Thirty Veteran Guitarists — Including Slash, Steve Vai and John Petrucci — Choose the Song They'd Most Want to Be Remembered By, Part 2

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2013 at 5:43am

From the GW Archive: This feature originally appeared in the May 2002 issue of Guitar World. The story has a "time capsule" theme: We asked several veteran guitarists to choose the one song they'd most want to be remembered by after many years. Here we are, 11 and a half years later (Does that qualify as "many"?), opening the time capsule to examine its contents! Enjoy!

A few decades ago, NASA sent a probe called Voyager straight out of the solar system. Its mission: to make contact with alien intelligence.

The capsule was crammed with artifacts — including greetings in more than 50 languages — intended to convey information about Earth's cultures. But just in case those items failed to communicate across language barriers, NASA also included a recording of Chuck Berry performing his rock and roll masterpiece "Johnny B. Goode."

For a while after Voyager's launch, the joke around the agency was that a reply had been received from an alien civilization: "Forget the scientific s---," went the message. "Send more rock and roll!" But what songs should be sent? We at Guitar World decided the logical place to start would be the musicians themselves.

In a project that started almost five years ago (hence the inclusion of George Harrison in Part 1), we began asking many of the most influential guitarists in rock, blues and metal one deceptively simple question: "If you had to put one of your songs in a time capsule to be opened sometime in the future, which would you choose, and why?"

Check out Part 2 of the story below.
Part 1, featuring Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, George Harrison, Dimebag Darrell, Joe Satriani, Kirk Hammett, John Paul Jones and more, is available here.

Dave Mustaine (Megadeth),
"Holy Wars...The Punishment Due"
Rust in Peace (1990)

“Because we will never cease trying to dominate one another.”

Steve Vai,
"Love Secrets"

Passion and Warfare (1990)

"If it's going to be aliens that will discover this piece of music thousands of years from now, I'd pick 'Love Secrets.' The song is an unbridled ride though my imagination. It was void of any contemporary parameters when I wrote it, because the approach I took to composing it was rather unorthodox.

"The harmonic structure is very rich; it's a thought-out piece of music, and it's not just a bunch of noise. Somehow, it's very arranged but it's still completely chaotic.

"I had a profound dream experience when I was 15 or 16, and the song is the audio reality of that very bizarre and lucid dream stat. After researching this phenomenon, I realized that I was not alone in experiencing incredibly dynamic, rich music in a dream. It was like witnessing a thousand-piece orchestra.

"The experience was very intense-it wasn't like I was listening to it with my ears; I was hearing the music with 'inner ears.' The music was raging, and I can't even express what I was experiencing visually.

"I tried to reproduce this music, and even though my attempt was a complete failure at best, I still think it's one of the best pieces of music I've ever written. I really think it represents the pinnacle of my ability to combine my spiritual quest in life with my absurd technical inclinations."

Slash (Guns N' Roses),
"Paradise City"

Appetite for Destruction (1987)

"This is the song that's most indicative of what I'm really into as a musician. One of the things I enjoy about being a guitar player is striving to reach some kind of a goal, even when I'm not sure what that is.

And 'Paradise City' was the closest I got to doing what I would consider great, loud, f---in' riff rock that clocks in at just three minutes. That's where I was headed, and that was the closest I got to realizing my goal in terms of expressing myself on the guitar in GN'R."

Buddy Guy,
"Damn Right, I've Got the Blues"

Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (1991)

I am especially proud of the lyrics and I really feel them every time I sing this song. If you don’t understand what it’s about, just keep living and you’re going to find out. People think money will make them happy, but if you’re rich you got to worry about keeping it and if you’re poor you got to worry about getting it. That’s why ‘Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues’ is a story that speaks to everyone.

“It’s like my pal Bo Diddley said: ‘Even Donald Trump’s got the blues,’ because he has to keep all those women away from his money. Or take Bill Gates: the guy invents ways to make money and every month they try to take him to court for something else.

"Someone’s always after him, and that is what they call the blues. It comes to you in all forms and fashions. When I was a kid plowing with a mule, I thought that if I just had $5,000 I’d never have to plow again. I didn’t know you can’t ever get away from it. Damn right.”

Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne),
"No More Tears"

No More Tears (1991)

"People seem to like this little ditty. Why? It's a cool tune; I guess the solo's alright, and the guitar tone sounds pretty cool. People ask how I got that low, growling sound at the end of the verses.

"It was just a 50-watt amp and a Les Paul with EMG pickups. And I went straight in, didn't run it through anything. When they mixed it, I think they put some SPX90 effect on it. It was in drop-D tuning, and we were at the A=440 pitch. It wasn't like I dropped down to some really low tuning."

John Petrucci (Dream Theater),
"Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence"

Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (2002)

"I'm very lucky because i can get away with choosing an entire CD — this 42-minute composition is the title song of our new album.

"It's an easy choice because it is the best possible representation of both my playing and the band's sound, running the gamut of every facet of our music. And because I co-wrote and co-produced it, I am, of course, particularly attached to it."

Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains),
"Rain When I Die"

Dirt (1992)

"This is a song that makes me feel kind of 'purged' when I play it. I think a lot of our material is like a trip trough a dark place and out the other side.

"This is a song about a relationship between a man and a woman.You have that rolling, really dark, heavy snaky riff, and the lyrical content is dark. Yet it's very uplifting in the chorus. For me, the chorus is the resolution, coming out of the darkness."

Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd),
"Simple Man"

Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd (1973)

“ ‘Simple Man’ says a lot, philosophically. I really think I am a simple man, and that’s the best way to be. Just be yourself and believe in God and find a good woman and don’t worry about getting rich and all that.

"That’ll come along with the simple things. I went through the drugs and alcohol and that crap, and I quit it all. I wish it hadn’t taken so long, because it ruins a lot of stuff. It’s a dead-end road, and once you get to the end, you gotta turn around and go all the way back.

"But when it’s all over, it’s great and you really do get grounded and realize it’s about making music—so enjoy the process.”

Kerry King (Slayer),

God Hates Us All (2001)

“On this record I tried to write more directly about feelings that people have every day, so they don’t have to wonder what I’m talking about and how it relates to them. I think fans are going to hear a song like ‘Payback’ and say, ‘Man, that was me the other day!’

"‘Payback’ was written because everybody at some point in their lives has been wronged, p---ed off or cut down by somebody—it’s a feeling everybody knows.

"I wanted to pick some dark subjects that would be appropriate on a Slayer record and make them more personal and see if this stuff means more to the fans than some of the stuff on our earlier records.”

Dickey Betts (The Allman Brothers Band),
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

Idlewild South (1970)

“It’s an awfully strong piece of music in that it allows all of the other players to have something they can really participate in.

"It offers a lot of room for players to express themselves, and all of the musicians that have played in the Allman Brothers over the years have loved to play that song. It’s true for me too; we all really enjoy the improvisation that the song allows.”

Andy Summers (The Police),
"Message In A Bottle"

Regggatta De Blanc (1979)

“I think, as a pop song, ‘Message’ has perfect form, with just enough alternation between tension and release to maintain the listener’s interest. Plus, the strong forward motion of the guitar riff maintains excitement all the way through the song.

"The lyrics are among Sting’s best—the graphic image of a man alone on an island, the message in a bottle as a metaphor for loneliness, and the surreal image of a hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore to indicate how much loneliness is out there. It also has what I consider Stewart [Copeland]’s finest drum track.

"When we recorded it, we learned how to keep the energy of the music up by doing a take and keeping the tape going while we rolled right into another take. For a while we opened our shows with ‘Message,’ and it always made us feel great and totally blew the audience away. To me, the sound of this song is the Police.”

Peter Frampton,
"Do You Feel Like We Do"

Frampton Comes Alive (1976)

“It started as a song about a hangover. I woke up with a wineglass by the bed and then went to rehearsal with a hangover.

"I started playing these chords I’d come up with on the acoustic the night before—D-F-C-G-D—which became the chorus. I added this riff we’d been jamming on in rehearsal, and it all came together. The guys in the band said, ‘C’mon, Pete, write some words—it’s almost there.’

"I said I couldn’t, that I had this really bad hangover. They said, ‘Well, sing about that.’ So I started with, ‘Woke up this morning with a wineglass in my hand.’ Nowadays that’s as far as I get before the audience takes over and sings the whole thing.

"When I emphasize the second ‘you’ in the chorus, ‘Do you—you…’ everybody’s arm is in the air, pointing. I didn’t know it when I wrote it, but when I start involving the audience, then the personal suddenly becomes universal. And then it’s not my song anymore—it’s everybody’s.”

Scott Ian (Anthrax),

Sound of White Noise (1983)

“Because [Metallica’s] James Hetfield told me it was a perfect song.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd,
"While We Cry"

Ledbetter Heights (1995)

“I was going to say ‘Blue on Black,’ but I went with this one instead, partly because it’s an instrumental. Years from now words, language, may be totally different, but people will still be able to understand the emotion in an instrumental like ‘Why We Cry.’

"I mean, we still feel what Mozart and Bach’s music was about 300 years later.

"When the guitar is the only voice in an instrumental or a solo, I can get into a state where the music just flows out of me. And when it’s time to wind down, it almost takes me down with it.”

Johnny Winter,
"Be Careful With A Fool"

Johnny Winter (1969)

“I don’t really know why I’d pick this song, but I think it has a lot of soul and a lot of that good blues feeling.

"I also think it represents my sound and my style of guitar playing well. I learned it from B.B. King’s original version, which I love.”

Add a Comment

Similar Guitar News

John Petrucci Demos His Ernie Ball Music Man JP15 — Video (5/4/2015)
In this new video, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci walks you through the JP15 John Petrucci electric guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man. Click here for more info!
Guitar Gallery: Steve Vai’s Ibanez Jem (5/4/2015)
Feast your eyes on Steve Vai’s Ibanez JEM guitar he named “Evo” after the Dimarzio Evolution pickups installed in it. Photographed by Lisa S. Johnson in Los Angeles, August 28th, 2010, for the pictorial masterwork, 108 Rock Star Guitars, “Evo”...
John Petrucci Demos Signature Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Guitar — Video (4/27/2015)
In this new video posted by Ernie Ball, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci demos and discusses the John Petrucci Majesty electric guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man. "The Majesty guitar symbolizes the very reason why I am so proud to be a Musi...
John Petrucci Demos Ernie Ball Music Man JPBFR6 John Petrucci Ball Family Reserve Guitar — Video (4/24/2015)
In this brand-new video below, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci walks you through the features of the JPBFR6 John Petrucci Ball Family Reserve (BFR) guitar from Ernie Ball Music Man. Intrigued? Watch the video and visit
Steve Vai’s New Guitar Camp Experience and DVD Offer Up-Close Encounters with a Guitar Icon (4/24/2015)
“Throughout my whole life, I’ve always enjoyed teaching—sharing the things that I’ve learned and experiences I’ve had,” says Steve Vai. The legendary guitar virtuoso will be doing just that for four straight days, August 2–6, at Vai Academy 20...
Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore Talks "Highway Star" Guitar Solo — Covers by John Petrucci, Joe Satriani and More (4/13/2015)
“Highway Star” is but one highlight of Machine Head, Deep Purple’s greatest triumph. Ironically, it almost never came to be. In early 1972, shortly after retreating to Montreaux, Switzerland, to record, the British band was beset by a wealth of ...
Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Animals As Leaders Announce "Benefit for Cliff III" Concert in Los Angeles (3/24/2015)
Joe Satriani and Steve Vai have announced a benefit concert in support of their good friend, music-industry veteran Cliff Cultreri. The show, “A Benefit for Cliff III,” will take place 8 p.m. June 12 at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. It wil...
U.K. Rockers Xerath Cover Steve Vai's “Dirty Black Hole” — Video (3/9/2015)
U.K. rockers Xerath have covered a 1993 Steve Vai track, “Dirty Black Hole,” which first appeared on Vai’s Sex & Religion. Devin Townsend sang the original Vai version, by the way. Speaking of Vai, he seems to like the Xerath version. "Hi, f...
Dream Theater's John Petrucci Shreds on 'That Metal Show' — Video (2/22/2015)
Over the Oscars- (and snow-) filled weekend, Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci made his debut appearance on That Metal Show. You can check out a pro-shot clip of Petrucci's shred-packed performance, a highlight of the series' Season 14 debut...
Steve Vai Announces 'Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A.' Album and DVD — Video (2/22/2015)
Sony Music Entertainment and Legacy Recordings have signed Steve Vai to a new multi-album agreement that includes plans to issue two new Vai sets in 2015, beginning with Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. on April 7. The 2CD/2DVD was recorded...
Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" in the Styles of 10 Guitarists, from Steve Vai to Eddie Van Halen — Video (2/11/2015)
Like most of you, I've often wondered what it would sound like if 10 of the world’s most famous guitarists got together and jammed on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” I'm joking, of course. However, Andre Antunes actually thought about this topic. He ev...
John Petrucci and Rush's Geddy Lee Booked for 'That Metal Show' Season 14 Premiere (2/4/2015)
Rush’s Geddy Lee has been confirmed as a guest on this season's debut episode of That Metal Show. The show, which is hosted by Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine, will air 9 p.m. EST and 11 p.m. EST February 21 on VH1 Classic. As a bon...
Dream Theater's John Petrucci Performs Judas Priest Song with His Wife's Band, Judas Priestess (1/7/2015)
Everyone eventually sits in with their wife's Judas Priest cover band—and Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci is no different! Below, watch Petrucci perform "Beyond the Realms of Death" with Judas Priestess, a band that features his wife, Rena...
Sterling by Music Man Previews New JP60-MGR John Petrucci Guitar (12/19/2014)
If you read the Ernie Ball forum, you'll already have noticed the company has sort of announced the new Sterling by Music Man JP60-MGR guitar. If not, check out the recent post about the new John Petrucci model right here: "Here's a quick previe...
Steve Vai Guitarist Dave Weiner on Zen and the Spiritual Side of Playing Guitar (12/4/2014)
Guitarist Dave Weiner has been a part of Steve Vai’s band since 1999, touring the world with him and recently opening his shows in front of European audiences. This gave him a chance to showcase songs from his third solo album, A Collection of ...
John Petrucci play tests Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 mini amp (11/21/2014)
Read more about John Petrucci play tests Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 mini amp at The guitar world erupted with excitement at the news that Mesa/Boogie had been beavering away on a 25-watt mini head version of its legendary Mar