Dean Clough

January 6, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Everest of Guitars


(No, I'm not back on my political lectern.  And Ukraine is still top of mind.  But today is January 6th, among the darkest dates in American history, and a big reason are the people above, who refused to certify Biden's election after the riots at The Capitol 2 years ago today.  Kevin McCarthy is there, as are those now trying to stop his ascension to Speaker of The House.  Think about that.  Now, back to our regular programming.)

It's the weekend - and we'll be mostly inside here in wonderfully rainy SF - so let's turn our focus to music. 

Here is something for which many (actually, nobody) have been clamoring:  a playlist of 8 songs that are, to this listener, "the Everest of guitars".  And by that I mean these are songs that feature guitar playing so monumental - so fucking towering, in fact - that Rushmore isn't big enough.  It's got to be Mount Everest. 

Not songs with the greatest guitar solos, mind you - although there are plenty of amazing lead runs spread across these tunes.  Instead, each song - some that I hope are new to you - has a distinctive and huge guitar sound that literally makes my spine tingle.  Any music lover knows the feeling:  that magic of emotion and power and spirit and sound that only music provides. 

Conveniently, and to bring it all to life, I have a selfie snapped by Alden Michaels near Everest a few years back. 

(Note that the esteemed Mr. Michaels is no longer trekking the Himalayas, but instead modeling cowboy hats and skiing, in between directing hardwood flooring inventories and . . . diaper changes.)

Available at both TIDAL and Spotify (for whoever isn't using TIDAL), I am proud to present The Everest of Guitars, followed by my notes on each track (shocker).  The links take you to the song at Spotify, in case your little baby ears are too precious to listen to the whole (roaring) thing.

Sugar, "Clownmaster"
There's a reason they're the only performer with two songs on this playlist.  Give this and "Frustration" a listen and tell me I'm wrong?

Jimmy Page, "
The Only One"
On one of his solo outings, here is the Led Zep guitar meister, accompanied on vocals by Robert Plant.  But Led Zeppelin never sounded quite like this?  OK, but still . . . 

Santana, "
Waves Within"
Sure, this song and its underlying album have been on KLUF at least twice, but that's because this song just keeps elevating higher and higher, like none other I've heard.  Save the drug cracks and instead listen to this masterpiece of rock guitar playing.

The Allman Brothers, "
Hot 'lanta"
When Duane Allman and Dickey Betts do their twin lead guitar thing for extended periods, as they do triumphantly here, it just takes me places.  (Luckily, not smashing in to a peach truck, which is how Duane Allman's life was cut so tragically short.)

Eric Clapton, "
Mainline Florida"
I have never been a huge fan, and far less so after his moronic political rantings.   But as I've said here before, Mr. Big Whiner's insane strums and fills on this song make me forget that I don't like Eric Clapton.

Guided By Voices, "
Sure, I go on (and on) about my beloved GBV, but why is demonstrated at the end of this song.   Put headphones on and get ready:  I deem the monster riff throughout as ginormous as any.  But it's the triumphant finale of this song - with that magical ringing guitar, wild bass fills, and apocalyptic drumming - that separate this from your typical rager.  And do I faintly hear a calliope during that finale? 

Sugar, "
OMFG the cascading drumming that accompanies the other-worldly, smoldering, grinding, and non-stop guitar sound on this send me to another plane.  I cannot not play the air drums to this song.  As Bob says as it starts, "Yes".  JFC, the lyrics, too!

Tame Impala, "
Desire Be Desire Go"
The playlist ends with a song and a band that I've been wanting to feature on KLUF for a while.  The guitar sound Kevin Parker creates here is literally the definition of The Everest of Guitars.  And - in a perfect ending for TODAY'S RAMBLINGS - it was Alden Michaels that introduced me to Tame Impala in the first place.  I especially like Kevin's quiet "thank you" at the end, after he had completely melted the whole place to the ground with his guitar playing.

Speaking of which, thank you for your indulgence today.  But if you like guitar rock and have not heard one or more of these songs, I do hope you'll give a listen.  

Have a great weekend.


Back in in the real world of Damar Hamlin, our niece had some powerful words in response to my dream of American football going away.

I sat for 30 minutes in silence, stunned when that happened to Hamlin.  

What's making me so angry is how the NFL handled it.  As soon as Hamlin was given CPR, they should have canceled the game immediately!  

Then, when the paramedics removed him from the field, the teams were given 5 minutes to "get it together", as if they didn't just witness their teammate and brother nearly dying on the field.  The coaches made a good call taking the teams to the locker rooms, and rumor has it the teams made the choice not to play, which caused Goodell to cancel the game, FINALLY. 

This has me wondering, if he makes it through this, will the NFL be there to support his recovery or dump him like all the rest?

I'm in agreement with you, I do desperately want to stop watching, but the Bill's are fun to watch, and bring people together.  Not to mention a Super Bowl is so close to ours - after all these years.

Perfect, and spoken like the justifiably proud member of the #BillsMafia that she is.

And of course, leave it to local funnyman Hunter Deuce to make light of a sad situation.

You grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan in Albany, NY?  This explains so much.

Next, and staying in the world of fantasy in which Mr. Deuce inhabits:  the Niwot boytoy Primo Harvey PhD came through with exactly the right vehicle for camping at Mt. Everest or places like it - but in Diamond Certified fashion.

Happy New Year!  Here's one for your Road Trip/RV series:

There's a good pup!  And I especially love the cooler full of Weissβier and the grill for steaming the weisswurst!

Lastly:  thank you to everyone that has reached out in concern over the amount of rain and wind we're getting out here.  We're fine, and I will remind you we need:  Every.  Single.  Last.  Drop.  Of.  Rain.

As long as it doesn't come too fast.  I took this photo New Year's Day morning in The Presidio.

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.


I can hear the whines that any list of songs about monster guitar sounds must, by definition, include Wilco Metallica AC/DC.   If we're being honest with ourselves, most every song from this next album belongs, if not on Everest, certainly near it. 

Here - from the only era that really matters for AC/DC - the Bon Scott era - is the Diamond Certified If You Want Blood . . . You've Got It.  Fun album art too!



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