21. Jerry Cantrell – Alice in Chains
While Alice in Chains will forever be tied to the Seattle Grunge movement, one element in particular separates them from many of their contemporaries and that’s Jerry Cantrell’s lead guitar work. In addition to forming one of the great vocal harmony duos with the late Layne Staley (and later Staley’s replacement, William DuVall, who joined the band in 2006), Cantrell laid down some of the darkest melodic riffs of the era.
In many ways, Cantrell feels like the successor to Black Sabbath’s Tony Iomi, as both guitarists excel at providing their respective bands with hauntingly heavy guitar playing. While Alice in Chains classics like “Man in the Box” and “The Rooster” don’t feature especially complicated guitar work, they demonstrate Cantrell’s skill at writing tasteful, memorable lead playing.
When it comes to the big four of Seattle Grunge, Alice in Chains never quite reached the popularity of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or even Soundgarden, and even when they are talked about, much of the focus is on Staley and the personal demons that led to a fatal drug overdose in 2002. However, it’s Cantrell who has remained Alice in Chain’s most integral member throughout the band’s 30+ year career and he deserves a bit more recognition than what he currently gets.
https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/alice-in-chains-jerry-cantrell-tells-who-started-the-grunge-movement Source: Guitar Player
20. Joey Santiago – Pixies
Kurt Cobain once admitted that he “was basically trying to rip off the Pixies,” when it came to Nirvana, so it’s a bit of an understatement to say that the playing style of Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago had a profound effect on not just Cobain, but 90s alternative rock as a whole.
While Santiago’s playing isn’t overly complex, none other than David Bowie arguably put it best when he said, “[Santiago] is terribly underrated,” in Gouge, a 2002 British television documentary about the band. “It’s much more about texture,” Bowie added. “[Santiago] supplies extraordinary texture.” Through his use of dissonant, feedback-heavy guitars, Santiago was the driving force behind the Pixies’ influential soft and quiet/loud and hard approach to songwriting; something that Cobain highlighted when he admitted he stole this technique in his approach to writing Nirvana songs. Of course, credit must also be given to the Pixies’ other guitarist, Black Francis, who often traded hooks with Santiago.
All too often, discussions of “great guitarists” boil down to technical mastery but in terms of crafting a unique sound, there are few out there that can rival what Joey Santiago has accomplished with the Pixies.
https://reverb.com/news/reverb-interview-joey-santiago-of-the-pixies Source: Reverb