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Champing at the Bit

The Fucking Champs wage their solitary war on the wuss hegemony, the indie-rock cabal, the bass and soundmen

And what about that hobgoblin of guitars, the turntable? Is it the Champs' intention to revitalize the electric guitar and reverse the trend of turntable sales outstripping guitar sales? "If people are buying turntables, they can certainly use them to play our records. The same could not be said of guitars." Smith's response implies more than a humorous disregard for the turntable as a rock instrument; that second sentence hints at the lonely path the Champs have chosen. They know it is easier to listen to their music than to play it, especially for novices, and he perhaps despairs of anyone's following in their wake. The Champs are alone in the music world, with only their guitars for solace. Genius can be cold comfort.

This brings us, finally, to their intentions. Pure Music is what the Champs call their sound, and that is their sole intention: to create pure music, free of words, imperfections or technical flaws. They wouldn't even taint their music with the intrusion of titles if a friend did not do so for them. For the Champs, Pure Music is one contiguous sound, unburdened by anything that is not music. All they ask is that people listen. So the Champs wander the world, waging their solitary war with the ruling anti-rock hierarchy, unnoticed by their guitar-playing peers, supported only by a few sympathetic comrades in arms. To whom do they look for inspiration in their lonely hours of need?

For the only time in the interview, the wall of reticence crumbles: "Please please please print the whole list. Thanks, Josh." We reprint it in its entirety because it says more about the Fucking Champs than any answer they gave:

"Brian May, Billy Gibbons, John McLaughlin, Frank Zappa, Elijah Eckert, Bill Blair, James Hetfield, Scott Gorham (heck, all the Lizzy dudez), Jeff Beck, Walter Becker, Skunk Baxter, Bill Steer, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Buzz Osborne, Al DiMeola (kinda), the guy from Krisiun, Trey Azagthoth, that Cathedral dude, Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix, Uli Jon Roth, all the guitarists of Budgie, Ritchie Blackmore, Keith Richards, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Page, Fred Frith, Caspar Brötzman, Pat Metheny, Alex Lifeson (very underrated), Mick Mars, Ace Frehley, Greg Ginn, Robert Smith, Robert Fripp, Andy Summers (I'm totally serious about this), Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Adrian Belew, Warren Cuccurullo, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bernhard Bertrecht/Sumner, Eddie Phillips, James Honeyman-Scott, Marco Peroni, Andrés Segovia, John Lee Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor, Jon Spencer, Thurston Moore, D. Boon, Larry LaLonde, Demonaz Doom Occulta, Andy LaRocque, Randy Rhoads, Eddie Hazel, Kevin Shields, Steve Cropper, Mathias Von, Joe Perry, Akira Takasaki, Pete Townshend, Syd Barrett, Danny Coralles, Ian Eagleson, Robin Trower, Tom Verlaine, Peter Green, Bob 1, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, Fast Eddie Clarke, Doyle, Yngwie "Fucking" Malmsteen, Steve Howe, Alan Holdsworth, I don't know his name but the guitarist from Goblin on "Roller," Nocturno Culto, Frederick Thorndall, the brothers Young, the brothers Reid, Prince, the brothers Allman and Steve Shelton."

Even this torrent of names, seemingly exhaustive, reveals something important in its omission. Eric Clapton is not on the list. In the Champs philosophy, God does not exist. Only guitarists matter. Pure Music.

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