In this new column, we are going to take a look at some of the great guitarists that have shaped the sound of modern metal music. What that means is that we will discuss guitarists that I like with complete disregard for anyone else’s opinion. If you don’t like the guitarist of the month, well… that’s your problem.
This month we are going to take a look at Brad Gillis. Wait… who? You know, Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist after Randy Rhoads died. You mean Jake E. Lee right? Nope, Brad Gillis. He only played on tour and one live album featuring Black Sabbath covers, Speak of the Devil. He’s really known for his work with seminal heavy metal band Night Ranger.
Night Ranger isn’t a heavy metal band. I know… I know, but Brad Gillis guitar playing is infectious. Do yourself a favor and pick up Night Ranger’s Greatest Hits. It has Sister Christian on it, and I am pretty sure everyone likes that song. Take a listen to the tracks “When You Close Your Eyes” and “The Secret of My Success.” Awesome, right.
When You Close Your Eyes opens with a lead line that sounds like it is played exclusively with the Floyd Rose. That’s Brad Gillis. Then take a listen to “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me,” The first solo on that song includes some incredibly lyrical use of Floyd flutter (quickly smacking the bar on the Floyd rose to get an oscillating effect). Sure, plenty of guys are good at using Floyd flutter, but that song came out in 1982. Steve Vai was still hanging out with Frank Zappa.
I’m not sure why Brad never made it big during the shred obsessed 1980s. Fernandes made a Brad Gillis signature model in the mid 80s and he shows up in the guitar magazines every once in a while, but that’s about it. I guess he never met Graham Bonnet.
So there you go, Guitarist of the Month, Brad Gillis. Next month, we’ll talk about Dave Suzuki (probably not). Would that be metal enough for you?