In running across this, I quickly scan the list of performers to see if there’s anyone that catches my eye. It doesn’t take long before I come across the Alex Skolnick Trio. Who? Well, sit down, there’s some history to go over.
Alex Skolnick started out in life as a shredder guitar player in the 80s. He came to fame as a lead guitarist with Testament (whom I never got into) before moving on to another metal band, Savatage (whom I contend are one of the most underappreciated bands of that era). Back in the day, I knew more OF Skolnick than I knew of his work. I was too busy learing how to play like Joe Satriani to be bothered with anyone else’s work.
Satriani, being my idol, led me on a path that made me discover the solo work of his bassist: Stu Hamm. Stu is probably the best true musician to be a simple bass player in a long while. On his solo albums, he would frequently have a who’s who of guitar players performing alongside him. So anyways, Stu Hamm finally did a solo tour once upon a time, and who do you think he got to be his guitar player? Alex Skolnick. At the time, I was a bit befuddled. Why on earth would Stu want this death metal dude to play some progressive rock instrumentals? Eh, I didn’t care too much, Stu rocked, so I was off to the show.
Needless to say, I was utterly impressed with Skolnick as a guitar player. He was faithful to the many styles of guitar he had to play, and watching a Testament guitar player play an Eric Johnson guitar solo dead on was going to impress anyone. So ever since, I’ve kinda had his name in the back of my mind, and wherever he turned up, I knew there would be good tunage.