Interview – Tim Commerford of Prophets of Rage.

Tim Commerford: Yo, my name is Timmy C, and I play bass for the ‘Prophets of Rage’ and I did some bass playing for a band called ‘Audioslave’ and I’m the bass player of ‘Rage Against the Machine’, and I’m here to talk about some bass with these kids from Orange amps.

I think I was more influenced by the feeling of bands like the ‘Sex Pistols’ earlier on but then I gravitated to more intricate, progressive rock and became a Geddy Lee fanatic. He actually was playing this amp that I am standing on and I was searching for a certain tone. It sort of came from him, the sound he has is similar to what I was looking for.

I have an Ampeg head, Barefaced 8×10 cabinet and then I have another Ampeg SVT pro with a gain control through a 4×10 Barefaced cabinet and then the Orange head. This head is an incredible head for just going to that next level of overdrive. When I want to push it into a higher end, not going crazy but more into the white noise and the higher distortion; This head is a beautiful amp for that. I have different amps for different tones and there is all different tones, and there is all different ways that you can make the bass sound even better.

I’m a finger player and I feel like it is a sport and that’s the way it is supposed to be played. I’m on that field with those guys who play with their fingers and realize it’s just like a little miniature body on the end of your arm. It’s a deeper, for me, a deeper science, a deeper low end, a different feel.

Because I still enjoy going on the internet and going “Hey, bass lessons” or “advanced bass lessons”, these videos come up and there are great players out there and they aren’t in these huge bands but they are showing you how to do cool stuff. That’s something I didn’t have when I was growing up as a kid, now any song you want to play is on the internet. So it’s actually a good time to learn how to play an instrument and do it the right way. My advice is to put away the computer for everything expect for bass lessons, its killer for that!

Interview: Unlocking The Truth’s Malcolm Brickhouse

Photo by Bennett Raglin

You were very young when you started this band, how did it all come about, and how did you get into this kind of music in the first place?
We got into metal from hearing the background music in anime cartoons like Naruto, and in WWE. Jared was already playing drums at this point, and I had just started having guitar lessons, then Jarad just had the idea of starting a band.

Unlocking the Truth’s first claim to fame was playing in Times Square which gained you a lot of social media attention – who’s idea was it to take the band to the streets?
It was my parents’ idea to take us to Times Square, they knew we had talent and wanted to get us the best exposure, and what’s a better place than being in the center of Times Square with tourists from all around the world? People with cameras and phones taking pictures and recording? It just made sense.

You’ve got some incredible accomplishments for such a young age, is there anything in specific that pops to mind as a highlight, or a ‘pinch me’ moment?
Everything should have been “pinch-me” moment like performing at Coachella, Bonnaroo, opening for Manson, Motörhead, Living Colour and Metallica. I guess we were so young and didn’t know how big of a deal these things were. Now when I look back, I realize most people will never get to say things like they opened for these bands – and we have accomplished all that before high school. It’s really amazing to think about and it keeps me going.

You’ve also had a documentary ‘Breaking a Monster’ made about yourselves, how was the experience of having someone so up and close in your lives, and sharing it all with the world?
I had fun shooting the documentary. The cameras weren’t as personal as you might think. They were pretty much like flies on the wall and sometimes I forgot  they were even there.

Now to the reason we’re both here – Orange Amps! You’re an Orange ambassador, and we’re very excited to have you! What’s your history with the brand?
I’m very excited and proud to be an Orange Ambassador, it’s such a great brand! The first time I heard about Orange was in a tutorial video by Slipknot’s Jim Root, I loved the rawness of Orange, whether it’s the smooth clean or rich and but distorted tones. I also remember skyping Alex Auxier (Orange A&R) back in 2014, where he asked us a bunch of questions about which bands we liked and what sound we were going for to give him a better idea of what we really needed. The next thing I knew, these giant boxes arrived, including the Jim Root amp and speaker cab, and I just screamed! Later I graduated to the Dual Dark 100 and 4 x 12 cabs. My guitar sounded so real, everywhere I perform, I must have an Orange Amp.  It just sounds right – it sounds perfect!

You released your debut album ‘Chaos’ last year, and you recently independently released your single ‘My Chains’, can you tell us a bit about the song?
Yes, we independently released My Chains on August 29th.  This song came about while recording demos at home in my basement, it started out with the main riff and then I built the electronics, verses and chorus around that. After a few days of testing different song structures, we had a solid song idea which was enhanced once again by our producer, Kenta Yonesaka (Germano Studios NY). I love this song because it’s something new and a little different from the stuff we usually do, we’re finding our own sound and I think people can tell, so expect more change and growth from Unlocking The Truth, this is only the beginning.

With the release of this single we have to ask – can we expect a follow up to ‘Chaos’ in the next foreseeable future?
I don’t want to give away too much information as of yet because we are still planning, but we sure will have more music coming in the very near future, so stay tuned.

Interview – Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three

Kelby Ray: Hi, I’m Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three – Proud Orange User. I think Orange Amps – the look, is just so classic. It’s super old school, super Rock N’ Roll and something I always thought just looked so cool. The first time I ever used an Orange Amp was at a festival in Nashville as like a backline situation. I plugged into it and it was so easy to use – not a lot of knobs and it just sounded great. I want something that’s going to work, not too much hustle and fuss and something that’s just Rock N’ Roll. Orange is all those things, so that’s why I’ve always gravitated towards them, they’re something I’ve always loved to play.

My influences are from all over. I used to listen to a lot of 80s country, particularly growing up in Nashville, also learning to play the guitar in high school, things like Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Pantera – little bit of everything. Blues. Influences from all over the place. Hell, I even liked Mariah Carey when I was a kid. The way my set up works in The Cadillac Three, I’m playing lap steel but I split it and play into a guitar amp and a bass amp at the same time. I’m just looking for something that sounds good mixed together. Right now, I’m using the AD30HTC and AD200 and they sound great working together. It’s a cool sound  that you just can’t emulate anyway else. The Orange sound is just well rounded enough it makes MY sound as part of the band something huge and it really adds a lot of depth to what we’re doing.

Orange Amps are so diverse with many different artists that play them. To be a part of that family is just really a cool thing. I’m getting to do something unique and add my own flair into the musical world through Orange and it’s just super awesome.

Interview: No Trigger’s Jon & Brad

I heard you guys have had quite the day today with flight delays and all that jazz, how does a typical day on the road look like for you?
Jon:
On tour? A lot of driving. We haven’t been back in the UK for about five years, and we expect to be spending a lot of our time here in this van we’re in right now, before rolling up to various venues.
Brad: To be fair, this is a pretty sweet van, and it can actually fit all of us. There’s been a lot of times spent in shitty vans with like double the amount of people the van’s actually meant for. It’s nine of us for this tour and we’re at capacity – ‘3 – 3 – 3 seats, perfect, book it, boom.’

You’ve got quite a cool history with Orange, would you mind sharing it with us?
Jon: I was working for SJC Custom drums who got in touch with Orange, and we ended up building an Orange snare, with Orange sending over the tolex and custom badges to go with it. We premiered the snare at the following NAMM convention in California where we met up with Alex (Alex Auxier, US A&R). In 2011, while still making snares for Orange, No Trigger recorded a new album, so we got in touch with Orange and it ended up working nicely with Alex lacing us up.
Brad: And here we are, still using it, still going.

At the NAMM convention 2012 with Alex Auxier

You had a really long break from recording before the release of ‘Adult Braces’ earlier this summer, what did you guys get up to during your hiatus?
Brad: All just getting up to our own stuff individually, as well as other bands. We all try to play when we can, but when it comes to No Trigger it always feels very much like a special occasion as everybody is so busy.
Jon: We’ve all got our own schedules and lives, buying houses, having kids, getting married – you know, adult stuff, but when the opportunity comes up we all jump on it whenever we can make it work, and we’re really excited about this tour.

What’s your set up for this tour?
Jon: Mike and I are playing Rockerverb 100s, we normally play Rockerverb 50s back home, so we’re pretty stoked about the 100s here, just a little bit more beefier.
Brad: I’ve got the AD200 over here, where back home I’ve got the Bass Terror 1000, and that thing is just a beast. People see it and it’s this tiny little cute thing, and then there I am, unable to play it over 2 without shattering everything else in the room. I remember looking at them deciding between the 500 and 1000 and thought to myself ‘Oh well 1000 must be great!’, and it’s just been the best thing, not to mention it’s saved my spine from having heavy Ampegs or whatever to haul around, I just bring the Terror and I’m good to go.
Jon: We just sound checked the UK backline though and it sounded absolutely incredible. We pretty much got off our overnight flights, and went straight to a rehearsal space to get our chops straight. We’ve got a special guest drummer from The Swellers, and we’re stoked to have him filling in for Michael on this run, although we’ve had very limited rehearsals,
Brad: It happened very last minute, so we only had two practices with him before we left and so far it’s worked out really well, guess we’ll see what happens tonight – We’re all here and we’re ready to roll!

Jon, Brad mentioned why he went with the Terror, why did you decide on the Rockerverb?
Jon: I was over in Australia when I first tried the Rockerverb, my friend had one and let me use it, and I just thought it was one of the best tones I had ever heard. I’ve played the Mesa and I’ve played the Marshall, but never been as stoked about any of them as I have with Orange. And not even just that side of things, but you guys are awesome, you’re just cool and always take care of us, you cant beat that. Having a company like Orange where the sound is as awesome as the people.

Interview: Gnarwolves’ Charlie

First of all, you’ve got a pretty sweet deal here tonight playing with Bad Religion at the Kentish Town Forum, how did that all come about?
Charlie: Well, we’ve told our agent about a few bands that we really like, and after that I think she must have worked some kind of magic! Previously we’ve played with bands such as NOFX and Alkaline Trio, and it must have gone well as we’ve been allowed to open up for Bad Religion!

You must be pretty stoked! You just got back from Italy, how was that?
Charlie: Yeah, today is the day of us kickstarting touring again, we just got back from Italy a few days ago as we were flown over there to play Curtarock Festival – we’re a three piece so it’s quite easy for us to travel light. We brought a backpack full of merch to sell so we could get some money for beer, and that was pretty much it. It was 31 degrees, we had a pool.

Damn, this is the first time ever touring’s sounded luxurious, normally I’m used to hearing about bands spending 18 hours in a van, that sorta stuff.
Charlie: Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of 18 hour drives, vans breaking down – this Italy thing isn’t how we normally roll.

Your second album ‘Outsiders’ was released in May, how did you attack that whole process of recording the second time around compared to your debut album?
Charlie: We’ve been very used to overdubbing, so this time we really wanted to focus on getting that live sound and did all the songs as a three piece in the studio. Thom literally only did two guitar tracks, one where we all played together, then another one after in the same live room, followed by vocals. We had plans to go to America and record with Steve Albini, but that would have cost us a lot of money, so we ended up getting our friend to do it and use the same process as Steve would have used, which is to have it as live and raw as possible – it’s more about the vibe than the talent, and I think it flows better than the first one. Punk just sounds better live.

 

Well, let’s get down to business, the reason we’re both here is because of Orange Amps, what’s your history with the brand?
Charlie: On our first ever tour as Gnarwolves, my friend was in a band called ‘As We Sink’ and he had the terror going through an 8×10 or 8×10 cab, and I just knew I needed that tone. The fact that you can just pack the terror away as well and put it over your shoulder is so sick. I ended up getting one, and I’ve had it for three or four years now and it’s just great! I love it, and wouldn’t go anywhere without it. People still ask me what my tone and sound is, and all I’ve got is one pedal and the terror. Tonight, I don’t even have my pedal with me, so I’ll be plugging straight into the terror using the gain and treble. I’d say any bassist who’s just started and wants to learn to play, the terror is perfect as it’s only got five channels and is so easy to use. I was originally a drummer and only started playing bass for Gnarwolves with Thom (guitarist) basically showing me how to do it, so for me, the terror worked out really well as it wasn’t scary and just quite easy and fun to play around with.

Tour Diary: Radio Moscow – Day 5

Paul and Anthony at my place in London.

Photo by JT Rhoades

Yesterday morning I woke up with a bang after not one, not two, but three cans and bottles fell and landed on a sleeping Riley Hawk’s face, being probably the worst wake up call of the tour – for Riley, obviously. I was perfectly fine as I watched it happen from afar.

Waking up, I was pretty bummed out as this was the end of the tour for me and I knew I’d be shortly on my way back to London and reality, while the guys set off to France for an early night before Motorculto festival later today. Luckily, they had a last minute change of heart and decided to head back to London with me for record shopping and a night of fun in the big smoke. After all, this was also the day of releasing ‘New Beginning’, the first single of their upcoming album, ‘New Beginnings’, and if that isn’t reason enough to celebrate, then what is?

We arrived at mine in London where they had a play at my shitty guitars that finally got their chance to shine, before heading towards the tube – or ‘the underground’ as those Americans call it. There were a few technical complications as I tried to maneuver them through the process of buying their first ever Oyster cards followed by certain band members who shall not be named (Paul) getting caught in the barriers while trying to exit the station, which resulted him calling out my name in panic like a damsel in distress (Sorry Paul.) Despite all odds, we made it to Rough Trade.

Petyr’s Riley Hawk and Paul browsing – Parker and photographer J.T Rhoades surfing. By Ella Stormark

After 25 minutes of intense browsing and record shopping, we headed towards Camden and one of my favourite bars and venues, The Black Heart where beers were drank, fun was had, and Holy Diver was played. We left The Black Heart for a to check out a funk playing brass band at The Blues Kitchen, only to get rejected at the door as the youthful looking papa Paul didn’t have ID, and the journey continued to The Dev where more beer was consumed, enough for the majority of us to decide that dancing would be a great idea. There are a few videos on my phone I’m keeping for a rainy day when Radio Moscow’s taken over the world, and I can make millions on footage of Parker doing the worm. He didn’t actually, but damn do I wish he did.

At The Black Heart – by Ella Stormark

Parker by JT Rhoades

Closing time was a reality, and it was time to head back to mine where tour manager Karl was waiting to take them to France, leaving me to wallow in post tour blues on my own.


Photo by JT Rhoades

Anthony, Parker and Paul, thanks a million for letting me tag along and giving me an insight of life on the road – I had a blast! See ya’ll at Desertfest Antwerp in October!

Tour Diary: Radio Moscow – Day 4

Anthony outside Bristol’s Electric Ladyland

To just dive right in there and continue where I left it off at my last post; we left Bristol slightly later than expected, and after a quick pit stop at Electric Ladyland we set sail towards the land of Black Sabbath – Birmingham. A few hours of blasting Birmingham’s finest kings of darkness in the tour van, and we rolled up to the The Castle & Falcon, which apparently up to very recently, used to host mainly bands playing Irish music.

Support bands for the evening were local bands Luna & The Moonhounds and You Dirty Blue, and I’ll be honest with you – I missed out on pretty much both of their sets for the sole reason that we had a TV that could play youtube videos in the backstage area, and I choose to spend that time horizontal on the sofa while requesting live videos of Grand Funk Railroad – that Paul would refuse to play as he was already knee deep in old Captain Beyond. Fair enough.

All the way from Stoke-On-Trent band Psyence’s Jamie and Jamie had embarked on an hour long car journey to attend the gig, leaving one Jamie to indulge in all the booze while the other one had to soberly watch him do so. As Radio Moscow started playing, I had the pleasure of watching both of their reactions to their first ever Radio Moscow experience, and it was pure joy and excitement in their eyes;

«Radio Moscow. Hands down the best gig I have ever been to. The man is like Hendrix reincarnated!»
Jamie Bellingham, Psyence bassist.


Photo by JT Rhoades

When the night ended we packed up our stuff and headed to the swanky hotel we were meant to stay at, only to find out a mix up had been made and that there was no more rooms left. That was ok though, who wants soft, comfy beds at 1am anyway when you can be stranded in the rain instead? We headed back to The Castle & Falcon where they took us in with open arms and sorted us out in the cozy backstage area by re-stocking the fridge we’d previously emptied for beer, making sure we’d stay hydrated through out the night. At this point, we were all pretty much partied out, and Netflix seemed like a great idea. I broke out my brightly coloured green sleeping bag yet again as we all tuned in to watch Ozark, and it took me about 15 minutes before I crashed, burned and fell asleep on the floor.

Parker and Riley backstage at The Castle & Falcon

Tour Diary: Radio Moscow – Day 3

Photo by JT Rhoades

Last night was the third and final night with the Groundhogs, and I dare say it’s been the best night so far. There’s been a lot of speculations around Groundhogs touring without founding member and original frontman Tony McPhee, and to be fair, I wasn’t around to experience ‘em back in the day, but personally, I cant imagine them ever being any better than they are now with current frontman and lead guitarist Chris D’Avoine, who’s boosting as much charisma as he is talent.

As mentioned in my last post, there were rumours going that Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs would join the Groundhogs on stage, and after having a sneak peak during soundcheck, I got even more excited for the show. Groundhogs played an impeccable set before being joined by Parker on stage for the final hurrah, ‘Cherry Red’, of their 1971 album ‘Split’, and just when you thought Groundhogs couldn’t be louder and more powerful – they did. Three guitars, extended solos and jamming galore. Damn, I almost needed a cigarette after that and I don’t even smoke.

Once everyone’d had some time to gather the pieces from their blown minds, it was yet again time for Radio Moscow to take the stage, and it pretty quickly dawned upon me that they’re either getting better and better every night, or that my brain just haven’t been evolved enough to wrap my head around their humongous musical talent, and is only becoming so now as I’ve been exposed to it over an extended period of time. I could go on about how good they are and draw insane comparisons, but let’s be honest, I’m with them for another day and I cant make ‘em too big for their boots just yet.


Photo by JT Rhoades

While sat in the backstage area after the show, I ended up chatting to Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik who asked me if I’d heard the story about how himself and Parker originally met;

«It was a late night in Bristol when I saw these three long haired guys who looked totally out of place in an area they shouldn’t be wandering around in, so I walked up them and asked if they were alright, as they looked a bit lost; ‘Are you looking for the train station?’ ‘No, we’ve just played our first ever gigs over here in the UK, and we didn’t get paid. We’re struggling a bit as we can’t get back home to Iowa.’ So we ended up taking them back to ours, and I got them a few gigs, their first ever paid ones in Britain, and eventually they managed to make the money to get back to the states. Parker was about 17 at the time, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.»

What are the odds – three seventeen year old broke musicians in a foreign country with no place to stay or way to get home gets approached by a guy who just happens to be Ken from the Groundhogs, someone kind enough to house them, and has the connections to get them paid gigs and back on their feet. What a guy!

As we left I pretty much crashed in the van while everyone else was ready to party it up at the house. When we arrived, it didn’t take long before Anthony fell asleep under the kitchen table – that guy can sleep pretty much anywhere and through anything, which is a skill I highly admire. I hung out for a bit, before retracting myself upstairs and into my borrowed brightly colored green sleeping bag around 3am, while listening in on something that sounded like Rage Against the Machine blasting out from the speakers downstairs. Five hours later, I wake up to find photographer JT stretched out on the floor, as Parker climbs into the other bed having been carried away in conversations about ‘life and music’ with drummer Paul until the light of day – which means heading to bed about two hours before we were meant to pack up and go at 10.30.

10.42am and still no sign of life…

Tour Diary: Radio Moscow – Day 2

Photo by JT Rhoades

Another day, another city. We left beautiful seaside city Hastings behind, and have just rolled into Bristol and The Exchange.

Last night saw a local band called ‘Gorilla’ supporting Moscow as well as The Groundhogs, a band fronted by Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell frontman Jonny Gorilla, former RIDDLES drummer Ryan Matthews and some crazy talented bassist extraordinaire called Sarah Jane.

Following Gorilla was Groundhogs yet again, and I could keep singing their praises as they’re just incredible – and probably some of the nicest guys around. As I type, Petyr’s Riley Hawk who’s tagging along for the ride just got his Groundhogs Split vinyl signed by Ken, who let us in on the secret of how they made that infamous record cover – with scissors. Cut, copy, and paste. ‘It’s amazing the lenghts you go to when there’s no technology.’


Photo by JT Rhoades

Anyway – Groundhogs came, saw and conquered, and as Radio Moscow took the stage at around 10.30, people were getting super stoked – fan base fronted by two die hard fans air-guitaring front row. As for the Moscow dudes, I’m not sure what they put in the water over there in San Diego, but these guys takes musical craftsmanship to a whole new level as they’re all some sorts of psych connoisseurs. Sadly, due to an early live music curfew, music was cut at 11, leaving them with only a 25 or so minute slot which was a massive disappointment to everyone who made their way there to see them.

Photo by JT Rhoades

Photo by JT Rhoades

To drown our sorrows, we packed up and headed down the road to ‘Tin Tins’, the kinda place people head to mostly because it’s the only place open at that time a night, with weird ass mix of people and shitty pop music. Still, beggars cant be choosers – they had beer and who I assume might be the biggest Radio Moscow fan there is, who kept us fueled by Jägerbombs and Belgium beer until the end of the night, before somehow ending up back at the hotel with us with a bottle of whiskey, 24 beers and an acoustic guitar playing us the blues.

It’s currently pushing six o’ clock, and I’m sat on the floor listening to Radio Moscow sound checking and jammin ‘Walk in my shadow’ of Free’s debut album ‘Tons of Sobs.’ Rumour also has it that Parker will be playing with the Groundhogs later;

’If he can keep up with me.’ – Ken Pustelnik.

Claws are out and we’re in for a treat.

Tour diary: Radio Moscow – Day 1

First day on the road with Radio Moscow and I’m currently on the verge of dying from alcohol poisoning and bad decisions.

Kicking it all off, they played a sold out show at London’s Borderline last night supported by the legendary Groundhogs, and I must say, having the Groundhogs supporting you is pretty damn cool – and pretty damn brave as those guys can tear shit up and have been doing so for decades, even before any of the Moscow dudes were born. It was my third time ever seeing Groundhogs, and needless to say, they left big boots to fill. Luckily, Radio Moscow are pretty damn great too and had every mind in there blown within the first song. It was my first time ever seeing them, and I’m stoked I get to see them again tonight. And tomorrow. And Thursday. Then twice again in October. That’s right, no getting rid of me now for these dudes.

Following last night’s gig I spilled an entire bottle of ranch over myself backstage before venturing next door to the dingiest dive bar of them all, Crobar. A place you go to lose your dignity, memory and personal belongings, and it might not come as a surprise that it’s all a bit of a blur after that. Cans of red stripe, hotel hallway vending machine bags of crisps, listening to Dirty Tricks and falling asleep on the floor. So far I think I’ve made a great impression on everyone, and it’s going really great.

Most of today has been spent in the van feeling horrendously hungover, with the highlight of the day being a pit stop at some pub in Kent which hosts Freddie Mercury, Michael Bublé, Elvis, and of course – white Tina Turner tribute nights. Next level entertainment right there, so I shall be returning once I’m sick and tired of this San Diego psych rock and in the mood for an upgrade.

As for now, we’ve just arrived in Hastings to find the venue being on the second floor, and had to load in a bunch of amps up through three flights of stairs, and as you all know, Orange amps are good as gold, but god damn heavy as led. Still, spirits are high, and as I type the guys are setting up and getting ready to soundcheck. Tomorrow we’re at The Exchange in Bristol, followed by The Castle and Falcon in Birmingham on Thursday, and I’m hoping for lifts and no condiment spillage.