Growing up in the Detroit
area and having two older brothers who had some cool
record collections I realized later in life how much
this music really had an influence on my tastes before I
even picked up a guitar. I had the luxury of hearing
Grad Funk Railroad, Humble Pie,
Jeff Beck, James Gang,
Santana etc. I
was lucky to have this stuff playing around the house. I
remember taking my brother's Edgar Winter Group
"Frankenstein" 45 record to school in the third grade
for record day and getting weird looks from the other
kids and the teacher. That still is a great song. The
Detroit scene was cool, I remember getting a little am
radio and really diggin the song that had "Hot town,
summer in the city, back of my neck is gettin dirty and
gritty" I don't know who does it, hell I was about 5 yrs
As I became an older and in
my early teens I got into
Bad Company etc.
Still all pre-guitar days. My first rock concert that I
ever went to was Journey at
Cobo arena in Detroit when I
was in the 7th grade. That experience really moved me
and from that point on I tried to hit every live show
that I could from my favorite artists.
Although I had acoustic guitars around the house and I
could figure out simple 5 chords, and bits and pieces of
songs, I wasn't interested because it wasn't electric.
In fact I really don't count these times as "playing
guitar" years because the interest or motivation to
learn anything wasn't there.
Halen, I remember hearing "Eruption" for the first
time and going, wow! Now that is some cool guitar
playing. Still, I didn't have an electric guitar and
really wasn't too interested in learning how to play it.
Also around this time my future brother in-law Rocky had
an 8-Track tape of
Black Sabbath's Paranoid that he let me listen to ,
I can't remember but I think it scared him or something
because I don't think he wanted it back :) it was
some spooky sounding stuff. I was really attracted to it
right away because it was then I realized that music can
project moods, this stuff was scary and evil sounding, I
thought it was cool. This brought me into my late jr.
high and high school days. I as a huge Black Sabbath
Being a Sabbath fan
eventually lead me to anticipate hearing the
new band "Blizzard of Oz". I heard how messed up Ozzy
was with drugs and booze and I thought to myself
what a waste and that there's no way the guitar player
would be nearly as cool as Tony Iommi and Sabbath. Well,
I was wrong, I first heard "I Don't Know" on the radio
and was in awe of the guitar sound and the solo,
the muted part towards the end solo did it for me. I was
a changed person from that point on. I wanted to play
guitar, I wanted to sound like that, I HAD to learn how
to do that. I still didn't have an electric guitar and
was lucky enough to get one for Christmas in 1981. My
parents got me a killer Alverez acoustic guitar, while
it was a beautiful instrument, it was no electric and my
parents let me take it back to Wonderland Music in
Dearborn Michigan and exchange it for something I did
want. I remember walking into that place with tons of
electrics on the wall and going "oh yeah, this going to
be cool. I didn't know anything about quality only that
I was into heavy metal and hard rock, I was able to
get a Hondo
Explorer and a Yamaha 20 Watt amp. Man I was
making noise right away and loving it.
Randy Rhoads was the guy
who did it for me, please check out my Randy Rhoads page
dedicated to him and his memory. He had such a profound
impact on me personally and musically that I can't begin
to summarize in a paragraph.
The next players that I got
Dio's Vivian Campbell. I liked Ronnie James Dio's
vocals on the Rainbow and Sabbath records and I thought
Vivian blazed away on guitar.
Adrian Vandenberg was another melodic player that
had a sweet guitar tone. His first two solo albums
were great. I remember seeing the Burning Heart video on
MTV and had a hard time locating the album for a while.
Malmsteen who is without a doubt is my second most
influential player to have a huge affect on the way I
viewed the instrument. Other than Randy Rhoads there was
no single player that did this to me. I really loved his
classical influence, clean fast picking, arpeggios.
There was not too many guys around that the time who
played like this and I think that along with Randy and
Eddie, he has had the most influence on guitar players
of our era. After Yngwie came some great players like
Moore, among others but the whole Bach and roll
and instrumental thing got fashionable and pretty boring
Other players who I love;
Moore - This is one of the greatest guitar players
ever. I really like his rock albums and wish he'd drop
the blues thing for a while and return to a Victims of the Future
and Corridor of Power type of music. I knew of him
from a bass player "Smitty" At the time and when I heard
his solo on "Shapes of Things" I knew what Smitty was
talking about. I remember Smitty saying to me "If you
can play that solo, I'll kiss your ass" lol. Well A
while later when we jammed I played that song. No I
never held him up to it. He used to use that saying a lot,
if you can play Far Beyond the Sun or whatever. It used to
challenge me to play difficult stuff, not that I wanted
him to kiss my ass or anything but to show him I could
play this stuff.
Dokken - Ultimate cool tone. George, leave the
baritones alone please.
Meola - Jazz / fusion player with one of the fastest
picking hands known to man. I really fell in love with
is fast muted runs and his melodies
Carlton - Most rock people know him form the great
Steely Dan albums but I was turned on to him by a local
guitar teacher and friend from Taylor MI, Wally Reed.
Come to think of it Wally was a big influence on
me as well. He was the same age as I was but he
started guitar in 6th or 7th grade and is a great Rock,
Jazz and Classical player. I used to take lessons from
him when I would get in a rut in my own development.
Anyway, back to Larry, I went out and bought the
Sleepwalk album and I really fell in love with his
bending and 335 tone. Bluesy, Jazzy and oh so cool. He
actually got shot in the head during the 80's by someone
breaking into his home or studio, the ES-335 in him
overcame the 357 bullet. It was miracle he survived and
is still playing, touring and recording.
I just realized that I
could go on and on here. I'll never be able to name
every influence and I'm sure I'll forget to mention
some. In addition to early 80's heavy metal I am hugely
influenced by classical music, primarily
and Baroque era music. I love the violin. I
still go through periods where I only listen to
classical music. Click their photos to learn about them.