Uli John Roth, featured on a recent episode of the Academy of Tone podcast, delved into the intriguing topic of Michael Schenker’s ‘no-jamming’ rule. Roth shared his perspective on guitar improvisation, highlighting its liberating and spontaneous nature. He underscored the significance of crafting improvisations to resemble composed pieces, emphasizing a departure from mere repetition of standard licks.
Harmony in Contrast: Jamming Styles Unveiled
He pointed out the widespread struggle many guitarists face with jamming, yet he commended Steve Morse for his proficiency in this realm. On the flip side, Roth highlighted Schenker’s aversion to jamming, stating:
“Take Michael Schenker. He’s excellent at jamming, but he despises it. He prefers being prepared. However, when put on the spot and compelled to play, even if it’s not his forte, he maintains musicality, never resorting to subpar playing. That’s the essence of it.”
Addressing a common pitfall in jam sessions, the musician remarked: “A lot of people fall into that trap. They start doing unnecessary things, trying to show off. It detracts from the music and the song. It’s just someone trying to flaunt, and that’s both dull and pathetic.
Mastering Jamming: Uli Roth’s Musical Wisdom
In the earlier segment of the interview, Roth generously shared some invaluable tips for those gearing up for a jam session. The rock icon advised:
“When you’re improvising, don’t center it around yourself. Let the music flow through you. Take a backseat, await the moment, and let inspiration strike. If you hear something in your mind, go with it—but timing is crucial. Interact with the other musicians; it’s like a dialogue on stage.” Throughout the conversation, Roth stressed the need for moderation in jamming. While a bit of showmanship is acceptable, he cautioned against overshadowing the substance of the music. His advice: start simple, gradually build, and weave a narrative with the music. Roth believes in the significance of every note, expressing disapproval for musicians who neglect this aspect.