Zack Weil is a minimalist when it comes to gear. A Gibson Flying V is the only guitar he plays, so he makes it a
point to never break a string onstage. Photo by Kevin Gras
I’m sure touring helps a lot, as well.
Weil: Kind of. You get tighter and looser at the same time. You start screwing up things that you’ve never even questioned before. I get freaked out halfway through a tour. The guitar playing part is always easy, but all the vocal stuff, I start losing my voice about halfway into it—or just even a couple of days. I get real moody and I can’t drink as much or I have to drink room temperature water and try not to talk. It’s kind of maddening.
Does playing loud help? It can loosen up your attack.
Weil: Yeah. I used to play some folkie stuff, but eventually I realized I would rather see people having a good time in the crowd than crying, weeping, or moping. Loud goes with the territory. It’s more fun. If you could be really fun and quiet then maybe I would do it, but I have yet to see that happen.
What amps do you use?
Weil: I use a Peavey 6505 Plus. Before that I was using a Peavey Ultra Plus. I worked with the guy who records us, Matt Russell, at a Whole Foods right when I was starting Oozing Wound. He was the most metal guy I knew who recorded bands. I asked him, “What do I need to do to get that sound?” He said, “Buy a Peavey Ultra Plus. Get a Marshall 1969 cab. And put Zakk Wylde pickups in your guitar.” And it totally worked [laughs]. He’s kind of a genius in that sense. It was a real budget way to get the right tone. I’ve been using the exact same thing ever since. Same pickups. I’ve been trying to use different cab setups, but the restriction is always money and finding this shit. I want to have giant orange and green cabs or something, that kind of thing, the loudest most horrifying thing, and someday maybe I will.
Do you get your distortion from the amp?
Weil: Yeah. It’s built in. There are two levels of distortion on the 6505—there is a crunch and then a high-gain channel. I keep it on the high gain, cranked, everything to full. It is the most basic thing you can possibly do. That has always been my goal, to keep it simple and don’t mess with it. You don’t need to add to this. It is good on its own.
Do you use any reverb?
Weil: No. The amp might have a built-in reverb, but I think it was broken, so I’ve never used that. Also, with the amount of chugging that we do, it’s already hard to discern what we’re doing to a certain extent. I feel that reverb would just make it impossible.
How about guitars? You have the V. Do you have a backup on the road as well?
Weil: I’ve magically never broken a string onstage with Oozing Wound. I’ve had it happen in other bands. The last time it happened, I changed it in less than a minute. I feel confident that I can do it onstage. Even though that’s the weirdest feeling in the world.
Why? Because everybody’s staring at you?
Weil: Staring at you trying to do essentially one of the simplest tasks on guitar that is somehow impossible to do in front of people—because you’re also panicking. It’s probably going to be out of tune when you play and you’re going to try and fix it while you play. Great feeling.
Kevin, you have an amazing technique where it looks like you use your index finger as a pick. Talk about that.
Cribbin: I have this other band called Unmanned Ship, it’s a more spacey, instrumental band and we do a lot of soundscapes and weird stuff. I had some songs that I would play like that, but it was
all really slow. Then I started playing with Zack and Kyle [Reynolds, Oozing Wound’s previous drummer; current drummer Casey Marnocha
joined in 2016] and they were playing thrashy, fast, crazy metal riffs. I wasn’t used to playing like that, but it was the only thing that made sense because
I never learned to play with a pick. It would have been too awkward and strange to learn picking technique because I was already playing for about 10 years with my hands. So, by playing loud and moving your hand really fast, you don’t have to dig into it—you don’t have to physically play like a jackhammer to play that fast.
Are you saying the volume helps because you can have a light touch yet still get a huge sound?
Cribbin: Yeah. It’s anchoring your hand with your thumb and wiggling your finger around really fast. Basically, I just turn it into a pick and that way you are free to do whatever else when you’re not picking. People would ask me about it and I’d be confused because it just sort of happened organically playing with Zack and Kyle in this new format.
Otherwise you use alternate fingering. Do you add a third at times as well?
Cribbin: Sometimes. It’s whatever makes sense or feels good. There’s some three-finger stuff, there’s just strumming it with your hand, some Les Claypool thumb rip-off shit, or whatever makes sense. Because I’m playing stuff that is so
distorted all the time, it’s easy to make it sound like complete garbage and muddy and fucked up, so I do a lot of muting. Whatever fingers are working are also doing something else.
Kevin, talk about your bass tone. Is the fuzz from your amp or are you using pedals?
Cribbin: I’ve always had just a clean amp. But over the last 14 years I’ve collected this chain of ZVEX pedals. My tone is all that stuff cranked in different combinations. For Oozing Wound, specifically, it’s designed to be as gross, broken, and distorted-sounding as possible. When I started playing with Oozing Wound I was like, “I’m just going to use one pedal.” Just one thing so I don’t have to worry about anything and I can force myself to have a limited palette. The only thing that made sense when playing with them was the ZVEX Woolly Mammoth pedal and that thing is pretty much on all the time.
On our new record, it’s pretty much that, but then I’ll sometimes use a Jonny Octave, the ZVEX Machine, and the ZVEX Fuzz Factory. I have an Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy with an expression pedal to make a lot of weird, chorus-y, fucked-up noises. Any combination of those pedals is all the distortion and weird noises I need. ZVEX pedals are killer pedals. Each pedal is its own instrument unto itself. For about a decade, pretty much all my tone has been ZVEX stuff and figuring out how to make this insane, unwieldy, fucked-up tone controllable.
Do you sometimes kick them all on?
Cribbin: Oh yeah.