Shredding: an ultra-technical form of guitar-playing that shows off the capable fingers and nimble mind of a genius, or a whole lotta soulless showmanship that shows off an inability to write an actual song? Once upon a time, guitar wizards were the beautiful freaks who made rock and roll credible, but today it sometimes feels like any kid with enough patience to watch sixteen hours of YouTube can become the next Dimebag, armed with four decades of hastily-absorbed weedly-deedlies. This begs the question: what does it mean to be a shredder in 2021?
Thankfully, on this week’s episode of our heavy metal talk show Last Words, hosts Katy Irizarry (Season Of Mist), Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/Ex Man Podcast), and Zeena Koda (Everything’s Political Podcast) talk to a guest who can answer all these questions and more: guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi, who lists players like Kirk Hammett and Alex Skolnick as some of his earlier influences (“I think we all start with rhythm guitar…”). That said, Angel is also ready to admit that while he loves what he does, he sometimes shies away from the ‘shredder’ label because of the implications it often invokes.
“I think it’s a matter of that association with self-indulgent playing,” says Angel. “And to be perfectly honest, I think it’s ridiculous. You mean to tell me that playing an instrument well over a song is more self-indulgent than putting your voice on a song? The thing that identifies your being more than anything in the world? It’s a weak argument for a feeble mind.”
“Spoken like a true instrumentalist,” cackles Zeena.
Watch the whole episode below and catch yourself doing the solo fingers at your screen:
And if this doesn’t have you buying a powdered wig and changing your middle name to ‘Chopin,’ check out the full, uncensored podcast version of the episode below:
Words by Chris Krovatin