Like many teenage boys who grew up in the 80’s Thomas Scott McKenzie was a big fan of metal. Aqua-netted guitar gods, from the top-tier (Motley Crue and Kiss) to the B-listers (Slaughter and Stryper), he subscribed to the “if it’s too loud, you’re too old,” philosophy when it came to rock. But unlike many of us who were wooed away by grunge in the early 90’s he stuck with his idols and despite not having a journalism background, managed to write what may very well be the Bible of heavy metal hero worship.
While holding down a 9-to-5 job in Columbus, OH, McKenzie with the encouragement of his wife and the help of a buddy/longtime rock roadie (the absent Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote), McKenzie set out to track down the six stringers from the posters on his childhood bedroom wall to talk about what inspires them as players, get a little advice and maybe a lesson or two. The author, a longtime collector of electric guitars, never really learned to play them, just hoarded them. He did surprisingly well on his mission, holding conversations with Ace Frehley and Bruce Kulick (both from Kiss), Stacy Blades (LA Guns), Randy Sarzo (ok, a bassist, but he played for Ozzy and Quiet Riot) and several others. There were some strike outs along the way, but even those failed attempts are entertainingly covered in the book.
Even if you never knew your White Lion from your Whitesnake, Power Chord is worth the time for anyone who ever strumming a tennis racket and pretended they were on a stage in front of an adoring crowd. For those about to rock…
Power Chord: One Man’s Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes by Thomas Scott McKenzie/320 pages/It Books/2012