Since the start of 2015, the following musicians have appeared on the cover of Guitar World magazine: Angus Young, Dimebag Darrell, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Tosin Abasi, Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan, Joan Jett, Eddie Van Halen, Kerry King, Tom Araya, B.B. King, Chris Broderick, Gus G., Mark Morton, Willie Adler, Randy Blythe, David Gilmour, Keith Richards, Trey Anastasio, Eddie Van Halen… again, John Petrucci, Dave Mustaine, Zakk Wylde, Buddy Guy, Slash, Ace Frehley, Eric Clapton, Prince, Steve Vai, The Edge, Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Wilk, DJ Lord, Chuck D, B-Real, and Bob Weir.
That’s 36 men (including Van Halen twice), and one woman. Not great, Bob.
Guitar World isn’t the only music-based publication to all but ignore female guitarists in favor of slapping Eric Clapton’s face on the cover for the 47th time, but the magazine received a lot of heat for its bikini gift guide, which was finally discontinued earlier this year. “The main driver of this decision was economic, but bikini models were outdated,” said publisher Bill Amstutz. “And we didn’t want to associate the brand with what could easily be viewed as sexist, as a misrepresentation of women guitar players, or that women in general may find offensive.” Economics first and sexism second? Got it.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction, as is putting the great Annie “St. Vincent” Clark on Guitar World‘s first cover of 2017. Don’t think she doesn’t know the magazine’s history with women, either. “I did a quick Google search of women on the cover, and all I really saw was girls in bikinis holding guitars like they’ve never held a guitar before,” she said. “I started thinking about that and just wanted to make my own absurdist comment on it. I couldn’t really let it slide without poking a bit of fun and taking the piss a little!”