Angel Vivaldi Blasts Kirk Hammett for Being ‘a Reason Why Guitar Solos Are Dying’
Earlier this month, Loudwire reported on Metallica’s Kirk Hammett discussing why “non-musicians” are unlikely to “remember guitar solos.” Naturally, his comment(s) proved controversial, and now fellow guitarist Angel Vivaldi has fired back, arguing that not only is Hammett incorrect in his assumption(s) but that Hammett is partially to blame for “why guitar solos are dying!”
I hate to say it for all your readers out there, but non-musicians, who are the majority of the fucking listening world, they are not going to remember guitar solos. They are gonna helluva remember a great melody, and they’re really gonna remember a great song – especially a song that’s gonna bring them to a different place from where they were five minutes previously.
On Dec. 16, Vivaldi – known for his solo work and collaborations with Carnifex and Scale the Summit – commented on Metal Injection’s Facebook post regarding Hammett's feelings. Specifically, he said: “Couldn’t be further from the truth. If the solo is written by a songwriter and not a lazy guitarist relying on muscle memory, your solo will stay with people forever.”
His comment received mostly supportive replies, and three days later, Vivaldi shared a screenshot of it, adding:
If not for Kirk I wouldn’t be here, so utmost respect to him. However, the second someone succumbs to this type of thinking, ala’ “theres no good or memorable music these days” you’re just screaming “I’m close minded and don’t seek new music in order to actually judge it” to the world. You can’t say that unless you’ve heard every new song uploaded to Spotify daily, and few at that age actually seek out the new music they’re writing off.
In the comments section of that post, Vivaldi elaborated:
I believe it’s a conscious choice to stay freshly aware and inspired by seeking out new and exciting music. Let’s all collectively vow to age with grace, open mindedness and wisdom.
Ive seen a lot of great responses both agreeing and disagreeing with my post. I can certainly understand and appreciate many the opposing arguments, many fantastic points and ideas shared! With that, I’d like to expand on some additional thoughts and musings on the topic in an effort for mutual understanding and clarity.
In order to understand my viewpoint, we’ll have to be on the same page regarding the sheer amount of music being put out. There are approximately 23,000 songs upload to Spotify each day. Let’s assume that 30% of those are in the rock category, and from there 5% have solos. No one is listening to 345 songs in order to make that sweeping accusation. There is simply too much music. It’s best to say “I haven’t heard any iconic guitar solos,” rather than "the art of the guitar solo is dying.
Let’s get to the reason why some people, in this case older generations, have a hard time discovering those solos. They are used to Guns N Roses, Queen, Zeppelin etc who conquer the world and have the exposure that no one can escape from. Because of over saturation, there’s no way for any new band to ever reach that magnitude of success and exposure. It will never happen again - facts. Therefore, your iconic guitar solo will slip under the radar of a majority of listeners. Furthermore, many from that generation have a hard time wielding technology to their benefit. Between editorial playlists and all of the custom playlists custom made for you by many listening platforms, there really isn’t an excuse to remain ignorant. However, it takes effort and I totally understand not wanting to put the work into something like that.
Regarding the non-musician argument. Good and inspiring solos are what MAKE musicians. Kirk himself held a torch of responsibility when it came to flipping non-musicians into guitar shredders, myself included. He himself is a reason why guitar solos are dying! He arguably has the largest platform to inspire even more guitarists, but because he “opted for a raw, improvisational approach” (which he does not have the skillset to execute, imho) on 72 Seasons and lord knows how many before that, his torch now burns very dimly if at all. There was a time during the Some Kind of Monster-era where he fought for how important solos were. It’s possible that because none of his solos landed the way they did in the past that it helped to further extinguish his opinion on how important they are. I can only speculate.
Do you guys remember what Lars said about how it would take Kirk about 6 months to write a good solo for The Unforgiven (Year and A Half doc)? I sure do. For 72 Seasons, “he churned out 20-30 solos, tossed them to the band's drummer and producer, and said, "You guys edit them." This approach only works if you’re a world class songwriting musician ala’ David Gilmour. And honestly, this approach is perfectly fine! He’s earned the right to do that. But he doesn’t have the right to say what he did. It only becomes a problem when you say “solos are dying” and writing off entire generations who are jointly carrying the torch he decided to drop.
You know who doesn’t have this mentality at all? Steve Vai. He doesn’t seem to have an issue being open to discovering new talent that inspires him, nor does he have an issue continuously challenging himself with *INSANE* challenges like playing 4(?) necks on a guitar for “Teeth of the Hydra.” We can argue if any of that composition is memorable, but god damn that was best display of performance art Ive seen in a very, very long time. There’s a conscious intention set to always outdo himself, and that is why he will forever remain an icon who is constantly challenging and reinventing himself. We need to channel more of that energy when we’re that age.
Look no further than Jared’s [Dines] annual shred collab for inspired solos. Could a non-musician sit through all of that? Hell, I barely make it to the end myself. But I guarantee you there will be at least one solo that a non-musician would be like “yo, that one was cool!” And who knows… maybe we’ll get some new musicians out of it.
Vivaldi has since replied to some people within the thread(s) as well, and you can see his post below.
This past April, Vivaldi released his latest EP, Away With Words: Part 2, the official follow-up to 2014’s Away With Words, Part 1. As for Hammett, he recently admitted that “Shadows Follow” (from this year’s 72 Seasons) features a nod to the 1960s Batman TV series.
So, do you agree with Vivaldi? How about with Hammett? Let us know!
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