Pete Townshend’s Favorite Social Media Guitarist Is a Shredder
The Who's Pete Townshend may be one of the most celebrated guitarists in rock history, but he still keeps an eye on the new generation of players, even going down the social media rabbit hole to see what people are doing. In a new interview with the February issue of Guitarist magazine (as shared by Guitar World), Townshend picks apart one thing that he feels most new guitarists are getting wrong, while also naming one social media guitarist who is checking all his boxes at the moment.
What Critique Does Pete Townshend Have of Many Social Media Guitarists?
Within the chat, Townshend addresses one key aspect of playing that he feels most guitarists today need to take into consideration more than they are doing. He cites that many miss the balance between playing fast and playing lyrically.
He noted of guitar legend Prince, “Well, Prince could shred and he often would play a really soulful blues track, and then in order to get from one bit of blues to the other, he would do an extraordinary shred. So it was a bit flashy [mimics shred]. Maybe it was just to show he could do it. So, I don’t know.”
He then elaborated that the "disconnect that has happened" with some of the social media players is that they play fast without an appreciation for melody or lyricism, something that he feels stems from an inability to appreciate and play naturally with other musicians.
“A lot of them are just solo musicians that have mastered their craft and got really, really fast,” he said of Instagram players. “So, I think what needs to happen is they need to be fitted into the music world, somewhere other than Instagram. That’s the challenge for them. I think it’s the challenge right now, as it is for a lot of electronic music musicians: they are very isolated, working on their own.”
Which Social Media Guitarist Has Earned Pete Townshend's Praise?
While Townshend discussed what he doesn't like about some of today's social media players, he also had praise for one of the guitarists he's watched online, noting that this guitarist is both technically sound, but has a firm grip on playing out of isolation.
“There are many on Instagram – one of my favorites is a guy called Angel Vivaldi, who’s a brilliant, brilliant player – but when he works with other musicians, he changes,” Townshend revealed. “He actually listens to them and fits in. He can play anything that he wants to play.”
While Townshend may have come across Vivaldi through social media, the guitarist actually has a pretty established career at this point, issuing 10 albums or EPs since his 2008 debut effort Revelations. His most recent outing was the 2023 EP, Away With Words, Part 2. But the guitarist has also made solid use of his of his Instagram and YouTube social media platforms to display his prowess as well.
Speaking about his social media usage, Vivaldi stated in an older Guitar World video, “For guitarists and musicians, the internet is a vast sea of inspiration and information that’s constantly pushing us to better our craft. But sometimes after seeing the immense talent that’s out there, it may make you want to hurl your instrument into a spiraling pit of flames.”
NIta Strauss also recently had high praise for Vivaldi, telling Loudwire that the guitarist was "style and swagger meet undeniable technique." She added, "I truly think Angel is one of the most exciting guitar players to watch and his diversity in style is mind blowing. Plus, you can’t talk about Angel without mentioning the massive strides he’s making towards creating inclusivity in the guitar scene."
Check out his most recent song "Seven," which shows a blend of more melodic and shreddy moments, from his Away With Words, Part 2 EP below.
Angel Vivaldi, "Seven"
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Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff