It’s 2014, and Rolling Stone Has a New Column on Young Guitarists

As Chandler Bing once said, “…my time machine works!


I’ll confess: I’ve read Rolling Stone for years, but I swear, the same week that Matt Taibbi left the magazine to work for First Look Media, my subscription coincidentally ran out. Other than the occasional David Fricke column, the magazine has been pretty… well, call it behind the times, call it “establishment”, call it mainstream, whatever, when it comes to rock n’ roll. Actually, they were pretty behind the times years ago. Nevertheless, I’ve always admired how they’ve basically stuck to their ideological guns for decades – the whole Boston Bomber cover story controversy being a recent example. Yet print media continues to decline, Vice continues to eat up the audience and market share that outlets like Rolling Stone and MTV once ruled, and the struggle to control the consumption habits of the ever-fleeting youth and counter-culture demographics continues on.

So it’s been interesting to watch Rolling Stone re-brand its youth image over the last few years. In addition to running more and more investigative reports on issues that the Young People Care About  – including marijuana legalization, student debt, Occupy Everything, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke Rubbing Each Other, etc. – they’ve been focusing intently on high-turnover, social-media directed viral content. In other words, that means web-polls about Game of Thrones, rundowns of stuff that lots of people clicked on each week, and articles about cats.

Well, I guess we’ve traveled back to 1974 and the pop-counter-culture movement cares about virtuoso guitar players again, because Rolling Stone‘s latest new column is called Young Guns, and each week it will explore “the most notable guitarists from the next generation of legends.” The column also doubles as a video series, Guitar Power, co-presented with D’Addario. The video series will be hosted by Matt Sweeney, who has basically been doing the same thing for Noisey for a while. The first installment of Guitar Power, featuring Tosin Abasi, hints that it will be similar to the structure of Sweeney’s Vice series – an informal interview, with the occasional guitar lick and personal musical revelation – except with a higher production value and suspended GoPro rigs. In this episode, Tosin shows off some chops and reveals that he was weaned on REH hair metal guitar videos from the 80’s. Check it out below:

Read the piece on Animals as Leaders here. I’m curious to see who they will pick next, and if any other metal artists will make the cut. Animals aren’t exactly cut of the establishment, but they have certainly reached a level of popularity in the rock and metal mainstream where it probably wasn’t too tough a choice for Rolling Stone to go with Tosin. I hope Annie Clark makes it.


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Max is managing editor of Gear Gods.

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