My musical influences
I'll be 51 in June. I grew up with a lot of classical music. Just about everyone on my mom's side of the family was a classical musician. They all played and taught. My mom actually played at Carnegie Hall once. Her dad was a violin maker; he won an award for his instruments at the 1939 World Fair.
Despite all that, I have no formal musical training. That was my own choice - one that I occasionally question. I was certainly afforded the opportunity to learn about music, but as a child I was far more interested in electronics.
I got interested in the guitar sometime during the mid-`60s. My dad was trying to teach himself classical guitar. I picked up his guitar once in a while to try it out. What really got me interested, though, was hearing my buddy's dad play folk and country music on his electric guitar - a really "futuristic" looking Italian solidbody instrument with pushbutton pickup selectors and a green finish. He played through some old tweed amp that'd probably be worth more today than my car if he had kept it; back then it was nothing special.
At around the same time I became interested in playing the guitar, I started buying records. Although the Beatles were hot, I really didn't care for them. Ditto the Rolling Stones. My first album was The Monkees. The second was The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Shortly after that I got into Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Deep Purple, Mountain, Neil Young, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, etc. Later still I listened to Hot Tuna, Blue Oyster Cult, Hawkwind, Steve Hillage, The Grateful Dead, Poco, Todd Rundgren, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Steely Dan, Steeleye Span, It's A Beautiful Day, etc. I even had Beethoven in heavy rotation. I stopped listening to music throughout the `80s; I couldn't tolerate the Casio-pop assault, and didn't care much for the hair-farmer bands. Van Halen was novel - even groundbreaking - but I could only tolerate them in small doses. Alice in Chains, Tool, Candlebox, Alannah Myles, and Joan Osborne revived my interest in radio through the first half of the `90s. The last time I listened to the radio by choice was around `96.
As long as I'm doing this, I have a confession to make: I never even heard of SRV until the day he died. The news was all over the stations I listened to, despite the fact that his music was not in their rotation.
I really prefer guitar driven music as opposed to guitar-centric music. It's gotta be about the song, first and foremost. I love music with good cadence, harmony, and dynamics. I love vocals even though I rarely pay attention to lyrics. I also love lyrical guitar parts, and am starting to develop an appreciation for chord melody style guitar.
Guitar solos are way down on my list of important features. Being stuck in a blues jam is my idea of hell-on-earth. An even lower-level of hell would be sitting through a G3 "guitar summit" wankfest.
I still have an interest in well-crafted pop, blues-rock, and folk-rock. I've given up even mentioning metal and psychedelia because their modern incarnations have mutated so very far from their roots that I don't recognize them as the same genre.
I'm trying to develop an appreciation for traditional jazz, but that has been an uphill struggle.