I was interested in music at a young age. My father built his HiFi system from a Heathkit, and I am pretty sure my fascination with Progressive Rock was kindled by hearing Emerson, Lake and Palmer on the radio (Karn Evil 9, 1st impression, part 2 was frequently aired).
But, my desire to learn to play guitar was driven by the discovery of Michael Schenker. My first brush with his playing was when a friend in high school introduced me to the song “Shoot Shoot” from the UFO album “Strangers in the Night”, a live album recorded on the last tour that Michael did with the band before a brief return to the Scorpions, and then launching his solo career with the Michael Schenker Group.
Straight up playing, very melodic, and no “tricks”, it was just a solid wall of guitar.
I went on to find many other influences, and to chase many sounds, but always came back to Schenker. It wasn’t the fastest. It didn’t have esoteric effects. It didn’t have a lot of flash. But his sound, his style, and his playing has endured in my mind as a pinnacle to attempt for the last 40 years.
As I write this, I am listening to the recording from his “The Unforgiven World Tour” circa 1999, and the recording was made at the Keystone Palo Alto, not far from where I lived (alas, I was unable to catch that show).
The secret to his sound (at that time) was Gibson Flying V guitar, a wah pedal, and straight into a Marshall amp. Nothing fancy, no pre or post processing. Just straight ahead rock and roll.
Fucking gold right there.