RavenEye's Oli Brown: 5 Essential Guitar Albums

Raveneye with Oli Brown (centre)

“I never wanted to be a singer,” RavenRye frontman Oli Brown told Classic Rock in 2016. “My ambition was to be a guitar player, but not many guitarists can front a band and not sing!”

With over a decade of touring experience behind him, Brown is proving to be adept at both. Since being plucked as a teenager to tour with the world-renowned, Grammy-nominated funk band Blinddog Smokin’, he’s steadily gone from strength to strength, but it’s since striking out with RavenEye that the momentum has really started to accelerate.

“I’ve always been into heavier music,” Brown says. “I love blues but I also like nothing better than blasting heavy rock at full volume. People like Queens Of The Stone Age, Soundgarden, Audioslave.” And that’s reflected in his hisfive essential guitar albums.

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Soundgarden - Superunknown

This album is my favourite album of all time. I first found Chris from his Audioslave days, but then a friend recommended me to listen to this record and it completely blew my mind. Kim Thayil is an insane guitarist: so many amazing guitar lines and riffs. It’s epic sounding, the songs are immense, and Chris’s voice is flawless. He sounds raw and unrefined, giving the songs such an edge. 4th of July used to be my warm-up song before shows, but after Chris’s death it’s hard to listen to. None of us in the band are really over his death.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood

It’s a masterclass in blues and rock guitar. There’s so many songs I could list on this record. His phrasing, his attack, the shape of the solos; everything had so much purpose, commitment and fire. The way Stevie improvised is just another level of playing. I remember first nailing Pride and Joy and playing it for days on end as loud as I could, driving the parents insane. Rude Mood was another tune I had to learn from this record, took me a fair bit longer to put together than Pride and Joy!

The Jimi Hendrix Collection - Voodoo Child

Slightly different from the album vibe as it’s a compilation, but it’s the first record I had of Hendrix and one that started my journey in playing guitar. It’s just a collection of his epics as well as some live tracks, where he’s slaying it. It also features Hey Baby, which was finished after his death. Something about that song resonated with me - it takes me back to when I started playing and reminds me how I wanted to be Hendrix when I was grew up. I almost said Electric Ladyland (not just for the artwork!) as it’s officially an album, but the collection is really what shaped me. Stevie and Hendrix were my two guitar gods as I started playing guitar.

Rage Against The Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles

I feel like if you ever want start writing riffs in your life you’ve gotta go through the entire back catalogue of Rage and learn all of Tom’s lines. Just guitar, bass & drums and you’ve got some of the heaviest sounding guitar riffs: Testify, Born of a Broken Man, Guerilla Radio. Apart from his solos taking the sound to other places, every verse and chorus slams with something so simple but sounds so massive. Every time we write songs and are looking for some big riffs we always find the biggest ones are the simplest and Morello’s lines show that he’s a genius! What’s life without a bit of Rage?

Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf

This is my go-to album when I reference how I want us to make records! So many new albums don’t focus on making a journey to listen to, they just make the main few hit songs and put some good music in between, which just kills the flow. I love albums that are made to be heard from start to finish and this is an epic example. I first heard this record on a long road trip through Canada, and had it on repeat for hours. It’s pointless naming all the songs I love on this record as there’s so many: it’s just a monster! Not overly a lead guitar-focused record, but it’s an album every guitarist in rock should learn.

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