If you don’t live in cave you would have heard Warren Mendonsa play before. You might not be aware of it but you have. Warren started his music career with a band called Zero, Zero has been usually regarded as the band that pushed in the independent rock and roll scene forward in the country(My favorite song by them is PSP 12). They are still claimed to be one of the best bands in India. Warren Mendosa also plays for Amit Trivedi and Karsh Kale live and is a session guitarist for a lot of films. With a lot of guitar playing done by him over his career what stands out the most, is his solo project called Blackstratblues. Anyone who has ever played a guitar knows that a Stratocaster is all you need and the name of the band stems from the same kind of love.
If you have followed my previous posts you would know how much I actually value lyrics, for me it is a lot about what the singer wants to convey. Lyrics usually do not happen with Blackstratblues. In the words of Warren Mendosa himself he doesn’t sing so the focus of expression is through his guitar and the man stays true to his word. Usually when you think of solo guitar artists you think the virtuoso Joe Satriani or Steven Vai but Warren Mendosa is different from them. What I personally do not like about most of the solo guitarists like the two mentioned above is that they make songs to show their superior technique or how good or technically hard riff they can create. I feel the focus is not on the experience that the song as a whole. Warren Mendosa on the other hand has uses the guitar to invoke a feeling inside of you, you play his albums and you feel the guitar reaching out.
The music played by him puts you in a dreamy state, the bends on the string hints a tinge of melancholy but somehow still remains an easy listen. I think this is because the focus is not only on the guitar playing. Obviously, there are long solos and heavy riffs but they always seem in place. They are always in tandem to the base that the other instruments are trying to create. I think the reason behind this is the guitar tone used. One of the most important aspects of playing electric guitar is getting the correct tone, it is a science on its own. The most famous guitar players are known not only for what notes they are playing but how do they end up sounding. Warren Mendosa has a very natural sound to the guitar in most of his songs, there is no way to explain it but I think it is a very easy going tone. What adds to his playing style is the kind of music he is involved in, from playing with a rock band to being a session musician to being a guitarist adds to the sources of inspiration he has.
On top of all of this he is an extremely humble human being, he painstakingly replies to comments made on his Facebook posts. He stays back and gets photos clicked. He conducts guitar sessions and takes time to give back. Every interview you see of him he acts like the guy next door. Maybe he is unaware or underestimates the impact he has had.