If simplicity is a virtue, Rick Marotta is a fine man indeed.
Marotta's ability to lay down the perfect groove unburdened by ego and needless complexity, has enshrined his drumming on records by Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Paul Simon, John Lennon, Hall & Oates, Stevie Nicks, Wynonna, Roy Orbison, Todd Rundgren, Roberta Flack, Peter Frampton, Quincy Jones, Jackson Browne, Waylon Jennings, Randy Newman, Kenny G., the Jacksons, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and many others. He has also worked extensively as a producer, music director, and film and television composer.
"Guitars don't interest me," insists Orgy guitarist Ryan Shuck. "I've never been interested in playing 'normal' guitar. I never put any time into learning scales or anything like that."
Yet despite--or perhaps because of--the attitude Shuck has generated some of the most striking guitar textures in recent rock. Orgy's breakthrough disc, Candyass, and its recent follow-up, Vapor Transmission, are packed with otherworldly textures concocted by Shuck and co-guitarist Amir Derakh.
The most successful recording artists become stars. The most enduring stars become legends. But what do you call the entertainers for whom the word "legend" is an understatement?
Whatever term you use, there's no denying that Sir Elton John belongs in that elite category.
Tom Shapiro is one of the unchallenged masters of contemporary country songwriting. Twenty-one of his songs have hit #1, and he is the only writer in Music Row history to be named BMI's Country Songwriter of the Year three times within five years (in 1993, '96, and '97). He's also a successful producer whose credits include Billy Dean's string of hits, many of which he also co-wrote.
There's a common thread between all the number #1 country hits Allen Shamblin has written or co-written. From Randy Travis's "He Walked on Water" to Mike Reid's "Walk on Faith," from Collin Raye's "In This Life" to Toby Keith's "We Were in Love," each song boasts a storyline as memorable as its melody.
One of the first things you'll notice if you attend a show by the Southern California quintet Something Corporate is the remarkable age range of the audience. No surprise that there are plenty of amped-up teens, given that frontman/chief songwriter Andrew McMahon is still one himself. But there are also older, more sedate fans savoring the group's offbeat love songs.
Bassist Preston Crump carries the torch for realtime bass playing in the sequencer-driven hip-hop and R&B genres. The Atlanta-based musician has contributed woofer-rattling lows to discs by Outkast, Goodie Mob, TLC, Destiny's Child, En Vogue, and, most recently, rapper Citizen Cope and producer/performer Raphael Saadiq. Crump recently discussed his work from his home in Atlanta, Georgia.
"I'm the guy they bring in on country records when they don't want the 'perfect' thing," he says. "I'm not a total roots guy, but I have a loose, Stones-like way of playing that just feels good. I don't have to play those perfect, clean guitar parts you hear on most country records. I can be a little rougher."