When we see bands, we also see a vocalist or even a guitar player as their staple member. Sometimes bands have 2 guitarists and the other guitar player is left on the sidelines. Sometimes because the other is not a founding member, songwriter or maybe just a newbie in the band. Even rhythm guitarists get less of the limelight and are equally great or even stronger performers than a lead guitarist. Here is a list of performers that should shine just as much!
- Malcolm Young (AC/DC) Sadly he is no longer around, passing away in 2017. He formed AC/DC with his younger brother Angus Young. Both guitarists would trade leads in early songs and both dressed as school boys as well. After time passed, Malcolm focused on rhythm guitar and dressed like a regular long hair standing in the back by the drummer and bassist. Malcolm delivered a nice fat low end and wrote great riffs for some of their best songs. Angus even mentioned that Malcolm could play better than he could.
- Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) Whitford was mainly seen as a rhythm guitarist who played some great bluesy leads in several of their songs. While Joe Perry gets most of the credit as “the” guitarist, Brad in my opinion kicks just as much ass, if not more! Just watch their live footage for yourself.
- Woody Weatherman (Corrosion Of Conformity) My favorite guitarist. Woody formed COC in 1982 with the late Reed Mullin on drums. Woody brings a hybrid of punk, blues, southern rock, heavy stoner metal with his own recipe. At the beginning he was the only guitarist before Pepper Keenan joined the band as a rhythm guitarist. Pepper took a hiatus from COC, making Woody the only guitarist again for a few years (2010-2015). Woody handled most of the leads and harmonies when aided by Pepper’s low end riffing. His sound is definitely a tube amp sound with a warm and spongy chunk and his signature vibrato. He is the only member featured on all albums, and he is the true sound of Corrosion!
- Sammy Hagar (Van Halen/Montrose/The Circle etc) I know, he was the vocalist in the mid 80’s – mid 90’s for VH but also played occasional rhythm and lead guitar at times in the band. Mainly his solo albums brought his actual guitar sound to the our ears. Van Halen’s live performances with his powerful picking were also amazing to hear. We all know he is not as much as a soloist as the late Eddie was, but he can deliver just as good!
- Eric Peterson (Testament) Another guitar player that formed the band and gets the 2nd guitarist label. Eric was the rhythm, occasional lead guitarist and backing vocalist for most in the beginning and ended up playing just as many solos as the lead guitar players. His leads are more fast and powerful but can be melodic when they are needed. One of the Bay Area’s guitar godfathers.
- KK Downing (Judas Priest/KK’s Priest) He was the sole guitarist when joining the early Al Atkins fronted 4 piece lineup. Downing even selected Glen Tipton to join as a 2nd guitarist shortly after Rob Halford joined as their new vocalist. KK was bringing a Hendrix influence to the table with his solos and riff writing. As the 80’s came along KK was more seen as the secondary or rhythm guitarist that played a lead here and there with Tipton as the solo hero. Another example of a high rank member getting the 2nd guitarist label. I see why he left the band in 2011. Check out KK’s Priest if you want to hear what he’s been doing lately.
- Edward Carlson (Flotsam and Jetsam) One of the founders of Arizona’s leading thrash band Flotsam and Jetsam. This band as a whole kind of gets set aside. Edward being almost the constant member and Mike Gilbert (who returned to the band in 2011) were the definitive guitar duo of the band. Since Ed left the band in 2014, he seems to have been forgotten and not mentioned much. His sound alone was the signature of most of Flotsam and Jetsam’s material. Ed was a great rhythm and lead player, I hope to hear his sound once again.
- Rick Hunolt (Exodus) Rick joined the band shortly after Kirk Hammett left to join Metallica, with Kirk replacing their guitarist, Dave Mustaine. Rick added his own style to Exodus with his leads and riff writing. Even though Gary Holt is the main guitarist and band leader of Exodus, he is fair and gives credit where it’s due. The double H guitar duo carried on well, especially on the first 3 albums.
With all this being said as a rant in some ways, I hope this will shine the light on a few guitarists that got less recognition than their partners in crime, due to maybe a media mistake or a certain look one may obtain, who knows! Buy the albums and go watch their live videos and listen/watch closer, you will understand.