Reb Beach was certainly one of the top guitar slingers of the ‘80s, performing and recording with Winger and Whitesnake and collaborating with the likes of Alice Cooper and Night Ranger. Beach is now releasing his first instrumental album which is a culmination of more than 30 years of intense work on his craft. The record, A View From the Inside, came out in November on Frontiers Music and it is intense in so many ways. It is blended with amazingly beautiful melodies that dig deep to the roots of a variety of musical genres.
Beach, selling multiple platinum records and having no less than six Top 40 singles with the band he co-founded with Juilliard-trained singer Kip Winger, not only has proven his musical prowess but has honed his songwriting skills over many years.
Goldmine had the chance to sit down with this well-rounded guitarist/songwriter before he flew off to Nashville to record new music with Winger, and this is what unfolded in going through the 10 albums that influenced his life.
— Carol Anne Szel
Molly Hatchet, Molly Hatchet
My most influential record, because I was learning how to play guitar and it had these long solos that were easy. They turned intermediate, but pretty easy. It’s like the most basic soloing, and very good soloing, perfect for a beginner who doesn’t have a great knowledge of scales and stuff. All the most basic blues licks. So, Molly Hatchet was what taught me to play guitar.
When I was 13, the counselors at my summer camp knew how I was into Aerosmith, and when the new Aerosmith came out, I couldn’t get it. I was really freaking out, and as a gift they went out and got me Aerosmith’s Rocks. So, I went to the only record player on the premises, and I played it ALL night long. “Back in The Saddle,” that’s just the coolest song to start an album with!
Van Halen, Van Halen
A kid at school had it, and I stole it from him because he wasn’t a guitar player and he didn’t deserve it! He gave it to me to borrow and I never gave it back! But Van Halen was so influential to me. I’m known as a right-handed tapper, and that’s what (Eddie) Van Halen did. And, of course, it sounded like the band was live just in front of you! They just jumped off the needle.
“More Than a Feeling” and “Long Time”... I mean, the singer (Brad Delp) was amazing and the guitarist (Tom Scholz), no one had ever heard sounds like that before. The first album is the one with all the good songs. I really only liked a couple of songs on the second album. But that first one was the one that influenced my songwriting a lot.
AC/DC, Highway to Hell
Another album where every song was good. There’s not a dog in the bunch on that album. Another completely unique sounding band with the greatest rhythm player of all time, Malcom Young. Those rhythms were so tight and the solos were so perfect. And Bon Scott’s voice … he was just a tiny little dude, and that stuff was high and he was the consummate performer. That album is my favorite AC/DC album.
Led Zeppelin, In Through the Out Door
Even though a lot of Zeppelin fans don’t like this one as much as their older stuff, there’s a new kind of sound with keyboards. I wore out In Through the Out Door, because it was different than anything else. The keyboards in it, and Jimmy Page, and the songs were beautiful. It was a very influential record for me as far as songwriting.
Donald Fagan, The Nightfly
Fagen’s first record without Walter Becker. He needed a solo album, and I believe it was the first all digitally recorded album, so the sound of it was like nothing we’d heard before — it was completely quiet, and you could hear everything that was playing. And all the musicians were the best musicians in the world. Every single song on that record was incredible. Really memorable, super hooky, killer backgrounds. And you’ve got to like his voice!
Dave Weckl, Master Plan
There’s an incredible drummer named Dave Weckl who did Master Plan. He got all the great players on there, and it’s very up-tempo with funky bass and big horns. He’s one of the most famous jazz drummers there is. He’s played with everybody. That album is really well written and very easy for your normal Joe to get into.
I was getting into progressive stuff when Leftoverture came out. My mom went into Peaches Records in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and said, “My son loves rock and roll. What’s the best album to get him these days?” So, they gave her Styx Grand Illusion, Kansas Leftoverture, and Boston. I got those records for Christmas. All of those had great singers, killer songwriting and great playing.
Jean-Luc Ponty, Cosmic Messenger
It turns out that it’s the greatest record to make love to that there it is. Cosmic Messenger starts really slow and beautiful, then builds to this really cool rockin’ stuff, and then gets mellow again at the end. Jean really plays like kind of a guitar player — cool, fast, very ethereal, does stuff with echoes. It’s very, very relaxing music, but it’s got a beat, some funky bass. It’s great music. I figured I’d end with the record that’s good to kiss to.