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White’s main-stage pedalboard for The Wall tour includes a Boss TU-2 tuner, an Ernie Ball volume pedal,
a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver that he uses for his basic sound, a Boss OD-3 OverDrive, a Boss RT-20 Rotary
Ensemble (used for the solo in “Mother” and other chorusing sounds), a Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler (the
“Chorus” switch is for the verse of “Comfortably Numb,” and the “Spaces” switch provides delay for “Hey
You”), and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus. Photo by Snowy White
White keeps a separate pedalboard on the front stage of The Wall production. It features a Vox 845 wah,
an Ernie Ball volume pedal, a Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler, a Korg Pitchblack tuner, a Morley ABY switch
that selects between his two Vox AC30s, and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus. Photo by Snowy White
Tell us about some of your other projects.
In between working with Roger and the other odd things that come up, I do my own thing. I’ve had a band for a number of years called the White Flames. We’ve recorded about 12 or 13 albums, and we go out around Europe a bit. We’ve got a new album coming out in February called Realistic. For another project, a lot of people told me they’d like to hear more basic blues. So I thought, “I’m not a blues singer, but I’ll get a few people together and get some good vocalists and I can just sit back and play guitar a bit.” I was lucky to get Matt Taylor in there, who’s got a great voice and is a great guitarist, and Ruud Weber, a really good blues bass player and singer who does frontman stuff, which means I can relax and just play my blues thing. So we got together as the Snowy White Blues Project and made an album, In Our Time of Living. The thing is, we didn’t all assemble in the same room together until the day we started recording. We were able to come up with ideas via email. Nobody had even met everybody at the same time. We had a rehearsal in the afternoon, and the next day we went to the studio for about five days and put down everything fresh, mostly live. And I was really pleased, because when you do that you never know what the result will be. It could’ve been a disaster and cost a lot of money—and I was paying for everything. But it went really well and I was very pleased with it, so we decided to go and put some gigs together and get out on the road, which you can hear on In Our Time… Live—a title we chose just to keep the name alive while I’m out with Roger. By the end of this Wall tour, I should be looking forward to going back to some small clubs and playing some blues.
How much songwriting did you do for these projects, and what’s your writing process like?
I write nearly all the songs on the White Flames albums. But with the blues project, we’ve got a few songs each and a few covers. It’s good, because everybody gets his thing in and that’s the best way to do it, really. I’m happy to take a backseat just playing my blues. As for the process, I sit down with my guitar and I strum a few chords to get some sort of direction. If I’m in a mood, I’ll play a minor thing and I might start thinking about what it would be like to play a guitar solo over those minors. And then I come up with a lyric or hook line, and over a period of weeks or months or even years, I just kick it around and put it together. Some songs come really quickly. I had a hit single around ’84 called “Bird of Paradise” that took me about 15 minutes to write—one of those songs that just came out complete with lyrics and everything. And others kick around for ages and eventually something makes it work or not. So there’s no real technique to it for me, no plan—it just comes or it doesn’t.
Is there any new music that inspires you?
I don’t actually listen to music at home. I play it in my car. Occasionally, I’ll hear something I really like. But most of the time I don’t know who it is. People will ask me, “What do you think about this guitarist and that guitarist?”— new young guys—and I listen and say, “That’s great.” But then I forget who they are. And I can hear that a young player’s been listening to Albert King, for instance, and then I remember my old days and think, I know just how he feels—he’s all excited that he’s discovered Albert King. Honestly, though, I’d prefer to listen to Albert King. But I wish all these guys a lot of luck, because they’re some great players and they’re helping keep the blues alive.
Snowy White’s Wall Tour Gearbox
1957 Gibson goldtop Les Paul, Gibson goldtop Les Paul reissue with Stetsbar tremolo, 1957 Gibson Les Paul Historic, Gibson ES-345, Fender David Gilmour Signature Series Stratocaster, Fender Stratocaster
Two Vox AC30s (one is set with extra treble for solos)
Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler, Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, Boss OD-3 OverDrive, Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble, Ernie Ball volume pedal, Vox V845 wah
Strings and Picks
.010–.052 sets for Les Pauls, .010–.046 sets for Stratocasters, custom “Snowy White” teardrop-shaped picks
Boss TU-2 chromatic tuner, Korg Pitchblack chromatic tuner, Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus