100 for 100

part 4

Posted: 27th June 2023

Our history is built on alternative music created by artists. Without these genre-defining guitarists pushing the boundaries of what can be done, welding a wall of Marshall amps behind them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

As we celebrate Jim Marshall's 100th birthday we’re showcasing 100 artists, 10 a month for the rest of the year. Artists, who have made the music scene what it is today, breaking through defiantly into the industry that Jim helped shape.

Read time: 14 mins


Born Saul Hudson in London 1965, Slash (a nickname later given to him by actor Seymour Cassel as he was always in a hurry) spent his first few years living in England before moving to Los Angeles with his mother when he was five. By 1979 he had begun guitar lessons after hearing “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones. Hearing his school teacher play Cream and Led Zeppelin further influenced Slash and his heart was set on playing guitar. 

By the early eighties Slash was playing in various bands and met bassist Duff McKagan. In 1985 Slash was asked by Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin to join their band Guns N’ Roses, who at the time were playing LA nightclubs. Before one of the shows Slash bought a black felt top hat and Native American poncho belt from Melrose Avenue. The hat stayed with Slash, but the belt became synonymous with Axl and various versions have been sported on stage ever since. 

The band wrote many of their classic hits such as ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and ‘Paradise City’ during 1985 and 1986 and released their debut album ‘Appetite For Destruction’ in 1987 which has sold over 28 million copies to date. Following the success of their debut album they then released the album ‘G N’ R Lies’, followed up by the double album ‘Use Your Illusion’, which involved an almost two and a half year long world tour, such was the demand to see the band live. Guns N’ Roses final album of this period was the covers record ‘The Spaghetti Incident?’ before Slash left the band in 1996. 

After leaving Guns N’ Roses, Slash toured, playing the blues with his collective ‘Slash’s Blues Ball’, and also toured and released music with his supergroup ‘Slash’s Snakepit’ through the late nineties. He then formed new band Velvet Revolver with Scott Weiland, formerly of Stone Temple Pilots, Dave Kushner of Wasted Youth, and Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum who had been part of Guns N’ Roses. Velvet Revolver released two albums, but when Weiland left to reunite Stone Temple Pilots in 2008, Slash began working on his first solo album. This was released the following year and contained collaborations with many artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, Lemmy Kilminster and more. His second solo album ‘Apocalyptic Love’ followed in 2012, before Slash rejoined Guns N’ Roses for a huge ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour in 2016 that spanned 175 shows. 


Image Credit: Slash 2015, CC BY-SA 3.0, Andreas Lawen, Fotandi, via Wikimedia Commons

Rob Gueringer 

Rob Rylan Gueringer, also known as 'Freaky Rob', is a musician, producer, and creative visionary with a particularly remarkable repertoire of musical skills. Since picking up his first instrument at the age of three, Rob has centred his life around mastering his unbelievably natural musical intelligence and captivating the industry with his unmatched guitar skills and passion. 

Freaky Rob is the lead guitarist for several of today's top global performing artists including Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, and Eminem among others. He also works as a co-producer to Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins and has co-produced Atlantic recording artist Ohana Bam's 'Rebels' track, that was featured as the lead track on HBO's Ballers and the 2018 film release, Death Wish. 

Rob's journey began as a student at the Musicians Institute in 2014. After only being enrolled for 2 months at M.I. he landed the lead guitarist spot on Kendrick Lamar's Wesley's Theory Band and the rest is history. 

Robert Smith 

Robert James Smith was born in Blackpool, Lancashire on 21 April 1959, and was the third of four siblings. Robert grew up in a musical family where his father sang, and his mother played the piano.  Alongside his younger sister Janet, Robert received piano lessons. Later in life, Robert said that Janet was a piano prodigy, so sibling rivalry made him take up guitar because she couldn't get her fingers around the neck of the guitar. When Robert first decided to take up guitar his brother Richard, who is 13 years older, was able to teach him a few basic chords. 

Following on from his brother's initial introduction to the guitar, Robert began taking classical guitar lessons from the age of nine, however, he soon gave this up, thinking that he had learnt a lot of skills but had started to lose the sense of fun. He gave up formal tuition and began teaching himself to play by ear, listening to his older brother's record collection. Until December 1972, he did not have a guitar of his own and had been borrowing his brother's, so his brother gave him his guitar as a Christmas gift. 

Aged just 13, Robert and his school friends (Michael Dempsey, Marc Ceccagno, Alan Hill, and Laurence Tolhurst) gave their first one-off performance together as the Obelisk, an early incarnation of what would eventually become the Cure. 

All the members, except for Alan, moved on to St. Wilfrid’s and continued playing music. They toyed with a couple of names including Brat’s Club and Malice, and finally became Easy Cure along with several substitutions to the band members over several years. The band’s name was eventually condensed to The Cure. The band went on to release several albums including, “Three Imaginary Boys,” “Seventeen Seconds,” “Pornography,” and “Faith.” By 1982, The Cure was reduced to a duo, now featuring only Robert and Laurence. 

Robert has since been a guest performer in many shows and collaborated with Simon Gallup, the bassist of The Magpies in 1979. In 2019 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cure, and in 2023 was ranked the 157th greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. 


Image credit: Robert Smith Bilbao BBK Live 2012, Dena Flows

debbie gough

Born and raised in Birmingham, Debbie Gough is part of British metal band Heriot – who have been making waves in the heavy music scene recently. The band had originally formed in 2014 whilst at school as a three-piece, Debbie didn’t join the band until later in 2019 when Heriot transformed into the four-piece outfit they are today.  

Not for the faint hearted, the band have played with the likes of Napalm Death, Knocked Loose, END, Rolo Tomassi and more, and have performed at some major U.K festivals – Download, Bloodstock, 2000 Trees and ArcTanGent. 

In April of 2022, Heriot released their debut EP – Profound Morality. This EP went on the earn praise from Lamb Of God and Machine Head and is considered, by many, to be one of the best British metal releases of 2022. Profound Morality features songs that bring both harsh metallic tones as well as areas of divine melodies.  

St Vincent

Annie Clark - known professionally as St Vincent, is originally from Oklahoma, before moving to Dallas, Texas with her family at the age of seven. She started playing guitar at 12 years old and worked as a roadie in her teens for her aunt and uncle, professional jazz musicians Tuck & Patti. She participated in theatre and her school’s jazz band before attending Berklee College of Music for three years, dropping out to pursue a music career away from some of the more unvarying, rigid structures found in music schools. 

Following this, Annie joined the Polyphonic Spree and later joined Sufjan Stevens’ touring band in 2006. That same year she began recording under the name St Vincent and released her first album ‘Marry Me’ in 2007, which received positive comments from critics. Her following album ‘Actor’ was also well received and reached number nine on the Billboard charts. It’s here that Annie’s career began to snowball, with the appearance of TV, soundtrack and other collaborative opportunities. Three albums later and St Vincent has established herself as one of the most celebrated alternative artists in music, becoming the first solo female artist to win a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 20 years. 


Image credit: St. Vincent 2018, Justin Higuchi, via Wikimedia Commons

Aaron Kieseleski 

Aaron Kieseleski alongside Twin brother Andrew Kieseleski have been making the waves in the Hardcore Scene in the band ‘Year of the Knife’ since forming in 2015. The band was formed over a common interest in metal music and a straight-edge lifestyle. 

Their current lineup consists of Madison Watkins on Vocals, Brandon Watkins on Bass, Andrew Kieseleski on Drums, and Aaron Kieseleski on Guitar.  

Since their debut album in 2019 Year of the Knifes brutal styles of hardcore and metal have taken them strength to strength in the heavy music world, landing them tours across the world with the likes of Knocked Loose, Code Orange, and Terror, as well as playing festivals such as Hellfest and Outbreak.  

Their new three song EP ‘Dust To Dust’, produced and engineered by, Taylor Young, (Nails, God’s Hate, Twitching Tongues), finds Year of the Knife continuing to push their sound forward, tapping into new corners of the heavy music landscape while not losing the ferocity that’s endeared them to a legion of underground listeners from around the world. Their music continues to be rooted in Straight Edge while combing Watkins Lyrics created from her own experiences and Demons. This is all topped off Aarons crushing and furious guitar sound that doesn’t make for easy listening. 

John Frusciante 

Born to a Julliard-trained pianist father and promising vocalist mother, John Frusciante has had an affinity with music since an early age. Having first been inspired by the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour and Frank Zappa, John would spend hours studying these guitarists and aged 16 dropped out of high school to move to Los Angeles and focus on his musicianship. 

John was first introduced to the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a teen when his guitar instructor auditioned as a guitarist for them. He swiftly became a devoted fan, attending many of their shows and idolising guitarist Hillel Slovak. In 1988, friend and former Dead Kennedys drummer D. H. Peligiro, invited John and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea to a jam session, and the two clicked instantly.  

After the sudden death of Slovak and a failed replacement, Flea suggested that John should audition as a guitarist due to his impressive knowledge of the band's musical repertoire. After joining the band aged 18, John was focused on reproducing Slovak's style. The second album John recorded with the Red Hot Chili Peppers was 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik', which peaked at number three on the Billboard charts and sold 13 million copies globally. 

After first departing the band in 1992, John rejoined in 1998 and they began recording the, now iconic, album 'Californication'. With his return, John brought a renewed feeling of devotion to music and playing which had a positive effect on the other band members. John had also continued to write solo music and released his third album 'To Record Only Water for Ten Days' in 2001, which had more of a focus on electronic elements rather than alternative rock. 

In the following years, John's guitar playing became commanding throughout the Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, most notably on 'Stadium Arcadium' on which almost all his guitar solos were improvised. In 2003, he was listed eighteenth in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". 

John’s prowess over pedals and effects, combined with his infectious funky riffs are what give the Red Hot Chili Peppers their unique and unmistakable sound.


Image credit: John Frusciante, 26-06-22, CC BY-SA 2.0, Hel Davies via Wikimedia Commons

Liam Torrance  

Derived from their shared love of the album 'Casey' by The Rise of Science, Welsh melodic hardcore band Casey (previously known as Well Wisher) was formed in 2014 by guitarist Liam Torrance and vocalist Tom Weaver. Following the hype that surrounded the release of their self-released single 'Fade' the band were signed to Hassle Records in 2015. Liam and the band became known for their effortless stage presence and devotion to music which earned them a spot on the lineup for landmark festivals including Download, Reading and Leeds, and Slam Dunk. 

Their debut album 'Love Is Not Enough' came out in 2016 and chronicles the breakdown of a long-term relationship. Casey's heart-wrenching lyrics and tones can be heard throughout their sophomore album 'Where I Go When I Am Sleeping' released in 2018. Exploring the topics of mental and physical illness, subjects that are often considered taboo, it's no wonder people feel so deeply connected to the band and the raw emotions, and this is evident in their live shows.  

Liam's heavy hitting guitar riffs are a force to be reckoned with and convey deep emotions that beautifully reflect and complement each lyric. 

Albert King 

Born in 1923 as Albert Nelson, Albert King grew up surrounded by blues music, having been born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. As a child, Albert sang in his family’s gospel group where his father played the guitar. It has been said that this inspired him to make his first guitar out of a cigar box and broom wire. 

In 1953, Albert moved to Gary, Indiana where he briefly played drums in Jimmy Reed’s band and featured on many of Reed's early recordings. During this time, Albert also recorded his first single “Bad Luck Blues” for Parrot Records. Albert later moved to Brooklyn, Illinois and formed a new band. It was in this that he started to become exceedingly popular within the nightclub scene and was soon discovered and signed to Little Milton’s Bobbin label. This caught the eye of King Records which went on to release the record “Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong” in November 1961 - this song was included in his first album “The Big Blues” in 1962. 

After moving to Memphis and signing to Stax Records, Albert produced many songs, including “Crosscut Saw” and “As the Years Go Passing By”. In 1967 while still at Stax, Albert released the album “Born Under a Bad Sign”. The title track of the album became Albert's best-known song and has been covered by many, including Cream and Jimi Hendrix. 

Despite being left-handed, Albert mainly played guitar right-handed and even learned to play upside down. This meant that he was able to bend the strings down rather than up, which helped to create his distinctive tone and signature bends that are instantly recognisable. Even when Albert was given his bespoke left-handed Gibson V guitar, he swapped the strings so that they were the wrong way. This allowed Albert to continue to have that unique tone heard throughout his music. 

There's no doubt that Albert King influenced a number of incredible musicians, including Mick Taylor of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and the Rolling Stones, and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. Eric Clapton even cited Albert as inspiration for the 'Disraeli Gears' album by Cream. Albert was even inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year. 


Image credit: Albert King in Paris, France, Lioneldecoster via Wikimedia Commons

Reba Meyers 

From an early age, Reba showed an interest in music and began playing the bass in school around the age of 12. During this time, she was introduced to Jami Morgan, and in 2008 aged around 13/14, the two formed the band Code Orange Kids (before dropping 'Kids' in 2014) alongside lead guitarist Eric Balderose and rhythm guitarist Greg Kem. 

In 2011, Reba moved away from bass and switched to playing guitar out of necessity after Greg left the band, a friend from another band helped Reba make the switch. Despite being high schoolers at the time, Code Orange Kids opened for bands including The Bronx, Misfits and Anti-Flag before they had even signed to their first label.  

By the time their debut arrived in 2012, the teens from Pittsburgh had made a name for themselves in the hardcore punk scene and were signed to Deathwish Inc. Their debut album 'Love Is Love/Return to Dust' appeared on the Boston Phoenix's list of top metal albums of 2012 and the first pressing of the album, which was limited to 3,000 copies, sold out within the first few weeks of the album's release. 

Reba is known for her super high gain noise, crunchy riffs and fierce stage presence that feeds the crowd energy. The band has earned two Grammy nominations for ‘Best Metal Performance’, most recently for title track of their fourth album ‘Underneath’.