Who shreds best?
We here at Crossfade have witnessed oh so many of Miami's punk guitarists. But this particular list focuses on those ax-wielding individuals who've moved us the most with their fret-working powers.
Soon, we'll post another list in honor of the best lead/rhythm combos that the 305 has ever bred. And trust us, some old names will be repeated alongside some new ones.
But for now, here are the ten punkers who've done some of the MIA's better twanging. Ever.
See also: Miami's 20 Best Punk Bands of All Time
Jacuzzi Boys - "Glazin'"
10. Gabriel Alcala
This Jacuzzi Boy of Venezuelan extraction has certainly taken his cues from the proto-punk days of yore, as well as the deliciously thick canons of Latin American psych and garage. And even though the JBs are still a relatively new band, Gabriel has already shredded his way through an impressive number of immortal tunes, from "Smells Dead" and "Bricks or Coconuts" to "Glazin'." There is nothing that embodies punk rock better than an infectious guitar riff that lingers far beyond one's moment in the sun.
The Getback - "Get It Right"
9. Gus "Rod" Rodriguez
The Getback's Gus Rod and bassist Danny Tapioca were the quiet ones, allowing drummer Juan Manuel Rotulo and singer Jose Flores to banter with the fans and bait the haters. However, it was Gus' axe work, usually executed with closed eyes and dangling cigarette, that really made the outfit fly. Sure, the Getback's rhythm section was incredibly tight. But in Miami's modern punk era, there was never a fuller lead-and-rhythm-guitar combo than Rod and frontman Flores.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Metal Bands of All Time
The Stun Guns - "Brand New Year"
8. Paul LeCours
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There were many components that made the Stun Guns a wrecking crew of punkers at a particular moment in the 1990s. And though the band's bespectacled guitarist Paul LeCours was never truly as intimidating as his subject matter and/or angles of incision, he was sure as hell an all-knowing wielder of a stringed weapon.
The Beltones - "Let the Bombs Fall"
7. Bill McFadden
Yes, he'll forever be known as "the voice of the Beltones," with that whiskey-soaked, too-many-cigarettes-after-midnight singing style. But in our humble opinion, after millions of guitar-playing pretenders to the Stiff Little Fingers' crown, Bill McFadden is the only one who came close to achieving any kind of true parity with those legendary Irish punks.
The Holy Terrors - "Cigarettello"
6. Rob Elba
Elba is no newbie to the scene. A veteran of punk bands of varying success, he's helped nurture many of Florida's future rock musicians and watched the scene grow. Has he gotten the recognition that he deserves? Probably not; he's certainly been overshadowed by other occurrences, like former Holy Terrors bandmate Sam Fogarino finding fame with Interpol. But Elba's steadiness amid the fracas of life as a South Florida punk rocker is undeniable. For decades, he's remained a muscular player and an unassumingly stoic presence on the underground scene.
Against All Authority - "World Dominator"
5. Joe Koontz
Often described as a maker of "Cuban-tinged punk rock," Joe Koontz brought a particular edge to the music of Against All Authority that muddled the lines between ska and punk. So much so, that regardless of horns and Caribbean rhythms, AAA's ruckus is sometimes even closer to hardcore than those aforementioned styles. Nothing wrong with that.
The Eat - Hialeah EP
4. The O'Brien Brothers
If the Osmond family (or shit, even the Carpenters) had been what squeaky-clean America wanted, then the O'Brien brothers, Michael and Eddy, were the irreverent and sassy punch in the balls that America needed. Younger brother Michael was the wild one, tinged with hardcore, while Eddie kept it focused on the rock 'n' roll. Blessed with a certain brand of Black Irish humor that dripped with sarcasm and acerbic wit, they were the perfect storm of familial punk rock-liness, the likes of which the world might not ever see again. Last year, Michael passed away after battling cancer, but his and Eddie's recorded legacy will continue to wow fans of punk rock forever.
Charlie Pickett & the Eggs - "If This Is Love"
3. Charlie Pickett
Whether playing with the Eggs, the MC3, or any of his other bands, it will always be a mystery as to why Charlie Pickett isn't a household name. Yet, despite being under-recognized by the punk history books, Pickett has never stopped shredding and only gotten better with age. Also successful in other aspects of life (having become a lawyer after stepping away from full-time gigging), the man is a gem and a cowpunk legend of the contiguous United States of America.
See also: Miami's Ten Best Ska Bands of All Time
The Crumbs - "Whatta They Know"
2. Johnny B.
Don't ever be fooled by the Crumbs' simple beginnings or the band's debut Far Out Records seven-inch of four-on-the-floor, Ramones-style punk. Because, though the beginnings may have been simple, as the group's recorded output began to swell and evolve, so did John "Johnny B" Bonnano's prowess on the guitar. Unfortunately, it seems Johnny wasn't ready for the limelight, and after the release of the Crumbs' too-punk-for the-rock-kids-but-too-rock-for-the-punks Low and Behold album in 1998, he quietly began to vanish from the scene and he hasn't graced a stage for years. Did he and his guitar resurrect sweaty, bluesy garage rock nearly two decades before the current wave of hipsters was born? Yes, they did, and they are sorely missed.
The Psycho Daisies - "Wrap Your Arms Around Me"
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1. Johnny Salton
Salton's passing almost four years ago will never take away that as second name in bands with Pickett or as bass player with the Reactions, his work fronting the Psycho Daisies has been so criminally underappreciated in the U.S. that it is almost pathetic at this point to point out. Hopefully he is up in real-guitar-playing heaven, sharpening the ends of succulent chicken bones, readying himself to pluck the strings of his guitar in order to mortally impale the throngs of fakes who take up the ax with vile, nonmusical intentions. Barbecue, baby.
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