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Friday the 13th of November 2015, the unthinkable happened. Terrorists attacked Paris and the Bataclan where Eagles of Death Metal were playing a sold out show. 89 people dead, 99 critically injured. An absolutely shocking and disgusting attack on innocent people doing what they love the most, watching, listening to and playing music. Cowards with firearms, going after people with no way of defending themselves. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it, and I cant even begin to imagine the hell they went through.

From bottom-left clockwise: Matt McJunkins (Bassist), Alex Auxier (Orange AR Manager), Rat Scabies (The Damned), Ella Stormark (Orange Blog Contributor), Julian Dorio (Drummer), Eden Galidon (Guitarist), Dave Catching (Guitarist)

From bottom-left clockwise: Matt McJunkins (Bassist), Alex Auxier (Orange AR Manager), Rat Scabies (The Damned), Ella Stormark (Orange Blog Contributor), Julian Dorio (Drummer), Eden Galidon (Guitarist), Dave Catching (Guitarist)

Just a week before, I was lucky enough to meet some of the guys before their London show, so it hit extra close to home. That could have been me, you, anyone we know. We all hear about the war but we don’t expect it to come knocking on our front door.

I wasn’t sure if Eagles of Death Metal would ever return after the shooting, but I knew that if they did, they would come back stronger than ever, like a phoenix from the ashes. Next Tuesday, they’re back in Paris, and I applaud them. It’s the biggest ‘fuck you’ to terrorism I have ever seen, and I’m incredibly happy the terrorist didn’t manage to take music away from them.

They’ve received massive support from the music industry, bands and artists covering their song ‘I Love You All The Time’ with all proceeds going to charity. I too wanted to contribute, and decided to gather some friends and acquaintances to have them do their own take on the song, whether that be a video or a studio recording. A lot of time, love and effort have gone behind these covers you’re about to hear, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

DERELICS

 

CLEVER THING

 

LOVE BUZZARD

SHANNON WARDROP

VIRGIN KIDS

 

SEWER RATS

 

EVELINN TROUBLE

For these and a few other great covers, you can follow this playlist. Help spread the love, donate to The Sweet Stuff Foundation and play rock ’n’ roll, loud.

Peace, Love & Death Metal.

The Beatles famously sang that they’d ‘get by with a little help from their friends’. As guitar players our ‘friends’ are something that we should not take lightly. Although playing guitar is a very subjective thing, when it comes to the big picture of guitar playing we simply wouldn’t be able to survive without those who empower and support us.

Music Store
If you’re fortunate enough to live within close proximity to a music store consider yourself lucky (some of us are not!). With the invention of the Internet your local music store perhaps isn’t as important as it used to be, but it’s still a resource that should be utilised as much as possible when it comes to information, gear, expertise etc. If you’re lucky you may be able to strike up a good relationship with the staff which means that you get even more support.

If a store has this many staff one of them must be able to help you…

If a store has this many staff one of them must be able to help you…

Techy
Not all of us are tinkerers or have the confidence to have a go at the number of things that can be adjusted or might need to be replaced when it comes to gear…after all when it comes to valve amps the things can kill you if you’re not careful! Knowing someone who knows a thing or three about the intricate workings of guitars and amps is a good thing. There are two vital elements that need to be considered when it comes to a Tech. The first is that they know what they’re doing. The second, and perhaps most important, is that you trust them. Remember you’ll be handing over your pride and joy to someone else so you want to make sure it’s in safe hands.

Bandmates
Like ‘em or loath ‘em they’re what you’ve got to work with! They’ll of course have their annoying traits like not showing up to rehearsal on time but as long as you’ve picked good ‘uns hopefully your bandmates will always have your best interest at heart. They should be supportive and encourage you when it comes to playing, and be able to offer advice and guidance on everything from which bit of gear you should buy next, to what to do if your marriage is breaking down. That said they’ll also be first in the queue to ridicule you for that bum note in the middle of the solo.

You might not have this many to rely on but hopefully they’ll look a bit more ‘normal’…

You might not have this many to rely on but hopefully they’ll look a bit more ‘normal’…

Manufacturers
Sometimes the best help and advice comes straight from the horse’s mouth. Manufacturers are busy people (remember they’ve got empires to run) but most will do their best to make sure that the experience you have when using their gear is the best it can be. That’s not to say that you should immediately get in touch with them when you have a query or a problem but if you’ve tried everything else they may be able to help.

Inter-web
The internet is a very powerful resource. Blogs like the one you’re reading and forums such as the Orange Amps Forum offer an endless supply of information from those that interact with it. If you’re not able to find the answer to your question ‘locally’, it’s a fair bet that either you’ll be able to find the information on the internet or you’ll be able to find someone who knows.

This forum is awesome (no bias honestly)…

This forum is awesome (no bias honestly)…

Family & Friends
And last but definitely not least we come to those that are closest to us. The people who put up with us hashing through the same song a million times as we learn it, the late nights and dodgy venues and help carry the gear for us show after show after…. They might not be a necessity when it comes to playing and a lot of the time they’ll never fully appreciate what playing does for us as individuals or understand the need for us to have more than one guitar but they do have a massive impact on us as people. And remember even if they say they’re not a fan…they are really.

Fingers crossed yours haven’t got so many issues…

Fingers crossed yours haven’t got so many issues…

So if you’re ever pondering your guitar playing existence spare a thought for all those who make it possible because one thing is for certain…you wouldn’t want to be without them!

There are few things that excite me more than coming across new, good music, so I figured I’d share some of my favourites. Who knows, you might just find your new favourite band! They are listed in a completely random order, as ranking my favourites would be the hardest thing anyone have ever done since Sophie had to make her choice in, you guessed it, “Sophie’s choice”.

1. PSYENCE

Psyence1

I lied when I said I didn’t have a favourite, because I totally do – it’s Psyence, the best thing to come out of Stoke-On-Trent since Lemmy. God knows what they put in the water up there, but get me some of it. The four boys play heavy alternative rock ‘n’ roll, with a hint of psychedelia. It’s not often one comes across bands such as Psyence, as they show exquisite craftsmanship and love for the music they’re playing. They’re totally having the time of their life while on stage, and the only one having an even better time than them, is whoever’s lucky enough to be in the crowd watching them. Check them out on Facebook and Soundcloud, and don’t miss their newest video “Hyde”.

2. DERELICS

Derelics by Marianne Pink

Derelics by Marianne Pink

Derelics – Probably the best band you’ve ever heard if you’ve just been born. Their words, not mine. The truth is though that Derelics and their never-ending songs are pretty freakin’ good, a crazy mix of heavy stoner rock, psychedelia and grunge. “Ride the Fuckin’ Snake to Valhalla” is eight and a half minutes long, but that’s eight and a half minute very well spent in my opinion. Reno, the brain behind the operation, could probably sail this ship on his own, but I guess gigging on your own as a three piece band would be quite challenging, so he’s got himself a drummer and a bassist..

3. BAD FOR LAZARUS

Bad-for-Lazarus

If you ask Bad For Lazarus to pick a genre for their music, it’d be “Garage motown hell punk rock ‘n’ roll action” – “What’s that?” you might say, so instead of trying to explain the unexplainable, check out their newest album “Life’s a Carnival, Bang! Bang! Bang” who’s produced by none other than the almighty Chris Goss.

4. BLACK HONEY

Black-Honey

Female fronted Brighton band Black Honey sounds like Nancy Sinatra on speed in the Wild West, making a soundtrack for a new Tarantino film. Check out their song “Spinning Wheel” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

5. NEW DESERT BLUES

New-Desert-Blues

Before the release of their debut album early next year, which from what I’ve heard so far will be amazing, New Desert Blues are headlining London’s Hoxton Square bar and Kitchen, before flying over to Germany for a few shows, one of them being Rolling Stone Weekender. Having seen them play live before I can guarantee that you should grab any opportunity you get to experience them while they’re still playing small-ish venues, as they’re absolutely mind-blowing live. Until then, you’ve got soundcloud and Facebook to keep you going.

6. SAINT AGNES

Saint-Agnes

Saint Agnes, yet another band that has got a bit of a Tarantinoesque vibe to them, which in my book, is never wrong. Their newest release “Live under London” features an amazing cover of The Doors – Roadhouse Blues, plus three of their own songs. If you’re into heavy bluesy riffs combined with some organ and harmonica, then Saint Agnes is the band for you.

7. ST. TROPEZ

St-Tropez

St. Tropez – four guys making music in a former gay sauna by the canals of Amsterdam, and they’re awesome. If you’re a fan of The Datsuns and Bass Drum of Death, you’ll like St. Tropez. Check them out on Facebook and Soundcloud.

8. PINK LIZARDS

Pink-Lizards

A couple of months ago I found myself in awe watching Pink Lizards play, not knowing what had hit me. The three-piece fronted by Miss Daisy Coburn (who’s also in Bad for Lazarus mentioned above), plays heavy 70’s rock that brings to mind bands such as Black Sabbath and Pentagram, and surely that on its own is enough reason to give them a listen! You can find them on Facebook and Soundcloud.

9. KID KARATE

Kid-Karate

According to their Facebook page, Kid Karate sounds like “Mike Tyson serenading his wife with a heavy metal cover of Abba’s ‘Waterloo”, and to be honest that’s all I need to know to consider myself a fan. Also their music is great.

10. SHANNON WARDROP

Shannon-Wardrop

I’m pretty sure Shannon Wardrop has got one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard – I’ve seen her perform so many times over the years that I’ve lost count, but she keeps mesmerizing me and everyone else there, whether she’s playing with a full band or just doing an acoustic solo set. She just released her newest EP “Cloud Nine”, which you can check out on Spotify, “Supernova” is my personal favourite – I mean, that bass…

11. NEW CANDYS

New-Candys

Italian band New Candys are based in Venice, and lucky as I am, I happened to come across them in a North London pub earlier this year while they were touring the UK. Their newest album “New Candys as Medicine” is absolutely brilliant, sounding like a mix of Tame Impala and a Temples if they were to cross over to the dark side. Check out their Facebook page for more info and tour dates.

12. LOVE BUZZARD

Love-Buzzard

 

Love Buzzard is the kind of band your mother doesn’t want you to listen to – they are loud, noisy and absolutely brilliant. The filthy garage rock duo have just released their debut album “Antifistamines” – you can expect fuzzy guitar, energetic drums and screaming vocals. It’s like The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster with Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist’s drunk cousin on vocals.

13. JACK + ELIZA

Jack-Eliza

Childhood friends now turned musical collaborators Jack + Eliza, makes music that even Brian Wilson would be proud of, a stripped back take on 60’s pop music where their two voices beautifully compliment each other in lovely harmonies. As well as a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys vibe, you get some Mamas and the Papas and The Shins in there as well, and surely you can’t go wrong with that? Check out their debut album “Gentle Warnings” on Spotify, it sounds like summer.

14. HIDDEN CHARMS

Hidden-Charms

Hidden Charms plays upbeat 60’s music that makes you want to get up and dance, and their combination of California surf rock and British attitude works very well. Get ready to pull some shapes and have a listen, you’ll find them on Soundcloud.

15. BLACK MOTH

Black-Moth

I first heard Black Moth when they played support for Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in London last year, and I had their song “Blackbirds Fall” on repeat for about a month after that. They just announced a new “lady moth” joining the band, and they’re currently getting ready to hit the road with Sisters of Mercy next month.

 


Hopefully you’ve got some new music to listen to while commuting to work, strutting down the street, dancing around the house or whatever it is you do, and maybe you even know of some bands deserving some extra attention and fifteen minutes of fame – if so, please share them with us in the comment section below, let’s spread the good word!

By Darren Carless

Technology these days allows us to do all kinds of weird and wonderful things. We can put the kettle to boil before getting out of bed or control the heating in our homes whilst out and about via our mobile phone (no idea why you would really need to do either personally but each to their own). Technology it seems has worked its way into every corner of our lives and the world of the guitar player hasn’t escaped its influence either.

As guitar players we can now alter the characteristics of our guitars without doing anything physical to the guitar itself (e.g. Fender’s American Deluxe Stratocaster Plus with sound card). We can even change the voice of our pedals by downloading a new one (e.g. TC Electronics Toneprint) without too much hassle but is it all as fantastic as it seems or have we just been blinded by science?

This question does not apply to cell phones. We should never wish for the return of old cell phones

This question does not apply to cell phones. We should never wish for the return of old cell phones

Travel back even only a few decades and your average guitarist had zero or very little access to anything that could be deemed hi-tech (by today’s standards anyway) but they were still able to conjure up tones and sounds that modern guitar players use as the benchmark for everything else and deem to be ‘classic’. So why is it that in our pursuit of our dream sound or perfect setup we place so much importance on what a bit of kit can do in addition to what its predecessors were able to do?

Don’t get me wrong…technology allows us to do some great things when it comes to music. Without advances in technology solid state amplifiers wouldn’t be as available which could’ve meant that a lot of guitarists would be without an amplifier (and the world is a sadder place with even one less guitar player). Modeling Amplifiers (which give many people access to sounds / tones and possibilities that otherwise they would never have had) wouldn’t exist. We wouldn’t have access to the wide range of effects that many of us employ so easily today (delay / echo pedals used to be a hell of a lot bigger and very expensive). Even the world of recording has been turned on its head with the invention of software such as Pro-tools and Logic, and with technology becoming ever more affordable recording no longer needs to be a massive expense and can be done from the comfort of your own home. You can even check your own valves at home now with devices such as Orange’s VT1000 valve tester which would have been un-thought of even only 10 or so years ago.

VT1000 Valve Tester

VT1000 Valve Tester

But bearing all of this in mind, if technology is now the ‘norm’ and a very important consideration when it comes to choosing a new guitar or amplifier; how come we still crave the inventions of yesteryear more? A whole host of effects pedals pride themselves on being analogue (hell some manufacturers even produce full tape delays such as those used in the 60’s). The holy-grail as far as many guitar players are concerned when it comes to amplifiers is a valve amplifier and not a modern solid-state technological wonder. If you buy a guitar, in general terms, the older it gets the more expensive it gets but it’s only a block of wood (we’re only saying this for emphasis) and it can’t even tune itself. Even many of the professionals seek the glory of the past and insist on vintage parts being used in their signature products in an attempt to emulate their heroes.

Fulltone's Tube Tape Echo: a modern take on a vintage classic

Fulltone’s Tube Tape Echo: a modern take on a vintage classic

So is it just a case that technology can sometimes go too far and in fact makes things more complicated than they need to be? Many people are old fashioned when it comes to their gear and like things to do what it says on the tin. For instance if you buy a Gibson Les Paul surely you want it to sound like a Gibson Les Paul, so does it need to have coil splitting pickups or a boost switch? For some they may be a really useful addition but are they a necessity?

If Gibson made a Guitar Hero controller...

If Gibson made a Guitar Hero controller…

The question is do we really need all of the things that technology can offer us when it comes to music (and we’re not talking about manufacturing processes or materials). When a lot of the music that we love today was created they didn’t have any of the technology we have today but they were still able to craft some of the most breathtaking and endearing music ever heard…and it’s still listened to today and held in as high a regard. So next time you’re thinking of picking up a new piece of gear that has the latest technological improvements ask yourself do you really need it to have that extra knob or switch or do you just need it to do its job?

On Wednesday, August 12, Incubus, Deftones, Death From Above 1979, and The Bots played Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood in Atlanta, GA. I was there with the Artist Relations Manager/Guru of Orange Amps, showing artists a yet-to-be-unveiled new product, making connections, and hanging out with one of my favorite bands of all time. My first-ever backstage experience included excellent catering, meeting Brent Hinds and Brann Dailor of Mastodon, watching the Deftones set next to Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, and chilling with Stephen Carpenter in the back of Deftones’ tour bus. I guess you could say it was an alright night.

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Deftones opened up their 80-minute set with the classic “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” from their 1997 album Around the Fur. The view from the VIP section was pretty radical.
The set spanned the group’s catalog, including songs from 1995’s Adrenaline all the way through Deftones’ last release, Koi No Yokan, although many songs were fan favorites from White Pony and Diamond Eyes.

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In this shot, Norman Reedus is clearly soaking up the aural bliss of “Digital Bath.” The sound throughout the night was incredible, thanks to the crew of talented sound engineers and the bands’ drool-worthy gear. Deftones’ choice makes a lot of sense to us!

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Stephen Carpenter’s guitar rig isn’t joking around one bit. 4 Axe-FX preamp/processors, 2 ENGL tube poweramps, and 4 Orange PPC412C cabinets covered in black tolex. The guitar tone was incredibly clear and monstrously thick!

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The entire show was great, with Incubus closing out the night after Deftones. We went back to Deftones’ tour bus and hung out with Stephen, their guitar tech, and a couple of people from their tour crew before calling it a night and heading out. Although nights like these are probably a pretty frequent occurrence for Orange, I will never forget my first “backstage” experience, and I’m glad Orange Amplification was involved.

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-Kendrick Lemke, intern #47

 

 

By Chris Corfield

As you know, Orange is blessed with a rich heritage. And, as with any company out there in the public realm, we have had to observe a range of myths, mistruths and misunderstandings about our history. Well, we simply won’t stand for it any longer. You guys deserve the truth. So, we’ve collected a small sample of some of the tallest tales out there (and totally haven’t made them up for the purposes of a blog) and we ask you to hear us out as we put things straight.

1. Company History
The history of this company is interesting enough that it doesn’t need embellishing, yet that hasn’t stopped some people speculating that we were in fact borne out of a lost bet between two warring Viking families in the 10th century.

The (totally false) story goes that Bjorn, a noble warrior from Oslo, created a device in his shed (Vikings definitely had sheds, right?) which would summon forth a range a low-end frequencies so powerful it would negate the need for all that needless pillaging. Villages would be cleared and riches amassed without all the bloodshed. We’ve all heard of brown noise, and the supposed bowel-loosening powers it has. It’s used in crowd control situations to make thousands of people at a time need the toilet. Well, yeah. That was his plan. See, Bjorn was a kindly soul who begrudged his fellow warriors’ lust for violence and sought a peaceful alternative. The only problem was his neighbour, Tor, thought this was absurd and belittled Bjorn’s invention.

The two decided a wager was the only way to settle things and, with Tor full to the brim with wild boar and mead, Bjorn engaged his fledgling machine. Unfortunately, with the device still in its prototype stage, there was no evacuation forthcoming from Tor and the bet was lost. As payback, it was decreed that any successful builds in the future must bear the name of Tor’s favourite post-slaughter citrus snack.

Today's brown note-inducing technology has improved greatly

Today’s brown note-inducing technology has improved greatly

Clearly, this is nonsense. Orange was created in the UK in the 1960s by a man called Cliff. No Vikings, no bets, and certainly no brown noise.

2. Frequencies of choice
It’s often said an Orange Amp can coax a world of musical frequencies entirely of its own making. What’s perhaps less known, if you believe the internet, is the rare power contained precisely within the 481.276 Hz range, famously accessible only through an Orange.

Legend has it that amphibious alpha-male villain The Kraken is not only real, but it attacked a small fishing village in Eastern Europe in the early 1980s. Residents of the village were, understandably, quite shocked at its appearance and tried a host of tactics to send it away. After little success using rudimentary small weapons and stern language, a local guitar player arrived with his trusty OR120. After locating the golden 481.276 HZ frequency, a stoutly delivered G Major chord was all that was required to rid the people of this foul beast.

We're British so we are legally obligated to use this meme at least once a year.

We’re British so we are legally obligated to use this meme at least once a year.

Great story. Not true.

3. Origins of the shape knob
The shape knob, found on our Thunderverb, TH and Terror amps, has an interesting back story if you believe certain tales.

Apparently Orange originally intended them to physically change the shape of the amps on which they were installed in order for them to squeeze into small spaces. A quick turn of the knob would enable the amp to switch between landscape and portrait mode, or even reduce it to around 37% of its original dimensions. This, they thought, would give them an advantage on smaller stages and offer working musicians a clear benefit when it came to packing up their vans and cars after a show.

SHAPE-KNOB

After years of research and countless millions spent on structural engineering and mechanical design, the company realised this was blatantly a ridiculous idea and shelved it. It was only when the initial Terror range was planned that Orange’s designers remembered they had a job lot of ‘shape’ knobs sat in the warehouse and set about finding a way to incorporate them with their new EQ system.

Sadly, this is not true either.

4. Orange hates pedals
You may have seen our recent entry into the pedal market with the Bax Bangeetar. Took us long enough but we got there. We’re right at your feet now. Why did it take so long? We’ve heard speculation it’s because Orange hates guitar pedals, believing them to be tiny little boxes of hate sucking away at our glorious tone. Simply not true.

No ridiculous back story, no crazy urban myths. The reason it took us so long to get a pedal out is simply because we wanted to do it right. Sorry if that’s boring, but it’s true.

5. Pics only
We’ll round off this informative list with a classic. You may already know our early amps gained fame for the lack of writing on the front. The intuitively-named Pics Only models used small hieroglyphic-style etchings to signify each control, and people got by just fine. So much so, we brought them back with the OR50 and OR15.

OR50-H_0408-764x450

There has been plenty of forum-chatter over why we took this bold design choice back in the day. Classic British sense of humour? Doodles by the work experience kid? Or, our personal favourite, nobody who works at Orange can read or write? Think about it guys, they’re engineers. These guys are so clever they have to wrap their heads up at night so the knowledge doesn’t tumble out their ears as they sleep.

No, unfortunately, the truth is much more utilitarian. The reason why we use pictures on the front of our amps is so that everyone can understand the knobs without language barriers. Orange is, after all, the “Voice of the World.”

We hope you’re not too let down by the information listed above. Nothing like letting the facts get in the way of a good story, but the truth is we make exceptional amplifiers, and have done for almost 50 years. No Vikings, no foul sea-beasts, no shape-shifting and definitely no illiterate engineers. And, in this age of right-to-reply, it’s only fair we got a chance to put things straight.

***Article originally published here***

Orange Amplification, in partnership with the Artist Solutions Network, opened their doors to a diverse group of friends and guests during Summer NAMM for a grand opening event. Over one hundred musicians, production managers, technicians and others came by to check out the new showroom facility at Marathon Village near downtown Nashville.

Nashville 1

 

 

 

TIM-MONTANA

 

Throughout the day on Thursday and Friday, friends and guests dropped by to see the new space, check out the full range of legendary Orange amplifiers and to meet with Artist Solutions manager Pat Foley. Guests also had the opportunity to meet Orange product designer Adrian Emsley and marketing manager Charlie Cooper who were both over from London for the kickoff.

Nashville 2

 

Entertainment was provided by Tim Montana and the Shrednecks who played a dynamic set including original material as well as mashups from Led Zeppelin, Eminem and even Katy Perry. It was a blast.

As of Tuesday July 14th, the showroom is officially open for business.

To make an appointment to visit please contact:
pfoley12@gmail.com or 615 585 2442

By Darren Carless

All of us have heard people talk about tone, or read something about certain bands or individuals having fabulous tone, or seen an advertisement stating that this amp or that pedal is exactly what you’ve been looking for and will help sculpt or define your tone. It’s no secret that guitarists are constantly on the quest for tone, but what the hell do we mean in real terms when we’re talking about ‘tone’ and do we really know what it is we’re actually looking for?

The English dictionary defines tone as ‘a musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength’ but I’m pretty sure none of those words get used that much when we’re talking about tone. Like everything else about playing guitar, ‘tone’ is a purely subjective matter and what sounds like a choir of heavenly angels to one person will no doubt sound like a bag of hammers being thrown down the stairs to someone else (don’t get me wrong that might be the sound you’re after but you get my meaning). Probably the biggest problem encountered by anyone searching for ‘their sound’ is that, given the subjective nature of what we seek, when it comes to describing tone we all use different words, facial expressions, body language etc. to say exactly the same thing.

To give you an idea of what we’re talking about we’ve borrowed a few ‘tone-isms’ (not quite sure on the legitimacy of this as a word) from our very own Orange Amps forum. Here’s a quick sample of words that have been used; your guess is as good as ours as to what they’re actually describing…Round, Swampy, Muddy, Woody, Chewy, Flabby, Brutal, Clunky…as you’ve probably guessed the list is endless. To be fair they’re all very descriptive and onomatopoeic (i.e. they phonetically imitate, resemble or suggest the sound that they describe) but do they actually describe tone?

When I’m asked to talk about tone and just what it is I’m looking for i.e. the ‘sound in my head’ (that would make a great slogan for an amp company!), I try to use words that are simple to understand which hopefully means that whoever I’m talking to is able to get a good idea of what the hell I’m on about. That said though, I’ll often shy away from having to do it or say as little as possible because I don’t think I’m able to put into words what my ideal tone is. Like every guitar player I know what sounds right to my ears and get that funny feeling in my bones anytime I hear it (you know the one I mean)…it’s a very personal thing but we all understand it.

Another dilemma is that our Holy Grail of tone can, and probably will, change over time (or like my best mate every other flippin’ day). When I first started playing guitar I was intent on recreating the indie sound of Brit-Pop bands. As my musical horizons shifted I longed to obtain a bone crushing metal sound and now in the prime of life I’m addicted to anything dubbed to be classic rock or bluesy. So is the quest for tone something that can be accomplished or is it some kind of impossible dream that like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is something that we’ll just never get our hands on?

A lot depends on the type of individual that you are. Are you one of those people that is happy with what they’ve got even though it’s not quite right or what you wanted? Or will something like this nag away at you slowly until you can’t take anymore? The resources that are available to you will also have a big impact; we can’t all afford to change our amps every time we feel like it or buy a new pedal just because it may hold the key. Also bear in mind your influences and artists who inspire you. For example, Joe Bonamassa is always changing his backline…so does that mean he hasn’t found his ‘tone’ yet or that he just fancied something different on any given night or tour? Slash on the other hand has been using a wall of Marshall’s since time began.

So…the quest for tone. Is it something that should inspire us, or something that will slowly but surely drive us crazy? I like to think it’s a little bit of both. We should always look to stretch and improve our musical abilities and equipment…after all that’s half the fun and we’ll always spend a fortune, make our loved ones suffer or travel great distances in order to complete our quest but it shouldn’t mean everything. The gift of playing and the appreciation of music are the true prizes and we should never take either of them lightly or lose sight of that fact ever but at the same time the sound coming out of those speakers should still send a quiver down your back so what’s the harm in looking? Happy hunting!

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Ever since Eagles of Death Metal announced a new album and tour earlier this year, I’ve barely been able to contain my excitement. I managed to get my hands on a pair of tickets to see them in one of my favourite London venues, KOKO in Camden, before they sold out after about ten minutes. Needless to say, this lady was a happy camper, and so was my friend Emma who was the lucky chosen one to get invited to tag along.

After a few months of waiting, the day was finally there. And let’s be honest, there’s no other way the day could have started than in a pub – The Hawley Arms in Camden, to be specific.

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After a few hours of beer and gin & tonics while listening to Nirvana, it was time to head towards KOKO. We decided to share a bottle of wine for the road, the venue being about a five minute walk away and all… Wine is a very classy drink, and as you’ve probably understood by now, we’re very classy ladies.

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By the time we got there, it was already packed. Sharp elbows and a lack of manners helped us get a good spot all the way at the front, and after a bit of a wait, it was showtime.

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Jesse ”Boots Electric” Hughes and Josh ”Baby Duck” Homme. The dynamic duo, a force of nature. They had our minds blown.

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Homme, who’s fairly chatty while touring with Queens of The Stone Age, sat quiet and cool as a cucumber behind the drums while smoking a cigarette, leaving crowd pleasing to Hughes, who by the way is one of the best frontmen I’ve seen in a long time.

The set couldn’t have been any better, with a combination of songs from their previous albums, plus a taste of their new stuff with single “Complexity”. I’m certain almost everyone there left KOKO sweaty, drunk and happy, just waiting for them to come back in November. Until next time, enjoy peace, love and death metal, I know I will.

 

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WATCH “MANUFACTURERS OF MY WEAPONS” FEATURING JESSE HUGHES

Who are you, how long have you worked here, and what do you do at Orange?
My name is Derek Carvotta and I am a Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast and Northeast parts of the country. I have been working here at Orange since December of 2011 when I started as the Inside Sales guy.

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What made you want to start working here?
I worked for an authorized Orange dealer prior to working for Orange directly, so I got to know the folks in the office a bit and especially the sales folks. It just seemed like a cool company to work for.

What’s your favorite thing about working for Orange?
They make fantastic sounding and looking amps and the people involved are such a pleasure to work with and for. I wanted to work for a company where I could use my different skills and there would be opportunities to grow and learn and I have found that here.

What’s the worst job you ever had before working here?
One summer in between college semesters I worked at a wood shop that manufactured fireplace mantels, wood molding, and trim. The building was basically a large metal shell that housed 25 miserable workers and a lot of sharp, powered objects. We got paid next-to-nothing to risk disfigurement on a daily basis. The last straw for me at that job was watching someone cut their finger off with a crosscut saw. I left shortly thereafter.

Derek is a shark

Derek is a shark

What’s your favorite Orange Amp/Setup?
I recently spent some time with the Custom Shop 50 and our PPC212OB and was completely blown away by the range of tones I was able to get from such a simple set up. If you are a one-channel, knob fiddler kind-of-person this amp is very much worth your time. Second to that would be the OR100 with the same cab. Love that cabinet.

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What are your top 2 or 3 records of all time? What are a couple records you’ve been listening to a lot recently?
Recently I have been listening to more singer/songwriter types. My wife just picked up the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy and we have been wearing that out as well. Sam Smith’s new record is in heavy rotation as well as some Ed Sheeran. As far as the top 2 or 3…. I would have to say, in no particular order,
Solstice – Ralph Towner
Live at Royal Festival Hall – John McLaughlin
Pat Metheny Group – Pat Metheny

What’s the best live show/concert you’ve seen?
So many… Some top favorites: Sade (Every time I have seen her. Four and counting. It’s a guilty pleasure), David Gray at The Fox Theater, Ray Lamontagne at Cobb Energy Center, King Crimson at The Roxy, Aquarium Rescue Unit at the Georgia Theater, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, & Howe at Chastain. And I could keep going.

What’s your favorite shitty Youtube Video?
Hmmm. Not sure about that. Don’t really spend that much time on YouTube. Mostly product videos and reviews. Go figure…

What’s something not related to amps, gear, or music in general that you’re super into?
Outdoorsy-type stuff; Hiking, camping, mountain biking. I am also somewhat of a Movie buff. And I read quite a bit. And cooking. And.

If you could do anything else for living, what would it be?
I would still work in the industry if I could. Perhaps playing for a living or shamelessly whoring out others’ gear for money. I am easy.

Name your favorite TV show from the 90’s.
Seinfeld.

What’s your most beloved alcoholic beverage?
Nothing complicated. Just Beer. Nothing too hoppy…

You can have any piece of musical equipment you want, new or old, what would it be? Jimmy Page’s 1953 Custom-whatever? The microphone Sinead O’Connor used when she ripped up that picture of the Pope? Your choice.
I would like to have my 1990 Deluxe Strat Plus back. I stupidly sold it to raise money for another guitar. Best Strat I ever owned. I must have played 20 or so until I found the one that I ultimately ended up buying. My biggest gear regret thus far.

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Gratuitous Self-Promotion time: got anything you want to promote or plug?
Nothing yet. A couple of bands I am working with are in the process of recording and shooting videos for promos and such. I am also working on adding songs and pieces to my solo sets.

Me-At-Darwins