Five Unsung Punk Rock Guitarists

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Bad Brains
  • Bad Brains
You can't please everyone. No sooner had my list of the five best punk rock guitarists gone up than the complaining started. Folks were annoyed that there was a tie for first, yes, but that was only one of the things they found to complain about. Mostly it was about how their no-talent low-life favorite didn't appear.

See also: The Top 5 Punk Rock Guitarists

Remember: These lists are science. They're my (super well-informed, rock solid, but nonetheless subjective) opinion. But I'm willing to accept the idea that, in an alternate universe, other people might have been included. Here are some of them.

click to enlarge The Ramones
  • The Ramones
5. Johnny Ramone

The Ramones

Why He Belonged on the List: Ramone more or less laid down the template for punk rock guitar on the first four Ramones records.

Why He Wasn't on the List: Listen, I get that technical prowess isn't "punk" or whatever, but that's what my original piece was highlighting: Guys in punk bands who can play their asses off. Incessant downstroking does not a good guitar player make.

click to enlarge X
  • X
4. Billy Zoom


Why He Belongs on the List: Everyone knew that rockabilly was the original punk. Billy Zoom took things one step further, updating his love of the original hillbilly sound for a modern age. His silver leather jacket said it all -- this was roots rebellion for a new generation.

Why He Wasn't on the List: He actually was on my larger list of guitarists that got pared down, as were East Bay Ray and Johnny Ramone. When I sat down to make the final list, Zoom got cut because I just didn't see how his brand of punkabilly guitar made him objectively better than the guys who made the list. That's how these things work, kids. Just like the federal budget, tough choices have to be made.

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