yeah yeah yeahs

On his solo work, Fertita channels the inspiration he gets from his various projects, from Dead Weather and Queens of the Stone Age, of which he’s a member, to projects with artists such as Karen O and Iggy Pop.

Photo by Andreas Neumann

With the encouragement of his pal Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age and Dead Weather multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita pulls together a decade of material for the psych-pop extravaganza Tropical Gothclub.

For multi-instrumentalist and A-list side musician Dean Fertita, a sophomore solo release has been a long time coming. The anticipated Tropical Gothclub, released in late 2022, is his first record since his 2009 debut, Hello=Fire. Fertita can’t help but nod to the lapse of time between then and now. “The song ‘Double Blind,’ I wrote that for my daughter before her first birthday,” he says about the album’s dreamy, Flaming Lips-like second single. “She just turned 11, and that’s the oldest song of the bunch.”

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From Bonamassa to Lamb of God, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Dweezil Zappa—10 Stomp Stations from PG’s Hottest Rig Rundowns

When it comes to finding fresh tones that inspire new song ideas or put the sonic palettes of your heroes at your fingertips, there’s simply no substitute for slogging it out and putting tons of time into experimenting with different instruments, techniques, effects, and amps. We’re individuals with our own unique touch on the strings, a set of ears that’s heard things no one else has, and a guitar or bass rig that—due to our budget limitations, being finicky, or (hopefully) an insatiable longing for new tonal titillation—is never going to be exactly what we want. Let’s face it—we’re impossible to please. But if it feeds our muse, how can that be a bad thing?

Still, sometimes getting out of your own headspace and considering other players’ contexts can get the gears in your brain turning in ways that woodshedding can’t, even if that context sometimes comes from guitarists or bassists you don’t particularly dig or know much about. Hearing someone play a particular pedal and seeing how they use it—what their settings are, where they put it in their signal chain, and how they adjust their attack or their instrument’s onboard controls—can reveal a previously mundane-seeming device to be a corridor into mind-blowing sonic realms.

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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner explains why his first-ever guitar is still his main one, and we get a detailed look at the four-amp, four-pedalboard rig he uses live.

Premier Guitar's Rebecca Dirks is on location in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she catches up with Yeah Yeah Yeahs' guitarist Nick Zinner and his tech Jesse Quitslund.

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