In This Moment's Chris Howorth: top ten guitarists
“I decided I wanted to play guitar after seeing KISS on the Asylum tour in 1986,” explains In This Moment’s co-founder, guitarist Chris Howorth. “My parents took me. It was my first concert and I was blown away by KISS's production and the huge sound. I was soon obsessed… metal, thrash, glam... it didn't matter, I loved it all; from Slayer to Poison!”
Five albums in with the Los Angeles five-piece, his career choice and eclectic taste with hard rock and metal styles has paid dividends. In This Moment's new album, Black Widow, is their boldest musical move yet. Mixing in influences from hip hop, industrial and pop into their modern metal mixing pot to match an increasingly theatrical live show from the band Chris formed in 2005 with versatile singer Maria Brink.
When it comes to his guitar inspirations, Chris sees a thread running between them; “One thing a lot of the '80s bands had in common was a great lead guitarist,” he notes. Read on for his pick of the ten guitar players that inspired him to devote his life to music, together with his recommended songs to hear each of them on.
Eddie Van Halen
"Eddie changed guitar playing. His sound and style has influenced everyone. I love everything Van Halen has done, both Roth and Hagar eras."
"Randy had a very distinct tone and style of playing. His work with Ozzy and his untimely death made him a legend. The lead in riff on Crazy Train was one of the first things I learned on guitar."
Jake E. Lee
"Four words; Bark At The Moon. When I first heard this riff and subsequent solo I was hooked. Jake is my favorite Ozzy guitarist. He has a raw aggressive style and is a great performer onstage as well.
"The Ultimate Sin (my favourite Ozzy record) and his solo band Badlands are both amazing albums that showcase his unique playing."
"I first got into Pantera and Dimebag/Diamond Darrell in 1989. I loved his playing on Power Metal and then when Cowboys From Hell came out, he blew everyone's minds with his precision metal riffage and crazy guitar solos. He was a huge influence on me and a big reason I started playing the heavier style of metal."
"Another '80s guy with a raw off the cuff approach. I loved the riffs and solos in Dokken. His melodic and unconventional approach to his solos makes him stand out from other players. It's not always about perfect technique, it's about the attitude and emotion. I love the guitar solos on Tooth And Nail, The Hunter and In My Dreams."
Marty Friedman and Jason Becker
"I lumped these guys together because I first discovered them together in Cacophony. They were super young and super talented. Their individual solo albums, Dragon's Kiss and Perpetual Burn took shredding and sweep picking to a new level (and this was decades before every scene band on the planet had sweep picking on every song).
"They both went on to even bigger things. Marty's playing on Megadeth's Rust In Peace was mind-blowing (he is my favourite Megadeth guitarist) and Jason went on to join David Lee Roth's solo band before falling ill [Jason suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis]."
"The original neo classical sweep picking monster, Yngwie is precise, but raw and aggressive too. I loved his attitude and it came through in his playing."
"Ace might possibly be my biggest influence. His larger than life persona and 'don't give a fuck' attitude make him the coolest guy in this list. It's not about being technical with Ace, it's about the attitude."
Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby (Ratt)
"Warren's playing on Out Of The Cellar was so raw and unique, it felt like every solo was played in one take. He just had such a cool off the cuff feel on this release. Over the course of the next few albums, his playing got a bit more refined but always had his unique feel.
"I also have to mention Robbin Crosby, although he wasn't known for his leads, he did play some great ones and he was just cool. He was a rock star I really looked up to. I made my signature Schecter V red, just like the one Robbin had."
"Kirk is on this list because his playing was the soundtrack to my youth. Me and my boys driving around drinking beer and listening to Kill Em All, Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets. I learned all the solos, his hammer-on / pull-off licks and pentatonic shredding are a part of my solos to this day."