The Week In Guitar: KISS transcends our physical reality, and RIP to the guitar riff

It’s been a busy week in guitar culture, but here are the most notable news stories, trends and weird stuff we’ve seen over the last seven days.


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Welcome to the Week In Guitar! There’s been a lot going on in our little corner of the universe, so let’s dive in.

KISStory is made: immortal digital avatars shall bash out disco-rock hits on the stage eternal

KISS is over: their farewell tour ended earlier this week with a show at Madison Square Garden. The end was well-telegraphed: the tour was called End Of The Road, after all, and KISS’ farewell tour seemed to take up the majority of their time together. Even Ted Nugent got in on the joke of how long KISS’ endless farewell was taking But, hey, now it’s over, it’s finally…

And then a hand shoots up from the grave, or more accurately, a 3D rendering of a hand, and grabs our wrist: KISS have unveiled their new digital avatars, which will carry forth a “new era” of ABBA Voyage-style shows. The hologram-ready 3D KISS members were created by Pophouse Entertainment, the company co-founded by ABBA man Björn Ulvaeus, and the driving force behind that band’s relentlessly successful Voyage project.

Reception, at least on forums and comments sections, has been mixed, with some KISS fans decrying the whole thing. But Voyage is currently making about $2 million a week. And KISS, specifically Gene Simmons, have never shied away from money-making opportunities…

The guitar riff is dying out, or maybe people don’t quite know what a riff is

Speaking of death – have you heard? [insert guitar-based-music-phenomenon here] is dying! Punk’s dying. Rock’s dying. Shred’s dying. Blues is dying. The latest: a new study suggesting that the guitar riff is dying.

One problem, though: when participants were asked to name their favourite riffs, Prince’s Purple Rain came in at number 2. But why was that even in the running? It’s no doubt a classic, but, well – hum the riff to Purple Rain. No, that’s the vocal line. No, not that either, that’s the start of the solo. My point is: it doesn’t really have a riff, in the sense that Sweet Leaf or Carry On My Wayward Son do. So, should you put stock into the study’s concerns? Well, it’s good to remember this is a fun study done to promote a new TV program about the guitar riff. So, no, it’s probably not as rigorous as it could be. And in any case, we’re going to wait until the riff’s body is laid out on the slab in front of us, and even then, we’ll give it a few prods just to check.

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Quote Of The Week

“The people who were at the front were just rich people that wanted to film everything on their phone… ‘I paid 3,000 dollars for my ticket. Look at me.’ Fuck off”

There’s been a lot of talk about concert etiquette recently, thanks partially to the person who chucked their ashes at P!nk. Death Grips, Bebe Rhexa and more have felt the worst effects of a sudden decline in the attitude of gig-goers – and now, so have Iron Maiden, as frontman Bruce Dickinson wasn’t a fan of the self-absorbed behaviour of the Power Trip front row. So if you do pay three grand for a ticket, maybe do everyone a favour and put your phone down.

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