Mary Jane and musicians have been traveling companions since the two were introduced to each other, and they show no signs of breaking up. Her smooth caress has inspired many to use their hands to walk up and down a guitar fretboard after loading a bowl or rolling a joint. Throughout the generations of shredders, bluesmen, rockers, rollers and mamma-jammas, the romance has remained ablaze. Which guitarists are enamored most with the green goddess? Look, listen and learn.
Bob Marley: 1945-1981
May 11th marked the 30th anniversary of the Jamaican legend’s passing. Bob and Mary had a longstanding relationship, and out of it came musical collection that united millions under a peaceful banner. Bob is a reggae icon, and his uplifting guitar melodies are effective at expressing the smiles he gave to and received from fans.
What’s the best way to spend a rainy day? Ol’ Bob’s got an inkling.
Jimi Hendrix: 1942-1970
Another obvious choice, Jimi Hendrix reinvented what it means to be a guitarist, all while high and kissing the sky (or some guy). Jimi was under some sort of sticky icky spell for most of his short career until his death. The live footage above features Jimi loading some “Purple Haze” into the audience members’ ear-bowls and lighting it up, upside-down.
Now to move forward through time on this journey.
Bradley Nowell: 1968-1996
Sublime’s late front-man drew upon the sounds of ska, reggae, punk and acoustic guitar styles just as well as he drew smoke from his bong. His instantly recognizable melodies from the song “What I Got” and vocal middle finger to law enforcement informants in “Get Ready” foreshadow what his budding music career was evolving into. His purest reefer riffs come from his takes and tokes on the song “Smoke Two Joints” (originally composed by The Toyes).
Adam Jones: 1965-Present
The guitarist from Tool dispenses slow power chords and calculated licks to substantiate potheads’ / music lovers’ jonesing for compelling euphony. The scratching noises, offbeat rhythms, syncopation and powerful progressions he produces from his instrument mirror Maynard James Keenan’s enthralling lyrics and the rest of the band’s instrumentation at a level most guitarists, as well as listeners, can only marvel at. Truly, a master of his craft.
Last, but not least by any scale, a newcomer to the green scene.
Kid Cudi: 1984-Present
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (stage-name: Kid Cudi) has shown his aptitude in rap, hip hop, rock, neo-psychedelic and stoner music since entering the pop music scene in 2009 with his debut album “Man On the Moon: The End of Day.” “Mr. Rager” hasn’t been shredding the axe for very long, and he may not necessarily be playing the lead guitar riffs in his songs such as “Marijuana” or “Alive (Nightmare),” but he does contribute guitar work on the single “Erase Me” from his second album, “Man On the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.” It will be exciting to hear how his fingers form on the guitar’s neck from here.
The lead guitar lines from “Marijuana” run through a wah pedal and sound like the ghost of Jimi Hendrix wailing from the beyond.
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