Chris Kies -- Associate Editor
I grew up on Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step, but never got to see them before their hiatus in the late 2000s. I thought I was going to finally make it happen on my way to Lollapalooza in 2013, but en route to Chicago we had car trouble and didn't make the festival in time. Finally, this year PG got the opportunity to do a Rig Rundown and I was stoked, however, there was no word if any of the bandmembers would participate themselves due to interest or scheduling. We showed up the Bridgestone Arena, checked in with management and headed to the stage. Waiting for us with his 1960 Gibson Les Paul Classic Reissue was Billy Howerdel. He wanted to do the segment himself—and willing to take as long as we needed—and I was so nervous. After talking about guitars and amps down below, I started to feel more comfortable around a guy that I've heard on record almost more than anyone else, and we hit the stage for the pedalboard portion of the RR. If you watch this segment, you'll notice the smile on my face never goes away as I ask Billy several times to play the riffs that have been bouncing around my head for the last 17 years. Amazing! (I didn't host it, but a close second would be the time we hung with Brian May for 30 minutes. Talk about a pinch-me moment!)