xotic effects

Bohlinger Builds a Gig-Ready “Broadway” Pedalboard
Bohlinger Builds the Ultimate Broadway Pedalboard for Gigging in Downtown Nashville

JB gets a little help from his pedal friends and puts together the ideal stomp station for performing in Music City's SoBro district.

Read MoreShow less

David Byrne’s 6-string counterpart discusses the tonal, aesthetic, and production particulars influencing her gear for Byrne's HBO and American Utopia Broadway shows.

Angie Swan RR1

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 25th video in that format.

In 15 years since graduating from Berklee, Angie Swan has proven no stage is too big, and no star too bright, to play guitar alongside. She has worked onstage and in the studio with Cirque du Soleil (the Amaluna production), Fifth Harmony, CeeLo Green, will.i.am (Black Eyed Peas), Macy Gray, Adam Lambert (Queen), Nicole Scherzinger (the Pussycat Dolls), and Boney James, and even backed up Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner in a series of ads for Jeep. Swan also just performed with En Vogue at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards.

In 2018, she landed her current high-profile gig playing for former Talking Heads ringmaster David Byrne, and hit the road to support his album, American Utopia. The whirlwind tour hit 26 countries in less than a year. And while 2019 saw fewer passport pages being filled, the challenges didn’t stop. For the fall of last year, Byrne and his band of 11 musicians adapted the show for a Broadway run at the Hudson Theatre. That production is comprised of songs from American Utopia, Byrne’s other solo releases, and heavy hitters from the Talking Heads catalog.

Just before the release of HBO’s Spike Lee-directed American Utopia concert film, which is now viewable, Swan virtually welcomed PG’s Chris Kies into her NYC apartment. In this Rig Rundown, the Milwaukee native and upbeat musician opens up about choosing gear based on eye-appeal for Broadway audiences, becoming a humbucker devotee, and how forming friendships led to great gear and cool gigs. She even gives us a peek at what her next pedalboard might have on it.

Read MoreShow less

“Astrovan” took him from lawyer to soulful indie-pop headliner on the back of his rewired, ragged ’69 Jag and a bed of shimmering ’verbs and reversed delays.

Mt. Joy Astrovan Sam Cooper RR1

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

Starting all the way back in high school near Philadelphia, the friendship between Mt. Joy guitarist Sam Cooper and singer/guitarist Matt Quinn was established over writing and performing music. (The band is named after the Valley Forge lookout point used during the American Revolutionary War.) Their separate collegiate paths (shaping them both into lawyers) took them apart. However, remote collaborations kept the music flowing and fastened the bond.

Between lectures Quinn was penning lyrics and playing solo gigs, while Cooper was woodshedding scales and sharpening his voice on guitar. Normal 9-5 jobs and civilian life seemed to be their destiny. Then Sam moved to L.A. (reuniting him with Matt) detouring the dull life. Not knowing anyone in the city, he turned to his musical brother and the duo (alongside future bandmate/bassist Michael Byrnes) worked out a collection of ideas that would be self-released under the Mt. Joy name.

Unknowing to them, bluesy-folk anthem “Astrovan” was touted and shared on several 2016 playlists that skyrocketed Spotify fans in just a few months. In total, they dished out four self-released songs ("Sheep," "Cardinal," and the windows-down, road-trip favorite "Silver Lining"—landing them a No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart and over 100 million plays). The decision to chase music was made and the briefcases were closed.

The trio added Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums) and Jackie Miclau (keyboards) and fleshed out nine more songs to round out their eponymous 2018 debut. After burning through the American festival circuit, opening a U.S. tour for The Head and the Heart, and headlining a club run, the indie poppers headed north to Portland to record with producer Tucker Martine. Their sophomore album Rearrange Us refined their catchy, hypnotic vibes with psych garnishes and was just introduced in June 2020.

On the heels of a fresh collection of jams, Cooper virtually welcomes PG’s Chris Kies into his home for an enlightening conversation that covers quick transformation from lawyer to rocker when “Astrovan” blew up (and all the woodshedding that preceded it), explains how onstage anxiety that provoked him to rewire his ’69 Jag, and details his use of reverse delays and oversimplification of the powerful H9.

Read MoreShow less