Melbourne based punk-rockers High Tension owe there blistering brand of guitar fuelled mayhem to many predecessors who inspired the quartet to hone their own skills and become the beloved thrashers they are today. Guitarist Ash Pegram, runs us through five of his personal guitar icons and why they mean so much to him as a musician today.
When I was a teenager, I was this shy, overweight goth type kid who would listen to metal a lot. Then I saw Magic Dirt on Recovery play She Riff and I thought it was just the most captivating thing in the world. Adalita’s guitar playing was so simple but the guitar tones were out of this world. I picked up a copy of Young And Full Of The Devil and was hooked. I still copy her guitar tone to this day, particularly that thick fuzz sound from the Friends in Danger album. To have her play on the High Tension album was truly a dream come true. It’s embarrassing to admit but I used to copy her stage moves in my bedroom when I was practicing guitar. It was pretty much my equivalent to singing in the mirror with a hairbrush.
Watch: Magic Dirt – She Riff (Live)
2. Kim Gordon
I love Kim’s innovative use of guitar as a noise instrument. People always talk about Thurston and Lee but Kim’s guitar playing on Washing Machine really anchors it all into place. She’s the epitome of cool on stage and I really tried to emulate her style in my earlier band Young and Restless – not a lot of chords, just single notes.
Watch: Sonic Youth –Becuz (Live)
3. Anna Calvi
I usually hate ‘techy’ guitar playing (i.e. finger tapping and all that shit) but the way Anna Calvi does it really inspires me to be a better guitar player technically. She knows when to pull back and then really hit the pedal on the floor. I saw her live and when she ripped into the solo in Love Won’t Be Leaving I pretty much cried because it was such an epic moment and so moving.
Watch: Anna Calvi – Love Won’t Be Leaving (Live)
4. Liz Phair
It annoys me to no end that NO ONE mention’s Liz Phairs guitar playing, they only focus on her lyrics. To me, Exile in Guyville is one of the most challenging albums to decipher on guitar. I challenge anyone to try and figure out what she’s playing. It’s totally untrained, all over the place, shambolic and yet so precise. I can’t describe it, really.
Watch: Liz Phair – Nashville (Live)
5. Carrie Brownstein
No one does a Pete Townsend windmill like Carrie Brownstein. And also, her guitar tone on The Woods is pretty much the epitome of a perfect guitar tone to me. I love they way she hardly plays any chords, just single notes. I think there’s some claim that on The Hot Rock she doesn’t play a single chord the whole album.
Watch: Sleater-Kinney – Entertain
High Tension’s new album ‘Bully’ drops this Friday June 10th. You can pre-order it here, and grab the dates and deets of their upcoming tour below!
Watch: High Tension – Killed By Life
High Tension – Bully Tour
Saturday July 11
With I Exist, Outright & YLVA
Friday, July 17
With Lizzard Wizzard, 100% & Pissed On
Saturday, July 18
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
With Mere Women, Narrow Lands & MSV BCP
Tix: Newtown SC