- Rig Rundowns
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It’s a strong record and your playing sounds inspired. What gear did you use?
Thanks. I used the same gear on the whole record. Because it was done very quickly, we didn’t have time to really dial stuff in. I stacked all my heads up in the control room and my cabinets were off in another room. We used an R-121, a Shure 57, a [Randall] Lynch Box cab, and an old Hiwatt cab.
For the rhythms, one side was a [Randall] Lynch Box and the other side was a Diezel Herbert. I used a variety of guitars for the rhythms, but I always try to find two guitars that have chemistry. We do two rhythm tracks for the main chords. So one side would usually be my old Tiger and the other side my Tele-style, and I’d mix that combination up. Sometimes I would use my Les Paul-style, which is a real chunky, fake ’58 [ESP] built for me back in the ’80s. The other side would be something else. Generally, it was the Tele-style, the Tiger, a little bit of the GL-56, and the Les Paul-style—all made by ESP. Do the left side, do the right side, and make it match—that’s pretty much all it was and I just banged through.
Did you record both amps at the same time or separately?
I did one side with one amp first, and then the other side with the other amp using a different guitar.
Did you use your pedalboard?
When I’m in the studio it’s like snakes on the floor [Laughing]. There’s like forty pedals—I have my pedalboard and then I have all my other stuff that won’t fit on the pedalboard [Laughing]. As I’m tracking, doing leads or clean parts or squirrely affected parts, I’ll have an “Oh! I want to put a little thing here!” I’ll plug in my old Electric Mistress, my DigiTech Whammy, my old Echoplex, or whatever I think I need right there—it could be an analog chorus with the rate turned way up. I’m always off the cuff.
What’s on your pedalboard?
An old Clyde-era wah that goes into a script-logo [MXR] Phase 90. I’m always changing my overdrives but I really like the Cusack Screamer, which is like a Tube Screamer. I have a new HomeBrew Electronics Skull Crusher I really like that Gary Hoey gave me. I’ve got thirty overdrives and I’m always swapping them out, but those are the two that I used on the record. From there it goes into two Zvex pedals—a Seek-Wah and a Seek-Trem. After that, it goes into a Boss CE-3 Chorus—which I didn’t use on the record, but do use live—and a ’70s Mu-Tron Octave Divider. Love that thing.
Then I use the Shimmer effect from a Strymon blueSky Reverb, followed by a Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo. Sometimes I’ll use my old EP-3 Echoplex or my EP-2 Tube Echoplex. Then it goes into an old Fulltone Deja’Vibe, which is phenomenal for the Trower/Hendrix thing.
The main riff on “Voices In My Head” is huge.
I quad tracked that with two amps on each side, both tracked twice. It makes it massive. I normally use 10-42 strings, but will use 11s for the rhythms and then go back to 10s for the solos. I like them light on the bottom when I play live, because I shake my chords and play pretty squirrely.
Which heads do you use live?
I change them up all the time. I have a foundation, which is my new [Randall] LB103 Lynch Box head and Lynch Box speakers—a variation on high-powered Celestion Greenbacks. I always add one other amp, and that’s always changing. It could be my ’68 Marshall Plexi with an old Boss ten-band EQ in front of it, or my Dave Friedman Brown Eye.
Let’s talk about your composing process. How do you come up with riffs and melody lines?
I love writing with my friends and my band. Nic, Adrian, and I basically just got into a room, and locked ourselves in there for ten days. It was sweaty, we had gear stacked up against the wall, we played loud, and we just got off on the vibe. Adrian throws down a beat, I throw out a riff.
All musicians have their dry periods, but as I get older, I seem to have this bottomless well. When I get into a room with my friends, it never ends. I can riff out and come up with shit for days—it’s just so much fun.
Do you come in with riffs that you’ve catalogued?
We make it up right then and don’t know what we’re going to do until we get there. Then when we get there, we just feed off each other—something will come. We have a little GarageBand or Pro Tools setup on a laptop. We just set up a couple of mics, capture it, and start piecing it together. We worked really hard on it, but it was so much fun.
Demonic riffs just come to you through some supernatural force?
[Laughing.] I’m just a conduit. I’m a vehicle. I didn’t create anything. It’s out there somewhere. I hear things in my head but I don’t know where it comes from, so I don’t take credit for anything. I do what I do and I don’t know why it happens, but I’m glad it does. I just try to get out of the way.