Help Orange Amps Find Rare 1970s Effect Pedals

Orange Amplification manufactured the popular Phazer, Sustain and Distortion pedals at their UK Bexleyheath factory between 1977 to 1979. Probably one of the coolest things around at the time, these first ever Orange effects pedals are now very rare.

After seeing Orange users share images of various pedals, fans over at Orange’s Facebook page have requested Orange reissue these. During the COVID-19, like many people, Orange has been doing some housework; decluttering, sorting out, tidying up, clearing out. Mick Dines, who has been with the company since the early 70s, found the original, tea stained, schematics for the Phazer, Sustain and Distortion pedals and passed those onto the company’s current designer, Ade Emsley. However Orange have not been able to find the actual physical pedals and need help to get these reissues right.

The company is looking to reissue the iconic 1970’s pedals, with upgraded internals, but they need to find examples of the actual pedals to gather information about the exact size and dimensions of the original pedals and learn from the owners what made this special to them.

Is there anyone out there who owns and still uses a much loved 1970’s Orange Amps’ Phazer, Sustain or Distortion effect pedals? If yes, please contact Orange via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email them through their website https://orangeamps.com/contact/. Orange would love to talk to you.

People love censorship and telling other people what they can and cannot do (they loooove it). There is of course, a strong line of strong censorship in music, and below I’ve picked a selection of songs that were weirdly enough too much to take at the time of their releases.

The Beatles – I am the Walrus (1967)

Wow, we always talk about David Bowie reinventing himself, but what about The Beatles? From 1963’s ‘I saw her standing there’ to ‘I am the Walrus’ just a mere four years later in 1967, so trippy! 
Lyrically you’re almost torn, are these the ramblings of a madman of the work of a genius? Both, maybe? Despite the song being incredibly inoffensive throughout, it was thought by some that it was simply too sexual:

“Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down”
‘Pornographic priestess’ & ‘you’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down’ didn’t cut it with the squares.

Loretta Lynn – The Pill (1975)

“All these years I’ve stayed at home
While you had all your fun
And every year that’s gone by
Another babys come
There’s a gonna be some changes made
Right here on nursery hill
You’ve set this chicken your last time
‘Cause now I’ve got the pill”

Hell yeah to Loretta Lynn for this 1975 country-shocker! Recorded in 1972, her label waited three years before finally allowing it’s release. Women’s sexuality and reproductive rights are still a major debate in 2020 (which is just insane to me, our bodies, our rights!), so releasing this song within such a conservative genre as mid 70s country way back when was a pretty bold move. Needless to say, a lot of country stations refused to play it, however, the additional PR and shock value around it may also have worked to Loretta Lynn’s favour.

The Kinks – Lola

Despite it’s ‘bold’ lyrics, it was actually the ‘Coca Cola’ reference that got sweet Lola banned from BBC radio, as mentioning the brand name was seen as advertising. To avoid missing out on those sweet BBC plays, Ray Davies recorded an alternative take using the words ‘Cherry Cola’ instead. However, due to it’s explicit lyrics referencing a transexual or transvestite; “walk like a woman but talk like a man”, “Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls” & “I’m not the world’s most masculine man, but I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man, and so is Lola.” It was simply too much for the 70s. Rumour has it the song was based on their manager getting cozy with a bearded lady, either ignoring the fact she was bearded, or simply just being into it. Either way, the tune is banging.

Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen

Oh man, the Sex Pistols, they must have been a stuck up parent’s wet dream whey they first made an appearance! The filth and the fury of these greasy, outspoken punks, simply too much for the British empire to take. Their 1977 single ‘God Save the Queen’ (which was conveniently released just in time for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee), was regarded as an attack on not just the queen, but the entire monarchy, and was banned from the BBC as well as by the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which regulated Independent Local Radio. 

The Doors – Light my Fire

‘You know that I would be a liar, 
if I was to say to you,
Girl we couldn’t get much higher.

This one didn’t get banned from radio, but caused havoc at the Ed Sullivan Show. Before appearing on the show in 1967 to perform their single ‘Light my Fire’, The Doors agreed to replace ‘Girl we couldn’t get much higher’ with ‘Girl we couldn’t get much better’. However, during their performance Morrison stuck to the original lyrics, which resulted in them getting the remaining slots on the show cancelled, as well as some teenage hearts skipping a few beats.

Bill Ward by Colin Fuller

We’re all probably going bat shit crazy at the moments, and while we’ve been catering for our string playing friends in the form of practice amps to play at home, we can only imagine what our drummer compadres are going through, locked up and most of them unable to play as, let’s face it, drums aren’t exactly welcome in densely populated areas and cities. So, to shine a light on our drummer friends who are currently held up at home with an abundance of excess energy, we decided to ask a few drummers to share some of the songs that inspired them to start playing.

Massive thanks to Joey Castillo of The Bronx, Tomas Järmyr of Motorpsycho, Michael Amster of Nebula & Mondo Generator, Tom Marsh of Haggard Cat, Ken Pustelnik of The Groundhogs, Adam Bulgasem of Dommengang & Black Mountain, Thomas DiBendetto of Sacri Monti, Robby Staebler of All Them Witches, Rich Noakes of Derelics and Marco Ninni of Swedish Death Candy for contributing. Full playlist & artist overview of who picked which song below.

Joey Castillo, The Bronx, formerly of QOTSA

Circle Jerks – Red Tape
Motörhead – Motörhead
DEVO – Satisfaction
Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop
Fear – Camarillo

Tomas Järmyr, Motorpsycho

Meshuggga – Spasm
Cult of Luna – Finland
The Dillinger Escape Plan – 43% Burnt
Switchblade – 19:30
Tool – Schism

Michael Amster, Nebula & Mondo Generator

The Melvins – Honey Bucket 
Thin Lizzy – Massacre (LIVE) 
Poison Idea – Deep Sleep
Black Flag – The Bars (Live ’84-Live) 
Russian Circles – 309 

Ken Pustelnik, The Groundhogs

When asked about his top 5, Ken had this to say:

“This is tricky since I’ve spent my entire career trying to avoid listening to “just” the drumming for its merit alone. Why have I done that? Simply because I have attempted not to be influenced by other players so that I can preserve any natural originality in my own playing. Saying all that, here are 5 songs I have enjoyed today.”

The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
Mahavishnu Orchestra – Meeting of the Spirits
King Crimson – Starless (Live with 3 drummers)
Spirit – Fresh Garbage
Santana – Soul Sacrifice
Dave Brubeck – Take Five

Tom Marsh, Haggard Cat

Issac Hayes – Run Fay Run
The Mars Volta – Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)
The Locust – Hot Tubs Full Of Brand New Fuel
Zach Hill – Face Tat
Lightning Bolt – 2 Towers 

Adam Bulgasem, Dommengang & Black Mountain

CAN – Pinch
The Police – Next to You
Mahavishnu Orchestra – One Word
Slayer – Jesus Saves
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme, PT, III

Thomas Dibendetto, Sacri Monti

Colosseum – The Kettle
Mahavishnu Orchestra – Vital Transformation
Dust – Chasin’ Ladies
Captain Beyond – Mesmerization Eclipse
Beck, Bogart, Appice – Lady

Robby Staebler, All Them Witches

Pink Floyd – Echoes
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
Sun Ra – Dance of the Cosmos Aliens
Bill Frisell – Big Shoe
Miles Davis ‘Agharta’ full album

Rich Noakes, Derelics

Jimi Hendrix – Fire live at Woodstock (It has to be the Woodstock version) 
Jeff Beck – Led Boots
Dhaffer Youssef – Odd Elegy 
Mars Volta – Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – Dirt and blood 

Marco Ninni, Swedish Death Candy

Black Sabbath – War Pigs
Deep Purple – Speed King
Queens of the Stone Age – Sick Sick Sick
Sleep – Dragonaut
The Claypool Lennon Delirium – Boomerang Baby

Follow us on Spotify for monthly playlists.

Aaaaalright then, time for another Ramble On. This one’s been particularly hard to write, seeing as I’ve been self isolation with my cat for a whole month, and I’m severely lacking in the human interaction and social stimulation. I’ve always thought that if I was stuck somewhere with nothing to do, my creativity would blossom, lyrics and words would roll outta my head, into my hands and onto paper, I’d create from what was around me and learn new skills, but man, was I wrong. One month into solitary confinement and my creativity and focus is at an all time low, and me trying to fill this page with something meaningful and interesting seems like a battle bigger than the global one we’re all currently fighting.

So, instead of me forcing down a handful of bummed out paragraphs lacking in inspiration, I’m gonna share my current top 10 songs, my lockdown favourites.

Titanic – One Night in Eagle Rock

Titanic’s an old Norwegian band my Dad just told me about, and they rip – perfect if you’re into the Uriah Heep / Deep Purple heavy organ kinda vibe.

Flower Travellin’ Band – Shadows of Lost Days

I’m already seeing a pattern here, another heavy organ beauty; Shadows of Lost Days’ by Flower Travellin’ Band.

Tim Buckley – Get on Top

A bit of feel good funk with Tim Buckley’s ‘Get on Top’ – my cat sees me dance around to this on my own on a daily basis.

Funkadelic – Standing on the verge of getting it on

What would we do without George Clinton in a time of international crisis?

Cher – I Walk on Gilded Splinters

There’s a lot more to Cher than her 1998 hit single ‘Believe’, which I absolutely hate, so do dig deeper if that’s all you know, as you’ve been missing out. Her cover of Dr. John’s ‘Walk on Gilded Splinters’ is proof enough on it’s own.

Black Sabbath – Swinging the Chain

Absolute banger from ‘Never Say Die’ with Bill Ward killing it on vocals.

Blue Cheer – Black Sun

Can’t have the lockdown blues without Blue Cheer’s ‘Black Sun’.

Granicus – Taste of Love

Perfect sleaze from the lost days of Granicus – recorded in 1974, released in 2010.

Goliath – Dead Drunk Screamin’

More sleaze: Dead Drunk Screamin’ (that will be all of us soon…) from Goliath’s ‘Hot Rock & Thunder’ album.

Budgie – Breadfan

Budgie’s ‘Breadfan’ is a classic – the kinda song you turn up loud and drink beer to.

Our fourth ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Anthony Meier, Sacri Monti & Radio Moscow

Photo by Emily Power via The Jonesing Jams

A lot of the people I grew up jamming with is really fucking good at the guitar, so I decided to look into playing the bass as I’m influenced a lot by it rhythmically and I’ve always appreciated good bass players. I started playing it more myself and realised how much fun it was and stuck with it. We used to have jam sessions three or four times a week when I was younger, and when we started Sacri Monti I bass was what I wanted to play.

Shaun Cooper, Taking Back Sunday

My parents introduced me to rock ’n’ roll music when I was a little kid, and I remember hearing The Beatles and I just connected immediately – hearing John Lennon’s voice was just like ‘Ok, I get this, and I really like it.’ My mum would always sing around the house and play a little bit of piano and my dad plays the accordion – you can’t really rock out with an accordion, although Dropkick Murphys figured out how to do. I guess people in my family were always into music and would play at least a little bit. I started playing bass when I was 12 years old, and I dont know what it was or why, but I just fell in love with it.

Devin Holt, Pallbearer

The first band I ever fell in love with was Nirvana. I remember reading about Kurt early on, and discovered that he’d loved both the Beatles and Black Sabbath. So I checked them out, and ended up sharing his admiration for both. It was around this time that I first picked up a guitar, and it’s been a wild ride since then.

Space, Black Futures

Our third ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Marcus King, The Marcus King Band

I first started playing when I was about 3 or 4, and I’ve been playing professionally since I was about 11. I was really inspired by guitar players such as Clapton, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn from a young age, another early discovery was The Allman Brothers Band, as well as The Marshall Tucker Band and a bunch of other great Southern bands. Later on, I got really intrigued by “the frontman”, and artists such as James Brown, Otis Redding  and Aretha Franklin – anyone who had that certain attitude would really speak to me. What really changed the game for me was when I started studying jazz theory, and discovering Miles Davis and John Coltrane was really life changing to me, a clear game changer.

Steve Bello

I heard Led Zeppelin when I was four years old, thanks to my aunt, not that she was aware of it at the time. My grandfather was a jazz guitarist way back when, so while I liked that there was a guitar player in the house, I wanted to play heavy rock from the start. Grew up listening to Zep, Queen, Aerosmith, Kiss. Started learning guitar at age 9 but didn’t take it seriously until I saw Ritchie Blackmore on MTV smashing his guitar, and seeing videos of Jimi Hendrix lighting his Strat on fire. Both of those moments made me think “I have to play guitar for life!”

Becky Blomfield, Milk Teeth

I grew up surrounded by music and the people playing it, my grandmother played and my dad played the saxophone. It was something I just naturally gravitated towards from a very young age, and it didn’t go away. I think you either have it in you or you dont, and for me it was just something I stuck with.

Our second ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Laura Cox

Photo by Carlos Fabian.

I picked up the guitar when I was 14, and I think my dad’s very much to thank for that. He wasn’t a musician himself, but he was very interested in music, and it was something that was a part of my life from a very young age; him playing various country and classic rock records around the house. I first started playing acoustic, but it only lasted for about a year as I realised electric was more my thing. I was just playing around at home, and signed up to Youtube where I started sharing videos of cover songs I was playing. I didn’t really think much of it besides wanting to share my passion with the world, so the response was pretty overwhelming as I ended up getting millions of views! Back then, it wasn’t many females my age doing that sort of thing, posting classic rock covers, so there seemed to be a market for it and it definitely helped me get where I am today!

Kristian Bell, The Wytches

I initially started out playing drums as a kid, and didn’t really get into guitar until I was 17. I’d watch people play Nirvana covers on YouTube and just copy what their hands were doing, that’s how I learnt the basics. I guess already knowing how to  play an instrument was a bit of a head start but I wouldn’t really say I’m a real guitar player, I just wanted to be able to play the Nirvana songs.

Murray Macleod, The Xcerts

Photo by: TLBrooker Imagery

Starting it all off and sparking the interest was definitely the household I grew up in, both my parents and older sister was very into music. My dad in particular is pretty much a rock ’n’ roll historical – not as a profession or a job, but for as long as I can remember he’s just always had this encyclopaedic knowledge about dates, record companies, releases, band members and tours, and he has this amazing vinyl collection that I’d go through as a kid, pick albums to listen to based on their covers and end up with bands such as KISS and The Monkees, but it wasn’t until he played me The Beatles everything changed; I even remember the day and exactly where we were, sat in our car parked up waiting for my sister, and he played me live at the BBC by The Beatles, and I think I must have been about six or seven, I was really young, but it just felt like real life magic.

When catching up with Orange artists, one of the things we tend to ask is how they first got into playing – some were pretty much force-fed music from a young age growing up in musical homes, others found music for themselves. Over the next couple of weeks and as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign where we offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), we’ll be sharing a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Andreas Kisser, Sepultura

Mainly KISS and Queen, they were my two main bands. Queen came to Brazil in 1981, but my mum wouldn’t let me go because I was too young. Then KISS came in 1983, and that was my first ever show. Being able to go see them live at their Creatures of The Night tour, was insane, that changed my life. That’s why I’m here! Seeing that, in my home town, at my football team’s stadium.. As I said, it changed everything. When I first started playing, my goal was to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’, so that’s what I told my teacher. She gave me the basics and a good ground to learn on, gradually. It started out with acoustic Brazilian music, before moving onto other things. Slowly I’d expand my music taste as well, and start listening to bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Cream, all of those incredible vintage sounding bands and artists. I’m also inspired by Brazilian music, and as I’ve become older and developed my taste I’ve picked up on a lot of the older Brazilian music, which has been a huge inspiration to Sepultura. That’s played a huge part in finding our sound, using Brazilian percussion and other bits from our more traditional music.

Lord Paisley, Heavy Temple & Grave Bathers

I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the States when I was five. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and uncles playing me music, those dudes loved Metallica. My dad would also drive me around with Pearl Jam on repeat. All my uncles played guitar, and my grandfather the cuatro, so I had early exposure to those instruments. I didn’t pick up a guitar myself until I was 15 or 16, when my dad finally got an acoustic for Christmas and I got bitten by the bug. Eventually I bought an Epiphone Les Paul for money I’d earned selling candy in high school, and once that was done I stopped doing just about everything else to pursue playing. I’d recently been turned onto At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta and was like ‘Damn, that dude’s got hair like mine and he shreds, let’s learn that shit!’ My dad also made sure I knew Led Zeppelin was the greatest band of all time, so I guess that shaped a lot of my playing too, Zeppelin>The Beatles

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

I come from a musical household where my dad would experiment with home made hi-fi speakers and play bands such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and Dylan, as well as church and choral music. My mum, brother and sisters were also into music and would dabble in guitar, piano and singing. When high school came around, my older brother introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors, and it was around this time I bought one of my first records which was Hendrix live. After that I just wanted to play guitar like him, he was a huge inspiration! Strawberry Fields was also a mind blowing experience when I first heard it.

13th of February 1970 something changed in music, and it was never the same again. With Rolling Stones and The Beatles having been topping the lists the previous decade, the music industry saw a shift in the late sixties; San Francisco had the summer of love, The Beatles dropped acid and went to India, Muddy Waters released Electric Mud, Hendrix set fire to his guitar and introduced wah-wah to the masses, and the New Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin. By 1970, change was in the air. In Birmingham something had been brewing for a while, with four local boys, Tony, Geezer, Ozzy and Bill, coming together to make music, hoping their band would take off enough to keep them out of the local factories. Little did they know about the adventure ahead…

Starting out as ‘The Polka Tulk Blues Band’, they changed their name to ‘Earth’, before eventually becoming ‘Black Sabbath’. Prior to this, Tony and Bill had been in Mythology together, and Geezer and Ozzy in Rare Breed. However, their current musical endeavour was unlike anything they’d done before.

With the release of their self-titled debut album on the 13th of February 1970, Black Sabbath blew minds and melted brains. The album’s opening track, also conveniently called ‘Black Sabbath’, kicks off with roaring thunder and church bells tolling, before Tony Iommi dives right into – the heaviest shit the world had ever seen, and a slowed down, doomy take on a part of Gustav Holst’s ‘Mars, the Bringer of War’ from The Planets. The album did not exactly receive critical acclaim, quite the contrary, but did definitely not go unnoticed; people were talking and a fan base was building, and just a mere seven months later, they followed it up with a second album worthy of it’s predecessor, the mighty ‘Paranoid’. Despite the radio refusing to play their music and critics still dismissing their sound, Black Sabbath was here to stay. Fast forward five decades later, they’ve sold more than 70 million records worldwide, with their impact of music being undeniable, making them one of the most influential heavy metal and doom bands of all time.

By the time I first heard Black Sabbath they’d already been around for decades with the likes of Dio, Cozy Powell, Glenn Hughes and Ian Gillian, to name a few, all swinging by the band, and I was already familiar with heavy music through the likes of Motörhead and Iron Maiden. Still, Black Sabbath was different to anything else I’d ever heard before, and I can’t even imagine having been accustomed to years of innocence in the form of ‘Yellow Submarine’ and The Mamas & The Papas, to then being hit by by a wall of sound in the form of Black Sabbath – what a time to be alive for such a moment in music!

When interviewing Orange artists we’re always interested to hear more about how they first came across us, whether it was seeing Orange amps played, or playing them themselves. The most common answer to this question, across a variety of genres, artists and generations is Black Sabbath’s Beat Club performance from 1970, blasting ‘Paranoid’ from a full Orange backline:

“You can watch Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ video where both Iommi and Geezer Butler are using Orange, so when I was given the opportunity to try it for myself I took it straight away – Orange always just had that ‘aura of the masters”
– Andreas Kisser, Sepultura 

Other artists mentioning Black Sabbath’s Beat Club performance includes Graveyard’s Truls Mörck, Giorgos from 1000 Mods and Thomas from Monolord. So, needless to say – Black Sabbath has been an inspiration for generations of artists and aspiring musicians, and hell, they’ve probably helped us sling an amp or two. So, Black Sabbath, Tony, Geezer, Ozzy, Bill and everyone else who swung by the band and kept their legacy alive, thank you, for everything you did for music, for everyone you inspired, and everyone you entertained.

Truls Mörck of Graveyard, Desertfest London 2018. By Ella Stormark

At this point in time, many of you might still be knees deep in post-Christmas depression and January blues while dreaming of better days, potentially made even worse by dry January (I caved on the 9th and had a glass of wine, it doesn’t count if it’s with food right?) which equals stone cold sobriety during what feels like three hour long days. It’s okay though, spring’s not actually that far away – just look at this as an excuse to be a record recluse for a bit, personally I’ve only socialised once in the entire month of January, and hell, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m not quite sure when I’ll emerge from my winter slumber, but, it will definitely be in time for Desertfest London.

Since the launch of Desertfest London back in 2012, the festival has grown and gets bigger and busier every year, with 2020 looking huge. Among this years lineup, we’ve got some of the headliners from the first ever Desertfest London returning; Orange Goblin, who’s celebrating their 25 year anniversary this year, and Corrosion of Conformity. Also returning to the Desertstage is the mighty Graveyard, who’ll be accompanied at the festival by fellow Swedish countrymen Witchcraft, Maidavale and Lowrider, the latter due to release the follow up to their iconic 2000 debut album ‘Ode to IO’ on February 21st, a mere two and a half months before the festival.

Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless at Desertfest London 2019. By Ella Stormark

Mixing things up a bit at this year’s festival with sunny, progressive psychedelia, is US bands Sacri Monti and Monarch, both hailing from Oceanside just outside San Diego. San Diego’s been on the frontline of modern psychedelia since the formation of Earthless in the early 2000s, and Sacri Monti and Monarch are just two of many bands who’s followed in their footsteps with a modern take on older influences – the rise of successful psychedelic bands from the area is so high that ‘San Diego Psych’ has sort of become a genre of it’s own.

Of course, as always, Desertfest is also a fantastic platform for up and coming bands, featuring some of the finest heavy acts in the UK underground scene, such as London’s very own Green Lung, who’s 2019 debut album ‘Woodland Rites’ received critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian and Kerrang. Joining them on the bill is also Birmingham’s eerie doom band Alunah, and another London local in the form of The Brothers Keg, who despite having just released two songs, have caught the attention of The Obelisk who compared them to both King Buffalo and Sleep, eagerly anticipating for their debut album to drop.

We’re also excited to catch hard hitting and heavy two piece Big Business, the former rhythm section of the Melvins, and of course, doom connoisseurs Khemmis who will also be crossing the Atlantic for our listening pleasure, so there will be no lacking in the heavy riff department (okay dad…), not that that was ever a concern of ours anyway.

There are still some tickets left for the festival, so head over to Desertfest London’s website to get your hands on a pair and hopefully we’ll see you there! We’ll be catching up with some of the artists playing the festival in the next couple of months, so watch this space.