We all know how rock and metal fans can act as gatekeepers of their genre. Not to mention how elitist everyone gets when — Gods forbid — someone who’s not super-technical takes up the guitar to play a few tunes. That’s what’s kind of been happening with Machine Gun Kelly recently, with the rapper-turned-rocker introducing the guitar to his live shows and even getting his own signature Schecter T-style model.
But what do actual metal guitar players have to say about this? Most importantly, what do those technical players, or so-called “shredders,” think of Machine Gun Kelly? Well, according to DragonForce guitarist Herman Li, the guy’s actually pretty decent for what he’s doing. In his recent video, Herman addressed the whole thing, saying (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):
“Machine Gun Kelly is right about that. There’s so much shit-talking on Machine Gun Kelly by people that actually don’t play the guitar, or are not professional guitar players. So what is my opinion as a pro guitar player?
“Oh, Machine Gun Kelly is right. It’s not about playing fast and playing sweeping and playing shredding and playing jazz and playing the most complicated stuff to be a guitar player. That kind of music almost, how can I say, inspired people that already play that guitar. But sometimes, they also crush your dreams. You go ‘Oh my God, I can never play like that.'”
“And it became kind of an arms race of being more progressive, more technical sometimes for people. They’re guitar players, and they’re people, they’re musicians that use the guitar to express something.”
“To express music instead of trying to be technical. They did the right songs. They used the instrument as a tool to write and express music in their own way.”
Looking further in the said article, Herman also added:
“I gotta give it to Machine Gun Kelly, when he does his interviews, he knows what he’s saying. It’s totally true, being how fast, being how technical isn’t always what’s gonna connect you with people.”
“And I’ve said it before — Kurt Cobain is one of the best guitar players in the world because he inspired people to pick up the guitar. It wasn’t about the hardest, most technical, challenging guitar playing. It’s not about that It’s about the connection between the human beings and the music.”