The Best and Worst of 2000 from GuitarAttack World Headquarters

Best Movie -- I really liked Gladiator. It reminds me of the movie Airplane -- "Do you like movies about gladiators, Jimmy? Is Scraps a boy dog?" It seemed like a high budget adaptation of a Shakespeare play, but something about it was really appealing. Mr. Crowe was interesting, but I suppose that I can’t get past the fact that a movie like Gladiator is in the running for a Best Picture Oscar. I also enjoyed The Replacements. Gene Hackman is one of the great actors of our era. Mr. Reeves also did an admirable job. I understand the "model quarterback" for his role in the movie was Joe Montana. The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was that the producers wound up with PSINet Stadium as the setting. I suppose PSINet needed the money.

Worst Movie -- In Dreams with Annette Bening and Robert Downey, Jr. Robert Downey should be forced to do some more time for this one. It appeared that about 40 minutes of the movie got edited out, and the director just became bored trying to make it work. Hollowman was tough to watch, too.  I believe they all got bored with that one.

Something Interesting – I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey about two weeks ago. Stanley Kubrik and Mr. Clarke had an interesting vision of 2001. From a 1968 perspective, they were probably not too far out. However, the uniforms the flight attendants wore in the movie were so Late 60’s. Love those hats. The liquid food was interesting. Too bad they didn’t understand the wonders of the microwave oven. Speaking of space progress, who would have thought that once we figured out how to go to the Moon that we wouldn’t go back, even for a political stunt?

Best CD -- This is a tough one because it appears that bands with guitars are still doing pretty well. Stiff Upper Lip by AC/DC was very satisfying. Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers was there. Lenny Kravitz’s Greatest Hits. Creed. Lit – those guys are cool. I liked them on the Cribs show on MTV. Have you seen that show? Some of the palaces are very, very disturbing. P.O.D. was very regular, though. I’m going to buy their CD. What’s up with Slipknot?

Worst CD – The Marshall Mathers thing by Eminem. Indescribable. We can only hope that this guy will go the way of Vanilla Ice and just leave us all alone. I’d take the Sugar Hill Gang over him any day. However, there were plenty of awful rap/hip hop recordings this year. Unfortunately, most of them were in the Top 10 CD slots! Did I mention Van Halen III from last year?

Best New GuitarTommy’s Special Guitars from Viersen, Germany. Tommy Metz is a friend of mine, and he makes some great guitars in his shop. While these guitars aren’t necessarily new, and they are based on Mr. Fender’s timeless designs, they deserve a look. He has some new models that are just killer. Carl Verheyen and some cool German guys endorse these guitars in Europe. Tommy has a distributor in California, and they are very well made and setup. Finally, Tommy also has a very, very cool shop.  Good job!

Worst New Guitar – The "Life of Christ" Super 400 by Gibson. I am a Christian and read the Bible, but I can’t get over this guitar. When Jim Grainger sent me the URL, I thought it was a joke. When I looked on the Gibson site I was just shocked. I am still not sure how to react, but I know that I don’t like it.

Best Trend. Music for the people. MP3 technologies allow garage bands with a sound card in their computer and a fast modem to post their music on the Internet. This is true democracy, because anyone can post their music out there, and the MP3 savvy consumers will vote with page hits and downloads. If it is bad, you’ll find out. If it is great, a record label may be calling. This is an exciting time for garage bands because they can get near real-time feedback on whether or not they stink. Is it foolproof? No, but neither is that arrogant A&R man you met last year. Real, unemotional feedback is difficult for your average garage band to get. This is because the reviewers are usually buddies, girlfriends, and amateur roadies – and they just love it, love it, love it! By the way – you’d better buy a faster computer.

Worst Trend. Napster! You Rage Against the Machine fans may disagree with me on this one, but the basis of capitalism is getting paid for your work. The Soviet Union tried the other route, and well…it really worked out for them, didn’t it. Ripping songs from CDs, converting them to MP3 format, and posting them on the Internet without permission from the artists violates the principles of capitalism. Napster had a good thing going until those pesky lawyers got involved. I’ve heard all of the wild arguments – "Oh…we’re just trying out the songs before we buy them." I don’t buy that argument any more than I would buy that the folks downloading those Metallica songs would work 40 hours per week for no pay. Please don’t buy the "rich man bad, college student good" argument either. Metallica still deserves to get paid for their music, and class warfare aside, they still deserve to be protected by the copyright laws of the United States. Knock it off. Buy the CD!

Best new effect. The vast array of plug-ins for digital workstations. The ProTools plug-ins, as well as the DirectX for the Cakewalks of the world, allows the "little guy" at home access some very high-end effects. On the guitar front, the new Danelectro pedals are killer. I had the chance to try a few in the US this summer, and I thought they sounded really great. Not only that, the price is right.

Worst new effect. The plug in that makes your vocals magically appear "in tune". As I said in last year’s version, there is not software to make your bad song good, though. Too bad there isn’t a plug in to make Eminem go away.

Something Strange. Gibson posted a photo of a new ’59 Reissue on their website recently, and stated that only 475 of these awesome guitars would be produced during 2001. The sales pitch was that this particular Les Paul had the most awesome top ever seen on a Les Paul. Consider this: 475 guitars equals about 40 guitars per month. It also about equals the number of Les Paul Sunburst Standards produced in Kalamazoo in all of 1958 (with a few goldtops thrown in). But what is really interesting in this post is that Gibson is actually printing a production number from the Custom Shop. To my knowledge, they have never done this with Historic Reissues before. Another conclusion: it is clear that Gibson has been cranking out way more than 475 ’59 Historic Reissues annually. See the Historic Reissue article for more commentary.

So what do you think? Send me an email or post it on the Forum. Have a great 2001!

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