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Unsung Guitar Heroes: James Dean Bradfield On John McGeoch - Guitarist, November 2010

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Title: Unsung Guitar Heroes: James Dean Bradfield On John McGeoch
Publication: Guitarist
Date: November 2010
Writer: James Dean Bradfield


Though equally well known for his time with Siouxsie And The Banshees in the early eighties. John McGeoch formed Magazine with The Buzzcocks' Howard Devoto in 1977. One of the first post-punk bands, they married punk's energy with a colder, more angular approach. It had a huge impact on Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield, who would use McGeogh as an inspiration when composing his own band's artistic high points, The Holy Bible and Journal For Plague Lovers.

"The first time I recognised John McGeogh was Magazine's Real Life," explains Bradfield. "He was the person who taught me that you can have a swing and a rock 'n' roll to your playing, but you can also introduce something that skews it. The solo from Shot By Both Sides, which is fucking brilliant, is rock roll and has Chuck Berry licks, but it also has an atonal quality - it shoots off, goes up-tempo and walks like a robot...That's what he taught me, you can have that rock 'n' roll swagger, but still build something into it that's really unsettling, and can cut like a razor blade. Shot By Both Sides was a complete revelation to me, absolutely and utterly one of the best solos ever, as an idea as much as anything."

"And he also taught me to sometimes just respect one string of the guitar. When you start to play guitar and are influenced by certain things. you get to a point where you want to master as many strings as possible and to go across them. Then someone like John McGeoch just grabs you and says that it doesn't have to be like that. Just play this riff up and down one string, and it says more than you could ever have said with six strings. He was absolutely brilliant at taking pride in just doing what was right for the song. John McGeoch taught me that you didn't have to give up the rock and the roll to be slightly avant-garde He was a genius."