JIMI HENDRIX “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be)” — Over the years it has turned into one of my favorite Hendrix songs because it is incredible how he could play and sound like somebody else, not like him. It’s also the perfect example of a song that, although it has a great set of melodies and chord progressions, there’s still an extra instrumental counterpoint melody that highlights the song, which is great. Then it’s got that completely spaced out middle section. It’s just unbelievable improvisation and working with tape machines to create a wonderful recording experience. Then you add to that the lyrics, which are just so fantastic. I enjoy that song.
THE ROLLING STONES “Casino Boogie” — That one is purely visceral. Every time I hear it I feel great. A smile breaks out on my face, and I think this is the happiest sound I’ve ever heard in my life.
ZZ TOP “Jesus Just Left Chicago” — That’s another one of those real visceral kinds of songs where the groove captures you, and the sound of Billy [Gibbon]’s voice and his guitar just wrap around you and you just feel like you’re in his world. It is a complete feeling of immersion that this character has brought you into his world with his song.
JEFF BECK “Nessun Dorma” — That’s a guitar player’s dream, just to hear somebody play the guitar and take it further to the outer reaches of what you thought was possible, how you could use the guitar as a melodic tool. It’s amazing that he hasn’t done it before. He’s been steadily progressing in this technique, and right now at this time of his life he is at the height of his technical prowess, being able to pull things off like that. That’s really difficult guitar playing.
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER “Tarkus” [excerpt here]– The phases you go through… There was definitely an ELP phase when I was a teenager. I spent many hours with my girlfriend listing to ELP. I actually got to see them once, when Keith Emerson used to get strapped to his grand piano, and he would go up in the air, spin around upside down, just insane stuff. Just taking a 20-minute piano solo. “Tarkus” is a fantastic piece of music. It’s just amazing that they could write and play that.