shitty drummer, and rhythm section, you can't fix it with a guitar to begin with (and I'll never ever ever be convinced otherwise, because a shitty rhythm section ruins everything)  and I concur with Dave, a pro who can't nail something this basic, is probably just an inferior musician/player.
    lol.  i just wanna hear any of y’all execute this with a drummer you just met, and a heroin case bass player your cokehead regular subbed the gig out to.  all i’m saying is, i hear it, and i’ve been hearing it.  talk is, after all, just talk.  i’ve got lists a mile long of everything i think is correct, and they’ll change tonight!  because today’s a new day, and when it come to live music, it’s eat what you kill today, or don’t eat.  Gaines was a breed apart.  maybe he just speaks to me thru my various ancestors or something.  blood matters, yes?  you can hear it too, or wouldn’t conrinue to entertain my obstreperousness, here.
    Post edited by bourbonsamurai on
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    but none of this BS matters until you can convince yourself that the audience is the only thing standing between you and your family eating today, and every day.  what if that was what really mattered to you every day?  would you have the luxury of your obviously extensive education and variegated background to call upon to provide for those needs?  i’m gonna guess NO..  because i’ve lived it.  now, we’re not talking about fly ins, or subs, or the shit we’ve all gotta do do make a side hustle.  we’re talking about how you’re gonna live TODAY, with the weight of the world on yr shoulders.  do yr kids eat today given this context of reality?  or do you wrap yourself in more bullshit after bullshit, and complain after the fact as to how it didn’t work, and why it was your other bandmates’ fault as to why you couldn’t feed yr family today?  WTF even is this?  this isn’t reality for me, or a hundred other, much more capable folks i know.  simple rules.  and i can hear it real good.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    edited July 2018
    as though MY response we the first to drift.. please.  all the shit i said stands on its own no matter what or who you’re asking and ASK AWAY, if you’re as networked as you claim.
    Post edited by bourbonsamurai on
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,783
    edited July 2018
    In less gig-cuthroat towns than NYC and others (New Orleans, Nashville etc.), there are a thousand bar bands playing Skynyrd across the whole country. Some probably doing it badly, some doing it well.

    What I'm saying is that among the ones who play it well, from the guitar work standpoint ONLY, I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between good bar band players playing that stuff, and the original guys playing that stuff.

    And among the original 3, unless I'm watching them on video, I'm not a big enough LS fan to even distinguish them from each other. Bigger LS fans than me probably would know who played which solo, but I don't know which guy took which solos unless I check the video. And when this came up last night, I watched some video and was able to pick up some subtle differences.

    Cary, what you're talking about is appreciating subtle nuances within a very basic guitar style, and that's fair and that fine.  But these guys were 20-something year-olds who were not particularly gifted players -- just good, hardworking musicians who developed that great feel you're referring to from touring.  That's supposed to happen when you tour a lot.  Who knows what Gaines might have become if he'd lived? He appeared to me to have the most talent, and he might have developed as a player -- who knows?  We do know is that Rossington isn't a worlds better player in 2018 than he was in 1978.

     
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    yeah.  that much is true.  granted.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    Oh sure, conversations on topics here can drift, but this is getting personal for you, and I'd think as this is important to you, it likely deserves it's own topic?
    maybe it does, but by the time we get around to it, the matter will be all gone, given the context.  all the really good players i know live day to day.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    i’m not here for any reason other than that i love the site, and am a fan of the many musos this site is built around.  i usually get paid for lessons and sessions, so if somebody around here gives enough of a shit about Steve Gaines or George Benson to check these topics out, i guess they’re in for a freebie.  otherwise they can do what i did to learn, which is live the dream until it nearly kills them.  or exhausts their trust fund, wife’s money, etc, as the shoe may fit.
  • bourbonsamuraibourbonsamurai Posts: 1,567
    In less gig-cuthroat towns than NYC and others (New Orleans, Nashville etc.), there are a thousand bar bands playing Skynyrd across the whole country. Some probably doing it badly, some doing it well.

    What I'm saying is that among the ones who play it well, from the guitar work standpoint ONLY, I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between good bar band players playing that stuff, and the original guys playing that stuff.

    And among the original 3, unless I'm watching them on video, I'm not a big enough LS fan to even distinguish them from each other. Bigger LS fans than me probably would know who played which solo, but I don't know which guy took which solos unless I check the video. And when this came up last night, I watched some video and was able to pick up some subtle differences.

    Cary, what you're talking about is appreciating subtle nuances within a very basic guitar style, and that's fair and that fine.  But these guys were 20-something year-olds who were not particularly gifted players -- just good, hardworking musicians who developed that great feel you're referring to from touring.  That's supposed to happen when you tour a lot.  Who knows what Gaines might have become if he'd lived? He appeared to me to have the most talent, and he might have developed as a player -- who knows?  We do know is that Rossington isn't a worlds better player in 2018 than he was in 1978.

     
    you speak as though i’ve never been such a town, when in fact i’m FROM such a town.  lol  Dave, when it comes to this particular situation, regarding the players, music, and components involved, i really need no further illumination, from you or anybody else whose name isn’t Gaines, Rossington, Medlocke, or King.  i’ve lived it, and fed my family by it.  i already know what i hear from what is not there, and i’ve hired and fired a dozen guys that thought they knew it well enough to tell me how, when all they had to do was play it right and make it sound correct.  i mean, that’s we we do, right,  PLAY music for money?  the day talking about it makes me more money, i’ll likely quit.
  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,783
    edited July 2018
    Cary, I honestly don't know wtf you're talking about on most of this thread.

    You're not getting your points across effectively in text. What the fuck is your point? And before you answer, try and get it clear in your mind.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of your admiration for Gaines ... because A: I don't care, and B: I just don't see it like you do.  AND THAT'S OKAY. If you can make your case, DO SO, but you haven't as of yet.

    Whatever point you're trying to make is escaping me.
    Post edited by Dinosaur David B on
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
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