Scott Crouse is without a doubt one of my favorite people that I have the pleasure of working with. I am sure our relationship has long crossed over from simply a working one to that of an actual friendship. Scott’s band Earth Crisis, as I have noted time and time again, has had a profound and life-changing impact on me and I am eternally grateful that the mighty Earth Crisis trusts me with their merchandising. Scott and I have talked music on numerous occasions, but I never asked him who specifically were the guitarists that really impacted him and his playing. Some of the answers I could have guessed while others took me a bit by surprise. Enjoy our conversation below.
HMP: Ok I am starting with the big one for me which is James and Metallica. I will say for the 4,000th time here that Metallica and specifically Master of Puppets changed my whole life. Upon seeing your list, I immediately questioned your decision to put James over Kirk. Not that I think it is the wrong answer but please qualify that decision and take it easy on ol’ Kirk haha
SCOTT: Master of Puppets also changed my life. I had started playing guitar around 8 years old, because of someone else on the list, but lost motivation. It was when I heard Master of Puppets that I thought “I NEED to make those sounds,” so I picked up the tablature book for the album and that’s really how I learned to play. James Hetfield is just the archetype solid guitar player. Very precise and his down-picking is unrivaled. I tried to model myself after his style and that might be the only person on this list that I can say that about. You just like Kirk because he’s into the same toys as you!
HMP: That’s not true Kirk likes the same horror movies and toys as me! I actually hear you 100% on James and I understand your choice. For me as someone who doesn’t play an instrument the solos in those songs always seemed extremely magical. Not just in Metallica but in metal as a whole. I think most non musicians tend to look to the solos as the “hard part” or the part with the wow factor which is definitely unfair because Kirk’s solo is Battery is nothing without James mean ass riffs. So next up is Bill Steer which is another big one for me. I fucking love Carcass, they are probably my favorite death metal band of all time. Definitely the band from that genre that I was most entranced by. Which is your album of choice and what about Bill’s playing grabbed you?
SCOTT: Heartwork for sure. He leveled up on that album without a doubt. It may have been some influence from Mike Amott, but I always preferred Bill Steer’s solos. Amott is no slouch by any means, but Steer just flows more to my ear and he without a doubt left an impression on my playing. Any attempts at a solo I make I feel always ends in a very Steer way. Also, regarding Bill Steer, I should mention that he’s the reason I bought an Ibanez S series guitar. I saw him playing one in Metal Maniacs in 1993. Also, he was later responsible for me wanting to get a Les Paul. Wow, more of an influence than I even remembered!
HMP: I like Amott also but was always a Steer guy. I loved the way they named their solos also. Steer has a way of playing that is no bullshit and cut down to only what’s necessary to the solo. He also manages to sound fucking beautiful in an extremely aggressive and ugly music. He’s like the Hellraiser movies and somehow makes that gore soaked band seem elegant. Donald from Earache actually posted on a Carcass record I shared recently that the label received lots of hate mail for Necroticism and the later Carcass records for the band “selling out” ha. Alright so we talked about Eddie Van Halen when we did the podcast and our shared love of that band. Jef from Leviathan also had Eddie on his list and I would imagine he makes a lot of lists haha. What about Eddie’s planning inspired you and what is the Van Halen album of choice. Also, as Joe Dirt said it’s Van Halen not Van Hagar!
SCOTT: Ha, I actually like Van Hagar also, but I agree Van Halen is a different band. When I was around 8 years old I heard the intro to ‘ain’t talking ‘bout love and it was one of those “oh wow, I’m quitting school and going to be a rocker” type moments. Nothing really needs to be said about his playing that hasn’t been said a thousand times. He changed the game and I still haven’t heard anyone play like him to this day.
HMP: If you had to pick one Van Halen record which is it?
SCOTT: Man, that’s tough, but I’d have to say Van Halen I is my favorite.
HMP: With Van Halen there is no wrong answer for favorite album. Now Van Hagar that is a whole other situation hahaha
SCOTT: Ha, there’s some good tunes in there, but it’s a different band and should be called something different for sure. It’s like Chinese democracy, I love it, but it’s just an Axl Rose solo album.
HMP: Ok so I don’t know a thing in the world about Paul Gilbert. If you had to explain his work to someone unfamiliar and express why he makes the list what would you say and what entry point to his music would you suggest?
SCOTT: He’s the only “shredder” I have on the list, and I think it’s because I heard Racer X when I was about 12 and it was a super human level of playing that I had a hard time believing was real at the time. I loosely followed him through the years, and I’m not necessarily a fan of his bands, but I feel like he is someone who has truly mastered the instrument. He’s not just speed, but tasteful playing in any genre you can throw at him.
HMP: I remember seeing Racer X ads in metal magazines as a kid and not knowing what it was. Now I am intrigued. So, we’re on our last player and it’s another one I love. What is it about Vic Dicara that gets him on the list and is it 108 or Inside Out that lands him there?
SCOTT: My first introduction to him was Beyond, but yes Inside Out being the undeniable band they were, is what cemented him for me. I have to say I had a hard time choosing between him or Dr. Know for this list, but at a very pivotal point in my guitar playing, it was definitely Vic who I was most influenced by. He’s a riff master and has a very unique and identifiable style. Wild on stage is an understatement! Also, being a metalhead I loved that he was leaning that way with the long hair and Charvel guitar.
HMP: Wild on stage for sure! That dude puts everything into his performance. I’ve managed to see a few 108 shows and he is something to behold. Dr. Know is also huge and we discussed it previously, but I would be shocked if Vic’s playing was not heavily influenced by Dr. Know. I love all the Bad Brains records but I Against I and Quickness are my two favorites. Since we managed to bring up Doc let’s just make him #6 and wrap it with your favorite Bad Brains album and what it is about his playing that makes him special?
SCOTT:Quickness 100%! I saw Soulcraft on headbangers ball when I was like 12 and loved it! It still holds up to this day. I think it’s safe to say hardcore wouldn’t be what it is today without Dr. Know and the Bad Brains.