Are you using them onstage?
No. I’m using a new pedal that was hand built for me in Belgrade Serbia. It’s a company called Goran Custom Guitars. Goran is a great builder. He builds a two-channel drive that’s very 808ish, but it’s higher output. It’s very smooth. On the second channel it just boosts it up. It’s like the concept of running two Tube Screamers, which is what Stevie Ray Vaughan or Billy Gibbons would do. Instead of running two boxes where one is set higher and one is set lower, the second one works on the first drive. It takes the first drive and boosts it. Then you can click it off and go back to rhythm. It’s called the Fat Boy Drive. It’s amazing! We took it and threw it full speed against a brick wall. It bounced off and we plugged it in and nothing happened to it. It’s got a military grade build. It’s like a tank.
You’re playing Gibsons almost exclusively now. What’s your main one for the road?
A ’58 VOS (Vintage Original Spec) Plain Top Burst. That’s pretty much my baby. Mines got the Burstbuckers and the whole deal. It’s really a workhorse. Overseas I’ve been using the new Standard and the Axcess Les Paul, which is interesting because it’s one of the chambered Les Pauls. It’s all contoured and takes some getting use to. I don’t like the chambered stuff too much because it makes me feel like I’m not playing a Les Paul. I like to feel that big chunk of wood. I like to feel the weight.
Do you like the difference in tone?
Joe Bonamassa and I were talking about that, how the weight relief holes and chambered body guitars are brighter and take some getting use to. I was getting an almost hollowbody kind of tone. Not as drastic as a 335, but I could tell when the toggle was in the middle position. It’s a very 335-like tone because it’s not solid wood.
It’s like a 335 without the F-holes.
That’s exactly what it is. It’s got more high end too. Switching between that and a standard is drastic. I have to re-EQ everything. It’s a weird middle ground between a Les Paul and a 335. It’s not bad, just different.
You’ve seen some troubles before you got sober. How do you feel now?
Great. I’m heavily in meetings on a daily basis and helping other people. I’m going out and speaking at schools now. Life has taken on a whole new meaning. One day at a time is how I look at everything now. Eric Gales and I have a saying, “Just for today.” It means not getting overwhelmed with all the craziness. A lot of guys didn’t make it out of stuff that we went through, and I don’t think they even went through near the stuff that Eric and I did. We’re very blessed and grateful that we were able to make it through a lot of the stuff we did.
How has it affected your playing?
It’s to a point now where I have 100 percent focus on what I’m doing and what I’m trying to go for. It’s got my complete attention now. I’m not worried about if I need to get this or that. Creatively I don’t seem to be blocked. Alcohol tended to block that whole flow that happens when I go into the zone with playing solos. It seemed like I was very diluted and very blocked. Now it’s like a pure open channel and it’s free of clutter. It felt like trying to walk through a hallway with all kinds of clutter in it, and you have to step over this, and move this out of the way. Now it feels like a clear hallway that I can walk straight down. It’s a very spiritual experience.
Lance’s Gear Box
’65 Fender Stratocaster
’57 Reissue Les Paul Gold Top
’58 Gibson VOS Plain Top Burst
1970 Marshall Super Bass 100
Fender Twin Reverb
’68 Marshall Super Lead 100
’66 Marshall JPM 45 2X12
Brownstone Hoochee-Mama Overdrive
Brownstone Macho Man Overdrive
Goran Fat Boy Overdrive