What does it take for a guitar band to be successful?
That’s the question we keep getting asked. Like we’d know. We could go on about ‘writing incredible songs’ or ‘having a catchy name’ – maybe something about ‘star quality’ or ‘being really amazing live’. But that basically comes down to just ‘being good’; never a bad suggestion.
We could even go a bit off-piste and suggest being able to recite the alphabet from back to front in less than 11 seconds, or being backed by a millionaire who is willing to pay everyone off to make sure you get right to the very top, just like The (sniiiiiiiiiiiiiip! – Ed).
However, let’s be honest. We should probably start with something simple. Like ‘having a guitar’.
And when we look at our list of Bands What Have At Least One Guitar, there’s one that sits proudly atop of it. Not because we want them there. It’s not our fault. It’s yours. You made them your Band of the Year in our 2020 Readers’ Poll, after all.
Former Dork cover stars and resident spirit animals Sports Team have had a really very good year, as shown by their Mercury Prize-nominated debut album ‘Deep Down Happy’. As well as limbering up for when live music returns, and working on a follow-up record, they’re also ‘celebrating’ guitar legends Fender and their new American Professional II series of solo axe-slayers! We know, an excuse for a Colin the Caterpillar cake if ever there was one.
And to soundtrack this most important of developments, they’ve put together an officially approved Sports Team Guitar Anthems playlist, compiled by Alex Rice and Rob Knaggs.
As well as that, the duo are also our special guests on tonight’s (Monday 8th February) edition of our weekly magazine-slash-radio-show-slash-podcast Down With Boring, which you can hear at 8pm GMT on Dork Radio, then grab as a podcast afterwards by searching ‘DorkCast’ on all the usual platforms.
So, without further delay, here’s that magnificent playlist. Over to you Messrs Rice and Knaggs:
Pavement – Old To Begin
More gold from the greatest living rocker. Plays guitar like he’s sick of it.
Richard Hell – Time
Robert Quine and Ivan Julian doing their dual strat riffs on this, sounds loose and very precise at the same time.
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love
One of the great pop songs.
Clash – Atom Tan
Spent a fair bit of time listening to this record when we were recording album one. All the hooks are right where they need to be but it still sounds loose and spontaneous.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Colour Television
The band we wanted to be when we began. There’s some great footage somewhere of them playing a bar show in Melbourne, chaotic.
Jake Thackray – Lah di Dah
Jake Thackray is a 60s guitarist from Yorkshire. Was heavily influenced by the French Chanson tradition, and spent half his time writing odd little comedy skits for the TV. This one manages to be funny and very sad at the same time. An influence on Alex Turner which you can hear a bit here.
Eli’s Regina + Antonio Jobim – Aguas de Marco
Has an amazing video with Regina and Jobim dueting as she smokes her way through the breaks. Really complex guitar part that sounds effortless.
Replacements – Sixteen Blue
Paul Westerberg wrote this one for the band’s guitarist Tommy Stimson. Lovely yearning guitars with the rough edges left on. Listened to this album on loop when we went on our first American tour.
St Vincent – Digital Witness
All about restraint, never quite going there with a soaring chorus or breaking the rhythm.
Thin Lizzy – Rosalie
I’ve watched Phil Lynott do this live on Youtube, the one they always set a really dodgy looking firework display off for the opening riff.
Bob Seger – Night Moves
I didn’t really understand why it was heartland rock until hearing this. Also well easy to play if you’ve got a Fender lying around.
Joan Jet – Everyday People
I’ve always listened to this version over the original. Both good though.
Bob Dylan – Shelter from the Storm
Watched him do a performance of this in the electric years when he got called Judas, wore a crown of thorns to do it. Beautiful lyrics.
Warpaint – Undertow
First Warpaint song I heard. Theresa is undoubtedly a guitar hero.
AC/DC – Jailbreak
AC/DC at their best. Just shameless in its topic, musicality and performance. You really can’t care what music critics think and write jailbreak. That’s why they’re the greatest.
Johnny Thunders – You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
So fragile, best guitarist out of that New York scene. Always admired the ‘don’t try’ attitude too.
Fender’s new American Professional II Series collection (featuring 10 new models) is out now, available here.