Greg Koch – Radio Free Gristle

Radio Free Gristle
Radio Free Gristle

Ya gotta love this stuff! Greg Koch, for those of you who haven’t run across him, is one of those guitarists who spark awe in other players. His chops are impeccable, and his attitude makes pretty much everything he plays a lot of fun. He has made a career of doing clinics and such, and has two other solo albums (including Strat’s Got Your Tongue, reviewed in VG, January ’97) that showcase his dazzling virtuosity. Well, this one does, too, but it’s a little different.

The songs here are broken up by (usually) very funny spoken-word intros by Koch. And he does them in a mock radio disc jockey voice that’s just hysterical. So before he does the very unconventional “Your Blues(Give Me the Blues),” he does a one-minute talk on how middle-aged white guys obsessed with bad blues have made the genre such a cliché. Or check out the hysterically obscene intro to the song “Push,” where Greg describes the disease Percy-itus Lemonsqueezosis, where you just suddenly belt out obscenities in Robert Plant’s voice. The song then blows away pretty much all the rockers on today’s scene.

While the spoken parts are great, it’s the playing that really shines. “Death of a Bassman” causes just what the title and intro say with some killer rock. “Sassy Strumpet” is a funky rocker with the whole bag of tricks and licks that most of us would have no clue on how to re-create. There’s a fine Roy Buchanan tribute called “Dry Ice” with some incredible soloing.

You get the idea. Koch is a monster player, and the songs speak for themselves. But the spoken intros are a great extra. Guitar fans should check out this one, both for the great music and the wonderful intros full of insider guitar/music talk.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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