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Rig Rundown: Nick Perri

The retro rocker opens up about retrofitting reissues, returning to the JTM45s, and finding the piece of gear that changed his life.

Facing a mandatory shelter-in-place ordinance to limit the spread of COVID-19, PG enacted a hybrid approach to filming and producing Rig Rundowns. This is the 17th video in that format, and we stand behind the final product.

 Nick Perri has always appeared out of place. He first flew against modern trends and embraced loud-and-proud ’70s rock—even looking the part—with the creation of his band Silvertide. The band sprang to life in the early 2000s, and when most teens his age were listening to Limp Bizkit or Eminem, Perri was bowing to the guitar heroes of his parents’ generation—Page, Hendrix, Gilmour. While the Philly-based teens of Silvertide only released an EP (2002’s American Excess) and one LP (2004’s Show and Tell), they earned major rock-radio airtime with “Blue Jeans” and were handpicked to open for legends Aerosmith, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver, and Mötley Crüe. 

 Continuing to carry the arena-rock-filling, full-stack-screaming, guitar-hero torch in the face of the garage-rock revolution of the mid 2000s, Perri found work backing Perry Farrell, Matt Sorum (drummer for Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver), collaborating with his pop-star sister Christina Perri, and filling in as lead guitarist for Shinedown. Additional pursuits included producing a Transformers compilation, putting music to TV commercials, and writing the score for Gibson’s The Process series. No matter the project or musical context, he was always loyal to the guitar. And now, with his solo debut 20 years in the making, Nick Perri is being loyal to himself.

 Nick Perri & the Underground Thieves reconnects the lead guitarist/vocalist with Silvertide bassist Brian Weaver. Other Philly friends in the group include singers/songwriters Anthony and Michael Montesano, keyboardist Justin DiFebbo, and drummer Zil Fessler. The group’s debut LP, Sun Via, has some obvious nods to Are YouExperienced and Zeppelin II, but some surprising stunners include the sparse, psychedelic spaghetti western “Let You Know,” and the somber, synthy swirl of “Fall.” All 10 tracks honor Nick’s growth as a musician, vision as an artist, and the instrument that still inspires him today. 

 Before releasing the brand-new album, Sun Via (out now), Perri virtually welcomed PG’s Chris Kies into his Philly-based jam space. The positive retro rocker explains overhauling holy-grail reissues, returning to the altar of Jim Marshall and the JTM45, and reducing his pedalboard to expand his creativity.  

Special thanks to Derek Brad for additional video footage.

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