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Because that’s what Steve Morse does

Steve Morse with his MusicMan Y2D, London, Ontario, Feb 11, 2011; photo © Nick Soveiko cc-by-nc-sa

Guitar Player has an interesting interview of two monsters of the said instrument — Steve Morse and John Petrucci — talking to each other. And it’s quite a bit of a mutual admiration society.

“How does anybody play guitar like that?” Dream Theater guitarist and main man John Petrucci says, recalling his reaction when he first heard the music of Steve Morse. “It was the wildest, most incredible stuff I had ever heard. There are moments that you can pinpoint and say they were truly life-changing, and for me, hearing Steve Morse play guitar was one of them.”

It was the mid ’80s and Petrucci was a metal-crazed high schooler and budding guitarist big on Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Ozzy Osbourne. “I spent most of my free time practicing, and I thought I was getting pretty good,” he says. “I could play a lot of the stuff by my heroes pretty well.”

One day, a friend’s older brother gave Petrucci a mixtape of tracks by the Dixie Dregs, a band the young guitar player had vaguely heard of, along with a sage piece of advice: “You have to listen to Steve Morse.”

Petrucci didn’t know what to expect when he loaded the tape in his deck. The first song that came up was “The Bash,” an exuberant, revved-up and rocking country jam on which Morse charges out of the gate like a bucking bronco, blitzing across the fretboard and spinning wild chicken-picking licks all over the neck while keeping pace with Allen Sloan’s hyper-giddy violin lines.

“It totally blew my mind,” Petrucci says. “I couldn’t understand how anybody could play like that. I wasn’t very familiar with bluegrass, but Steve mixed it with rock in such an exciting way. His technique and phrasing hooked me immediately.”

Continue reading in the Guitar Player.

8 Comments to “Because that’s what Steve Morse does”:

  1. 1
    janbl says:

    A slightly better version of “The Bash” (same show):


  2. 2
    Lukasz Slowinski says:

    I always thought that Steve Morse is in a class of his own. It is just unfair to compare any guitarists to him. Deep Purple owes him a lot. Thanks to the wide sonic canvas he brought with him it is still s leaving and breathing band, not just a bunch of guys trying to relive the 70s.

  3. 3
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    Lukasz Slowinski @2,

    Likewise, I’m sure!

    Uwe always has excellent comments regarding Steve across his musical career. As do others “in the know”. :>

    As for “canvas” my canvas I purchased from SceneFour is in shop for framing. Beautiful piece of art! :>


  4. 4
    Aireight says:

    That tune is a good example of why Steve fits in well with Deep Purple for songs like Speed King with Jon. He also has had an effect on the current band. Back when they had to replace Jon, the others wanted the guy from Quartermass. Steve said Don was right for this band.
    I hope his wife is doing well.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    Yes that ‘chicken picking’ thing is great & when Morse was in that Biff Baby’s All Star band 30 years or so ago, Albert Lee & Morse were trading licks big time.
    A wonderful performance. Have to love a ‘hoe down’ don’t we? Well maybe not the dancing so much. Cheers.

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Very interesing, Aireight, I didn’t know that Peter Robinson was ever under consideration. He would have certainly had the chops and the right Brit rock scene background, but I wasn’t surprised that Don got the ticket, given that both Roger and Little Ian had (positive) band experience with him in Rainbow and Gary Moore + that Don had established himself as the go-to-keyboardsmith-sessioneer for countless heavy rock and metal albums, classics like Ozzy’s debut and Bark At The Moon, Whitesnake’s 1987 behemoth & Judas Priest’s Painkiller among them. And given Steve’s own jazz rock background, he had probably heard of Colosseum II before, that band, while commercially totally under the radar, had gained huge respect in muso circles.


    I’m happy that Don joined Purple: it was good for the band and good for him, because all the improvisation going on with Purple loosened up his playing considerably. He’s a much more impressive & expressive organist today than he was 20 years ago (my gosh, has it really been that long?!). He really let’s the Hammond rip, driving the band. When I first saw him with Purple he was still a little stiff and didn’t command Jon’s swagger, feel and gravitas. But my have things changed, these days I find him more dominant in the Purple overall sound than Jon ever was, except perhaps during Mk I and early Mk II days.

  7. 7
    MacGregor says:

    Colosseum 2 were a great band & I had the Electric Savage record back in the day. Gary Moore was a surprise in that band in many ways, good to hear & see him there, however it was a mismatch of sorts. I always thought he overplayed at times, especially live. But that is Gary ‘We Want ‘ Moore for you. He was a full on player particularly during that late 1970’s through to the mid 80’s & was much more suited to rock & hard rock in many ways. Cheers.

  8. 8
    Uwe Hornung says:

    There isn’t a band in which Gary Moore has been where he hasn’t overplayed. That’s just him. His guitar playing was always clamoring for attention – sometimes to the point of being obnoxious. I can only hear him in small doses. EVERY SOLO HE DID WAS IN CAPITAL LETTERS !!!

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