Orange Amplification joins the nation in mourning  the sad loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Il and we offer our sincere condolences to the Royal Family at this time.

Receiving the Queen’s Award in 2006, 2009 & 2012 was and will always be a great honour for us.

We celebrate her unprecedented devotion to duty and her dedication to a life of public service and a unifying presence for us all.

Sincerely.

Cliff Cooper and all at Orange.

BY DARAGH MARKHAM

Fresh conscripts from our sister pubs clock in. Actually, most of them are volunteers — naïve sadists with an expectant gleam in their eye. Sorry dude, there’s only one wristband on bar. Take a number and get in line, because you’re not catching Truckfighters. You’re standing here for the next nine hours, getting intimately familiar with how to pour a Hells. An urgent care package of Modelos is brought in from a nearby corner shop, as staff, some Desertfest team members, and a few customers have drunk through the entire weekend’s supply already. A customer grabs my arm. “Man, I saw your set at the Underworld yesterday — that was fucking nuts, your guitar must be totalled!” Yesterday feels like a hundred days ago. We played mid-afternoon, before the drummer and I, both ranking warriors of Camden bars, hightailed it back to start/resume our Desertfest shifts. One eye on the customer, the other toward the taps. “Yeah that was actually pretty much inadvertent, the guitar smashing…” I reply. It wasn’t my guitar either so, I won’t be hearing the end of that. Wonder what I can break next year.

Another customer is complaining about the toilets, reminding me of a recent review. We never really read reviews of the bar (as Larry David says, “the customer is usually a moron and an asshole”), but this one was great. Besides whining about the smell of our (a rock bar) toilets, the author referred to one of the staff as “Satan’s idiot”, which left one obvious thing to do: get cut-offs with Hells Angels-style back patches made up saying SATAN’S IDIOTS, for every member of staff. That this wasn’t achieved in time for Desertfest will forever be my shame. Eighteen hours in one place, doing one thing, listening to (essentially) one riff will either send you mad or grant you a sense of Zen you never thought possible. (For days after, I will lie in bed waiting to fall asleep, calves screaming, my mind endlessly flashing, locked into the mechanism of pouring pint after pint after pint like an automaton, the main riff of Sleep’s Dragonaut haunting my head in an infinite loop). The shifts follow similar patterns, and when the day’s headliners take the stages of the bigger venues, the bar clears out for awhile. This reprieve is spent with frantic smoking/drinking, before more prepping, stocking, reloading.

The final offensive will hit us soon — the bestial midnight raids of the afterparty. Actually, “siege” would be the more appropriate term. One bartender likens it to the relentless blitz of Call of Duty’s Nazi zombies, with the platoon pinned down, cornered behind the bar, weaving and dodging and sidestepping around each other, pouring pints with one hand, making spirit ’n’ mixers with the other, taking change with our mouths (pre-covid). The faces of customers become interchangeable bearded blurs. Your ears ring like after a bomb blast, fingers whittle into numb stumps from hammering orders into the till screen. Legs beg you to stop. Have another shot, keep going. This is the final push. If you can’t find a rhythm, you lock into crushkilldestroy mode: no logic, no order, just serve the first person you see after every completed order. My personal record is making over three grand’s worth in one day, and that was when we flirted with 10-hour “easy” shifts one year, so God knows what I rack up on a day like today. The bar is packed, the party heaving, the whole room one single, multi-limbed, multi-bearded organism. DJs are deafening — orders for cider result in soda and confusion. Regular Mat buys the whole 10-strong staff a round of top-shelf tequila, a much-needed and appreciated bolstering of our defences.

With the unexpected May heat and so many people in, our weathered cooler gives up and dies. The fan units out the back of the building pump out piping Saharan air. The beer starts pouring as pure foam in a bar full of pint-hungry maniacs. What can they be appeased with? The Modelos are long gone. Bongripper soundtracks our endless descent into ruin. Finally, at 3 am, we clean down the bar to Darude’s Sandstorm, because surely this should be the anthem of a festival with “Desert” in its moniker, and after a full, uninterrupted day of doom and stoner blasting through the PA and roaring from the venue, you need pop music. Hip hop. Fucking Dido (ok, not Dido). Exhausted, you stand at the toilet, jeans and boxers peeled midway down your thighs, pissing free and airing out your region. You look down to discover you are pissing directly into your yanked-down boxers, which have become a sort of piss-cradle. You are too tired to do anything about it, and just keep pissing. After all, you have survived a full Thursday–Sunday Desertfest. You are kept buoyant by the achievement. Tomorrow you will awake broken. Tonight, you will slumber victorious, knowing you will do it all again next year.

But right now, it’s time for the best-tasting beer you have ever earned. Dixie Dave is roaming the bar in a determined daze, clutching a large inflatable giraffe/camel. I’m drunk enough to get over myself and grab him and apologise for being one of those annoying, demanding fans, but something has been bugging me for years and I need to know: the burning American flag on …And Justice For Y’all’s cover art, the lyrics in Jason… The Dragon (“Abandon ship, and burn that goddamn flag… burn that fucking flag”), among other anti-American sentiment sprinkled throughout their recorded output — that’s pretty ballsy stuff, coming from shitkicking North Carolina… Dixie explains he’s always been a punk, and those things are just an extension of his skateboarding, anti-authoritarian origins, and some other rapid, rasping, guttural mutterings I can’t decipher. Then, straight-faced, he says to me, without a hint of irony, “Y’know, Weedeater… I don’t get why people think we’re a stoner band”.

Daragh Markham has worked, attended and performed at Desertfest many times over the years, sometimes all at once. He’ll play with D-beat speed metal hellions Dungeon at this year’s edition.

BY DARAGH MARKHAM

Let’s get one thing clear: if you can survive a weekend working the bar at Desertfest, you can work a bar anywhere, in any situation. Forget other festivals. You can sling pints on deck as the Titanic sinks. You can line up shots while a mushroom cloud courtesy of Putin/Biden/Kim Jong-fucking-un towers in the distance (customers irradiated before your very eyes, what a sight that must be…). But I’m drifting.

So it starts like this: you wake up, legs still aching. You’ve only shut your eyes a minute and now you’re on your feet again, slouching back to the front. At least you didn’t follow your colleagues to their spontaneous Slimelight afterparty (they’ll roll in soon, sicker than Mike IX Williams in withdrawal during Hurricane Katrina).

At the bar, every morning of Desertfest begins with the keg hustle. How much beer does the focal point of a festival need each day? About as much as Matt Pike loves aliens — lots. You’re rolling, stacking, lifting, packing an inordinate number of kegs, the tiny cold room filled to the rafters as your frazzled brain plays keg Tetris trying to organise it all while you sweat out yesterday’s regret.

It’s like war prepping, strategising every bit of space before another full-day assault. They rinsed us of that peach sour beer yesterday — gonna need to push something fruity to the front today… Fortify yourself with a couple Bloody Mary shots and a Modelo for breakfast. You’ll need it. For today be Saturday. Or is it Sunday? Forget it. Eighteen-hour shifts don’t require day names — they all spell insanity anyway.

It’s May in England and this year, miraculously, it’s not raining. Throngs accumulate in the alley out front, allowing air into the bar. By midday, the venue upstairs reeks of beer, bud, BO and beard. The volume is unreal. It’s way past capacity up there, a line of people snaking out and down the stairs, all looking to the venue door, where all you can see is the backs of heads. The body heat and smoke-machine dry ice hang in the stagnant air like mist from a Hammer Horror film. Oh, for a big-titted vampiress to take me now.

Those too late to get upstairs congregate around the bar. Acid casualties. Serial defecators. Curious out-of-towners demanding round after round of Bloody Mary shots. Space cadets reeling from obscene amounts of weed/shrooms/beer/acid demand they be looked after by your staff (this is the second consecutive year this happens).

Time gamblers cling to the bar, gripped by the unmistakable murk of several accumulated all-nighters, well-earned sleep circling, beckoning like a vulture. Any minute now, the eyes of one of them will roll back, their head will fall forward, and their face will slam on the bartop with a meaty smack. And somewhere in the bar, a skinny white boy is a bit too eager to clarify the name of the Eyehategod song playing, yelling the racial epithet in its title loud enough to startle the dazed, glazed and blazed attendees out of their afternoon reveries. Someone comes to the bar to inform us that one poor soul/hole didn’t quite make it to the toilets, opting instead to shit in the corner of the corridor leading to the johns. A recruit drafted in from one of the sister pubs is sent on a search and destroy mission. He returns disgusted but triumphant.

Ten minutes go by and someone else informs us of the faecal matter. Turns out the wet-behind-the-ears grunt had simply doused the mound of human waste with disinfectant powder (blue-coloured, meant for drains) and cordoned it off with blue roll, so the offending corridor corner appears infested by a pile of luminous blue-spotted mutant excrement like something out of The Thing. A dishonourable discharge beckons for this soldier for his failure to properly deal with the offending dishonourable human discharge.

Naturally, a weak stomach has no place in bar work. But this weekend, my diet will consist of three Quorn scotch eggs, a Quorn cocktail sausage, 63 Modelos, and anxiety. All of which means we have to talk about the snack station — the infamous, annually expanding staff snack station behind the bar.

I’m talking four one-litre bottles of vodka, four cartons of tomato juice, and multiple packs of celery sticks. I’m talking three large bags of tortilla chips, various salsa/guacamole/sour cream and chive/nacho chilli cheese dips, along with apples, oranges and bananas. I’m talking bread rolls, slices of cheese, ham, and cherry tomatoes. I’m talking sausage rolls, scotch eggs, pasta, chicken bites and steak bakes. And I am most certainly talking four to five ASSORTED TUBS OF HUMMUS and endless Modelos.

This is how we win. An army marches on its stomach, and my unit is no different. Around late afternoon, a senior member of the Desertfest team locks eyes with me over the bar and nods to the office. I nod in confirmation and lead the way, followed by the team member and an unknown third party dragging a suitcase on wheels behind them. The door closes, and I look at the two of them, waiting for some sort of introduction, status update, or indication as to why the three of us are cramped into the hobbithole confines of this office.

The two of them ignore me and a sordid transaction unfolds before my eyes.

“You got it?” the team member asks.

“Oh yeah,” comes the reply, in an American accent.

The American unzips the suitcase and produces two extra-large ziplock bags, containing six airtight Tupperware boxes, three in each bag. The boxes are brimming with a beige–brown substance.

My eyes widen, pulse quickens. “Is that h-“

The team member turns and narrows their eyes at me, smiling. “That’s right. Pure, uncut, homemade hummus.”

I gulp. Hard. The team member pulls an artist pass out of his pocket and places it in the American’s waiting hand.

He nods and smiles at me. “I’m an artist, bro.”

I’m hip to this scene. “Oh yeah, me too,” I wink and nod back.

A clandestine hummus handoff! In my own office! I am completely aroused. And, naturally, for his silence, your boy gets a slice of this action. I nip back to the bar to grab a bag of crisps and then scurry into the office and the chilly keg room to luxuriate, alone, in my share of the contraband. Fuck yeah, I whisper to myself, dipping crisps into a hunk of hummus clutched in my hand. This’ll take the edge off nicely.

Daragh Markham has worked, attended and performed at Desertfest many times over the years, sometimes all at once. He’ll play with D-beat speed metal hellions Dungeon at this year’s edition.

This year, Orange granted 100 wishes to fans around the world over the course of 12 days. We asked ‘What gear/merch do you want from Orange this Christmas?’ and you guys answered – we received well over 100,000 entries! It didn’t matter where that person was, we made it our mission to make sure everyone aroud the world had a good chance of having their wish granted. Here’s the list of countries we sent gear and merch to this year:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States

This year, we granted over £16,000 [$21,000 USD] worth of gear and merch. As we work hard to get the wishes to the winners, we’ll be covering delivery and custom fee’s so there’s no cost to the winner.

Some of the winners we reached out to, shared messages about their wish/win so with their permission we’ve included them here below for you to read:

Jeremy BakerTremLord 30I’ve always wanted an Orange amplifier after seeing a pretty legendary photo of the late-great BB King. The tones coming out of these amps in addition to the looks are something of dreams. The TremLord 30 has features that should make anyone drool.
Louise LawlorCadet HatDelighted to win something for my fabulous husband from Orange Amps. Wish granted 😊🎸🤘
HarryA belt?I wanted something to complement my guitar merchandise collection from orange :)
Glen BaileyT ShirtI don’t own any Orange products so any product I will receive is appreciated I will be wearing this t shirt to support Orange until I purchase gear planning to get gear next year
Serban ClaudiuT-ShirtI am a big fan of Orange and getting free merch from them is a dream come true. This is actually the first time i actually win something in a giveaway.
PredragBandanaNice to have in these Covid times :)
Luis BlancoPedal Baby 100I’m trying to combine analog and digital and I thought this could be the perfect platform for that :)
BraianCR120 ComboI’m a begginner musician and I don’t have so much money. I already have a Crush 12 Combo, and then saw this oportunity on Orange instagram, so a take the ride and here I am, being one of the winners :D
PS: Sorry for the bad english, my mother language is the Spanish (Español).
Stefano GiuliOrange Terror StampI’m already warming up the engine to start touring Italian clubs with the Orange Terror Stamp, I can’t wait to plug it to pull down all the walls!!!
Veronica JakobssonCREST EDITION HEADPHONESBecause me and my daughter have been intressed of your products now when she started to play guitar . She watches to a lot of youtube videos and now she can listen to them and practise whithout disturbing others . The headphones are really good looking . A great Christmas gift 🎁
Alina HackettCrest Edition Wireless HeadphonesI wanted these headphones as it’s a perfect way for me to tune out the noise of my neighbours and just focus on music.
Billy HubbardOrange Brown BeltThanks! My pants will be held up in style while I rock out on my Oranges!
Robert FreudenbergCrest HeadphoneI‘m very happy to use the Crest headphone for daily listening of Rock Music in bus and train, when I am traveling to work or anywhere else.
Tyler HaulenbeekCrest HeadphonesThank you Orange! Looking forward to a serious upgrade to my studio headphones.
Robert ParfittDual TerrorI’ve used small orange amps at home and loved the tone I can now use the dial terror for small gigs
Kelly SironenOrange Crest Edition HeadphonesReally love the look of these earphones, can’t wait to try them out
luca miranda y bauerCrest Edition HeadphonesFinally some good headphones, thank you so much!!
Yianni GrivasAn Orange mugI made many entries hoping to win anything , a mug will come in handy since I drink a lot of coffee on a daily basis, and I’m sure it’ll be better with an orange mug. It will also fit my PPC412 nicely
Tim PatoutA orange Guitar StrapI’m so glad to be able to represent Orange with their guitar strap and it’s going to be the perfect fit with my orange colored guitar.
Jeff YeeOB1-300Love Orange amps
Nate FilewoodRocker 32This is amazing! I’ll be using this to make some sweet new tunes. Playing guitar always helps my mental health and I can’t wait to get into it.
Chrisremy Berrefjordbrown beltcool belt:)
Marco FanizzaT shirt (kindly note my size is Large)Thank you so much! I will probably wear this t-shirt to every gig with my band!
Tom Brown,Terror StampThank you so much #wishgranted. You people are the best. Look forward to my new Terror Stamp.
Nino BogaardOrange Crest Edition wireless headphonesI’ve been in need for a new pair of headphones for some time and the Orange Crest edition was my first choice, but financially it was not meant to be yet. So this granted wish of a pair of crest edition headphones is amazing. Loving my Orange cr120h and overall brand, it’s an amazing Christmas already, thank you everyone at Orange!
Billy HubbardBrown beltMy pants will be held up in style while I jam on my Oranges !
Manuel FischerOrange MugCoffe with a slice of orange:)
Nathan FilewoodRocker 32 AmplifierI can’t believe it! I’ll be using my Rocker 32 to make some new (loud) tunes! Playing guitar and making new sounds is therapy for me so I can’t wait to sink into my first ever amp!
Danny PlunketteOBC112This cab will go great with the Orange products I already have!!!
Danny PlunketteOBC112This will go great with my terror 500 combo!
Mike BrobeckOrange TremLord 30 combo amplifierI love that Orange tone and I love vintage amp tremelo. I will be using the TremLord 30 with my original rockabilly/western swing/60s garage band for rehearsals and live shows.
Anthony BlancasOrange crest edition headphones 🎧I wish a crest edition orange Headphones cuz i love the music , and I want to enjoy it with the quality and technology that always orange amps offers, I’m going to hear and enjoy my music with this ones ! Thanks cliff , and thanks orange amps!
André GoulartT-shirtI love Orange, the products and brand, and i’m glad i’ll be able to show my support with this gift!
Daulton WurstTerror StampI’ve wanted an orange amp for a while now. I play guitar in a sludge metal band and I knew orange would give me the sound I’m looking for . With my gift I’ll be using my terror stamp plugged into a mixer and my bedroom amp.
David LancasterGuitar strapThanks, Orange!
Erick MontalvoTote bagI love the brand and i want to represent it in all possible ways, love you guys!
Samuel WilkOrange Crush Bass 100I recently started playing bass this year, and after some research, decided to purchase an Orange Crush Bass 25. I decided to enter the competition to try and win an Orange Crush Bass 100, as my friends and I want to try and start a band.
Tatiane Araujo GamaA pair of Crest Headphonesthese headphones definitely match my ginger hair and my musics!
Andre MatosGuitar StrapI saw the Instragram posts regarding the #WishGranted and also watched Orange’s youtube video with Cliff annoucing it so I thought I would enter just for fun. So I went for “any merch item” as it would be nice to win a t-shirt or something. I ended up winning a guitar strap which, obviously, is quite useful for any guitar/bass player. Thank you Cliff and Orange team!
Jeremy Maxence Carona pair of Crest HeadphonesI will use them for mixing and listen to all the bands I love and cherish and listen to podcasts well painting and drawing.
Charlotte AbrahamCrest Edition HeadphonesCant’t wait to get my Crest Edition Headphones! Can listen to my music in high def whilst I travel and work 🤘🏼🎧
Randy RedingTerror StampI love It Orange Amps and it’s awesome to have one that fits on a pedalvoard!
Tom NeeskensT-ShirtI wanted to win the shirt so I can wear it with proud on live shows!
Jeffrey SmithRockverb 50 ComboWoW!!! I really won!!! Can’t wait to join the Orange Family!
Fedor Kravchenkopair of Crest HeadphonesBeing a bass player with Fender amp, to start a guitar I’ve always wanted to have an Orange amp for its distinctive and unmistakable rich sound. With brand new Crest Headphones I’ll have the best sound for favourite tracks everywhere also with awesome style and battery life.
Jakub KamińskiTote bagIm gonna carry it with me everywhere! Im so happy :D
Benjamin MetralTremlord 30I dreamt about the Tremlord for those warm clean tones, vintage breakups and beautiful reverb and trem. I played this amp in a Copenhagen shop with a Tele and I was amazed. Can’t wait to play it with my band ! I’m so grateful. Big thanks to the Orange family, thank you Mr Cooper 🤟🏻🍊 🍊🤟🏻🙏🙏🙏
Robert VisserT-ShirtI want anything and everything to do with Orange. I think I submitted for almost everything on the list. I will wear this shirt proudly.
Dajun KanGuitar StrapI’m really happy about I won the prize. Actually, I prefer not to share my comment for privacy reasons. But trust me I’m really greatful for your generous gift.
Ian GrimshawGuitar StrapThanks Uncle Cliff! Happy Christmas to all!
Zvi Vaxmana mugwould love a mug to drink while listening to great music
Andy McGrathCrest headphonesCan’t wait to rock my new headphones!
Dhanika Nimpuna SetyawanOB1-300I’ve always wanted Orange Amps products, because so far the quality has satisfied me.
If there’s a chance to get it from the Orange Amps event, I’m always excited.
This gift will be my exploration of new music tonal with my beautiful Orange Amps
Raul LucioBandanaI’ll put it in my bedroom!
Mateo Julián Argote SalinasOrange Crush 35RTI wanted a good guitar amp, and now I’m waiting for one of the best in the world, it’s a very special moment and I’m going to use it to become a great musician
Matt RobinsonBandanaA bandana for my dog to match my amp!
Kelly BennettTerror stampI have always wanted an Orange Amp. They are the preferred amp of most all of my Guitar heroes and their tones! Truly the sound of Rock N Roll! Can’t wait to serenade my wife with it and then turn it up and wake up the neighborhood! Looking forward to recording and everything I will be able to do with it!
Christos Galatasbrown belti needed a belt for my new jackson guitar so great timing ahah
Matthew DicksonCrest HeadphonesThis is why Orange are truly the best. No other company does anything like this for its fans and users
Andres MauricioA T shirt :)I wanted an amp but hey an Orange T Shirt its cool fot me :)
Josh CottingtonGuitar StrapI love Orange amps, the brand history everything about it. I’ll be using it on stage accompanied by an Orange 1×12 cabinet, just need a 2×10 and AD30 and I’ll be set for life!
Beth ScheimannMerchandiseSporting Orange Amp merch to make people aware how awesome Orange Amp is.
Kyle BroadhurstCrest HeadphonesLooking forward to using my new headphones for some silent practice!
Bill Edwards-BodmerFur Coat Fuzz PedalI just recently joined the Orange family with a CR120 combo and I’ve been looking for a fuzz pedal to pair with it. What better one than an Orange Fur Coat! I can’t wait to rock with it! Thank you so much Orange! You rock!
Dan RomanchukBandannaAn easy and fun content to enter for an absolutely amazing product(s)
Duncan SmithCrest HeadphonesI’ll be using my new headphones to listen to some awesome Orange artists as loud as possible!
Ken NakataniLittle Bass ThingI didnt have a bass amp. my birthday is in december , I finally got a good bass amp for my mustang bass, Sweet!
Michael GonsalvesTerror StampI always loved the tone of an Orange Amp. The color alone is known Worldwide. I wished for the Terror Stamp because i was intrigued by it’s size and portability. I know that the tone i love, is jammed into this Terror Stamp.
I love Blues music and i look forward to playing the Terror Stamp up!

In September 2014 Orange added the LEARN button to its website. It provided guided lessons to anyone who wanted to play guitar AND get an official government qualification. We wanted to increase the chances of customers keeping up their love of playing guitar by helping them get measured results and get paid in a job environment from their new quals.

The course was split into 3 levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. After a year we had a few thousand guitarists logging into the website Learn area a month. Since Cliff founded Orange in the 60s, he’s always wanted to try different things but he was mainly spurred by the love of music and knowing he’s making a positive impact and so was very happy with what we had created.

In the following years, the amount of students subscribing to the course kept increasing. The course was updated and split into smaller and more manageable segments of lessons and we made it easy to run on any mobile device and not just desktop computers. All this was done with resources, we had it linked to our main website here at orangeamps.com.

Recently, the UK has changed how tax works with European online learning services such as Orange Learn. This means we no longer can maintain Orange Learn on orangeamps.com while running a merchandise store at the same time. So to resolve this, we have cloned our website over to orangelearn.com. Students can continue their studies while giving Orange Learn the ability to expand beyond what our website infrastructure at orangeamps.com was limited to.

On paper, orangelearn.com is a different company but the same team who managed orangeamps.com/learn are behind it and they’re excited to continue Orange Learn. We cloned our website over to orangelearn.com where you’ll find your progress, user, purchased lessons and courses as you left it – although if you progressed in the past week, you might find our copy a bit behind so you will have to cheat and skip a few lessons to get back to where you were.

We are also launching a more bite sized course with the same qualifications as the last one was pretty massive!

When you’re ready to resume your lessons, head over to orangelearn.com. Email us at [email protected] for any issues you find.

Here’s how the website looked back in 2014 when we first launched Orange Learn.

Our thoughts are with Bruce’s friends, family and everyone at Blackstar Amplification. Another great mind has been taken from the music industry and at a far too young age. We will always have the greatest respect for the innovative and creative work Bruce brought to the UK amplification industry. He will be greatly missed.

– from Cliff Cooper and the rest of the Orange Family.

Below was copied from Blackstar’s Statement posted on their Facebook page on Tuesday 21st September 2021:

https://www.facebook.com/blackstaramps/

On Tuesday the 14th September, Blackstar received the sad news that our co-Founder, technical mentor and friend Bruce Keir passed away. He died peacefully with his family at his side.


Bruce had been ill for some time, suffering from a form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Bruce was born in Singapore on 12 January 1961 to parents Jill and Jock. He is survived by his brother and sister Bill and Jane and his twin children Elly and Archie.

Bruce’s father was a leading BBC radio engineer and growing up on the BBC World News relay station in Malaya afforded Bruce the opportunity (and discarded components) to pursue his passion for electronics from an early age.


Bruce’s early interest in audio and guitar electronics was inspired by his love of rock music and his older brother Bill’s successful rock band, Wolf. He gained his early valve experience working on Bill’s old Marshalls.
Bruce’s formal electronics education took place at Salford University where he would supplement his grant income back home in Cumbria, fixing local bands equipment and designing electronics for handmade bass legends Overwater. He also set up his own company, Excel Electronics Ltd from the loft of his parents’ home in Cumbria.
After graduation, Bruce moved to Milton Keynes commencing work with Marshall Amplification. He started his career as a Design Engineer before progressing to Chief Engineer and then Design Director, working directly with Jim Marshall for several years. During the 80s and 90s he was responsible for many of Marshall’s technological breakthroughs and leading products.


It was at Marshall during the late 90s, that Bruce met Ian Robinson, Paul Hayhoe and Richard Frost (the Four Bald Men) with whom he would eventually form Blackstar Amplification in 2007.


Bruce had an encyclopaedic knowledge of all aspects of electronics that cut across the traditional boundaries of solid state, valve and digital technology. He advocated a “proper engineering approach” that contrasted with the “guruism” that is often prevalent in guitar amp design – Blackstar adhere to these values today.


Bruce was extremely generous with sharing his knowledge and has mentored many up-and-coming electronics engineers including Blackstar M.D, Ian Robinson and Technical Director, Laurent Veignal.


Bruce designed all the original Blackstar products including Artisan, Series One and HT Pedals with me in Ian’s garden shed in Northampton. Bruce was the technical driving force behind all these designs which led to three patents. He also designed the original digital algorithms that became ID:Series and is the foundation of our digital strength today.


Under Bruce’s guidance Blackstar has established a world leading guitar technology R&D facility which invests constantly in researching guitar technology and driving forward innovation.


As well as business partner and mentor, Bruce was also a very close friend and played bass in a band with the founding Blackstar team (including Marketing Director Joel Richardson) for years.

Over the years, Bruce has been an inspiration to many, many people and those who met him will remember the warmth, humour and gravitas of a truly unique individual. Blackstar will make sure his legacy is remembered, protected and strengthened.

Bruce’s family and Blackstar have requested no flowers, but have set up a Just Giving page for donations to the Alzheimer’s society.

Please donate through this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brucekeir

You can leave your tributes, stories and experiences of your time spent with Bruce here: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/BruceKeir/

Ever since he founded Orange back in 1968, Cliff Cooper has always believed that no other company could have cared more than us about innovation in guitar valve amplifier design and sound technology. However, it’s not just about design, it’s about how the sound is perceived – something that Cliff has always thought of as ‘the sound of the sound‘… it’s about the physical pleasure that the sound of an amp gives a guitarist as he plays. That is what really matters.

I’ll share some of my favourite ‘Orange Sound‘ devices that I use in my studio, live shows, demos, etc.

For example, let’s talk about the Kongpressor pedal, an analogue Class A compression pedal with an organic three dimensional quality.

Credit: Musicradar

Kongpressor’s effect is transparent at lower compression levels, but somehow fattening, adding mojo and a glossy sheen to your core tone that you’ll truly miss when it’s bypassed. Even at extreme settings, the tone always remains musical with great feel under the fingers. Outstanding for crystal clean country pickin’, but maintaining the bottom end that seems to get lost in many compression pedals, behaving impeccably with overdrive pedals or the lead channel of your amplifier, adding fullness and sustain.

Oooooooor, what about the PPC212, a closed-back 2×12″ featuring two Celestion Vintage 30 speakers, the PPC212 is in essence our classic 4×12 slashed in half, ideal for players looking for the the fattest possible tone when a 4×12″ would be too large.

Finished in our legendary 1968 livery, basket weave vinyl, woven speaker grille cloth, signature ‘picture frame’ edging and 18mm Birch ply construction… what a cab !! As Devon Allman described it “This ain’t your Daddy’s blues. It’s the next generation. It gets airborne. It’s fueled by Orange.”

I’ll keep picking favourites and bringing them to you, to maybe give you a new idea for your rig, an obscure gadget you should discover or the next classic to be Orange product.

“… we can always learn new skills and improve, we will also continue with our search for perfection.” – Cliff Cooper

We asked you to share your favourite riffs with us and we’ve now compiled them into a playlist, no surprise here that Black Sabbath’s the king of the castle, with about half of you saying’Into the Void’ is the best riff ever. Listen below, or by finding us on Spotify under ‘orangeamplifiers‘ and give us a follow to be kept in the loop of new playlists. Happy Easter!

Nestled in the Oxford shire hills Truck Festival is a small, friendly festival showcasing the best acts from the alternative and indie genre. Orange sent its artist relations rep Daniel to check out the sights and sounds of this festival and come back with his best things from the festival:

The Site

This was the first time I have graced the Truck Festival site and was struck by its friendly and helpful staff. Not only this but the layout was really easy to navigate, with plenty of room on site without anything feeling too far away. The giant Truck letters that were pretty much bang in the centre of the main arena become a easy meeting point.

The Nest

If you want to find out the best new music then The Nest stage is where to look at Truck Festival, across the weekend it played host to such great new bands as Yonaka, Anteros, and Inhaler. I managed to catch Anteros set which had the tent packed out, the band played tracks from their debut album ‘When we land’. Their mixture of faced paced pop indie songs were the perfect soundtrack in the unusually sunny English weather.

Idles

The band’s set was the first of four sets over the next two days, which include other festivals such as Y Not. The band have had a whirlwind 2 years and it doesn’t seem like it will stop anytime soon, the main stage was packed for their 2 o’clock set. Opening with the bombastic sound of Heel/Heal the band rattled through an hour long set in front of a packed main stage. The band were greeted like hero’s with smoke bombs going off and the crowd singing back every word, the single ‘Danny Nedelko’ was a particular highlight.  

So Many Bands!

Something I was so impressed with was the breadth of bands that were on the bill, especially the different types and size of bands. The Oxford Sympony Orchestra opened up the main stage on the Saturday, the crowd created a circle pit and a chant of ‘cello, cello’ erupted throughout the set. Public Service Broadcasting closed the second stage to a packed crowd and Mr Motivator opened up the Main stage on Sunday! It just shows how much there is to do at Truck Festival, I never thought with Orange I would get to meet Mr Motivator!

The Weather

Being in the U.K. we have got completely used to festivals being a wash out, if you don’t take a full set of water proof equipment then you are going to be in trouble. But no need for Truck Festival, the weather, other than a bit of rain on Saturday morning was bliss, even maybe a little too good. The amount of sunburn seen on Friday from Thursday’s temperatures of 38C was very apparent, most visitors had a lobster pink hue but we shouldn’t complain, give 38C every year for every festival!

Foals

Finally I have to mention Foals headlining on Saturday night, the Oxford locals came home to destroy the main stage. This year has been a big year for the band as they are releasing two albums, ‘Everything not saved will be lost – Part 1’ has been nominated for a Mercury prize and the second part will be released in October. The band open with ‘On the Luna’ from the new album and then proceed to play a career spanning set, which includes old favourites such as ‘Olympic Airways’ and the rarely played ‘Hummer’. It’s a perfect end to the Saturday night and judging by the crowds reaction to the encore with flares and smoke bombs going off Foals have smashed their homecoming!

Question: What if Ghostbusters was like, still about blasting ghosts, but instead of using proton packs they used Orange amps strapped to their backs and the guns were guitars?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The Ghostbusters are some of my favorite people. They’re all laid back and cool, but at the end of the day they’re action stars, superstars even. They saved the f*cking world. They’re pretty ugly guys but that’s what makes them endearing. I mean, look at country music icon Conway Twitty:

Conway Twitty came from a time when you could be ugly as sin but still be a music superstar. We called it the 70’s. That dude was beating off women with a stick.  

The Ghostbusters have proton packs which, according to the definition I found in my sock drawer, have “the power of 1,000 suns harnessed into a backpack that could potentially malfunction causing the end of the universe as we know it.” That’s a whole lot of power for these men to wield.

In fact, we should fear the Ghostbusters. They’re basically gods. Which is why I don’t understand how a guy like Martin Peck, representing a governmental organization like the EPA, would think it’s even in his wheelhouse to try and tell these guys what to do. Put them on their pedestal and give them their gold medal because nobody is worthy of their greatness.

And so that’s why I think they’re basically the same as Matt Pike.

Hear me out.

The Ghostbusters have technology capable of tearing holes in the space-time continuum. Matt Pike has a wall of Orange amps. That’s pretty much the same thing. Also, the Ghostbusters shoot beams of energy (music) at ghosts (their audience). Then they capture the ghosts (the audience’s attention) and transport them to an otherworldly holding chamber which is essentially purgatory (the merch line).

See? Doesn’t that make sense?

It doesn’t? You’re upset you even started reading this opinion piece? Fine, no worries. The whole point of this was to show a picture of a Ghostbuster with an Orange cab strapped to his back.

Yeah, that’s pretty badass.