· GREG KOCH - Strat's Got Your Tongue (GYR095) ·

::T R A C K S::

01. FOOLISH MORTALS
02. 2.65
03. THE DAMN THING
04. MIRAMANEE
05. SPANK IT
06. SHAKE DOWN
07. SURE BETTS
08. CAUSE WE'VE ENDED AS LOVERS
09. ABSINTHE (LIVE BONUS TRACK)


FORMAT: Audio CD / Digipack
GYR095 - $14.99

Outstanding instrumental guitar disc by this phenomenal world-renowned guitarist featuring 9 tracks of stellar, sophisticated, blues-based, "old-school" six string mojo of the highest level that defines world-class guitar rock artistry & new levels of musical insanity. "Strat's Got Your Tongue" is a re-mastered Grooveyard Records re-issue disc. A long out of print essential guitar rock classic that includes a deep, profound unreleased Bonus Track.

Greg "Gristle King" Koch is a legit true axemaster in every damn sense of the word who is highly respected in the guitar community and endorsed by Fender Guitars. A stellar prolific guitar player's "guitarist" who shreds to the beat of a different drummer with a vast musical melting pot smorgasbord cacophony of linear guitar god brilliance. If you worship mind-blowing, serious guitar rock mojo, dig deep and smell the gristle.

Lets face it, Greg Koch is an insane musical genius and veritable maestro on the guitar who has composed his ultimate instrumental guitar symphony with the mega-awesome "Strats Got Your Tongue" disc. A bad-ass brilliant display of orgasmic six string gristle.


MP3 Sample Clips

01. FOOLISH MORTALS
02. 2.65
03. THE DAMN THING
04. MIRAMANEE
05. SPANK IT
06. SHAKE DOWN
07. SURE BETTS
08. CAUSE WE'VE ENDED AS LOVERS
09. ABSINTHE (LIVE BONUS TRACK)

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· reviews ·

It's tough to argue with Grooveyard's decision to reissue this 1995 guitar classic from the criminally underrated Greg Koch. It felt like a guitar classic when first released and a quick listen now still shows the man affectionately called the "Gristle King" was right on the money from the first. Starting with the opener, "Foolish Mortals," it's easy to see Koch was set on making a statement. The spacey intro gives way to major league funky rock. The song covers lots of ground, showcasing jazzy changes in the middle, a blues-rock solo with jazz overtones, and some heavy rock playing before it's done. His solos throughout the song showcase an affinity for using percussive elements and different sounds to make his solos interesting, as if his amazing chops weren't enough. All the songs, except for a gutsy cover of "Cause We've Ended As Lovers," are Koch originals and they run the gamut. The tasty mix of jazz and country swing on "The Damn Thing" lets Koch fly through the changes before an overdubbed harmonized line recalls stylists like Eldon Shamblin and other western swing players. "Miramanee" is a dark ballad with a nasty solo full of precise bends. "Spank It" is an aptly titled chicken pickin' romp that highlights another facet of Koch's playing – his sense of fun and humor. As you might guess, "Sure Betts" tips its cap to the former Allman Brothers guitarist. It's a jazzy, minor-key tune that is arranged with what feels like movements. There's a jazz section and, of course, a part that is all harmonized dual lines. The finish to the song is a perfect tribute to the built-from-the-bottom endings the Allman Brothers use on many of their songs, both in a live setting and in the studio during the later years. Koch's cover of "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" stays close to Jeff Beck's version and serves as a tribute to the guitar legend. Koch adds a solo in the middle that lets him put his own stamp on the lovely chord changes while still retaining the ache of the original. Koch's always flown under the radar, but perhaps a look backward will propel him to the forefront of where he should be: on the list of great blues-rock guitarists.

J.H. (Vintage Guitar Magazine) (8.12)
 


Koch is a guitarist's guitarist, a fixture at Namm shows and an official representative of Fender guitars. He's been around forever, and his playing shows it. The man can do anything, in any style, with verve and passion. Imbued with a talent that seems to come from numerous lifetimes of cultivation, it is simply not possible to be this good a player. He is the envy of the best. That being said, this reissue of an early instrumental album is a must-have for all guitar enthusiasts. While it is based squarely in the Blues-Rock idiom, it touches on funk, jazz, fusion, and country -- all executed to perfection. This CD is a passionate tribute to the art of guitar playing, easily appreciated by layman and musician alike. The reason: it is so damn good on every level! The live bonus track is alone worth the price of admission. Get this CD, hear it, and be transformed. You will become a Koch fan: of this, I am certain.

Steve Rosen (Author) (4.12)
 


Greg Koch (rhymes with chalk) is quite an extraordinary fellow - Perennial Fender Clinician, Combat Aviator & Guitar Manipulator Extraordinaire; Balladeer of Renown, Mutant Maniacal Musical Savant & Casual Guitar Hero; Existential Comic, Colorful Commentarian & Interdimensional Tour Guide; Roguish Bon Vivant, Stereotype Shatterer & All Around Good Guy - and this list only scratches the surface of the jocular entity whom those of us fortunate enough to be "in the know" fondly refer to as "The Gristle King." Strat's Got Your Tongue is a collection of nine fabulous instrumental slices of Greg's signature virtuosity and frenetic yet refined delivery.

Anyone who's seen him live or his veritable encyclopedia of jaw-dropping YouTube performance clips, lessons and clinics knows all too well that his playful commentary and joyfully quirky persona underscores a truly immense and otherworldly talent.. only adding to the mystery of the man, the enigma, the Locus of the Legend of the Godhead of the Gristle! Both wonderfully wacky yet as serious as an hostile alien invasion, Greg paints with a broad brush, not only comfortable in every conceivable musical style, but morphing them together and "genre-busting" all along the way with a signature distinctiveness all his own.. a jack of all trades and master of, well, all of them.

It's not hard to imagine that, at a young age, Greg was shanghaied by bodiless fiends and alien tonesmiths from an alternate musical reality.. and not only did he lift a copy of their playbook, but he got away with their hubcaps! A humorous metaphor, yes, but reflective of Greg's easy going, self-effacing nature coupled with his seasoned musical maturity and unique, devastating technique - ALWAYS taking his work seriously but NEVER taking himself too seriously. Even the title Strat's Got Your Tongue oozes his colorful Kochian wordplay consistent with his demeanor. How refreshing, engaging and ultimately human.. always injecting a sense of playfulness into his inspired virtuosic excursions, chuckling, nodding and winking the whole time, inviting you to jump on The Gristle Express to parts unknown and uncharted.

While listening, you'll probably utter the phrase "How the hell does he do that?" several times per track. Greg Koch specializes in heart-palpitating high-wire-meets-trapeze fretboard gymnastics.. swinging to and fro with the greatest of ease while maintaining a death-defying balance of the maturest of melodies, impossible rhythm work, alien chord voicings, greasy grooves and advanced degree Ph.D-level single line solo work.. akin to an octopus juggling chain saws. With total command and control of his instrument, he confidently plies the tools of his trade through rich and wonderfully janglicious Fenderific tonalities, smearing his delectable riffage all over the damn place with an unlikely yet astounding marriage of reckless abandon and the pinpoint accuracy of a laser-scoped sniper. Yikes!

Greg and his "Licensed to Kill" bandmates (Kevin Mushel [bass], Gary Koehler [drums] and the late, great T. Lavitz [keys]) proceed to rip through a wide range of tunes, each one a master class in tone, feel, chops and groove. The set kicks off with the phantasmagorical fusion of the incredible Foolish Mortals into the ripping jazz-inflected bluesy shuffle of 2.65 followed by the brain-damaging, Les Paulverized The Damn Thing. The minor-inflected Miramanee smoothly mood sculpts its way into your soul, followed by Greg's nitro-fueled hyperdrive chicken pickin' (Spank It) and then strays into Jimmy Bryant-esque "Stratospheric Boogie" territory with Shake Down. Greg gives a reverent tip of the hat to Dickey Betts on the smoking Sure Betts followed by an understated yet powerful version of Stevie Wonder's 'Cause We've Ended As Lovers. Of special note is a live bonus track that rounds out the collection.. Absinthe.. that is so hauntingly gorgeous that it drives you to tears.. the subtle tonal textures Greg employs and the smooth, sophisticated control employed in every aspect of its presentation make this an "essential" listen and a stand-alone masterpiece. Incredible beauty from an incredible artist.

There aren't many mortals who possess the chops of the gods, and Greg Koch is one of a small handful of the ascendant masters adept enough to claim the mantle of "Certified Guitar Player" and Strat's Got Your Tongue displays his brilliance in spades. Here is a true artist of the highest caliber.. at the zenith of the musical evolutionary scale.. a butterfly in a world of caterpillars. His musical motto is [or at least should be]: "The difficult done immediately; the impossible done by appointment."

Jimmy Ryan (Truth Squad) (4.12)
 


Originally released in 1995, and long since out-of-print, this Greg Koch instrumental, Vegas buffet of riffage is newly re-issued on Grooveyard Records. Grooveyard is great guitar oriented label with quite a lineup of Strat players they wanted us to know about.

Strat master Greg Koch has become better known in recent years with the help of Youtube, as a clinic player, instructor and Fender spokesperson in NAMM videos. A monster player, Koch is a walking, talking, playing lexicon of styles and licks. He's equally adept from chicken pickin' to Larry Carlton phrasing to Jeff Beck tricks, with seemingly every other significant classic era guitarist tossed in for good measure.

Like me, you might find yourself playing Jeopardy; dissecting Koch's constant stream of the Guitarist Who's Who. Sometimes it's distracting and maybe even a bit annoying. But if this guy lived on my block, I'd be on his porch all the time for tips, techniques, tools, lawn & garden advice, gasoline for the mower, recipes, whatever...

JP Holesworth (Stratoblogster) (May 2012)
stratoblogster.com
 


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