photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
much like the ICONS and THE COLLECTION series covered before, RIFF LORDS is another string of YOUTUBE videos promoted by GIBSON GUITARS under the GIBSON TV moniker that seeks to reestablish the brands bonafides with the guitar-playing public via celebrity musician endorsements after the disastrous "play authentic" campaign of 2019.
the hook regarding RIFF LORDS is that these famous guitarists are allotted an extended-period to not only go over their most notable riffs, but the PHILOSOPHY, THEORY and TECHNIQUE behind their composition. noteworthy participants include that of BUZZ OSBOURNE (MELVINS), NICK HEXUM (311), JADE PUGET (AFI), LER LALONDE (PRIMUS) and CLAUDIO SANCHEZ (COHEED & CAMBRIA). this sort of territory has been mined for years by the likes publications like GUITAR WORLD and PREMIER GUITAR (not to mention online vendors like REVERB and SWEETWATER) for years, but the extended time and lack of an annoying an unnecessary interloctur makes this series of videos more immediate and engaging.
i play guitar so this hits me right in the sweet spot of seeing some of my favorite artists talk at length about their playing. now if they could only get DAVE NAVARRO or JOHNNY MARR... here's hoping.
photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
GIBSON GUITARS really did a faceplant up back in 2019 with their aborted "play authentic" campaign.
which was really a pity because i had been watching their DIRECTOR OF BRAND EXPERIENCE MARK AGNESI since he was GENERAL MANAGER at NORM'S RARE GUITARS and hosted their GUITAR OF THE DAY YOUTUBE videos in which he would deep dive into their backroom archive of vintage guitars and elaborate in exquisite detail about their production, history and playability. the dude knew his stuff and his appreciation and passion for guitars was palpable. i was practically rooting for the dude when moved on to GIBSON.
which is why i think its a great move that GIBSON has him doing these long-form videos where he similarly guides us through the collections of famous musicians from RICK NIELSEN (CHEAP TRICK) and DWEEZIL ZAPPA (ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA) to KIETH NELSON (BUCKCHERRY) and DAVE AMATO (REO SPEEDEWAGON). its basically the same thing he did at NORM'S, even with the same batch of characters. in other words: its a match made in guitar nerd heaven. once i learned of this series i have basically been mainlining them, irrespective of the artist being interviewed. bar none the coolest guitar shown was producer JOHN SHANKS' GIBSON ES-355 previously owned by JOHNNY MARR. 'nough said there.
obviously the vast majority of the products involved are GIBSON-related, but its also fun to see when they veer off into other manufacturers. this gives me hope that GIBSON is getting off their high horse and acknowledging the fact that they are part of a greater community. hopefully they take on their role as elder statesmen and give back to the guitar-playing community, because it looked bleak there for a while. real bleak.
this series at least smells like they have their act together and were humbled by their atrocious marketing mistakes over the last decade.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
for the past couple months the legendary, and recently troubled, guitar manufacturer GIBSON has been publishing a series of long-form interviews on its YOUTUBE page. in keeping with recent efforts by other leading manufacturers of musical products like ERNIE BALL and FENDER, GIBSON has used legacy artists to reconnect with their core, and often overlooked, HARD ROCK / METAL audience.
it is probably a smart move of having JERRY CANTRELL, KIRK HAMMETT and TONY IOMMI out front speaking about their careers then having GIBSON themselves selling themselves, especially given the company's recent heavy-handed and notoriously misguided PLAY AUTHENTIC debacle. i also find it interesting that they chose these four players as three of them are well-known endorsees of other manufacturers, CANTRELL with G&L and HAMMETT with ESP, and DAVE MUSTAINE with just about everyone (JACKSON, ESP, DEAN and now GIBSON). IOMMI of course is synonymous with the GIBSON SG model. apparently last year CANTRELL became a brand ambassador, whatever that is, but then again live and in the studio he has been known to use LES PAULS. HAMMETT likewise is famous for his use of LES PAULS as well as FLYING V's, especially in METALLICA's early years.
whomever jumped on this trend at GIBSON of created thoughtful interviews and mini-documentaries on legendary players deserves kudos because these are great. they have only released a handful but they are well worth investigating.