Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro is someone who enjoys listening to a wide variety of guitar styles.
“I love hearing the acoustic guitar, and also classical guitar. Coming as I do from Brazil, there’s a huge tradition of guitar music, and there are a lot of great guitarists playing what would be termed flamenco or South American music. That’s something I enjoy relaxing to.”
For Loureiro, an interest in rock guitar began with Led Zeppelin.
“It was after hearing III, with tracks like Immigrant Song. That made a big impact on me. I was 11 when I first got acoustic guitar lessons, and then when I was 13 the Rock in Rio Festival happened (1985). I was 13 at the time, and watching all these amazing guitarists on TV made me want to get electric lessons. I started listening to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, but it was III from Zeppelin that really showed me what you can do on guitar.”
To the Megadeth man, it’s not the virtuosos who matter, but more the compositions and the melodies. So, how has he chosen his five albums here?
“It’s been so hard, but I hope those I mention here represent the scope of my interest in music, and show that you can love music from all angles.”
Below, Kiko selects his 5 Essential Guitar Albums.
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
“While it was III that got me into Led Zeppelin, this one remains my favourite. It has such a range of styles here, from blues to acoustic to Eastern. And there are some outstanding riffs from Jimmy Page. You only have to listen to Kashmir to appreciate you are in the presence of something special. That is such a musical journey. It captures the imagination. And then you have Bron-Y-Aur, which is a short, acoustic instrumental. These two songs represent the scope of Physical Graffiti.
“It’s a double album, and has something for everyone. Whenever I want to listen to Zeppelin, this is where I go. You have the vast scale of their talents brought into focus on this album.”
Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow (1975)
“Released in the same year as Physical Graffiti, this is an album that really got me into listening to Beck. The thing about him is that everything he releases sounds different to what he’s done before. I admire the fact that he will never repeat himself. While there are a lot of guitarists who have a style that crops up on every album, that’s not the case with this man. He is so creative that each album is something special.
“Jeff Beck is a remarkable talent, which is why he has always sounded very much up to date. It makes him such an inspiring guitarist to me. What I love about Blow By Blow is that his use of harmonics and distortion is fascinating. In fact, it was through hearing this album that I got into that sort of thing myself.
“You can clearly hear Beck’s jazz influences coming through, and it was because I listened to the album that I eventually discovered jazz fusion. For me, this is a bridge between rock and metal on the one hand and bands like Weather Report on the other.”
Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
“When I began taking electric guitar lessons at the age of 13, the first thing my teacher got me to do was Black Dog from Led Zeppelin. But after that, he taught me what Eddie Van Halen was doing on this album. Now, that was in about 1985, so the album was several years old by then. But, it was all new to me. Of course, a lot of guitarists were already aware of the stuff on this album, but for me it was a revelation.
“I went out and bought a copy of the album, and I listened to it all the time, to soak in what was being [done] technically, and I could appreciate why Van Halen took the world by storm when it came out. Eddie Van Halen changed the way people thought about the guitar, and even now it still amazes me. Nobody needs to be told this was a crossroads for guitar playing.”
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue (1959)
“When I first got into jazz, it was in the 80s. And I began to listen to what he released during that time. But then someone told me I had to go back to his earlier stuff, and how I discovered this masterpiece. For me, it’s the best representation of the jazz side of my interest in music. It is a very chilled and peaceful record, one that you can put on when you’re in a laid-back mood. But there’s a lot more going on here than you might at first realise.
“What Davis did here as get away from the bebop jazz rules. He encouraged the musicians involved here to be experimental and to try different approaches. There were no rehearsals before the recording sessions. Davis only gave the musicians sketches of the scales and melody lines on which he expected them to improvise, and then he recorded the results.
“What he got was an album that for me represents jazz better than any other album. Its impact has stayed with me all these years later.”
Yes - Close To The Edge (1972)
“There are a lot of albums I could have included here, from bands I admire like Iron Maiden and Scorpions. But I wanted to have this one in there, because this is an album when all the musical elements of a great band came together.
“If you listen to the title track, it has a rich phrasing that reminds me of a symphony. What Yes did here was combine their deep musical knowledge with a real respect for melody. The songs here were certainly very catchy, but you can hear just how good they all are as musicians. It’s not many bands who can retain a balance between these different aspects of art.”