Interview: Elliot Easton - Hello Again
The Cars' Elliot Easton talks about reuniting with his chart-topping new wave bandmates and using a bunch of guitars from his amazing collection to record their classic-sounding new album, Move Like This.
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You also worked with famed pedal guru Alfonso Hermida on the Tiki Drive. Can you tell us about that?
Alfonso sought me out a long time ago to try out the Zendrive—a great pedal—and we stayed friends. I have this pedal from Australia that I’m really crazy about called the MI Audio Crunch Box, and that pedal is the best “Marshall-in-a-box” distortion pedal that I’ve come across. I really love it—it’s got a great voice to it.
So I asked Alf if he wanted to try to build something similar to the Crunch Box. The Zendrive is called a “Dumble-in-a-box” because it’s compressed and has a little different kind of tone to it. I asked him if he could do something that was more open sounding and more Marshall-y, while raving to him about this Crunch Box. He got one to check out, and Alf being Alf, did his own take on it. It’s a very different pedal than the Crunch Box. For one thing, it’s got two levels of gain—so you can dial it down to a nice overdrive, or you can dial it way up for great solo tones.
I understand that you have a collection of guitars for sale at Rudy’s Music in New York. Can you tell us about that?
I just prune the collection from time to time. I’ve got so many guitars, man. Once in a while, I just get rid of some, even though I’ve already taken most of them back.
Are there any guitars that you will never let go of?
There’s a couple there that I have to get back [laughs]. It’s not the best time to sell guitars, because of the economy anyway, so I’d rather hang on to them. I have a left-handed ’61 Barney Kessel custom with PAFs that I don’t think I would ever sell. I’m actually thinking of taking a couple more back from Rudy’s. I had a mint-condition 1965 ES-335 with a factory Bigsby and I just couldn’t stand it, man. I had him send it back. It was eating away at me.
Elliot Easton’s Gearbox
Gibson Elliot Easton Signature SG, Gibson ’63 ES-335 Historic Reissue, Fender Custom Shop Nocaster, Fender Custom Shop ’66 Stratocaster, Phantom Guitarworks 12-string
Vox AC15, Fender 1965 Princeton Reverb reissue, Fender 1965 Deluxe Reverb reissue, Peavey Penta
Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler, Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeler, Line 6 Echo Park, Line 6 Verbzilla, Line 6 Roto-Machine, Line 6 Tap Tremolo, TC Electronic Stereo Chorus, Dunlop Cry Baby wah-wah, Boss harmonizer, custom Stompin' Ground pedalboard, two Voodo Lab Pedal Powers
D’Addario .010s or .0095s, depending on guitar