The Hiroshima Mockingbirds: Facebook
1. Tell me about your gear: Right now the guys and I are all using Bonser amps. Jon being the creator of these and our guitar player has surprisingly little to do with that. The amps are all hand-wired, point-to-point class A tube electrics. While they aren’t modeling amp cheap, they are astronomically cheaper than many amps that don’t come close. My Bonser Thundervolt is a fucking animal. It barks a compressed harmonic-pounding grunt that is subdued one moment and howling the next.
Guitar-wise, I have been favoring these three out of the too many I have. I build guitars so the price is right. The triplets here are all hand-built “Number Fifty Nine” one-offs. They started as boxes of parts or bare wood and were stripped, shaped, finished in nitrocellulose, worn and wired in weird ways.
Daphne (blue closet classic, matched headstock, Texas specials) gets played in The Little Richards; Charlie (sunburst heavy relic, CM Daugherty pickups, kill circuit, tone delete) in The New Kinetics; and Roy (blonde ’59 Esquire med relic slab ‘o drab) in The Hiroshima Mockingbirds. Roy is a fatal near miss that came about after reading a lot about Mike Bloomfield’s ’63 Telecaster that he bought with his first paycheck from Dylan and played at Newport ’65.
Charlie on the other hand started as a mission of desperation as years ago I was without a band, money, home or purpose when this crazy cat messaged me saying he had a Strat I could have [Ed. note: That’d be me]. It was supposed to stay stock. It didn’t and every piece and screw was changed, modified or refinished.
I mercilessly destroy guitars and will throw them on stage or swing them at mic stands. We have an understanding with each other.
2. What’s the worst part about ‘em? They cut me back sometimes so we are even.
3. What’s the one song that portrays your sound the best? Likely that would be our newer track, “Chicago.” We haven’t recorded it yet but it sits in a funny spot where tonally it’s suited well enough to not need any dressing up. It’s just an honest song about the ridiculous acidic cultural wasteland that we are all in together up to our necks. Roy is a slab ‘o drab and it let’s the sound breathe.
[Video by MaxSoundsMusic.com]
4. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy? A Rickenbacker 12. That or a Gretsch Country Gentlemen. Both were on “Eight Miles High” and that track rests with Dean coolness in a place that’s one part mover, one part socially awakened and it isn’t too light. The midrange grinds up on the vox sound and creates this dry, driving sunshine noise. I’ve been chasing that for a while but I’m afraid of liking a guitar too much. What would happen if it left? My first Fender was stolen. My mom got it for me before she died. Since then I don’t like being attached to gear. I set up each one every two weeks, replace strings every week and treat them with respect.
If they don’t respect me back, I throw them across the stage and next week we try again. Trips [the band’s bassist] thinks I’m crazy. He’s a good judge of character so I tend to believe him.
5. Musician you admire most gear-wise? Graham Coxon of Blur. His tones constantly vary wildly, all of them are unique and he knows no fear regarding unintended sounds. He is a dork with glasses and a soft spoken way. When he is on stage he becomes the monster we are all told to refuse at dread-inducing day job nightmares. His versatility is only equalled by the unlikely tenacity he retains after 30 years.
6. What do you have coming up? We will be at Pitbull Audio on May 7th with The Bassics, Kids in Heat, The Bridge, and Omega Three [INFO]; Art on Adams June 4th; and The Tower Bar with The Fresh Brunettes on May 27th I think. We were supposed to do an EP but it quickly became a full length. We expect to release it early summer.