KYLE AREFORD / THE PARAGRAPHS & EL CONSUMPTION

The Paragraphs: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

El Consumption: FacebookBandcamp

1. You’ve got a ton of cool gear, tell me about it:  As far as pedals go, it’s pretty standard stuff. Nothing too crazy. I don’t typically like to rely on pedals that much. With exception of the Boss ’63 Reverb I rarely have a pedal going the whole song. I like to let the guitars and amps sound like, well to put it simply, what they sound like.

Amp-wise I used a VOX AC15. But she blew up not long ago. The Fender Super-Sonic head is fun and fuckin’ cranks. Lastly, I use a Fender 2×12 Deville. I’m not in love with any of these amps. Still looking for “the one”. In the back, there is an old Standel P.A. Like I said before, I like to let the guitar do the talkin’ so to speak.

From left to right: A DiPinto Mach IV. I have never heard of those guitars but I randomly saw it on Craigslist. It was cheap and left-handed. It quickly became one of my favorite guitars. Next up is an Epiphone Casino. Bought because of John Lennon. It’s the guitar you hear on the track below.

The Les Paul is my go-to guitar for live and studio. I got that about 6 months ago. It’s a ‘90s Goldtop. I fell in love with the look and sound of a Goldtop from Duane Allman. When I found a lefty, I couldn’t pass it up.

Next up is a MIM Fender Jazz bass, and finally a Gibson ’60s Tribute SG that feels like a child’s toy compared to the Goldtop, but its fun to beat around sometimes.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  In both my main bands (The Paragraphs & El Consumption), we kinda cover a few different “styles” I guess. This song below is one El Consumption has been doing for a while and will be on an album we are working on now.

3. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy? Hands-down a left-handed American Telecaster B-Bender. Clarence White being the inspiration there. I have no idea if one exists or not but I want one.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now? Do you have still have it? My first piece of gear was a red Fender Squier Strat that I painted a vintage blue color. In a whiskey-fueled evening, I smashed it into about 5 pieces. The largest piece bounced up, cut my head open and concussed me at the same time. There is a video someplace.

5. Who (local or famous) do you admire most gear/sound-wise?  Hhhmm. That is a hard question. There are so many people I admire. I’m gonna go with a local favorite. A band I worked with for years. Jesse Kling from Dead Feather Moon has always been one of my favorite guitar players. He’s got that tone that will kick you straight in the ass. Get us together with some whiskey or a good amount of beers and we are hanging around the record player all night showing each other different songs.

6. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  Up next for The Paragraphs is a show at the Merrow on May 14th, and El Consumption is playing there on May 17th. Both bands are working on a full-length album. Check out the respective pages for updates.

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RUTGER ROSENBORG / THE LULLS

The Lulls: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Website

1. Tell me about your current rig: I never really use the Tube Screamer, and the EQ is just to prevent feedback when I play my hollowbody. I only use the Tremster on one Lulls song, and everything else is to create dynamics. My sound is based predominantly on stereo routing my Jazzmaster to my Holland Mini Jimi (a boutique tube amp that gives me just the slightest bit of unpredictability) and my Jazz Chorus (a solid state that recreates the same lush, clean tone every time). Tone above all. I hate mids so I cut them out completely (our ears hear enough of them as it is). The cleaner the guitar to amp sound, the more control I have over it with my playing and with my pedalboard. I start with a blank canvas and then add color only where it’s needed. I’m not just pouring out all of the paints at once; I’m mixing the right colors in the right proportions to create the scene I want.

For moments of breath, I use my digital reverb, which is always on the modulate setting. Adding a medium delay to the modulated reverb gives it a little extra kick in the ass. Using a phaser too much can get cheesy, but I like the effect of having it on the fastest speed to accentuate certain beats and make it seem like there’s another instrument coming in. The POG is to make up for the deficit of another guitar since the Lulls are just a trio. If we count my entire career in music, I guess you could say it took me 18 years to build this pedalboard the way it is now, but it has always been a fluid and reflexive process. Sometimes I think I want a pedal to create a certain sound, but then I realize it does this other thing too, so I go with that. The pedal fucks with me as much as I fuck with it. In general, my philosophy is: “The fewer the knobs, the better.” But what can I say? I’m a Swedish minimalist.

2. What’s your favorite piece of gear?  I don’t have favorites, but if I had to pick based on sentimental value, I would say my guitar. That Jazzmaster (an original, by the way) was given to me by my dad, who got it for free when he was 18 and impulsively decided to strip off all of the white paint (hallelujah).

3. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your sound/style?  My goal with my sound is defamiliarization (a term used by Russian formalists in the early 20th century to describe the way poetry works). I’m not a big fan of the whole dirty rock and roll guitar sound. At one point, it was innovative, but now it’s too recognizable. I want people to be surprised. I want them to go, “What the fuck instrument is that and how the fuck is only one instrument making all of that sound?” On a more specific level, I think a lot about the sound of water and how I can make my guitar sound like different forms of water. As such, I would say that either “Tyrant” or “Calafia” [listen to the song here], off of our upcoming album, demonstrate those sorts of things most evidently.

4. Who do you look up to the most sound/gear-wise and why?  I admire a lot about Daniel Rossen’s [Grizzly Bear] style and tone. Subtlety and intricacy. And the tones he gets on record. Good god. I tend to like very clean, pure sounds à la Ray Phiri, David Longstreth, and jazz guitarists like Kurt Rosenwinkel. Maybe I just like guitarists that have similar last names to mine.

5. What do you have coming up?  We’re waiting on some mixes to come back and brainstorming music videos, single releases, and eventually our album release. My pedalboard is featured in many permutations on this upcoming album, I’ll tell you that.

Be sure to catch The Lulls on Thursday, April 21, at Soda Bar with Haunted Summer, Garden Echo, and Annie Girl and the Flight. Tickets are available here.

JUSTIN COTA / GLOOMSDAY

Gloomsday: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos (any gear that caught you by surprise? Favorite pieces?):  Well, strictly regarding what I use in Gloomsday, I play a Fender Baritone Custom. That would also be the piece that surprised me the most of all gear I’ve purchased – its versatility and distinctive sound.

As for amplification, being in a two-piece, I have been religiously using a first generation Bogner Uberschall for low end. The funny thing about this is that after years of it being my workhorse amp throughout various musical projects, it only works upside down. I’ve taken it into the plant in LA before but since it’s over 10 years old, they have been uninterested in touching it. All it really does is make a loud growling hum until you rotate it upside down and then perfect. It has head room for days. Fills the room with great low end with a solid compressed drive. I’ve even built an enclosure for it to function without the feet up and teetering on a handle. The Uberschall is going through a 2×12 cab I built with Celestion T-75s and a Genz Benz 4×10 cab.

With the low end covered, I A/B/Y with a Fender Hot Rod Deville 4×10 combo. I dig the warmer, air-ish tone it brings. Almost a fuzzy sound without committing to a constant fuzz sound. That’s what I use for a mid/high sound for the baritone. I do whatever I can to make my sound two-dimensional.

As for my pedal board, I use more through the Fender than the Bogner.  A delay, a looper, a wah, a pitch shifter, and the T-Rex Octavious – a rad fuzz/octave pedal with a gain boost built in. For the Bogner, only an octave, a boost, and a loop pedal to loop rhythms to lead and solo to while Lori (drummer) plays along.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your sound/style?  “Vacation Gloom” off of our new album, Worst Coast Scenario. It starts with just the Fender, then with Bogner without octave, then Octavious, then the octave as the whole song kicks in. It repeats that dynamic again later. There are parts where I use every pedal on my board with exceptions to the loopers. Those are only used for live sets.

3. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  Honestly, I’m not particularly fond of ownership of a vintage whatever that was played by whoever. That’s a souvenir. And not worth the money it would cost me  to acquire it. That aspect of gear gathering aside, I would rather work with Ben Verellen, creator of Verellen amps, to build a one-of-a-kind monster. I love his work. That’s my idea of the holy grail. Making one up.

4. Who is the musician you admire most gear/sound-wise? Hands-down: Jon Bonser. Solid drummer. I’ve seen and heard his amplifiers – they are stunning works of sonic art. A local I’m sure most have seen live. I am hoping to unload a combo amp to make room for one of his. Currently, I am working with the two members of Badabing – a new project that requires the use of what Bonser can build. But that’s another story.

5. What’s next for you?  Gloomsday will be playing April 9th at Til-Two with the Schizophonics and the exciting debut of The Hiroshima Mockingbirds – Jon Bonser and Brian Reilly’s (of The New Kinetics) new jam. [INFO] A couple weeks later, April 22nd at Soda Bar, we will be headlining for our friends from LA, Pleasure Burn, and local darlings Subtropics. Also, we will be releasing our new album, Worst Coast Scenario, on vinyl this summer on Tower Bar Records. [Listen/buy the album here]

JORDAN KRIMSTON / BIG BAD BUFFALO

Big Bad Buffalo: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig: Weirdest part? Work in progress?  All of my Big Bad Buffalo gear is very “rock” oriented. It all kind of caters towards a fat, crunchy, hardly-restrained sound. I like the ability to slightly alter my tone song-to-song, which is the main reason I have pedals. I think the weirdest pedal I have is my Philosopher’s Tone pedal which is a distortion/sustain pedal, but I use it as a treble-boost pedal. I also have a Hardwire Loop/Delay pedal that I use to get a Tera Melos-esque stutter effect. My rig is definitely still a work in progress as BBB’s sound has changed and doesn’t require some of the effects I used to use.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  Ooh, tough call. If I had to pick, it would probably be between a couple songs of the new, currently unrecorded, album. Sorry! Off of American (our first album), I would say “Sharon is Karen.”

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy? I would definitely get a Satellite amp. Hands down.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Tough call for sure … I think in terms of distorted tones, I would go with John Reis (Hot Snakes) or Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), but in terms of clean tones I would go with Andrew Aged (Inc.) or David Pajo (Slint). Kinda split that answer four ways, haha.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  Lately, Big Bad Buffalo has been pretty inactive in a public sense. We’ve mainly been working on demoing songs for our next record which is due to come out in the summer. Once the record comes out, we’ll start playing a lot more again.

Big Bad Buffalo are playing an all-ages show hosted by 91X’s Lou Niles on Saturday, April 9th at The Studio in Encinitas (1057 s. Coast Hwy), with Indio Romero and Julian Rey Saenz. Get info here. Be sure to listen and download their debut album, “American,” here.

EDWARD LOZA / THE HEART BEAT TRAIL

The Heart Beat Trail: Facebook / Bandcamp

Uniform Victor: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about the gear in the pictures. What is your go-to live rig and why?  The guitar I reach for the most is my 1999 Fender Stratocaster. It’s one the most comfortable and versatile guitars I’ve ever played. This is also the guitar I play the majority of the time in The Heart Beat Trail. For a while, I was modifying the electronics and hardware for fun but the current setup feels and sounds like home. I chose the gold pickguard as a nod to Ken of L’arc en Ciel. Initially, I just thought it looked cool but there ended up being a pleasant side effect. Coincidentally, the pickguard seems to cancel out some of the 60Hz hum from the pickups without screwing up the tone and it even made the guitar a little louder.

My live amp of the moment is a Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18 through a Fender Bassbreaker BB-212 cab. The amp is fun because I can push it hard and get a lot of reaction from the tubes. At only 18 watts, the amp sometimes struggles to rise above the band. Because of this I had to get a little more creative with the EQ on my amp and pedals than I would if I just had enough watts to be really loud. This lets me sit in the mix better and not be overly loud for the people in the front row.

On my pedalboard, I have one of my favorite flangers, the MXR M117R. I love sneaking flanger into songs. It can also be used to fake a chorus pedal and channel some lovely John McGeoch sounds. There’s also a Fulltone Deja Vibe on the board. This one is used heavily on the live version of “Cherry Blossoms” to get the syrupy wobble.

The red guitar is a Squier Jagmaster I got from my friend Paul Ryu in Mittens. It’s kind of like a wacky Strat with humbuckers and a short scale Jaguar neck. It’s pretty fun to play so I am grateful that Paul was willing to part with it. The Flying V is my newest guitar. It needs a little tweaking before I trust it live. Some guitars take a little more time to bond with but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A strange guitar can tell you weird and wonderful things if you take the time.

In the band Peacock, I play lap steel. It is a bit tricky for me to play as it forces me to approach my parts differently than I would on guitar. The tuning among other things puts me out of my comfort zone, which is a bit of fun. It’s perfect for the spooky ghost notes and chords.

When recording, I almost always use my ‘70s silverface Fender Champ or the Groove Tubes Soul-O 45. That Champ is a magical amp that just sounds incredible no matter how I set it. My Vox VBM1 is the amp I used on “Man of Tin” by Uniform Victor to get that ripping, amp-on-fire sound. Amongst the many pedals by the Vox are two of my favorites: the Zvex Fuzz Factory and the ProCo Rat. As much as I LOVE the Fuzz Factory, I find the Zvex Mastotron a little more controllable live. That’s why one is on my board and the other is in the studio. I never build a pedalboard without a Rat. It goes from overdrive to almost fuzz and I love the span of the tone knob. If I could only have one dirty pedal it would be the Rat!

2. Which song is a good example of your style?  The Heart Beat Trail song “Falling” is a good one. On the solos, I tried to make it sound like when you’re dying to tell somebody you’re falling for them but you can’t quite say it yet. The solos feel like the release when you get the courage to say you’re falling in love. I chose a thick distorted sound because I felt the first solo needed to be like when you’re afraid to say you love somebody so you just keep telling yourself. Then the second solo is like when you finally exclaim “I LOVE YOU!” and kiss like it’s the end of the world.

3. What is your “money is no object” piece of dream gear?  Building a custom guitar is something I dream of. I don’t care if it’s not cool to admit but I want a signature guitar; call me up, Fender. Getting the neck just right would be the most exciting part of the build. A compound radius fretboard, jumbo frets, large headstock and an asymmetrical rear profile sound like a good start. For the body, I’d like to think I could come up with something as unique as the Music Man St. Vincent guitar but it would probably end up being a Strat in disguise. Even though I have two sunburst Strats, I kind of hate that color. I would have to go with a more interesting color like cerise.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?  I am torn between Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Nels Cline of Wilco. They both push the boundaries of expected guitar sounds while also being masters of the more familiar sounds. I also love the way they both have elements of exploding discordant noise mixed with heartbreaking beauty in their styles. What I have learned from them is to play with the beauty and danger of a volcano as long as is serves the song.

5. What shows, news or projects do you have coming up?  The Heart Beat Trail will play The Merrow on April 7th with Daring Greatly and The Peripherals. We are currently writing/recording a follow up to So Long, Carcosa. Peacock is a new band with Berkeley Kent Austin, Lia Dearborn, Evan Bethany and I. We are in the middle of recording with Paul Durso at Zos Kia Studios and should have something available very soon.

MEGAN LISCOMB / SOFT LIONS

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!!

LEANNA PATTERSON / THE WHISKEY CIRCLE

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.

SCOTTIE BLINN / BLACK MARKET III

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!

DAVID ROBLES / MADLY

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]

TJ / THE PALACE BALLROOM

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.