Number 44 (Vol 2, No. 4). This edition is for the week of January 22--28, 2001.
Super Bowl XXXV...there, I've said it.
Anyone living in Tampa might get the mistaken impression there's no other news in the world right now except that the Bucs-less Super Bowl 35 (excuse me, XXXV) is playing at Tampa Stadium (excuse me, Raymond James Stadium). No, there's other news. Just not anything that interests anybody around here.

To say it's a circus would be an understatement. Celebrities, both sports and Hollywood-type, are streaming out of Tampa Int'l Airport like lemmings off a cliff (OK, that was lame.) I'm sorry, after the letdown of the Bucs being, once again, so near and yet so far has robbed this event of much enthusiasm for me.

I am a cult of one, however. The "Clean Zone" around the stadium has the light and power and dynamic of a small city right now--it's pretty amazing, actually. No newscast is able to veer very far from this central story, their barely-contained hysteria worn conspicuously on their sleeves. Ybor City is unbelievable. If I wasn't so afraid to leave the house this week, I'd probably get into something down there!

OK, I can't blame them. Heck, they even moved Gasparilla up one week to coincide with the festivities. They will be weekend events of unparalleled power. Even a pro-pirate-yet-non-sports fan like myself can't avoid seeing that. Hey, the city will make some money (not that that helps us residents with something like, say, a property tax break or anything) and Tampa, Florida will be exposed to the world in the greatest possible light. I like that part best.
Just heard on the radio.....
You remember that camera trick popularized by the movie "The Matrix" where a scene suddenly freezes action, but the camera continues to dolly 360º ? Apparently, some hot-shot got inspired to use that trick for Super Bowl instant replays!! They're setting up something like 30 (or so) cameras around the field, simultaneously recording action both to tape and to computer to facilitate this. I'm not sure if the action is intended to freeze (a la Matrix) or if the action is artificially dollied by "virtual" camera moves or both. Either way, it's cool. And it makes football disturbingly close to sci-fi for my taste. Hey, maybe special effects like that will make me a fan!
Janet Reno makes "farewell appearance" on Sat Nite Live
OK, I haven't been as diligent at taping Saturday Night Live this season as I usually have been, so I owe FOX13 News for this tidbit. Long-time fans of the show (yes, there are some of us left) will remember the devastating impression Will Ferrell does of Janet Reno. Well, last Saturday, Reno got her chance to get back by literally breaking thru a wall onto the set of "Janet Reno's Dance Party" to "confront" Ferrell. Calling each other "Janet"(!), they basically said they'd miss each other. When Ferrell's Reno asked the real one what she does when she gets blue, she replied she dances. "Hit it!", she barks, and with that, the SNL band breaks into some twist song with the real Janet Reno dancing most animatedly! Reno, who's settled in Florida, cares not to comment about her career, merely saying it's "all behind her now". (She did tape the SNL episode, tho.)
T.R.E.E., Inc. planting. (Tampa Bay residents only)
The Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc.   TREE contact info.   The TREE website.

    Thanks for requesting this information for your website. (My pleasure!---N)
   Volunteers are needed for the planting of 114 Pignut Hickory, 80 Flatwoods Plum, and Longleaf Pine on Saturday February 10, 2001 at 9:00 AM at the Bell Creek Preserve in Riverview. Take I-75 to the Gibsonton-Riverview exit. Take Gibsonton Dr. east past US 301 (where it will then be called Boyette Rd.). Go past Riverview High School to the traffic light at McMullen Road. Turn right (heading south) and go 0.8 mile to the first driveway past Marian Rodgers Middle School (east side of road) to the Hillsborough County Resource Management double-wide trailer office. Dress accordingly. Coffee and refreshments will be provided.
Mike's Rant  by Michael A. Smith
Hello gang! Well, we have a new president who so far hasn't plunged us into war and depression. Caught a glance at President Clinton's upcoming calendar. Under Monday, Jan 22: 10am to 4pm - wait for cable guy! Here are some news and notes:

Two events in the news this week. First, former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth is on his way to spending the next 19 years of his life in prison for his part in the murder of the mother of his son. The story is that Carruth did not want to pay child support, so he had his "boys" shoot her. Fortunately, she lived long enough to deliver the baby and implicate Carruth through her 911 phone call and statements to the police.
Second, an Islamic court in Nigeria has postponed the scheduled flogging of a 17-year-old girl who turned up pregnant. Apparently, the penalty for pre-marital sex is 180 lashes with a cane. Wow! When I was 17 the only penalty was not getting caught by your folks. When Amnesty International caught wind of the sentence, they protested to the court, fearing the girl could die from the beating. (Better to die than have sex again, sure!---N) However, the judge assured the group that the girl's condition would be monitored and the flogging stopped if she could not cope with the punishment. (Awww....that's very thoughtful of the third-world, heartless bastard---N)

Say good-bye to convicted murderer Byron De La Beckwith. The old bastard finally went to hell Sunday night after dying in a Jackson, Mississippi hospital. After two mistrials in the 1960's, De La Beckwith was finally convicted of assassinating civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963. Like the coward he was, De La Beckwith shot Evers in the back as he was getting out of his car. James Woods earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of De La Beckwith in Rob Reiner's film, "Ghosts of Mississippi."

Let me begin by saying that I have never really understood Jesse Jackson. He seems to search for trouble and often talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. I remember in 1993 he was going to assemble a large group of black protesters to picket the baseball all star game in Baltimore. His stance was that there weren't enough black managers/front office staff in the game. I prayed that he would be at the front gate when I arrived. I planned to send my then 8-year-old son up to him to ask, "What do you do for a living? That sure is a nice suit." Of course, Jackson didn't show up. His protesters were actually homeless people that had been rounded up and paid $15 each to pretty much block traffic and get some air time on the evening news. I remember his protest when the Green Bay Packers fired black head coach Ray Rhodes after the team went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Now the NFL was a racist group, firing the coach because he was black. I kept wondering when he was going to champion Dallas coach Chan Gailey. Gailey's team had also gone 8-8 and even made the playoffs, but he was still fired. I didn't hear Jackson say a thing about that. Hard as it must be for Jesse Jackson to believe, people get fired when they don't do the or white. Before I get branded for being too negative here, let me also state that I thought the speech he made before the Democratic Convention when he ran for President was SO powerful that had the election been held that night I would have voted for him. Which brings me to this week's announcement that Jackson has fathered a child out of wedlock. Do I care? No. Am I disappointed? Perhaps. But who am I to judge another man? Who is anyone. When Mark Chumura of the Green Bay Packers refused to meet with President Clinton after the Super Bowl because he thought Clinton an immoral man because of the Monica Lewinsky affair, he was hailed as a man of beliefs. Now Chumura finds himself on trial for having sex with his children's 17-year-old babysitter after he trapped her alone in a room. Have we become a nation of hypocrites? Does Jesse Jackson's affair make him any less of a presence in this country's civil rights movement? It's been rumored for years that JFK and Martin Luther King had many affairs................does this diminish the greatness they achieved? As the bible says, "Do not judge lest ye be judged." Those were words to live by 2000 years ago and they still are to this day. That's all for me. Have a great week.
Mark Drinnenberg
Readers, Nolan here.  Surprise surprise! I am delighted to introduce old friend and first-time contributor, Mark Drinnenberg. If that name seems familiar, it's because he's the older brother of quasi-regular columnist Matt Drinnenberg. Mark was inspired to write by our "Top 10 guitarists of all time" challenge and I think you'll find his list--and approach--very interesting. So here, without further ado, is Mark's Top 10:

Nolan. How's it going? Long time no see. I like your site. The new look is especially good. (Thank you---N) I've had great fun reading my bro Matt's and Mike's stuff. (Me, too!---N) I was particularly intrigued by the top 10 guitarists discussion, so I thought I would send along a list of my own to see what you think?

If I were to name the first guys that come to mind, I would certainly have some overlap with you guys. But what I decided to do was come up with a list that doesn't repeat any of the guitarists already mentioned. I've also divided them into categories. Here goes:

Phil Keaggy
: He's not as well known as many others because he plays in the genre of Christian Music. But he's one of the best I've ever seen. I just saw him in December (for the 5th time), and I sat in the second row, right in front of him. He's amazing to watch. He can do it all: rock, pop, jazz, classical. If you get a chance to see him, don't miss it.
Steve Howe: Anyone who can play the intricate and innovative music that Yes created must be good. He would probably have been more influential if more people had the ability to play like him. But I'm not sure that many people have that ability.
Jose Feliciano: Okay, stop laughing. Feliz Navidad aside, he is really quite a capable guitarist. I don't have any of his music, so I don't speak from having listened to much of his stuff. But I have seen him on TV and once heard a live album where he displayed some exquisite skill. Plus, I had to put someone on this list from outside the rock genre. And you guys already picked Christopher Parkening, Chet Atkins, and Stanley Jordan.

These are guitarists who may not display exceptional technique but who have a sound that makes me want to hear them play.
Joe Walsh: "Funk 49" is one of my favorite guitar sounds of all time. Throw in "Rocky Mountain Way" and "Hotel California", and this guy has to make the list.
Mick Taylor: Keith Richards is the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place. But let's face it, the Stones had a full sound in the early-to-mid 70's that has been lacking since Mick Taylor left the band. And he was the best lead player they've ever had.

Not the greatest players ever, but they have left their mark like no others.
Chuck Berry: The obvious choice for this category. Virtually every rock guitarist can trace their roots back to this guy, whether directly or indirectly. If they weren't influenced by him, they were probably influenced by someone who was influenced by someone who WAS influenced by him.
Muddy Waters: As I understand it, he invented rockin' electric blues. Did someone say Eric Clapton? Leslie West? Keith Richards? George Thoroughgood? Etc. Etc.

Jeff Beck
: The only one of the Yardbirds' trio of guitar greats missing from you guy's lists. I've never listened to him much, but back in the 70's nearly every discussion concerning great guitarists would include his name.
Alvin Lee: I once heard him doing a solo on the radio, and it was so fast I thought it must have been a keyboard solo. If you want straight ahead, blues-based rock 'n' roll, this is your guy.
Rory Gallagher: He used to be on TV alot back in the 70's. If you didn't know who you were listening to, you might think it was Eric Clapton.

I have to include the guy who played the guitar solo on Chuck Mangione's "Feel So Good." I don't know who he is/was, and if I've ever heard him elsewhere, I wasn't conscious of it. But that solo is so tasty and well-played (I think it might be my favorite guitar solo), that on the strength of it alone, I must include whomever played it.

Okay, so that's eleven. But it's a good eleven. And there could be others added. I could have put someone from Lynyrd Skynyrd in the sound category, but I'm not sure which guy is responsible for the great sound. Maybe they all belong there together. But I'll stop there. Let me know what you think.
Take care, and God bless.

Mark, I think it's a terrific list with honest and insightful comments. You've inspired me to take this opportunity to correct one unbelievable oversight on my part regarding my original Top 10 guitarists list:
Chuck Berry: Altho 'The London Berry Sessions" made my Top 10 album list, I cannot account for his conspicuous absence on either of my Top 1-10, or 11-20 guitarists lists, especially seeing as I played nothing but Chuck Berry for years! I could not agree more on how historical he is. (I can still perform "Johnny B. Goode" with reasonable panache!) I thereby officially promote Chuck Berry to Nolan's Top 10 guitarists list--Version 2.0--at the 10½ mark,
post facto!
About some others...
Phil Keaggy is tragically undervalued by society today, likely because of his ties to religion. A shame, that, because when I was exposed to this man's music around 20 or so years ago, I thought he had a very progressive sound. I remember his main guitar was a Yamaha Pacifica electric and his vocal timbre sort of echoed Paul McCartney. I also learned that Jimi Hendrix was influenced by Phil Keaggy. Recommendations don't get much higher than that!
Muddy Waters: My earliest recollections are of him being an influence to Chuck Berry!  I appreciated him at the time as such. Younger people surrounding me today are part of a virtual groundswell of enthusiasm over old blues records. I'm learning from their example. Coincidence he should come up at this time.
José Feliciano: Funny how you're almost ashamed to admit being a fan. I'm the same way about Roy Clark. But, hey, they're influences!
Joe Walsh: I chuckle when I think of Joe Walsh, because he always comes off to me as such a stoner! But, I learned "Rocky Mountain Way" very early on and, you're right, it's a devastating sound he gets on that. I also learned it the hard way; I only way later discovered his guitar was retuned for slide work. "Hotel California" was
de rigueur lead-playing school. It unfairly got knocked for being some kind of anthem to the devil.
Steve Howe, Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee and Rory Gallagher: The first two are still around and still make good albums. I'm a little red-faced to admit I don't know if Rory Gallagher and/or early shredder Alvin Lee are still alive. I haven't heard anything from either in forever.
Mick Taylor: I was only ever, at best, a casual fan of the Rolling Stones. I appreciate Keith Richards a little more as I get older. The best thing I can say about Mick Taylor is he made Mark Drinnenberg want to pick up a guitar!---Nolan

Matt's Rail  by Matt Drinnenberg
And now our regular Drinnenberg, the recently resurfaced Matthew...
Hello one and all.....
After going thru a few of the past Pop Culture's, I noticed that, while I intended to give an addendum to the Top Ten Guitarists, with No.'s 11 - 20, I never did so. So, without any further ado, wallah....  (Or mayhaps voila (?), as the case may be!---frenchie Nolan)
11. Steve Howe - Talking to my brother, Mark, about my top  ten lists, he mentioned Steve Howe and I can't believe I forgot him. EASILY should be in a top ten. His work is staggering to this day. If you haven't listened to it in a while, pop in "Fragile Yes", and be amazed.
12. Brian Setzer - Man, can this dude rock. Plays so fast and free you can't help but smile when you listen. Also quite innovative, combining Rock and Swing and selling millions....(And virtually single-handedly bringing back rockabilly AND big band music, where so many others failed---N)
13. Jimi Hendrix - Such a raw, earthy, to-the-roots rock sound. I believe he was the first frontman to play both lead and rythym in a group.  (Chuck Berry may beg to differ, but...---N)
14. Stevie Ray Vaughn - What a tragedy that the life of this incredible talent was cut short. Watching him was a toss up between watching his blazingly fast hands, or his glowing face, observing how he just loved to play. And man was he good.
15. Dickey Betts - I would be remiss if I didn't include the driving force behind the lead machine for the Allman Brothers Band. True southern boys, Betts lead on "Whipping Post" alone warrants his inclusion.
16. Paul Simon - Back when he knew how to play inspiring guitar, this guy was awesome. I picked up his first solo effort a few months ago and was amazed at how good he really use to be. While his latest stuff is getting critical acclaim, I long for the days of "Acoustic Lore". (Hope he's not reading this!---N)
17. Pete Townsend - Wrote the first, true rock opera in "Tommy", gave us classics such as "Won't Get Fooled Again" (which is always awesome), and "Long Live Rock", along with countless others, proof positive you can't really have a top ten...and that this is in no necessary order. (Post-pub note from Terence: while it's true that "Tommy" was the first rock opera released to the public, The Kinks' mini rock-opera, "Arthur or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire", was actually completed first, but its release was delayed until after "Tommy".---Chronolgical Nolan)
18. Joe Perry - Has done more with less than possibly any guitarist before him. Not to say he can't fly with the best of them, but his solos are generally basic, yet so true to the rock form, and so unique at the same time. And let's face it, when he left Aerosmith, they sucked. Even WITH Steven Tyler.
19/20. Steve Gaines/Allen Collins - The Lead Duo of Lynyrd Skynyrd, these guys were all the rage in the 70's. Played off of each other better than any two guitarists who ever shared lead. Pure and natural, these southern boys also met an untimely death in a tragic plane crash, along with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.
Well, that's it for now.
Take care everyone, and God bless.
You've made several good cases here, Maffew, can't argue with any of them. You and Mark snuck in a case for Southern rock which is often overlooked. My personal faves of that group are The Outlaws, what with their Tampa ties and all. Funny, how none of us old geezers were impressed with any guitarist who gained any fame after, say, 1985--1990.---Nolan.

"Mike's Rant" is © 2001 by Michael A. Smith.  "Matt's Rail" is © 2001 by Matt Drinnenberg.  I thank Mark Drinnenberg for going to the trouble of writing such a soul-searching list (original letter's copyright is implied on publication).  Entire contents © 2001 by Nolan B. Canova

page created by  Nolan B. Canova