may 2015

John McCauley plays one of his many Jag-Stangs (the Fender model designed by Kurt Cobain) as the frontman of his primary band, Deer Tick, at the Newport Folk Festival in 2012.
Photo by Tim Bugbee / Tinnitus Photography

Deer Tick’s guitarist/frontman discusses Cosmetics, the new album from his all-star second band.

When does a side project become a band? For Diamond Rugs, the answer lies sometime between a night in 2011—when Deer Tick’s John McCauley, former Black Lips guitarist Ian St. Pé, and Six Finger Satellite drummer Bryan Dufresne shared a beer and mused about working together—and the sessions for Cosmetics, the D-Rugs’ sophomore album.

After that beer, St. Pé continued his tour with Black Lips. By the time he finished, McCauley had recruited the rest of the Diamond Rugs lineup: fellow Deer Tick Robbie Crowell (bass, keyboards, sax), Dead Confederate guitarist T. Hardy Morris, and Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin (horn, keyboards).

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Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

Excellent sounds in a portable and very affordably priced package.

A footswitchable clean channel and onboard reverb would make it perfect.


Bogner Ecstasy Mini


The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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Rig Rundown: IDLES

See how chaotic co-pilots Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan bring five pedalboards to mutilate, mangle, and mask their guitars into bass, synth, hip-hop beats, raging elephant sounds, and whatever “genk” is.

Do you hear that thunder? That’s the sound of strength in numbers. Specifically, it's the sound of four 100-watt stacks. (Actually, one is a 200-watt bass tube head.) IDLES’ guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan finally have the firepower to match their fury. (Original members singer/lyricist Joe Talbot, drummer Jon Beavis, and bassist Adam Devonshire fill out the band. Kiernan took over for guitarist Andy Stewart after 2015 EP Meat was released.)

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