Top 10 Punk Guitarists

20 Dec

Top 10 Punk Guitarists

I like doing these lists. I like pulling out old albums and remembering the pieces of music that shaped my youth. The lyrics that made me think, the guitar riffs that I’d hum during class when I should’ve been taking a test, the logos I’d draw on my notebook. I love it all, but I loathe the snooty comments when I don’t include the D.C. bands. Sure Bad Brains are supposed to be worshiped, and any project Ian MacKaye worked with should be included in all new printings of the Bible, but since I didn’t really dig these bands as a kid it would be stupid to include them on my list. So, if after reading my list you find yourself reaching for your Prozac bottle, sorry.

My definition of punk has always been a bit different than a lot of these “authorities.” In the sense that punk was something, to me, that anyone could do and it usually sounded like it. So, when I put Greg Ginn at number one, it doesn’t mean he was better than the dude from Bad Brains, it means he completely captured the “garage punk” sound. The incredible feedback, the screeching. It was nothing, but punk.

Number 10
Johnny Ramone

The man created some of the coolest sing-a-longs ever. More or less, the Godfather of punk guitar.

Number 9
Greg Hetson

The stuff he did on the Group Sex album is some of the best punk ever recorded. And the work on the first Bad Religion album was top notch, too.

Number 8
Joe Strummer

I don’t know how Joe ranked on a technical basis, but he was cool and passionate about his craft. RIP.

Number 7
Billy Zoom

Not counting his work with X, Zoom has also done stellar work with rockabilly legend Gene Vincent, The Blasters, Etta James, Big Joe Turner and Mike Ness.

Number 6
Captain Sensible

He was fun, I remember watching his WOT video on MTV in the early ‘80’s.

Number 5
Pat Smear

He is the punk rock version of Robert Johnson. He sucked, made a deal with the devil, and made a brilliant album with the Germs.

Number 4
Steve Jones

Great guitarist, punk or rock. Dug him live and on vinyl. Taught Andy Taylor of Duran Duran to play with an attitude.

Number 3
Ron Emory

Dance With Me, do I need to say more?

Number 2
Rikk Agnew

Every band he’s been in has gone on to success. He doesn’t seem to stay around too long, but he’s great. I’m not including him just because of the crazy email I received, from the perturbed groupie.

Number 1
Greg Ginn

I loved the beginning of any Black Flag song, the sound of the guitar turning on, and the feedback, then Greg’s crunching notes, only to be matched by the howling vocals of whatever singer they had.

Honorable Mentions: Brian Baker, Steve Jones of The Stepmothers, Mick Jones, etc.

These are my choices, I’m sticking to them.




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One Response to “Top 10 Punk Guitarists”

  1. 1
    Roger Dean Says:

    Great list!

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