Originally Posted by BroncoBuff
LABF, you're a professional, so I need your opinion (unless it's different than mine). I was a freshman in college, like 19 years old, and we were jamming with this guy who was a big shot senior or some damn thing (6th year trust fund senior). He wasn't a very good player really, but he lived in a great house with senior guys and had a lotta money and great car (who drives a convertible in Boulder?) and great gear - really really great gear (LP Gold Top, Strat, Mesa Boogie head + Marshall 4x12, Ovation Patriot which was cool at the time anyway).
So, he had this great gear, and was a jazz guy too, and we were at his house listening to Al DeMeola (whom he worshipped), and I said something like "he reminds me of Eddie Van Halen in that speed and flash kinda come first." Well, he lit into me a bit, and actually said something like, "man, you need to buy some Stridex and listen to some decent music, then come back in a year and tell me what you think." Everyone laughed - even my friends! And LABF, there were GIRLS THERE!! AND THEY LAUGHED TOO!!!!
I'm still not over it ... I need to heal from this, LABF.
TELL ME I WAS RIGHT ABOUT AL DEMEOLA!
HEAL ME LABF!
The insult that made a man out of Mac...
On the real, I've always felt the same way about DiMeola, i.e., that he was all about technique for its own sake. When he initially emerged in the 70s, I remember being impressed by his chops but completely unmoved on an emotional/aesthetic level.
Yngwie Malmsteen is another guitarist (working in the rock genre) whose solos amount to little more than "let's see how fast I can play these harmonic minor scale sequences or diminished arpeggios."
Now we get to the healing part...
Here's a little anecdote that should put things in perspective:
The guy who transcribed all of Yngwie's solos for his RHS instructional video was my reading teacher at G.I.T. and a good friend of mine named Dave Hill.
Anyway, Dave doesn't have anywhere near the kind of chops that Yngwie has, but he was able to transcribe all of Yngwie's licks (for the booklet that comes with the video) with very little effort.
Because there is ultimately nothing really melodically interesting about the lines Yngwie plays. That is to say, he just runs up and down scales, sequences, and arpeggios - there are no real motifs or phrases that jump around intervallically or vary in contour. The contour of his lines is nearly always uniform and, hence, more or less predictable.
The same thing can be said, perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, of DiMeola's solos.
As for my tastes, I'll take a guy like Frank Gambale who probably has more chops than DiMeola but who (for the most part) only uses them as a means to an end, i.e., as a means of getting his ideas across.