To be a guitarist in a rock band is, more often than not, to be the centre of attention. OK, you’re not the singer, but in a way you’re even cooler, with a sense of mystique and an array of techniques to show off, ensuring you grab your share of the spotlight and then some. You might wind up being the most famous part of the group - they might even name the band after you!
It doesn’t always work out like that, though. The world of rock and roll is full of guitarists who don’t get their due, and we’re here to set it right.
Sometimes the musicianship is deceptively simple, a less flashy style belying the creativity and technique that underscores the band’s sound. Or it could be that the guitarist’s band is unfashionable or downright bad - but that doesn’t mean the guitar work is unworthy of praise. Most frustrating still are the players who are outstripped by their own bandmates.
Whatever the reason for the lack of recognition, it’s time to do right by these axemen and women, without whom the musical landscape would be a lot less interesting.
10. Marissa Paternoster
Fans of ripping, unabashed noise who aren’t familiar with Screaming Females need to amend that as a matter of urgency. Since 2006, they’ve been releasing collections of often angry, often fun tracks that will put any home stereo set up to the test, fueled by the explosive guitar work of Marissa Paternoster.
Paternoster plays a thunderous guitar, walloping her Stratocaster with a force that matches the full throated roar of her vocals. It’s seldom subtle work; on “The Real Mothers” there’s a little dynamic variance but the song hits hardest when Paternoster does, pounding out chords as she launches into another chorus.
On “Red Hand” she takes on a cheerfully heavy metal-leaning tone, throwing off lose riffs as she transforms her vocals into a characterful bellow. She has all manner of tricks up her sleeve, though all of them lean towards the noisy and the demonstrative.
Screaming Females’ business is noisy, hook laden rock, and with Paternoster at the helm, business is booming in more ways than one.