Eric Roche: A Pioneer


Eric Roche “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

By Miche Archetto:

Eric Roche has been one of the most influential fingerstyle guitar players of the 90s. After studying classical guitar, he developed his own technique and percussive approach, exploring and mixing different musical genres including folk, pop and country music. Sadly he died at 37 in 2005. But his style still lives in many contemporary players including his close friend Thomas Leeb.

In this video he plays his famous arrangement of “Smells like teen spirit” by Nirvana.
The wikipedia entry reads:
“Roche was born in New York City, but his family soon moved to Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. He was a learnt accountant, but practised only for a short time before enlisting for classical guitar in 1992 at the London Musician’s Institute. After his degree he became head of its guitar department in 1996 and released his first CD The Perc U Lator three years later. In 2000 he accepted a position as head of guitar at Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, where his pupils included Newton Faulkner. In 2001 his second CD Spin was released. In 2004 Roche issued his third album With These Hands and released his book The Acoustic Guitar Bible, a guide to acoustic guitar playing with a foreword by Tommy Emmanuel. Roche was a regular columnist for the magazines Guitar Techniques and Acoustic Guitar and did international master classes and workshops.

Eric played many musical genres on solo guitar such as classical, Celtic, Folk, jazz, blues, rock and pop. As well as being a gifted guitarist-composer, he was also well known for his solo guitar arrangements of other artists’ tunes. […]

A characteristic feature of his playing was his percussive style of playing involving drumming on the body of the guitar to create the sound of various different drums and sounds similar to DJ scratching. He was well versed in not only standard tuning, but also in various other altered tunings on guitar, especially DADGAD. Just like Pierre Bensusan and Laurence Juber, Roche was able to play in multiple keys on this tuning without the need for a capo.”

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