Soft Lions: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / Boy King

1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos: My current rig is a Bonser amp copy of an old Silvertone, a Danelectro that Jon made over for me to look like a Silvertone, and a handful of sloppily daisy-chained pedals. I absolutely love this guitar. It’s super light and plays like a dream. My pedal board is def a work in progress. I’d like to get it a little tighter and wire it up. Jon just gave me a really dope fuzz and distortion pedal that he made, it’s got a cat’s face on it, so obvi I’m very excited to get it on my board.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  Of our currently released material, I’d have to say “Spellbreaker.” Plenty of reverb and a little bit of surfy-ness, but it also gets heavy.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy?  Oh god, I have no idea! Before I was in this band, almost all of my stuff was hand-me-downs from my dad and other friends, and I had really rarely ever bought anything. It’s just been in the last couple years after working with people like you and Jon Bonser that I started to see the value in being really intentional with your sound. It turns out some of my dad’s nicest stuff he gave me doesn’t sound like me. I guess I really love stupid cheap guitars. I recently bought a 3/4 size bubblegum pink Squier strat and I put stickers all over it and play it at home every day. If I had unlimited cash, I would probably buy a lot of really, really dumb guitars like that, Danelectros too, and do weird stuff to them. Glitter, stickers, flowers and crystals.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now?  Do you have still have it? The first piece of gear I ever bought was actually also a Squier guitar. It was white on white and I wanted it because it had a whammy bar. I bought it from a coworker at the movie theater where I had my first job in high school for $10 in the parking lot. I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it’s in my mom’s garage? I also really wish I still had my first pedalboard. It was literally a board that I had covered with glitter and velcroed my pedals too. It was a huge fucking mess and it shed glitter everywhere.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  On Saturday, Soft Lions are playing a FUNdraiser at Shaper Studios (#softlionsFUNdraiser) to help us cover the costs of making our next record. The Schizophonics, Boy King, and DJ Jon Blaj will be playing as well, plus projections by Zeuqsav. On April 20, we’ll be recording at Tiny Telephone in SF, with John Vanderslice producing us. We’re unbelievably excited, and we’ll see you at the show!!



Jake Najor: Birdy Bardot / Taurus Authority / The Midnight Pine / Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact / Cardinal MoonThe Redwoods Music / Instagram / Twitter / Website

1. Tell me about your current rig:  It’s a 1967 Ludwig classic 20”, 12” and 14”. I bought them in 2007 for $650 bucks. I love old drums and specifically Ludwig. So many classic recordings that I dig are Ludwig, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. I like the sound of old drums; they fit the vibe of most of the music that I play. Not a huge fan of modern-sounding drums. They just don’t do it for me. Vintage drums have a nice, warm sound – and sound great live and when recording.

2. If money were no object, what’s your “holy grail” gear?  The Ludwig Black Beauty snare. They sound great and are super versatile and have been used on so many records over the years.

3. What song of yours (or any that you’ve worked on) would you say represents you and your style the best?  “Lowdown Stank” by Breakestra. I played one-handed 16th notes on the hi-hats, with ghost notes on the snare – pretty much one of my favorite types of beats to play. I’m a huge fan of Clyde Stubblefield, the drummer from James Brown, who is most well-known for the “Funky Drummer” break. I’ve practiced the groove for years trying to get it just right.

4. What was your first kit ever? My first kit was a Pearl Export. It’s an entry-level kit; not the greatest, but it made do at the time. If I could go back, I would buy a vintage drumset (Ludwig, Gretsch, Rogers and Camco). They sound great and go up in value.

5. Do you still have it? Sold it about 20 years ago.

6. What’s coming up next for you?  The Redwood Revue is April 1st at The Music Box with Dani Bell & The Tarantist, Birdy Bardot, The Midnight Pine, and Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact [INFO]. Just laid down drums for the new Midnight Pine record a few weeks ago. Also working on a record of my own, with some friends helping out.

[Extra credit: Read Jen Van Tieghem’s (my better half) recent review of the Dani Bell & The Tarantist record, Dark West, here]


The Whiskey Circle: Facebook / Website / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig: Right now I’m playing my ‘70s Gibson SG Special and Japanese Fender Mustang through a Fender Tweed Blues Jr. with five pedals: Electro Harmonix Memory Boy Deluxe, Electro Harmonix Cathedral Reverb, Boss Blues Driver, Boss Bass Distortion and Boss tuner. I’ve been content with this setup for about a year.

I’ve gone through about five guitars and six amps before deciding on this setup. I’ve played a Jaguar, Tele, Gretsch Electromatic and some Japanese Teisco’s. But none of them compare to the Gibson. This SG actually belongs to my husband and drummer [Brett “Puck” Patterson]. It was gifted to him by a high school friend for his 21st birthday.

Same thing goes for my amp. I’ve played through a Vox AC15, Fender silverface Champ, Gretsch Electromatic, Marshall 4×10 and a Fender Deville before deciding on my Blues Jr. Something about the tubes powering up a small speaker creates a wonderfully clean and warm tone that I love. The little 15w amp and 12” speaker make every guitar coming though sound great. It makes the SG sound perfect and it makes the mustang sound crisp and twangy.

2. What song of yours is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  Right now, we’re working on some new stuff that I really feels captures the sound and direction I’ve wanted for a while. Of the stuff we’ve already released, I would say “Don’t Walk Away” from our second EP because it encompasses a lot of the elements that we like to use in our songwriting: ambient guitar, slide guitar, driving drum beat, vamping, catchy vocals and harmonies.

3. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  I would say either a Gretsch White Penguin or Fender Esquire through a Fender Bassman 4×10 with all of the pedals that Earthquaker Devices makes. The Gretsch White Penguin is just beautiful. It’s a completely unique instrument that you rarely see. The Esquire is hands down one of the classics. A real ‘50s Fender Bassman is just so…dreamy. And Earthquaker pedals would just be fun to mess with.

4. Who is the musician you admire most sound/gear-wise?  My favorite local artist would be Tommy Garcia from Mrs. Magician. His guitars, Satellite amps and style of playing are the quintessential San Diego guitar sound. [See his Gear and Loathing rig here] My favorite national artist would be Dave Grohl. More as a drummer than a guitarist, but mostly as an engineer and proponent of music in general.

5. What do you have coming up?  March 26 we’re throwing a house party and shooting a music video for our upcoming single, “High Deserts” [INFO]. We’re also working releasing a 4-track tape through Weiner Records due out by the end of April. Lastly, we are booking a West Coast tour in June. We already have the Standard in Hollywood and ACE hotel in Palm Springs booked.


Black Market III: Facebook / Website / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube

1. Tell me about the stuff – what’s in your rig?  From ’91-’14, my rig was (all vintage): A ’65 Fender Super Reverb chained with a ’62 Fender Bandmaster head through a 4×12 Marshall 1960A slant cab, and a ’62 Fender Reverb tank.

But since discovering Quilter amplifiers, I get the same beefy tone…and more! The main set up is a Micro Pro 200 Mach II, and/or (original) MP200 and Pro Block 200 through a 4×10 tweed cab (or two) loaded with either Weber or Carvin speakers. Depending upon the size of the show, I’ll run either one head or two, and through smaller cabs like the Fender Excelsiors (only speakers), the tweeds, or the Marshall 1960A…or any combination within!

Quilter amps (under the QSC parent company) are all analog, class D solid state amps (no modeling) that saturate and communicate with the speakers exactly like tube amps. Add in all the other huge advantages these amps offer, especially for touring musicians, and there’s no reason to risk taking the vintage gear in the road. We are huge believers in these amps and are honored to a part of their family. Check out their website, or ask me about all the killer things these amps offer!

Effects: Boss ME70 and and a Boss ’65 Fender Reverb pedal. Shit sounds great and the vintage stuff stays at home now! My old set up included an original Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer I bought when I was 13 (some fucker stole it at a show in ’97!), a Vox Wah, an Ibanez Rotary Chorus, and a Danelectro Tape Delay.

Guitars: We balance our stage with matching cabs, and tend to do a bulk of the show with matching guitars and basses. I always use my first Stratocaster — the sunburst (a highly sought-after ‘80s Japanese reissue) ’67 body (which was split in half at an early Belly Up show with the Mississippi Mudsharks, and hung on the wall of the Tiki House until they closed last year) with ’62 neck, and typically a black Gretsch Electromatic hollowbody, a white blonde Stratocaster FSR, Danelectro Longhorn Baritone, and more recently, a black Frankensteined Telecaster (with a god-like neck pickup) and a sunburst Fender Cabronita Telecaster. We are also stoked about our endorsement deal with Boulder Creek Guitars – amazing instruments (you can see my red Telecaster in the outdoors photo with the MotorCult cab, and our black acoustic guitar and bass in our videos for “Black Mountain Side” and “Hummingbird”). ’67 Red Gibson 355 (pre-stereo) and black Gibson Lucille 355 (eat your heart out). The ’67 is an acquisition with a friend of mine for a joint collection. It lives at my house. The Lucille was a birthday gift from a close friend. Other guitars include: A ’48 Gibson acoustic archtop, a ’52 Gibson 125 with p90, a natural ’51 P-bass I handmade and pinstriped for Roxy, a silver Gretsch Electromatic solid body, a 2000-or-so Gibson Les Paul Standard Honeyburst (another gift!), and a custom painted semi-hollowbody (greenburst).

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  “Black Roses.” At it’s heart, it’s traditional blues, musically and lyrically. Played on an old archtop and just stomping your foot, this one could have come right out of the Delta. But by getting more creative and poetic with the lyrics, not rehashing what has been done over and over, cranking it up with huge tone, and making a strikingly dark video, “Black Roses” is getting play across blues, rock, and metal radio shows worldwide. It is one of our best examples of a true crossover.

“Drinking water poured from the moon’s reflection.
Dead bird lying in your path.
You count the cars in a funeral procession.
Bad luck, won’t ya just pass…

Black Roses growing wild at the crossroads.
Hear the howlin’ on the hellhound’s trail.
The Cross of Salem protects from the inroads.
Ring a bell just to keep you away.”

Based on old superstitions, it’s a song about wearing God’s armor to protect ourselves from all the evil that surrounds us.

3. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  An original ’62 Fender Stratocaster or a ’50 to 60’s Telecaster. Absolutely nothing feels or sounds as good…in my opinion.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?  Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I don’t need to go into the ‘why’ part, now do I?! Hahaha!

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about – shows, records, videos, news?

Shows: We’ve got a killer show at The Merrow on March 22 (info), great shows in CA, NV, ID and more April-June; a four-month European tour August-November; and then we are slated to headline five or six festivals in New Zealand February-March 2017 (more on this soon!)

Recording: We are still pumping the new Live CD Vanarchy, as well as our first two, Songs That Shake The Cage and Black Roses. We have recorded a few new tracks, including (with a video) Led Zeppelin’s “Black Mountain Side.” The next CD is in the works, and is going to hopefully trip out a lot of people!

Videos: Here’s the brand new video for “Black Mountain Side.” We have a couple more on the schedule. A full blown production of our song “When The Sun Goes Down” is underway. This song and “Black Roses” are hitting in New Zealand and Europe!


Madly: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

1. Tell me about your current rig:  Right now I am using a Fender Deluxe, with a 12″ speaker, for my main amp. I experimented with bigger amps but quickly realized that a smaller amp works better for creating feedback. This small amp plus my pedalboard creates the “Madly” guitar sound. My favorite thing to do is twist the knobs on my Line 6 pedals while feed-backing. It never comes out quite the same and it’s a chance for me to have fun improvising during the solo sections of our songs. I try to come up with new sounds with every performance. I use three Line 6 pedals…the DL4 Delay Modeler (Green), the MM4 Modulation Modeler (Blue) and the FM4 Filter Modeler (Purple). I’ve had them forever and they have never let me down.

The latest additions to my pedalboard, thanks to my girlfriend, are the Soul Food and the Octavix. I use the Soul Food as a lead boost and use the Octavix when I need a little extra juice. That thing has a mini-toggle that switches it from 9V to 24V = fuzz pedal on steroids!! And last but not least, the Micro Synthesizer which I use on two songs(“Dead Ends” and “Through You”). I’m a huge fan of retro keyboard sounds, so this pedal was a must for me. I’m sure I’ll be using it a lot more in the future.

2. What is your favorite piece of gear?  That would be the Black Fender Strat that was left with me by a good friend over 15 years ago. She said that she would pick it up whenever she felt inspired to start playing again. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago and never picked it up. She always insisted that I play it but I always held back…until recently.  I now play it in her honor. It has become my favorite piece of gear for obvious reasons. It has three Kent Armstrong pickups, so it plays and sounds great! Thanks Fiona, R.I.P.

3. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought?  That would be my Z-Vex Fuzz Factory pedal. I used it for a while a few years back but it was just too over the top, even for me! It’s almost impossible to control. The overtones that it creates are just INSANE! I’m sure that I’ll come back to it eventually. I’m just not ready for it right now.

4. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?  I would definitely try to purchase Jimi Hendrix’s white Fender Strat that was used for Woodstock. No matter how many times I watch that performance, it blows me away every time! I also love watching the Rainbow Bridge performance. He played the white Strat for that one too. He’s so in tune with his guitar that it seems to be part of his body. Physical poetry at its finest. Year after year, he continues to be my biggest source of inspiration. I doubt that I’ll ever get the chance to own his Strat but it sure is fun to dream!

5. What do you have coming up?  We just got done mixing and mastering our upcoming, 8-song album. We just need to finish up the artwork and then plan on pressing some vinyl. I’m sure we’ll have a record release party once it’s ready. As for shows, we have three coming up in the next few months.

• March 17th at Casbah with Systems Officer and The Slashes [info]

• April 22nd at Pour House with Shake Before Us and Dani Bell & The Tarantist.

• May 21st at In-Ko-Pah 3 with Three Mile Pilot, Audacity, The Blank Tapes, Shady Francos, Red Tank!, The Rosalyns, The Downs Family, Some Kind of Lizard, The Gloomies, Sunset intermezzo by the Montalban Quintet, Effects and lighting by Operation Mindblow [info]


Drumetrics: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / SoundCloud

1. What’s your current set up?  Ribbon/dynamic mics to discrete mixer or Ampex 351, then over to a tube EQ, a bit of compression, reverb and to an Apollo interface into Logic. Basic analog recording — keeping an emphasis on processing the sound as much as possible before converting it into a digital signal is key for my sound.

2. What was the first piece of equipment you owned?  My first piece of real gear was an Ampex 351 pre/transport. Gear gateway drug! It’s unbelievable how many classics relied on the color of this monster. From Elvis to Jimi to Umiliani and everything in between. One of the most recognizable pieces of gear in every major studio, past and present.

3. Do you still have it?  Yes. The beast is still hard at work and since I have upgraded to some Telefunken NOS tubes, they have really added some nice character to her.

4. What’s the next piece you have your eye on?  Probably unnecessary, but I am ready to upgrade my reverb from a AKG BX-5 to a BX 20. Really wish I was paid in full so I could track down an EMT 140 plate reverb (legendary reverb used on Dark Side of the Moon). I’ve heard of people making them successfully, so I may need to do some more research on that soon.

5. What projects are you currently working on?  Just finished up a 5-track EP with my brother from another multi-instrumentalist, MSK, which will be released this year on vinyl. Next up is producing the NCP (Drumetrics vocalist) LP. Our aim for this one is for it to be a reflection of the empowered, and conscious, side of things from a woman’s perspective. Heavy drums, nasty fuzz and tape echoes are sure to be recurring themes.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.


The Palace Ballroom: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your rig?  Well, I’ve switched setups and rigs for most every band I’ve been in. So it’s safe to say I have quite a few guitars/amps/cabs/pedals and such. I like to experiment with different sounds to find the one that best suits the vibe of the songs I’m playing in any particular project. I’ve never really relied on pedals or effects to get my tone. I’m more of a traditionalist where I believe your tone should come from your playing, a quality amp and a clean signal chain.

For TPB,  I mainly play my ’98 G&L ASAT Special Telecaster. Guitar-wise, I’m a Fender guy through and through. I traded in a Les Paul I had for the ASAT at Buffalo Brothers sometime around 2001. I totally scored on that deal. I have had a few Fender Teles but when I picked the G&L up, it was automatically my new girlfriend. Chambered Swamp-Ash body, hand-wound single coil jumbo magnetic field pickups, saddle-lock bridge. It had a tone I’d never heard before. The chambered body gives it a ton of resonance so it sounds huge with open chords. I mean, it’s a Leo Fender-designed guitar. It’s everything he ever wanted the Telecaster to be. It’s one of the best sounding guitars I own, hands down. I think I would marry it if I could.

For amplification, I settled on a 1995 Fender Prosonic head with an open-back 2×12 Fender cab loaded with Celestion Rocket 50’s. My good friend O turned me on to the wonders of the Prosonic amp some time ago. It’s an incredibly versatile amp with loads of sparkle, plenty of low-end growl and that Fender clean punch you expect out of all the classic Fender models. The difference with the Prosonic is that it can be played Class A tube, solid state or a hybrid of the two in varying gain stages. In Palace, I always play it all tube. It’s a switchable two-channel amp with a whole shitload of gain potential and the 60 watts are more than enough to power through any size venue. A lot of my rhythm parts require body and punch to cut through, so I have the amp set on the clean channel as loud as it will go just before it breaks up. For choruses, leads or songs that need a more gainy (is that a word?) sound, I switch to the gain channel and it gets fatter and breaks up for a more growly, but still punchy, tone. So far, I’ve been really happy with the sound I’ve gotten out of it. The cabinet is a pretty standard open back box. It used to be Jason’s [Manuel, The Palace Ballroom’s lead guitarist] but I traded him for my Vox delay pedal. I like the Rocket 50’s sound. They aren’t the most expensive loudspeakers but they have a mid-range quality that just works with my setup. The amp/cab setup has been my standard since the band started. It’s whats on the record and what I play live.

As far as my pedalboard goes, I’m pretty much a minimalist and don’t use a whole lot of effects to alter my tone. The way my board is set up now with the two Radial Tonebone pedals, allows me to switch from electric to acoustic on stage. The Radial JX-2 pedal on the left is an A/B/both box with a great gain boost. I use the boost on this pedal quite a bit to get a bit more oomph when I need it during swells in songs. Since there’s no acoustic guitar on our most recent record, the Radial PZ-PRE acoustic DI doesn’t get used as much as when we were touring on our first record but we may start working some of those older songs back into our live sets here in the near future so I leave it in the signal chain. It’s a great sounding acoustic DI; live acoustic guitar sound can get pretty tricky in a lot of rooms and the Tonebone pedal had the most effective EQ I came across. Standard Boss Tuner of course. I think I’ve had that particular one about 14 years now, works like a Swiss clock. The little circular Fender switch switches between the clean and gain channels on the Prosonic, nothing fancy. Next to that is a classic Fender reverb pedal (the Prosonic is one of the few production amps they made without built-in classic Fender reverb). Sometimes you just need to make your sound a bit wet right? That little box reproduces Fender reverb pretty accurately. I use it sparingly but when I do, it sounds pretty rad.  Center front is my newest pedal. It was a gift from my friend Patrick, who’s out on tour pretty much most of the year. It’s made by Red Sun FX, a boutique pedal company out of Munich, Germany. It was originally designed for Flynn from the band The Picturebook, but they ended up doing a run of 25 of them.  I have #12. I’ve had a lot of boost/distortion pedals over the years and some work for some things better than others. But this thing has 35db’s of warm rich boost that doesn’t fuzz out your tone. It actually makes it fatter. I was blown away when I first plugged it in. Super warm analog boost sound and a shit-ton (that’s a metric unit of measurement) of power. It’s a no-frills, one knob pedal. Right up my alley. I added it to my chain right away and it’s become my secret weapon. Combined with the Radial boost or the gain channel on the Prosonic (or all 3 at once), I have lots of levels of varying tone from sparkling clean to fierce growl at my disposal. Linking the whole board together is my BBE Supa-Charger. In my opinion, the absolute best power supply for a pedalboard that’s made. No bullshit, compact and clean. It’s always reliable.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of the particular sound/style?  This is one of those questions where it’s really easy to sound like an asshole when you answer it. The truth is, when I write songs, I’m not after any particular sound or style. I think they evolve into what they are, based on my influences and what I’ve learned over the years playing in bands. We recorded our latest record live, in one take, playing together in the main room at Phaser Control. So the entire album is a pretty accurate representation of what we sound like live. I’m a big proponent of being able to reproduce your recorded material live all the way down to the tones and nuances of the songs on the album. I can’t count how many times I’ve been disappointed by a band I was excited to see because I liked their album and then their live show was incredibly shitty. At least enough times to know that I wouldn’t want that for anybody who came and saw us play. There’s something very disappointing about being let down by a band you have hope for. See? I told you I would probably sound like an asshole. Oh well… Since this piece is about the gear I use to get the sound I want for my music, I think I can provide a succinct answer to this question: For me, if there was one particular song on the new record that I think essentially captured the tone and essence of my guitar and amp, it would be the last track on the album, “Valve.” You can really hear the G&L’s resonance and the bite of the Prosonic on that song. It’s a slow-moving ballad, so most of the other instruments are lower in the mix and my guitar and voice are front and center. If you want to hear how my gear sounds at it’s basic level, that’s the song.

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy?  OOOOHHHH. I get all tickly in my special parts when I think about this kind of stuff. It’s like when I wished for the Hoth ice base for Christmas. There are so many answers to this question. Well, it’s hard for me to answer that one because I own a recording studio and I’m constantly buying gear. It’s hard to draw the line sometimes between what I need to get, and what I really want to get. But if we are strictly talking about musical gear, I would like a 1958 Fender Stratocaster. Last one I saw in good condition was going for $60,000. So, yeah. Not gonna come across that kind of dough unless I win the Publishers Clearing House drawing this year.

4. What is your current favorite piece of equipment and why?  My past, present and future favorite piece of gear will always be my 1964 Vox AC30 Supertwin head and cabinet. I got it in England in 1999. In a small town just outside of London. I found an ad for it in the ‘items for sale’ section in the back of a local English circular. It said: “FOR SALE: Vox Guitar Amplifier with slopey sides.” and nothing else. I called the number, rented a car and drove 45 minutes out of the city to some guy’s house where he had it in his garage. He said it was his uncle’s. He sold it to me for around $850. It’s an incredibly rare amp with trapezoidal / \ sides. I’ve only seen 1 or 2 others like it on the internet over the years. I’ve had it checked out by a few amp experts and the one I have is rumored (pretty accurately so) to have been Peter Green’s amp. I used to play it live but it’s just too rare and amazing to take anywhere anymore. I still use it for recordings but it rarely leaves the safety of it’s case. It sounds like every classic Beatles and Kinks record you’ve ever heard. Just 30 class-A watts of badassery. Yes, I said badassery. It’s a word, look it up. I also have a pretty amazing Satellite amp and cabinet that comes in second place on the favorite gear list. Satellite is a local amp company. If you don’t know them, check them out.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Any shows?  Yes!! There are a few shows happening that you should be privy to:

Saturday, March 12th: The Palace Ballroom with Western Settings at The Pour House in Oceanside, CA. This show is presented by local hero Lou Niles of 91X, and should be a banger. Oceanside is developing into quite he scene nowadays and Lou has been putting on shows at Pour House to much success. Get on it! [Show info]

Saturday, April 30th: Buckfast Superbee / Furious IV / Diamond Lakes / UJBOD’s 3 Wood at The Casbah!!! Yes, it’s reunion time. BfSb hasn’t played a show in 6 years and I think for Furious IV it’s been even longer! It’s good to know that we have Diamond Lakes to keep it fresh up there 🙂 Also, if that’s not enough, Uncle Joe’s Big Ol’ Driver will be playing as a 3-piece in the Atari Lounge all night. Really looking forward to this one. I think tickets are onsale now [buy them here]. Get em’ quick, nostalgia is a hot commodity. 🙂 We’ll have to do another Gear and Loathing for Buckfast Superbee, I play a whole different rig in that band.

Photos generously taken by photographer, Tim Fears.


Mrs. Magician: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / SoundCloud

1. Tell me about your current rig? The amps I’m using are all Satellite amps or things that we have modified. The one I use most often is a 75 watt model called the OMEGA that we added an additional tube preamp to, so I could get the sound I was after at a lower volume. Second up is a clone of a ’64 Fender Bassman called the ASSMAN; I love this amp for it’s slightly overdriven tones but that doesn’t really happen until it’s too loud to play live so it’s mostly a studio tool for me. And lastly, I’ve been using a ‘60s Dukane PA amp that we re-wired for use as a guitar amp with an old Vox Super Beatle cabinet, that we replaced the speakers in with modern Celestion greenbacks — it kind of reminds me of a brownface Fender Deluxe on steroids.

Guitar-wise, I’m using a parts-Jazzmaster that my friends all helped me put together by donating or selling me guitar parts for really cheap. The end result was a really inexpensive, great-sounding guitar that I think is as good, or better, than any model that Fender actually makes. Secondly, I still use my trusty ‘60s Silvertone Silhouette — mostly unmodded except for an added ground for the electronics and a bridge modded by my friend Brandon Madrid.

Then there’s pedals. When it comes to my live rig, it’s always kind of similar: Fuzz, boost, trem, two analog delays (set to different times) and reverb. In the studio, all bets are off and I just make shit up as I go along, usually trying new pedals that I’ve never used before — but live, I keep it the same and try and emulate the studio sounds with what I have in front of me.

2. What Mrs. Magician song do you feel is the best portrayal of the sound/style you’re after? “Where’s Shelly,” off of our upcoming LP Bermuda and I say that because it really has all of the different sounds that have been associated with our band over the years all rolled into one song. [Ed. note: Since the new album isn’t out yet, I’m including the band’s new single below. Enjoy!]

3. You work here in town at Satellite Amplifiers — in your eyes, what sets Satellite amps apart from others? If someone asked you they should buy one, what would you tell them? At Satellite, we strive to make things that we want to play and in many cases that’s how a prototype for something comes about. If I was asked why someone should buy one, I would just tell them to come play one and they would know why.

4. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy? A Mosrite Ventures model. I am a firm believer that the cooler the piece of gear looks, the better you will sound using it and that is the coolest looking guitar out there.

5. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise and why? The musician who’s sound I admire the most would have to be Rowland S. Howard. He wrote some of my favorite songs and was the most influential guitarist for me (other than the Swami). I also love that he used the same amp, guitar and pedals all the way from The Birthday Party up until he passed away, proving gear is secondary to imagination.

6. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Our new album comes out May 20th via Swami records. We also leave for SXSW next week.

3/12: Phoenix, AZ @ Viva PHX with The Growlers, RFTC, Mystic Braves
3/13: Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress with Rocket From The Crypt
3/14: Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad with PRAYERS, Plague Vendor
3/15: Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves with Mind Spiders, SAVAK
3/17: Austin, TX @ Breakaway Records — 1PM
3/18: Austin, TX @ BD Riley’s (Official Showcase) –– 9PM
3/19: Austin, TX @ Dozen Street (Little Dickman Records Party) –– 4PM
3/20: Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room –– 4:30PM


PRGRM: Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Daniel Corrales: Producer / bassists / synths

1. Tell me about your current rig: My live rig with PRGRM consists of two parts: a live bass rig and a live electronics section where I sub-mix sequences, synths and vocoders.

For my bass rig, I’m currently using a 4-string Musicman Sub Bass. I used to own more bass guitars but unfortunately, those got stolen years ago. Personally, I love the Sub Bass for both touring and recording environments; you can produce some sweet sounds with it and I don’t have to worry about it getting banged up a little here and there. One thing I initially didn’t like about it was its physical appearance, therefore I modified it by covering it entirely in black spray paint (it use to be garnet with a silver pickguard, I know dude, eww).

As my main amp, I usually use an Ampeg SVT Classic paired with an Ampeg 4×10 cab, but the SVT Classic is at the shop. As a replacement, I’m using an Ampeg BA-115 combo. I wouldn’t compare it to the SVT Classic but it’s great for touring as well, it’s compact and powerful enough for live settings, plus it also has its own D.I. output. The SVT Classic can project a beast tone but also has the downfall of weighing a ton! I’m really considering keeping it in the studio after I get it back. Either that, or pairing it with a smaller cab.

My pedalboard consists of a Boss TU-2 tuner, Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi, TC Electronic Corona Chorus pedal, and the Pro-Co Rat. My main tone comes from the Rat and Corona pairing. I usually bring in the Muff when I want parts to sound fatter and aggressive, or just want to annoy someone. The only thing I would change about my pedalboard is replacing that Bass Big Muff with the British version for guitar.

For the live electronic section, I’m using: a Mackie 12FX 12-Channel Mixer to sub-mix, a MacBook Pro (Logic X) to run the sequence, a Korg Pad-Kontrol to trigger the sequence, and a Micro-Korg for synths.

I’m thinking of running our sequence some other way, or through Ableton, I don’t know, something that allows more live interaction. An extra pair of hands maybe? Can I use my?…oookkay, moving on.

Every part of my rig is always a work progress, and is subject to change depending on whatever the band/project needs. These are some of the effects pedals that I’ve been looking into adding to my rig: MXR Carbon Copy Delay, Pro-Co Turbo Rat, Sans Amp D.I. Driver, some kind of bass compressor, and a proper pedalboard/case.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? The song “Hourglass” would the best portrayal of my sound. A slightly overdriven and modulated tone is noticeable from the beginning of the song. That tone stays the same until the end, when the electric bass changes into a synth line. This arrangement idea is heard in other PRGRM songs too.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy? There is all this gear that could fit that description. For this I would say a vintage Rickenbacker Jetglo Bass, black finish with all cream bindings on the body and neck, large triangular pearl inlays, and the original black layer pickguard.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. I admire him for different reasons, but I really love how he is all over the place and constantly changing styles, he is a multi-instrumentalist, and he also scored a creepy soundtrack to one of my favorite films, There Will Be Blood.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? We have a couple of pretty exciting shows coming up this week. We play with The Fever (from Germany) and Badabing on Thursday, March 10, at The Merrow. [Go here for more info.]

Our label Beta/Noise.Records is also promoting a night for Summer Twins’ (Burger Records) tour on Sunday, March 13, at Tommy’s Casino in El Centro, CA. PRGRM and The Regrettes are also scheduled to perform that night. [Go here for more info.]

After that, we have another date scheduled in San Diego on March 26 at The Ken Club, with The Slashes, Blood Ponies, and The Foreign Resort. [Go here for more info.]


AJ Froman: WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig – what are your likes and dislikes? I use a Fender Jazz Bass. I’ve got a Gallien Krueger RB 1001 head unit with a Gallien Krueger 4×10 cabinet running through an MXR Bass Compressor, an Electro Harmonix Big Muff overdrive, a Behringer Ultra Shifter/Harmonist, a Boss Super Chorus, and an MXR Bass Envelope Filter. I’ve always been more interested in analog pedals rather than digital and am still playing around with my tone. It’s most definitely still a work in progress as I’m planning on purchasing another 15” cabinet to secure the low end and utilize the 4×10 cabinet for the hi and mid ranges. The Ultra Shifter is a lot of fun to play around with before big drops in our songs, it’s fun to dive bomb and drive the octave down a whole step. There’s a knob to control the speed of the drop so it can be fast or slow and it’s a lot of fun playing with that live. The Envelope Filter has given me a lot of enjoyment, as well as frustration. The decay is extremely sensitive so getting that “perfect” swell is challenging at times. Not sure if that pedal is going to stick around much longer.

2. What AJ Froman song do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? “Stranger’s Nod” off our new album, Phoenix Syndrome, has a lot of dynamic to it. I feel our sound shines through in a variety of sections in this tune. Swirling through time-signature changes, to heavy half-time buildups, to faster skate/punk sections, to melodic breakdowns is all very enjoyable and I feel we capture a lot of our diverse sound within all of these sections. In softer ambient sections, I’ll use the chorus pedal and during heavier fast sections, I’ll switch to the overdrive. I especially enjoy the contrast between these two tones.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy? A ’67 Fender Jazz Bass. I like Washburns too, but the Jazz Bass has such a beautiful tone I can’t really get away from it. I’d definitely stick with the GK amps. It’d be nice to have 3 Gallien Krueger 2001 RB amps. One would control the other 2 as slaves and I’d have those running into three 4×10 cabinets and three 1×15 cabinets. That’s what Flea’s been doing for quite some time and I really appreciate his style.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a musician I’ve admired since high school, when At the Drive-In was still together. He has a massive array of delays, trems, and expression pedals to control real-time rate adjustments and may I say, he’s quite good at it. The groups he’s put together have also influenced my rhythmic playing rather than just the sound and tonality he produces. Overall, he is a huge influence of mine in more ways than one.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? We are headlining the Belly Up for our first time on Thursday, March 10th. We just released our new album, Phoenix Syndrome, [listen/buy here] and we have a handful of new music we’re planning on recording very soon.

[Ed. note: I reviewed AJ Froman’s excellent new album for SoundDiego recently. Read it here.]