The huge success of EVH and Randy Rhoads from Southern California in the late seventies and early eighties, created an entire scene of guitarists in LA’s Sunset Strip.
Most of them were classed as imitators.
In a different era only a few of these guitarists would have made it. But these guitarists had something that no other guitarist had before them.
A new market was created by music television that needed artists with a “god like” physical look and “love making” stage moves. And in order to satisfy the masses, MTV told the labels to go and get these artists. And major labels signed em in droves.
Dressed up as characters from “The Rocky Horror Show” and big hair, the anti-alpha look went against the alpha style lyrics of sexual domination and standing your ground.
Suddenly, everyone who wanted to be an artist was having their own fifteen minutes of fame contract thrown at them.
MTV went into business with heavy metal and the biggest beneficiaries were vocalists and guitarists.
And Lemmy once said, “the essence of rock and roll is rebellion” and “the only reason for rock and roll to exist is to be the soundtrack for the movie of teenage angst and anger”.
And there was a lot of teenage angst and anger. We snapped up the records and concert tickets and T-shirt’s at an unbelievable pace, fueled by the over exposure that MTV created, along with the various magazines.
Guitarists like Vito Bratta, George Lynch, Warren DeMartini/Robin Crosby, Carlos Cavazo, CC DeVille, Jake E Lee, Joey Allen/Erik Turner, Traci Gunns, Mark Kendall, Vinnie Vincent and Tom Keifer all had moments in the spotlight.
Artists like Lynch and Lee had success with multiple projects, while Keifer had an unbelievable ability to take old blues influences and turn them into popular rock songs. But he got lumped in with the rest of the hair Metal artists.
Warren DeMartini also got classed into this hair metal category but he was an outlier and Vito Bratta for all of his abilities couldn’t shake the EVH clone comparisons and a vocalist who couldn’t shake the DLR and Vince Neil comparisons.
It’s a very subjective viewpoint but for the other guitarists, did they really produce an album’s worth of great material.