What guitars are you using these days?
For the live shows, I’m using a ’59 Les Paul
reissue—a Gibson Custom Shop instrument
modeled after Mike Bloomfield’s guitar. For
the new album, I used a 1964 SG and a couple
of my G&L SC-2s. The SC-2 is probably
my favorite guitar. I was introduced to them
when we did the New Traditionalists
I did an interview then where I mentioned
buying a weird guitar called a G&L and how
much I liked the tremolo system because it
stayed in tune. The day after the interview hit
the newsstands, someone from G&L called
me and asked, “Hey, can we endorse you?”
Is there a G&L Bob1 Signature model we
don’t know about?
Uh, no. G&L gave me three or four of their
top-of-the-line guitars and then they sent
me the SC-2, more of an entry-level student
guitar, which is what I stuck with.
What drew you to the SC-2?
I love its [Magnetic Field Design] single-coil
pickups, which have a really springy sound
with great high end. The guitar itself is lightweight
and plays really well. The tremolo has a
great feel and, as I mentioned, it stays in tune
better than any other I’ve tried. I can throw it
against the wall and it still plays great.
G&L’s entry-level SC-2 solidbody is Mothersbaugh’s favorite
electric, largely because of the clear, “springy” sound he
gets from its high-output Magnetic Field Design singlecoils—
but also because the guitar takes a licking and keeps
on ticking. “I can throw it against the wall and it still plays
great,” he says. Photo by Jon Wright
Besides the SG and SC-2s, did you use
any other guitars on the new album?
Yes, I played a Rickenbacker 330 of
unknown vintage that I bought from Doug
Fieger of the Knack, as well as a custom
guitar Ibanez made for me.
The blue one?
Is that a cloud or a spud?
It’s funny you should ask, because when we
were in Japan in 1979, Ibanez asked me to
endorse their guitars. I said, “Well, whaddya
got?” and they showed me a catalog. I
looked at them all and said, “Nah, no thanks.
I don’t like any of these.” Then they said,
“We’ll build you one.” So, very flippantly, I
took a Magic Marker to a Les Paul-shaped
guitar of theirs and drew scallops on it and
said “Here, cut it like a potato, paint it brown,
and put every possible type of electronics
in it.” Then, about six months later, the blue
guitar showed up. It was supposed to be a
potato, but it wound up as a Japanese artist’s
interpretation of what I had drawn—so it’s
somewhere between a potato and a cloud.
During the dark days of the mid ’80s, after
the band went on hiatus, I lost the Spud
guitar. Years later, my friend Vahe Vahe of
the band Nu-Tra heard that a pro skateboarder
named Jason Jessee had it. We got
in contact with him and I bought it back.
What about amps?
On the latest album, I used a WEM
Dominator combo. It’s an old British tube
amp that sounds incredible. Other than
that, I just used a Line 6 PODxt Live.
Did you employ any interesting stompboxes?
I pretty much used the effects in the PODxt
Live. I’ve used the PODxt Live for many
years, so I know how to navigate it pretty
Do you still use the PODxt Live?
No, I’m down to my last working unit. They
are long discontinued, so I switched to a
Fractal Audio Axe-Fx. It’s an amp simulator
and pedal simulator that sounds fantastic
and is quite roadworthy.
Do you still play the La Baye 2x4 for your
whammy-bar torture and crowd-surfing
thing during “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”?