Part one of the list is here

6. Poison Ivy
The Cramps had a brilliant singer and a very definable area they were operating in but they constantly broke the rules and this was down to their guitarist the great Poison Ivy, who not only looked the part- with her gum chewing glacial cool but was coasting on a wall of scuzzy feedback, sorta fifties licks and tripped out psych noises- especially on the band’s first two albums when they sounded like the rock n roll band from outer space and her guitar work was like no other.


7. Daniel Ash
Post punk history has been recast and rewritten and the so called Goth bands like Bauhaus have been removed from the narrative which is crying shame as there was so much innovative work going on there. Bauhaus’s Daniel Ash was one of the classic non-guitarists at the time that was using noise, dark dub, feedback, starching sounds on his guitar when others were using ruffs and solos.


8. Greg Ginn
Black Flag took the full assault of the non believing Middle America as they toured their, what was perceived as, punk rock across the states in the early eighties. The band, driven by their guitar player Gregg Ginn, were a constantly evolving beast and by the time their audience had ‘got punk’ they had moved on somewhere else into sludge and mind melting guitar filth that paved the way for, initially, hardcore and then post hardcore and a lot of dark modern metal and experimental guitar music. Henry Rollins may have become better known but it was guitarist Gregg Ginn who really pushing the creative agenda in the band as Henry himself would insist with his guitar that sounds like it was changing the rules in the middle of each solo. We could have also included Ron Asheton here for the same reason for what he did in the Stooges and for creating the drone with power chords.


9. Kevin Shields
Taking his time to get the sound that was in his head, Kevin Shields spends years dreaming the sounds and then going through the frustratingly narrow amount of effects units and strange boxes to try and concoct that sound like a mad alchemist. When his band, My Bloody Valentine, peaked he was full in control of those warm enveloping slabs of sound- creating beauty out of noise and two decades later he is about to release anew album- where will he have taken the guitar now?


10. Johnny Greenwood
Radiohead maybe a stadium friendly band whose hits sit comfortably on many car stereos and XFM playlists but there is something defiantly quite odd going on with that guitar which never takes the obvious route and is always slipping into areas and shapes you would never expect.


11. Thurston Moore/ Lee Renaldo
Ok, I know it’s 11 but we are breaking the rules here…
There was a lot of fucking with the six string in new York in the early eighties around loose crews of musicians built around sonic experimentalists like Glenn Branca- if only someone could capture this and put it into a rock band- this is precisely what Thurston Moore did when he built Sonic Youth to part showcase his detuned arsenal of guitars that created whole new electric landscapes.


12. Steve Albini
he turned the guitar into slabs of industrial sound inBig Black and then into a small scurrying shrapnel beast in Shellac, constantly innovative and always working at full Death To Trad Rock pelt, Albini’s guitar playing is always restlessy brilliant.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Don’t forget the great John McGeoch. He paved the way for the likes of Daniel Ash, Jonny Greenwood and Kevin Shields.

  2. You forgot Paul Wiggin from Factory hipsters Section XXV, talk about breaking the rules, not only did he refuse to learn the guitar, he played seriously interesting chords that he made up himself, ask Sumner how incredible that was, back to the audience, no interest whatsoever in the bs of the “rock establishment” we need attitude like this again.

  3. I always thought that Poison Ivy COULD play guitar, but it was Bryan Gregory who could not. No-one, in the early days of the band, could or wanted to play bass, hence the twin guitar line-up. Admittedly, Ivy wasn’t technically much good at first, but it was Gregory who made the most imaginative use of his lack of ability; sort of, just pick a chord, use lots of feedback, and see what happens. Divine!

  4. Nice to mention the Cramps, but it was Bryan Gregory who supplied the fuzz, feedback and atonal shrapnels of noise you heard on Gravest Hits and Songs The Lord Taught Us. Listen to his slide playing on Lonesome Town and Surfin’ Bird. Alex Chilton, who produced those records, picked up on their shambolic weirdness, whilst producing his own brand of same in “Like Flies On Sherbert”, and the Barrett-like outpourings of late Big Star. Gregory was like, the Eno of the group, providing the random element as a foil to Poison Ivy’s Link Wray riffing. Those two Cramps records remain for me the most interesting…for a while the really were a band from the Twilight Zone.


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