Did you aspire to be a lead player when you first started?
“When I grew up, coming from a small area, all the rock musicians wanted to be the next shredder. And, at the same time, I was getting into punk music where there were no real guitar solos – it was more about writing the song. I was like, ‘I’m not going in that [shredding] direction, those guys come a dime a dozen.’ I just wanted to do something that was tasteful and about songwriting.”
So, by the time Dookie was released, were solos something you intentionally shied away from?
“I think, during the early 90s, people weren’t really into guitar solos so much. For us, if you listen to Dookie, the guitar solos are basically playing three or four chords. It’s literally just open... there’s nothing there! It was almost like a conscious effort not to play a guitar solo, or to do something very subtle.
"We just wanted to just bash out, like, rhythm. There were so many guitar players out there who were playing these ripping, shredding guitar solos, it seemed like that style of guitar playing had become like a dime a dozen. But, at the same time, I’ve always envied people who are able to just rip, and I’ve also gotten compliments from guys when I wouldn’t play guitar solos.
“This guitar magazine guy told me once, he was like, ‘Eddie Van Halen says you’re his favourite guitar player,’ and I was like, ‘He said that? Are you sure we’re talking about the same Eddie Van Halen?!’ I was just so flattered, because he's not citing Joe Satriani or someone like that, he's citing this guy who's just playing rhythm guitar. It was pretty cool to hear."