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The tracks I’ve heard from your latest CD have a very raw, dense quality, as if the band recorded together in the same room, the way it was done in the late sixties. Was that the vibe you were going for this time? You recorded this disc in your home studio, right?
That’s exactly what we were going for. We isolated the guitars just enough and everybody played at the same time going for keepers. With this record, we went for good takes every time. If someone screwed up, we did another take or pieced things together. The whole vibe was about getting good takes. The musicians I have now allowed me to operate that way, and it worked out real well. Aerosmith recorded Honkin’ On Bobo in my studio the same way. I’ve always had a home studio. In the beginning, it was just basic four-track stuff, but now, I have a great studio at my disposal all the time.
I frequently hear older musicians complain that there are no young guitar heroes. Are there any young guitarists you like?
I really like Jack White. He plays stuff that sounds like an exercise, but you can tell he’s listened to blues guys like John Lee Hooker. I hear the same thing when I listen to things my sons play—simple riffs, but you know they can develop what they’re doing if they work on it. Jack White will have longetivity. There are a lot of good young technical players out there.
Do you have any final words of wisdom and advice for guitarists?
Practice with a metronome. They’re cheap, you can buy one that attaches to your guitar strap, and they’re great for developing your time and feel. Every guitarist, every musician, should work with a metronome or a click track to develop a good sense of time.
Joe Perry’s Gear for the Joe Perry Project Tour 2009/2010
Left to right: Joe Perry Boneyard Gibson Les Paul, Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Joe Perry Model (stock), 2000 Dan Armstrong Plexi, "Billie Perry" custom ES-335 Lucille, Mid-'50s Supro Ozark
“Billie Perry” custom Gibson ES-335 Lucille: a one-of-a-kind guitar with his wife Billie’s picture on it, and one of Joe’s all time favorite guitars. Boneyard Green tiger Gibson Les Paul with a bigsby tailpiece, stock: the prototype Boneyard Les Paul; it says “prototype” on the back of the headstock.
“Bullets and Bones” guitar: custom-made for Joe by R.S. Guitarworks; features a Lindy Fralin P-90 pickup in the bridge, Joe Barden pickups in the middle and neck, and a Trem King tremolo.
2000 Dan Armstrong Plexi: nothing says open-tuning slide guitar like this Plexi.
Mid-‘50s Supro Ozark: used for slide work only.
Black Gibson Les Paul: Custom Shop Joe Perry model, stock.
Gretsch White Falcon: given to Joe by Fred Gretsch Jr.
Ernie Ball Silhouette Guitar: mid-‘90s alloriginal with a Trem King tremolo.
Mid-‘70s Left-Handed Strat with reverse Telecaster headstock: the actual guitar from the first Joe Perry Project tour, and one of the guitars Joe has owned the longest. It has Barcus Berry pickups in it.
Left-Handed Fender Jim Servis/Joe Perry strat: loving referred to as “Frankenstrat,” and built by Joe and Jim Servis. It’s basically a parts guitar that has literally been in a fire; a left-handed Fender body and a reverse Tele Warmoth neck, Barden pickups custom-wound for hotter output, and a really cool green pickguard.
1992 Fender Gold Sparkle Strat: has a Suhr plate added to the cavity to cancel hum and control the noise of the pickups.
2004 Black Fender Jeff Beck Strat: all original except for the Suhr hum-canceling plate added to the cavity.
2006 Gibson Custom Shop SG: all stock with P-90s; great sounding guitar.
1958 Gibson Les Paul: bridge pickup cover removed... enough said.
2004 Gold Fender Strat: stock except for the Suhr plate.
1964 Marshall 8x10 cabinet
1969 Marshall Super Bass head (2)
1970 Marshall Super Lead heads
1950 Fender Bandmaster with original Jensen speakers
1963 Fender VibroVerb
1980s Fender Tone Master head
1973 Fender Dual Showman 1972 Fender Dual Showman
1973 Fender Bassman 2x15 cabinet with JBL speakers
Fulltone Tube Tape Echo
Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (controlling the POG volume)
Line 6 MM4 Modulation Effects
Line 6 DL4 Delay
Effects A siren (a custom-made pedal that is an actual siren)
Fulltone Ultimate Octave
Dunlop/Custom Audio Electronics MC402 Boost Overdrive
Klon Centaur (original brown-cased)
Option 5 Destination Rotation Single
Cry Baby Jimi Hendrix Signature wah
Pyramid strings - He uses different gauges for different guitars. He uses standard gauge 9-44 or 10-46. And he uses 11-48 for some of the guitars that have dropped down tunings…
Custom Dunlop thin leather
Dunlop 483 Classic Celluloid Heavy (custom imprinted)
Dunlop Joe Perry signature series Boneyard Slide
[Thanks to Trace Foster, Joe’s tech, for providing info on the touring gear, and special thanks to Jim Servis for his assistance in compiling this list of guitars]