Friday, March 2, 2018

Greg Koch - 2001 "The Grip!"

"The Grip!" is a collection of songs from guitarist Greg Koch's five previous independent releases plus three new tracks added from this prolific songwriter/ musician's cachet of twisted tunes. "The Grip!" fuses rock, blues, jazz, and country into one incredible package sure to make new believers and diehard fans of music lovers everywhere. Favored Nations president and noted guitarist Steve Vai states, "Greg Koch is one of those rare guitarists that can blend various styles with a light hearted approach and a tremendous amount of technique. Hearing him play is inspiring to a guitar player to try to achieve greatness on the instrument," while Guitar One chips in with "Koch can't lose with his over-the-top chops, feel for melody, crisp tone, unpredictability, and, above all, unpretentious sense of fun."

It doesn’t take long to figure out why Milwaukee, WI resident, guitarist, Greg Koch resides as a first call session musician for radio and TV advertisements. Hence, the artist displays his multifaceted talents during his debut for guitarist, Steve Vai’s “Favored Nations” record label.
Basically, Koch possesses enviable chops, yet seems adept and undeniably at ease performing from within a variety of contexts. Besides various personnel changes, the leader opts for the guitar, drums, and bass format, although harmonica performer, Steve Cohen lends his talents to the piece titled “Defenstrator.” Meanwhile, the guitarist works his way through a series of blues, rockabilly, surf, and hard rock grooves that generally span three to five minutes in length. Koch also renders a justifiably hard-edged spin on Hendrix’ “Spanish Castle Magic,” where he utilizes his electric guitar equipped whammy bar to great effect. Here, Koch viciously disfigures a series of scathing lead lines while seemingly inflicting pain upon his axe of choice. However, not all of these seventeen works hold up for the long haul, as a sense of invariability permeates the proceedings about mid-way through the set. Otherwise, Koch provides more than enough fireworks via his fancy fretwork and diverse bag of tricks throughout the majority of this rather upbeat production.

Greg Koch is a prolific and ubiquitous guitarist, one heralded by the likes of Steve Vai as a huge talent. He is one fifth progressive, metallic, blues-ridden, bluegrass and rock combined into one harmless assault. The tracks themselves play out like semi-intellectual keystone capers written into interesting beer commercials. The constant highlight of each number, however, is the lead playing of Koch, which is never undermined by the backgrounds of near muzak-like musicians. They are only there to propel and to not merely fulfil without substance. The energy comes out faster and in full force than that of the actual super-quick rotation of a compact disc spinning in its host player.

If you like modern day, edgy, multi genre, guitar music, this is yer kinda CD! You'd get a steamy plate o' blues, country, rock, jazz fusion that sizzles! Greg Koch plays guitar so hot it's like dinkin' a glass of Tabasco and Sriracha sauce! Why the food analogy you ask? Well, it best describes the tunes, which are like complex spices, saffron and curry, sugar and chocolate all rolled into one. Something is bound to satisfy. The whole CD is burnin' with pathos and humor. This is my first foray into the wonderfully twisted musical world of Greg Koch, I'm a believer, and as $ will allow I will snatch up all the Koch I can. My only complaint is I didn't get any info on who the other players, song writers and guest artists etc. were on the CD . .ahh the trouble with downloadable music, but all the morsels were, and are tasty and in the immortal words of Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" ; "I'll be boch . . . . for more Koch"!!

From the other reviews here you will see that Greg Koch is a phenomenal guitar player. He is able to offer virtuoso compositions of a great variety of musical styles on this disc. Not one to take himself too seriously, (too many great guitar players fall into that mode at some point) Koch plays with fire and a great sense of humor (Albert's Back and has joined a death metal band for revenge, and Blind Lemon Pledge...funny stuff). This is a guy who loves to play guitar. Nice variety, there isn't a weak tune on the whole disc. Kudos on the very cool "Blue Note" records type CD artwork front and back. Great artist, great disc.

Track listing:

01. Zoiks
02. Spank It
03. Holy Grail
04. Carlos Dale
05. Spanish Castle Magic
06. Chief’s Blues
07. Draw My Number
08. Defenestrator
09. Alberts Back
10. Tonus Diabolicus
11. Walking Wounded
12. Steppin’ Out
13. Big Jim
14. Absinthe
15. Dylan the Villian
16. Blind Lemon Pledge
17. The Grip


Greg Koch - Guitar
Tom "Damn" Good - Bass
Kevin Allen - Bass (5,12,15)
John Calarco - Drums
Gary Koehler - Drums (2,5,10,12,15)
Kevin Mushel - Bass (2,10)
Steve Cohen - Harmonica (8)



  2. Awesome stuff. Thanks for the upload.