As guitarist for Citizen Zero from 2012 through 2018, Sammy Boller put himself on a map as part of the next generation of truly great guitarists who would be around for a long time. As a solo artist, considering he’s just wrapped a tour with virtuoso shredder Greg Howe, and is about to hop on another with Mötley Crüe’s resident maestro, John 5, it’s safe to say that Boller has held up his end of the bargain.
Few do what Boller does best—melodic tapping, and epic, hyper-fluid runs, while conjuring primal tones from various curios and amps. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less special—he’s genuinely generational. Talents like Sammy Boller only come around so often, so if you can catch him in support of John 5 during 5’s winter 2024 solo tour—do it.
While preparing for his upcoming supporting gig with John 5, Sammy Boller made time to chat with ClassicRockHistory.com to run through the ten albums that changed his life. Are any of your favorites here, too?
Who’s Next – The Who (1971)
Pete Townshend has always been a big influence on me. He’s a master composer and visionary. I love all The Who records, but this has my favorite songs. “Love Ain’t for Keeping,” “Gettin in Tune,” and “Baba O’Riley,” just to name a few. I recently learned the name Baba O’Riley came from combining the names of the Indian Saint Meher Baba and songwriter Terry Riley. I’ve read a lot of Meher Baba’s work and love it when the unexpected collides.
Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf (1977)
To me, this is one of the greatest albums ever made. Jim Steinman’s composition and Todd Rundgren’s production made this an absolute masterpiece. As a kid, I loved the theatrical elements, and Meat Loaf’s voice and vocal performances are unmatched. It’s just an incredible album from front to back.
Born and Raised – John Mayer (2012)
John Mayer is one of my favorite guitar players, but this is my favorite record from him because of the left turn he took with his songwriting. This came out when I was in college and was a special album for me at the time. It’s continued to be a staple on the road for late, long night drives. It’s hard to pick a favorite track, but I’d probably say it’s “A Face to Call Home.”
Harvest – Neil Young (1972)
Before owning an electric guitar, I played many Neil Young songs acoustically with my father. I have this album on vinyl, and today, it reminds me of the mystery of picking up a guitar for the first time. Neil’s performance of these songs on the BBC is one of my favorite concerts to watch. That performance is a snapshot of him in his prime, just a few months after he composed some of these iconic songs. It’s just incredible.
Joshua Tree – U2 (1987)
One of the best records ever made. I truly began to appreciate it when I started writing songs. The interplay between Bono and The Edge is something I strive for in my band, Pharaohs. The Edge’s guitar tone has had a big influence on me, both live and in the studio.
This Is Blue – Trevor Hall (2008)
This album is a special one for me. Trevor Hall is one of my favorite songwriters and musicians; this is the first work I heard from him. I’ve seen him play live more than any other artist, and his music continues to inspire me. I love all the songs on this record, but my favorite is “Well I Say.”
Only by the Night – Kings of Leon (2008)
I was a complete metalhead when this came out, but this album opened a whole new world for me as a guitarist and music lover. Kings have been a huge influence on me and the bands I’ve been in. There’s not much to say about this record other than to listen to it front to back and take the ride.
Transatlanticism –Death Cab for Cutie (2003)
It’s hard for me to pick, but Transatlanticism is probably my favorite record of all time. And Ben Gibbard is my favorite lyricist, and the compositions on this album are beyond incredible. I love it front to back but have always particularly loved the B-side. This album was a huge influence on me when I first started writing songs.
Tribute – Ozzy Osbourne (1987)
I love all the studio recordings of Randy Rhoads, but this live album is the pinnacle for me. The fire he plays with on stage is beyond this world, and the way he approaches his catalog has always inspired me. Randy was ahead of his time and will always be my favorite guitarist.
Van Halen –Van Halen (1978)
The ultimate in rock ‘n’ roll guitar. Eddie Van Halen’s genius was shown to the world with this album, and just like so many others, it changed the course of my life when I first heard it. I had a big stack of amps in my bedroom when I was a teenager, and over time, I put together a PA system to blast this album through so I could play along. We lived in an apartment and would get noise complaints all the time. That time in my life taught me what the joy of playing music is all about.
Sammy Boller: 10 Albums That Changed My Life article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024
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