Canadian guitarist and songwriter, Nick Johnston, has become Orange Amplification’s latest Ambassador. The critically acclaimed musician, known for his fantastic tone, is delighted to be continuing his exploration of new levels of melody, harmony and composition with an Orange Rockerverb 100 MKIII.

Johnston is one of the hottest virtuoso guitar players around. He is much admired for his compelling ability to blend progressive metal seamlessly with thematic instrumental playing. Johnston’s distinctive approach is widely acknowledged as unique, drawing heavily on an extensive range of music genres from blues to classic sci-fi scores. The dramatic and mature combination of his musicality and natural storytelling skills allow him to paint vivid, luscious landscapes with his music.

He released his finely crafted, fifth studio album, Wide Eyes in the Dark, in April 2019. It is a timeless narrative which covers the whole gamut of the human experience. Johnston’s understated playing is full of complex, refined progressive rock ideas delivered with delicate sensitivity and finesse.Johnston’s newly acquired Rockerverb MKIII is a powerful and versatile amplifier full of the immediately recognisable British tone synonymous with Orange.  The amp is a mainstay for many touring artists and session aces, both on the road and in the studio. Talking about it Johnston said: “Not only is Rockerverb 100 MKIII the coolest looking amp on the planet, but it changes my playing in a way that makes me sound more natural, more organic and more like myself. It sounds massive, but it still manages to let my fingerprint shine through.”  Fans everywhere can’t wait to hear how Johnston’s tone will evolve with this new rig.

Top photo by Grant Cooper.

Every month we reward one lucky winner with a prize. This month’s winner receives a white Bax Bangeetar Pre-EQ pedal. All you have to do is post your Orange rig to any qualifying social media using the hashtag #OrangeRigOfTheMonth. Please note we are not accepting entries via email.

What’s your name, age, occupation?
Mike Schmalenberg, age 32, Musician and Elementary School Teacher.

How’d you first hear about Orange?
I first heard about Orange by seeing other bands use them on stage. I always loved the sound, whenever I heard an Orange rig.

What do you use your rig for?
I have played in various bands over the years, Mother Night and Sing The Body Electric, seeing the most action; however it is now primarily used for my solo band project.

How much did this rig set you back?
I bought the amps new, but the cabs second hand, so this rig set me back about $3500 CDN.

How often do you update the rig?
I love trying Orange amps out, so while I try to maintain some consistency with the AD30, and Getaway Driver pedal, I’m always bringing in new heads and amps to play around with!

What gear is in this rig?
My current home set up consists of a PPC212, AD30 and a Getaway Driver pedal; with the option to add a PPC412, or a Dark terror for a little higher gain fun!

What guitar do you use? Why?
I primarily play Gibson, with a Les paul Traditional currently claiming the number one spot. They have always just felt right for me, I especially like the way the brustbucker pickups interact with the AD30!

When was the first time you saw an Orange amp?
I’m sure I saw them while watching an old Oasis video or the Black Sabbath Beat Club performance when I was an early teenager, but Orange really came into the forefront of my world when we played a gig with a band (about 10 years ago) that were using Rockerverbs, and I fell in love with the tone.

If you could own any piece of gear, old or new, what would it be and why?
I would love to get my hands on an OR50, or OR120 either vintage or reissue! I love the vintage fuzzy tones of those amps, they just speak to me whenever I heard a demo; I can only image how good it would sound in real life!

Who is your guitar hero?
The two guitar players that have had the largest impact on me would be Zakk Wylde and fellow Canadian, Devin Townsend. More recently, Jared James Nichols has been a great inspiration to watch as well!

Can you share any links where people can go to hear how this sounds?
https://www.instagram.com/mikeschmalenberg/

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

My parents started me off by playing classical piano and traditional Irish music from an early age, then in my later teens, I started playing bass in rock bands. When I finished my first course in college (Computer Programming), I decided to focus on music. I had been playing with a lot of different bands and doing a lot of session work with independent Irish artists, playing bass and keyboards/synths. I developed a keen interest in recording and studio life. Lots of the albums I was playing on were being recorded in bedroom studios, so I decided to buy an audio interface and just started demoing ideas in my bedroom! I went back to college and did a night course in Sound Engineering to get some basic skills in engineering & recording.

John Murphy by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

Around this time, an electronic/rock band called Ilya K that I was playing in won a €10,000 prize in a Battle of the Bands. Instead of spending all this money in a recording studio recording our debut album, we decided to set up our own studio and invested it in recording equipment. We rented a house in the Cork countryside and set up a makeshift studio. Our living room was the live room and my bedroom was the control room; Here we produced our only album, as the band split up shortly after. The album did ok, and we started to get enquiries from bands about us recording them, and Guerrilla Studios kinda took off from there. I wanted to develop my production and arrangement skills so I went back to college and studied a classical music degree. I bought a portable recording setup and started to experiment with recording orchestras and ensembles in the college’s concert hall. I also used this portable setup to record bands in a variety of different spaces, from venues to rehearsal studios, through to squats.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

I first worked with Lankum when they performed on the first episode of a music show called The Parlour. Guerrilla Studios got the audio contract for the recording and mix. I knew they were a trad/folk band but I hadn’t heard any of their material, so I think I was kind of expecting a diddly-eye band. When we started soundchecking, they blew my mind. So dark, and slow, and organic. They performed a few tracks on the show but their performance of Rosie Reilly got my brain spinning. I had been experimenting with bass and sub manipulation on the Katie Kim ‘Salt‘ album, so when I started mixing their live performance I couldn’t help but use similar processing to see what would happen. The result was very interesting. I was basically able to add subtle elements of sludge, drone and noise to their sound, while still retaining their acoustic and live-sounding qualities. As soon as the band heard the mix, they got in touch to see if I would be interested in working with them.

Lankum had been having a lot of difficulty with their sound on tour; Lots of acoustic instruments needing individual mics with specific EQs. I took them up on their offer and went on the road with them. I hadn’t done live sound in years, and was looking forward to challenging myself in front of a PA again. It immediately worked, both personally and professionally. They really liked the manipulation I was doing with their sound and have trusted me to experiment with their sound ever since. Around then, they had been recording their second album ‘Between the Earth and Sky’. Again, they had run into trouble with the mixes, so they asked me to see what I could do with the tracks. It was recorded live and there was a lot of spill on all the mics, so we needed lots and lots of EQ. We also ended up doing a lot more production on top of the initial recording to add some dimension to the album. I re-amped the uilleann pipe drones and harmonium drones in a church for some large live reverb, and we also recorded some extra textural sounds to build up some ambience, harmonics, noises and weird sounds.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

Coming towards the album deadline, the band came up with an arrangement for their song ‘The Granite Gaze’, and we recorded it in Guerrilla Studios. That was the first time we had worked together in this capacity, and again it really worked. Due to deadline pressures, it was mixed and produced in about a week in the middle of a heavy touring schedule. It went onto win an award in the BBC Folk Awards, which is kind of hilarious, considering a train went overhead in the take that we ended up using!

For their most recent album, ‘The Livelong Day’, there was a lot of pre-production. The band wrote and demoed for months. We did some experimental recording in Guerrilla to see how we could expand on individual sounds. Also, because of our heavy touring schedule, we spend a lot of time together in a van. Here, we all contribute to the sounds we listen to while travelling, so we had been discussing elements we liked and disliked from a huge amount of genres. This helped everyone’s different tastes become more normalised and put us all on the same page before recording. We also spent a huge amount of time on tour discussing the possibilities of what we could do with the sound palette. All the tracks on the album were recorded in a 10 day session in a studio in the Wicklow mountains called The Meadow, which is a beautiful studio in the countryside with lots of windows looking out at the Irish countryside and manic weather. There was a great energy from the very start, and the initial tracking was very productive. We did a lot more production work in Guerrilla Studios over the next few months. The deadline again was very tight. I actually remember walking home from the studio at 8am on the day of the cutoff point and uploading the final mixes for master.

Regarding the Orange amp wall/monolith, I came up with that when we were on tour in Canada. I was listening to a lot of drone at the time (mainly Stephen O’Malley) and during one sleep-deprived night in the hotel, I started thinking about re-amping the drones from Lankum and putting them through a wall of amps to add texture and depth to their live performance. I got in touch with Nigel in Musicmaker in Dublin to see if I could get a loan of some gear to do some tests, and he put me in contact with Neil in Orange.

After finishing college in Cork School of Music, I moved to Dublin to set up a studio in an art space. Up until this, I was a portable/guerrilla style recording engineer using various rooms, from churches to abandoned buildings using a rack of preamps and a Macbook Pro. Unfortunately, within 4 weeks of my arrival in Dublin, the space closed and I was studioless again. I got together with some friends and bandmates (Katie Kim and Percolator) to rent a space and set up a studio/practice room. Our budget was very low and there was basically only one commercial lease we could go for – an arch under a railway line. A very bad space to set up a studio, but there was no other choice with our budget. It was a dirty, empty shell, and we had to strip everything out and build it ourselves with the help of a carpenter. It was a small enough space, so we had to build wooden walls filled with sand to provide some sound separation between the control room and the live room.

Guerilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

The live room has an arched brick ceiling that is 4 meters high in the centre. It has a very unique sound, and kind of behaves like a bit of an amplifier. Initially it was very difficult to control, but 8 years later, we know how to make it work. The control room is treated, but small, and can get a bit crowded when bands are in for mixing sessions, but we make it work. When we initially moved in, I was having panic attacks thinking about how much of a nightmare the trains were gonna be, but again we figured it out. Initially we were recording loud bands, so the trains weren’t a problem because the room is so loud. That said, recording vocals and acoustic instruments requires a lot of patience, but we have ways of making it work. The timetable is fairly random, but there are times of the day and night when it’s not very busy.

The studio is based around a pair of UAD Apollo 16’s, Adam A77X monitors, with a Mac Pro running Cubase 9.5. Preamp-wise, we’ve got some Jaytronics, Seventh Circle Audio N72’s, GAP Pre 73’s. We also use a TAC Scorpion 2 with Langley modded pre’s. It’s a strange desk to have, but I love it. The gain is great.

Mic-wise, we’ve got some interesting ones. Because the studio is so live we’ve bought a lot of dynamics to use on loud sources. As well as all the classic Shure stuff, we’ve got some great Heils (PR30, PR40, PR48, PR20), SM7s, Beyer M201s, Telefunken M80s, an MBHO MBD 219 SC and Ian recently bought a 1972 Electro-Voice 635a. My prized possessions, mic-wise, are my Advanced Audio CM47 and my Royer R121. I also recently purchased a weird XY mic 12 Gauge Microphones Black 212 – it’s sounding really cool on everything I’ve experimented with it on so far.

Compressor-wise, I’ve got a Distressor, a set of KTLA’s and an Overstayer VCA
We’ve got a selection of guitars and basses, lots of Fender Jazzmasters, a 60s Mustang, a 70s Rickenbacker 4001, a 70’s Kramer 450B, a Jazz Bass, as well as a 70’s Ludwig kit that Ian knows inside out. Ian has been with me from the start and is my right hand man in many ways. Apart from being an excellent engineer and producer, Ian also has a great knowledge of electronics and has built several amps for the studio.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

I also have a Roland 201 & 501 space echos, which get used on nearly everything. We also have the frame of a baby grand piano set up as a weird resonance/reverb chamber. We generally try to experiment with every record we do. We’re constantly changing the room around and micing things differently to keep ourselves interested, and have worked with many artists over the years: The Jimmy CakeWoven Skull, The September Girls, Hands Up Who Wants To Die, Katie Kim, 7.10, Percolator, to name a few. I’ve also worked on lots of free jazz records for the likes of Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Paul G Smyth. More recently, a lot of folk music has started coming through and since Lankum, I’ve worked with folk acts like Ye Vagabonds, John Francis Flynn and Varo. Currently, I’m mixing an album for Rough Trades new signing Caroline

It’s been so great working with Zac, Neil and Mikko at Orange. They’ve been so enthusiastic since I initially put the Lankum amp stack idea to them, and have been very helpful and informative throughout. Getting to go to the Orange factory and try out the entire range of amps and speakers was amazing. It really helped with getting the amps I needed for Lankum and Percolator. For the amp stack I’ve used several varieties, in bigger venues I’ll use 2 Rockerverbs with 8×10 cabs. In smaller rooms I’m using the Rocker 15 Terror and OR15. The gain is awesome on these guys and I can get some interesting tones to blend behind the band.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson / www.robertwatson.ie

I’ve only recently started using Orange with my band Percolator. In this band I play bass and synth, I use a 1979 Rickenbacker 4001 and a Moog Little Phatty. I was using an Ampeg solid state to get a driven sound, but I recently started using the OR15 when recording bass and have been blown away. It works so well. I also use an Orange 4 Stroke to send the Moog through. The 4 band adjustable EQ makes it so easy to get rid of amp/room resonances, and the compressor is great for softening the attack. For the next Lankum album we’ll be experimenting a lot with the OR15 and Rocker 15 Terror trying to achieve some organic, gainy, acoustic drone.

After the Fall is celebrating 20 years as a band. How has the band evolved since it’s inception, both personally and musically?

We’ve been through so much together. We met when we were still in high school. We never had the intention to keep at it for so long, but we did. 3/4’s of us are still the original line up. We lost our friend and founding member Brian from cancer in 2014. Our lives and our band have changed drastically over the years. I’d say our music has also matured. At this point it feels unnatural to play music with most other people as we’ve sorta grown up together and traveled the world together and really we’ve progressed as musicians together. I think recording our albums and flying around the globe has helped shape our band to what it is today. The mileage and experience alone is a lifetime worth of memories, mostly good, some bad… but when we were fourteen did we think we’d be playing gigs in Tokyo or Melbourne or Costa Rica? No, not at all haha!

The band took a 5 year hiatus from releasing new music. What happened during that period and are you back for good? Did the break end up being a good thing? 

We never broke up actually. We toured the most we’ve ever toured those past five years with our album Dedication, which was a tribute to our founding member Brian who passed away. We went to Mexico I think four times; one time as support for Descendents. We went to Europe and UK, Japan, Canada with Propagandhi, and we did a full US tour as direct support for Strung Out. We supported bands like Subhumans and Anti Flag and a lot more. It truly was the most busy five years for us as a band. We also released a greatest hits 00-10 album a year after Dedication. Lots of festivals. It was a blast. We didn’t intend to wait five full years to make another record but that’s just how it ended up working out.

Resignation is the band’s newest album. It seems to be rife with social commentary. Tell us about the socio-political influences on this album. 

Well we are all on the left side of things, even more so since the Trump era. The lyrics were all written before Covid 19 so I can’t say that had any influence. However, the issues of corruption and police brutality and our current president have sparked some thoughts and lyrics. I went through some personal strife as did Tyler before making this album. Tyler was in a motorcycle accident that almost killed him, and recording this album was a huge rewarding feeling after almost losing my best friend.

Which Orange amps did you use on Resignation? How did you use them? 

We used the Terror Bass 500, Rockerverb 100, and the CR120 for pre-production as we use them for our live backline. They were blended with other amps in our final guitar and bass tones. The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO is where we make our records and their studio is top notch. It’s always a treat for us to work with them. And since 2005 we’ve been working with our producer Andrew Berlin. He’s the best.

Every artist and band has been handling the pandemic lockdown differently. How has After the Fall been dealing with it?

We all felt crazy and paranoid at the beginning. But we decided to get the record out anyway and start writing another. It was very important to us to still release Resignation. We will be ready to roll when touring and live music can exist once again. But for now it’s been a break from the usual grind and hustle. We’ve had a little more time to work on other bands and projects as well. It’s not all bad having this break, but we certainly miss touring and playing live. Spending more time at home and with family has been nice as well. And we’ve actually been able to pay off some band debts and buy new gear and instruments and we’ve all been working on recording/tracking from home and making new music still

What are your hopes for the year 2021? 

Well the record seems to be doing a lot better than we thought, responses are positive, the streams and sales numbers are a bit higher than they’ve ever been… so we hope to see all our friends and fans across the world and play some gigs, and we hope the world finds itself more peaceful and safe. However if things don’t “go back to normal,” we hope to always be friends and always make records. After two decades of this band and traveling, the post Covid era is an easier pill to swallow, or at least an easier potential future to grasp. One day we’ll all be gigging again and that will be a glorious day.

After the Fall’s new album Resignation is available NOW. Click here to check it out!

What are some of your earliest memories involving music?
Rekti:
My earliest memory would be listening to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, I would have been around 3 or 4 years old. I vividly remember the feeling I got when pressing the ‘play’ button on my mom’s tape deck, as I waited for the laughter on the intro of the song, before running to her cause I got scared. My mom also had this 70s British Rock compilation that had the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Zeppelin, etc, and I also remember listening to that over and over.

My mother’s side of the family has always been into music, listening to records and exchanging mixtapes. Most of them played music at some point of their lives too. One of them, my late uncle, left school in the 60s to become a professional musician, and his band, The Rollies are considered legendary nowadays which is pretty cool. I also remember being at my grandma’s house in the 90s and listening to a local punk band, and my uncle saying if I liked that sorta music, I should check out The Stooges.

That’s so cool your entire family influenced you and your taste in music, and how it was such a natural part of your upbringing. Did they encourage your playing as well?
Rekti:
I think my grandma always had an acoustic guitar, but I didn’t notice or maybe just didn’t realise what kinda shapes and sounds it could produce, and what really triggered it for me was at the age of 11 or 12 when I saw Lenny Kravitz play ‘Are you gonna go my way’ on a flying V, with the sound reminding me of my mum’s Brit Rock compilation from when I was a kid. By this point, I was sold, and I wanted an electric guitar just like his one. I went to a guitar shop with my Dad not long after. They didn’t have any Flying V’s but did have this wonderful Gibson SG, which was of course very expensive. My conservative father told me to learn the basics first, and got me started out with a locally made acoustic guitar, which ended up shaping my way of playing as I learnt both Led Zeppelin and Bad Religion on that guitar. So I’m always kind of cautious with my right hand and developed a sense of dynamic in my picking. But sometimes I strum a little too hard, and often break strings because of that too.

When I was 17 I finally got my first electric guitar, I hustled and saved up money by selling t-shirts. By the time I’d saved up enough, the recession hit and the price sky rocketed and I could only afford an Epiphone Les Paul, which I later swapped for an Epiphany SG. In 2009 at 27, The Sigit started to make money from playing gigs, and I finally got a Gibson SG, Stull haven’t got that 60s Flying V though, haha.

As a polite heads up from the interviewer, yours truly Ella Stormark – if you don’t know The Sigit, or haven’t seen any of their live stuff – check out this video, it’s so awesome.

As a guitarist, is there anyone you would say has influenced you more than others?
Rekti:
Probably Jimmy Page because of his vast palette of sounds. It could be due to his guitar and what he managed to do with it, but stll, not many Les Paul players could reproduce what Page has done. The same goes for Eric Clapton, for that matter. I dunno man, maybe it’s just the way 50s/60s made gear sounded. I haven’t got the chance to find out first hand. But I always love that kind of sound.

You clearly have a love for for older music, what were the mutual influences you bonded over when forming The Sigit?
Rekti:
It started out with our mutual interest in Brit Pop, which was very much in style back then. We were all at the same high school, and sometimes we’d skip school to go to record stores or street vendors looking for new and exciting brit pop bands, and often end up finding older brit rock music like Roxy Music, T-Rex, Genesis, Black Sabbath etc. Then we’d hang out at our bass player’s house and try to learn those song using his dad’s gear, and perform them at a school festival once a year. He also had mixer and tape deck so occasionally we’d try to record some songs we made on the spot. We’d experiment with ping-pong tracking and overdubs, very crude and garagy. When we graduated, we started getting computers for collage assignements and started learning DAW, composing songs and making demos which we handed to friends or local magazines.

What’s your personal history and experience with Orange?
Rekti:
My first encounter with Orange was either through Oasis or Jimmy Page, maybe around junior high. No one around me nor any musician in my area had one though, so I was pretty curious about this mysteriously named and brightly coloured guitar amp.By the time we got to recording our debut album I’d hang around the studio and watch other bands record.

Some bands had their own amps, and was kind enough to let me try them to help decide what works for me and what doesn’t. Most of the ones I liked were vintage amps. However, although they sounded great, most of them were old and unstable and not cheap nor easy to repair, which made me hesitant to get myself any old equipment. That said, I was also impressed by an AD140 I tried, and how versatile it was, and the guy who owned it told me that he got it new from a shop in Jakarta. I went to the shop and they had a Rockerverb whose sound I loved, and it was as versatile as the AD140. The drive sounded great, and it was very responsive to my picking – and the colour! I was already sold when I saw Noel Gallagher’s Orange way back, it was very eye catching and you noticed it instantly. I thought it would be great to have this on stage too, so after successfully giving it a go I decided to go for Rockerverb 100.

What are the key things you look for in a guitar amp?
Rekti:
I like overdrive, to be able to control the amount of drive with my hand using knobs on the guitar or through my right hand picking, and how hard I strum the string. I also want to be able to tame the presence, I want it to slap my ear, not poke it. The bottom end also needs to be tight, and I want to feel the sound hitting from behind when the amps are placed at my back on stage. I’ve had my Rockerverb since 2009, and I still use that same amp to this day. I pair it with the angled PPC412 (PPC412AD), which is a perfect match to me.

What are you currently listening to?
Rekti:
I usually listen to records which limits me to what I have, but as for new stuffs the last video I saw on youtube was Idles – Grounds and Once & Future Band – Problem Addict.

Photo by Donna Winchester

If you were lucky enough to see any or all of the Marcus King “Four of A Kind” live stream shows that ran every Monday from July 13 through August 3 – congratulations, I know you saw some fine music and exceptional guitar playing from one of the most talented young guitar slingers around and a full host of special guests. Due to the Corona virus and the resulting global fallout, we have been starved for live entertainment and our musicians have struggled to find ways to share their passion and creations with fans in a meaningful way. When Marcus and his management approached us here at Orange Amplification with the idea of creating live streaming from a fully equipped soundstage directly to music lovers around the world, we jumped in. These were full production shows with everything except the cheering audience on site. Of course, there were a few of us lucky loiterers, special guests and crew in attendance (and in masks) to witness the exceptional entertainment taking
place before us. I’m pleased and proud to say that Orange took the lead as “presenting sponsor” to help underwrite the events which had the added benefit of raising money for “MusiCares” the charity established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to support musicians with health care and currently to directly support their COVID Relief Fund. The shows were broken down as:

Night 1, Monday July 13

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The full presentation of The Marcus King’s recent solo album, the Dan Auerbach produced “El Dorado” along with highlights from 2018’s “Carolina Confessions” album and others including Marcus’ trademark cover of BB King’s classic “Sweet Little Angel”.

Night 2, Monday July 20
“Marcus King and Friends”

Billy Strings
Marcus King Band Bassist Stephen Campbell, by Donna Winchester

A partly acoustic performance with special guests Billy Strings and Maggie Rose. The set started with 3 songs performed by Marcus by himself from “Carolina Confessions” and 2016’s Marcus King Band LP. The second half of the show belonged to Marcus and fellow Nashville guitarist Billy Strings performing thrilling covers of classics including Jimi Hendrix “Highway Child” and a glorious version of the Allman Brothers’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”. This show laid down the marker for what was to come

Night 3, Monday July 27

Brent Hinds by Donna Winchester

“The Marcus King Trio w/ special guest (and fellow Orange Ambassador) Brent Hinds of Mastodon” This was the show I had been waiting to see. Anyone who has witnessed Marcus King live knows he has an incredibly wide-ranging talent in his singing, guitar playing and writing. His shows are usually somewhat restrained affairs as far as really tearing it up on guitar, but we have always known that he can cut loose and play blues, soul, jazz and shred with the best of them. On this night he unleashed a ferocity rarely seen from this extremely tasteful interpreter of song. I was not disappointed. This show was an hour and forty minutes of unrestrained top level guitar power. Marcus seemed possessed by the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Terry Kath and all the guitar heroes of a childhood spent listening to his father play covers of the 60’s and 70’s rock guitar greats. To close out night 3 Marcus called to the stage his “new friend” Brent Hinds to play 2 songs finishing with a face melting version of Black Sabbaths “Electric Funeral”.

Night 4, Monday, August 3

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The grand finale was an incredible night of music with numerous talented guest artists performing with the band. As Rolling Stone online did a much better review than I could ever hope to put together I’ll let then take it from here….

Marcus King and Friends Give ‘The Last Waltz’ a Timely Update
With a cast of Nashville musicians like Devon Gilfillian and Early James, the singer-guitarist breathes new life into the Band’s warhorse. The Last Waltz is one of the greatest concert movies of all time. It’s also one of the most over-tributed. But Marcus King and a cast of Nashville’s finest breathed new life into the Band’s storied farewell show on Monday night with fresh arrangements and, in some cases, even new lyrics. The leader of the Marcus King Band wrapped up his Four of Kind: Live From Nashville virtual concert series by playing 15 songs from the landmark 1976 gig, along with a group of friendly musicians.

Opening with a slowed-down, especially greasy take on “Up on Cripple Creek,” King and his eight-piece band, including two horn players and background vocalists Maggie Rose and Kate Barnette, made it clear that this wouldn’t be a note-for-note recreation. While some songs were delivered faithfully — Elizabeth Cook’s “Ophelia” was just as twangy and exuberant as Levon Helm’s — many were recast with the performers’ own stories and talents in mind. When King sang “Helpless,” he nodded to his own formative years in Asheville, subbing “North Carolina” for Neil Young’s original “North Ontario.” He shuffled the set list around, too. An angelic reading of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” traditionally an all-star, show-closing sing-along at Last Waltz tributes, came early in the concert, with King’s voice echoing through the cavernous empty rehearsal space. “We’re coming at you from Middle Tennessee, from a nondisclosed location,” King quipped at the start, aware of the unconventional nature of a pandemic concert.

But the most dramatic — and timely — change was to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” Robbie Robertson’s bitter-Southerner account of the end of the Civil War. Alabama country singer Early James performed it, beginning with a warning that his version would be markedly different, with key lyrics changed to reflect the U.S.’s ongoing reckoning with its Confederate mistake. “I hope we piss off the right people,” he said. “Tonight,” James emphasized in the chorus, “we drive old Dixie down” — a final rebuke of the South’s Lost Cause mythology. In the last verse, he sang
about how Confederate statues and monuments will fall: “Depraved and powered to enslave, I think it’s time we laid hate in its grave/I swear by the earth beneath my feet, monument won’t stand no matter how much concrete.” Joseph Hudak for Rolling Stone Magazine

Write up by Orange’s Pat Foley.

We asked Orange enthusiast Andy Nelson aka DJ Flotronux, the brain behind the Vintage Orange Amplification’ Facebook group to create a playlist to give us an idea of what comes blasting out of the sickest set up in town when he’s on duty, and it’s pretty sweet! Listen below, and follow us on Spotify for regular playlists, bangers and mash.

Every month we reward one lucky winner with a free pair of O-Edition Headphones. All you have to do is post your Orange rig to any qualifying social media using the hashtag #OrangeRigOfTheMonth. Please note we are not accepting entries via email.

What’s your name, age, occupation?
Reno Gooch, 45, musician, actor, hemp farmer, stage hand.

How’d you first hear about Orange?
When I was a child I saw the Beat Club videos of Black Sabbath and their Orange half stacks all around. It was a turning point for me and the Orange stacks were imprinted into my psyche. Just looking at my half stack takes me back to that feeling of being so excited about music.

What do you use your rig for?
My Oranges are used for performing and recording with my psychedelic fuzz band Space Coke.

How much did this rig set you back?
6 magic beans. Seriously though, I traded something for the Terror Stamp locally. I have 4 orange rigs so to speak, the Rockerverb MKiii 50 and PPC412, I have a Micro Terror with the 1×8, a Terror Stamp and an OR15 with a PPC112. I’m happy to be getting the Orange headphones to go with the Micro and Stamp.

How often do you update the rig?
I will never update my Rockerverb MKiii. It’s the best amp ever I truly believe. I may get a second PPC412 to go with it though! I’m updating the Terror Stamp with the Headphones you’re awarding me.

What gear is in this rig?
For my rig of the month it’s a Terror Stamp alongside my Seeker Effects Iommi styled Rangemaster. The tube preamp let’s me use my gig pedals and listen with headphones (which I now will have thanks to the generous Orange team!)

What guitar do you use? Why?
I have 2 Gibson SGs. A white limited edition with Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta Humbuckers. It sounds amazing and has a thicker neck. Its name is Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith Crowley aka “the white witch.” My other is a black Traditional with stock ’61 pickups. It’s a lefty. I’m lefty but play righty. I like using flipped lefty’s because it puts the controls where I like em. I use SGs because of my heroes Iommi and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

When was the first time you saw an Orange amp?
The Black Sabbath Beat Club videos. Shortly after that Stevie Wonder live in the 70s. Stevie’s whole band had Oranges everywhere. Man that tells you it ain’t just the looks!

If you could own any piece of gear, old or new, what would it be and why?
That’s a very tough question! I’m gonna pick Sister Rosetta’s 3 pickup white SG.

Who is your guitar hero?
Another impossible question! I’m taking the liberty of saying my main influences all together Helios Creed, Paul Leary, Iommi, Zappa and Hendrix.

Can you share any links where people can go to hear how this sounds?
Spacecoke.bandcamp.com. The Terror Stamp in particular will be on our upcoming LP on Forbidden Place Records. Out early 2021. I will also be posting videos soon on our Instagram page.

Grammy award winning, versatile blues rocker Fantastic Negrito, one of our newest Ambassadors will be taking part in a 3 song live stream on 13th August, at 1 PM Pacific/4 PM EST/9 PM UK. The live stream will be hosted on our YouTube channel and will be available via our homepage orangeamps.com or HERE. 

Fantastic Negrito cheated death to become one of today’s biggest blues innovators. His music is dynamic, reflects the many twists of his life and is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. It has won him the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2016 and 2019. His much anticipated new album, Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?, released on Cooking Vinyl/Blackball Universe on the 14th August 2020, is his most far-reaching work yet. It is an evocative work, inspired by the socio-political albums of the late 60’s, early 70’s.

He first became aware of Orange Amplification whilst playing with the afro punk band Blood Sugar X and then rediscovered them when he plugged into a Tremlord 30 at the 2019 Black Deer Festival. ‘I was taken back, I realised why I loved them,’ explained Fantastic Negrito, ‘Orange amps are so original, they cut through noise, their sound is old but new. That was when I knew I had to get back to playing them.’

Listen to Fantastic Negrito talking about finding Orange Amps on a recent visit to London HERE, and also see him discussing his TremLord 30 Combo HERE (available from 13th August).

The latest Orange YouTube session, on 13th August, 1 PM Pacific/4 PM EST/9 PM UK will be recorded in Oakland, California and features Fantastic Negrito accompanied by Tomas Salcedo on guitar and Giulio Xavier on bass. Be prepared to experience a compelling, energetic, highly perceptive performance full of spirit and warmth.

We feel it’s pretty fair to say that we broke boundaries when we released our Tiny Terror (that’s fair, right?) back in the day – 2006, to be specific. The original lunchbox amp whose schematics were drawn onto an A4 piece of paper, before being made up in that exact size.

Since then, we’ve continued to revolutionise the world of amplification, showing repeatedly that big sounds doesn’t necessarily come in big packages. Our Dark Terror picked up where the original Tiny Terror was left off, and our Terror Bass allowed bassists to join the club

You can check out our full guitar Terror range here, and our Bass Terror here.

The latest addition to our Terror family is the Terror Stamp, where we have taken it to the next level and created an amp in a pedal format, allowing you to get those luscious Terror tones at the tip of your toe!

The Terror Stamp’s tiny footprint, 8/16 Ohm Speaker Output, fully-buffered FX Loop and CabSim headphone output integrate seamlessly with your other pedals, and the hybrid Valve/Solid State design gives you the best of both worlds.

From crystal-clean to thundering high-gain, the ECC83 (12AX7)-based preamp has all the harmonics, dynamics and feel you’d expect, while the 20W Class AB Solid State power amp keeps things small, dependable and sounding great at any volume.

It wouldn’t be the perfect pedal amp without a headphone output. Our tried-and-tested, analogue CabSim circuit provides instant access to a very Orange-flavoured 4×12 speaker emulation. Just the thing for late-night practice with headphones, ‘silent’ recording or running direct to PA. The Headphone Output works simultaneously with the Speaker Output for maximum versatility.

“The most portable 20 Watt amp ever, and it’s still class A/B so it sounds good.”
– Ade Emsley, Orange’s Technical Director