Dweezil Zappa in his latest newsletter, 2017 04 17:
I was saddened to hear about the loss of my friend Allan Holdsworth. It may not be obvious but he was a major influence on my musical outlook. His approach to guitar was so unique and quite honestly baffling, especially to the 13 yeard old me who spent a summer trying to learn licks from his “Metal Fatigue” album. My dad was an admirer of Allan’s playing as well. He talked about him in high regard in several interviews.
One day Allan came to our house to visit my dad. I don’t recall the exact circumstances but it may have had something to do with Chad Wackerman who used to play drums with my dad and also played with Allan. In any case, I remember that I was 13 and I couldn’t understand the scales Allan was using or the chords he was playing over. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions that day and he was very patient with me as I attempted to show him some of the things I had tried to learn. He showed me a few easier licks and some two hand tapping ideas.
As the years went by the scales never got any easier nor did the uncommon chords he reached for. Little by little, elements of his approach to guitar entered my own vocabulary and passed through my own musical filters. I believe that Allan’s influence on my playing isn’t heard as a derivative in terms of playing his licks, it’s more of my own interpretration of how to apply the elements that I love in his playing, spontaneous risk and reward, tension and release. His ability to effortlessly move through rhythmic contours with harmonic variety is what all guitarists who’ve heard him, have marveled at. It seemed to me that he had total freedom in his playing.
I was lucky enough to know Allan after my dad had passed away. He was very kind and spoke fondly of the time he visited with my dad. Allan even played with my band on stage a few times. He was so humble and was allergic to compliments. If I mentioned something about his playing on a record or even in the moment while playing together he would say with a smile, “I’m sorry you had to hear that.”
I’m writing about Allan Holdsworth here on Pledge because I have become inspired to include a solo on my FOH Live In The Moment Part II as a Tribute to Allan. I know I have reached outside my comfort zone on recent tours and sought to get into the zone of “total freedom.” I need to find the most successful example of that style of solo and include it on the new record. With that said, I will be making some changes to the album in order to make this happen. It will cause a short delay which I apologize for in advance but it’s important to me to make this tribute part of the record. I think I will call it “I’m Sorry You Had To Hear That.”
RIP Allan Holdsworth, I will always appreciate your musical voice and your creativity and I’m glad I got to hear that!