Jaret, how did it all begin?
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

Puerto Rico’s a really musical island, and we like to make noise! 

You’re currently keeping busy with two bands, Grave Bathers and Heavy Temple, what can you tell us about them?
Grave Bathers formed about a year ago, bassist Davis and I had been in a surfy psychedelic porto-punk band together for a few years called The Bad Larrys, when our musical tastes started outgrowing what we were doing. So, we decided to get a heavier outlet to create music that resonated more with us. We met Drew, the singer, at a show, and the original drummer in Bathers, Barret, was an old band mate of Davis’. Our other guitarist, Steve, was the last piece of the puzzle, and we had our first show in NY within a month of forming. 2019 was a wild ride with lots of obstacles to overcome as a new band, but 2020 is looking promising with our new drummer Cliff having joined us

Grave Bathers set up

Heavy Temple’s been a band for about 7 years, and Elyse played with five different lineups before I joined on guitar and Will on drums. My buddy Zach from High Reeper gave me a heads up one morning that she was thinking of hitting me up to join, and I was sold before she even asked. Some of our bands had crossed paths in the past, so we were familiar. Before joining Heavy Temple, I’d never been on tour or played anything besides bar venues – all that changed this year.

As a guitarist, who would you say is your main influence?
That’s like trying to play FMK with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page.

When it comes to music in general, what bands are on repeat?
As for recent bands, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Monolord, and Thee Oh Sees. Oldies but goodies; Hendrix, Zeppelin, Dust, Sabbath, Captain Beyond and Sir Lord Baltimore.

What would you say has been your musical career highlight so far?
2019, from start to finish. Joining Heavy Temple and hitting the road to play in states I’ve never been in has been amazing. We got to play Union Transfer for Tired Hands Brewing’s (where I work as a brewer) anniversary party with Weedeater and Pallbearer, and I’d say that’s my favorite gig I’ve ever played, thanks Jean! Grave Bathers playing Johnny Brenda’s in Philly for our last show of the year, a year into being a band, let us know that we’re on the right track. THEN I got to join the Orange family! I definitely had to pinch myself a few times in 2019.

What’s your history and experiences with Orange?
My buddy had an Orange in high school, and one night we ate a bunch of shrooms and plugged his SG Custom into his AD30HTC half stack, and my mind was blown in the most perfect way. There was a lot of pedals to make noise with and everything sounded like.. Pink Floyd? Ha. I eventually bought an AD30R combo, before trading it for the twin channel head and cab on the day of my new psych band Tail’s first show. 

Vintage 1972 GRO100 & 1973 OR120 & PPC412’s

What do you look for in an amp?
It should sound perfect turned all the way up, and then allow me to destroy that with a fuzz pedal. Beefy bass and low mids, with wooly top end that doesn’t sparkle too much. Everything Orange sounds like to me.

What’s your current set up?
I run either a Tokai Flying V or a Black Beauty Les Paul Custom into my vintage 1972 GRO100, with one or two PPC412’s. I’d play someone else’s guitar before playing a different amp. It reminds me of everything I loved about my OR50, just with more headroom and that crusty mojo. I drove 15 hours on a Sunday to pick that head up and when I found it, or it found me, the new backplate that was made for it had my birthday written on the back. 

So, let’s take this back to the beginning – how did you first get into playing?
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 covers 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!

Have you always been into writing lyrics or was that something that came naturally once you started making your own music?
That was something that came at a later stage, as I was only interested in the musical aspect of it all to begin with. I was actually playing on my own for about seven or eight years, and it wasn’t until 2011 I finally made it out of my bedroom and into the real world, something I have my other guitarist Mathieu to thank for as he was the one that told me to get in front of some real people instead of just playing in front of my webcam, as music is meant to be shared. We ended up starting the band together and have been writing together ever since. Doing it this way worked for me, but I’d advise other beginners to start a band and play with other people earlier on, as it was definitely a weak point for me for quite some time, as it took me a while to get used to it after doing it on my own for nearly a decade. 

You released your second album ‘Burning Bright’ early November, what can you tell us about it?
First of all, it’s definitely a lot darker than my first record ‘Hard Blues Shot’. We recorded it in January after a two year long writing process. We’ve actually been playing some of the songs live for almost a year and a half despite the record being just recently released. As far as the writing and recording process goes, it’s normally myself and Mathieu coming up with a riff, followed by writing the lyrics to go along with it. Once that’s done, we get the other guys, our bassist François and drummer Antonin in and we arrange the rest of it together. Bass, drums and rhythm guitar was all recorded live, before adding lead guitar and vocals.

So, let’s get down to business – what’s your history and experiences with Orange?
My first ever Orange amp was the Dual Terror, simply because of it’s size and it being small enough for me to carry myself. I’ve changed it up a bit throughout the years, but I’ve stuck with Orange as that sorta became my sound.

Can you run us through your rig updates and upgrades?
After a while I ended up wanting a bigger head, and went for a Rockerverb 50. I stuck with this for years, before I recently upgraded to the Rockerverb 100 instead, which I love. My set up depends slightly on the size venue I play, my go-to is four 4×12 cabs and two Rockerverb 100 heads – however, if I’m playing a smaller venue I tend to just cut this in half and go for the two cabs and one head. Regardless of the size of the set up, I love the look of the Oranges on stage, and I can’t get enough of that grain! My other guitarist plays Marshall, and I dig that we have such different tones, as I find the two really compliments each other.

The year’s almost to an end and so is our 2019 ‘Voice of’ campaign. Throughout the year, we’ve taken a look at a variety of artist and genres we work with through ‘Voice of Clean’, ‘Voice of Rock’, ‘Voice of Blues’, ‘Voice of Acoustic’, ‘Voice of Bass’ – you get the idea.

As we’ve now entered December it’s time for the grand finale, ‘The Voice of the World’. Orange is, as many of you know, quintessentially British, and was back in the day hard to come across outside the UK. It wasn’t actually until the early 2000s that we broke into the US market and got picked up by a lot of metal and punk bands, something we can probably thank Slipknot for – so, thank you, Slipknot!. We’ve since seen Orange grow in Europe, as well as expanding globally to Asia. For ‘Voice of the World’, we’ve decided to shine a light on a few artists inspired by their home country or culture, starting with my very own Bergen hometown heroes, Enslaved.

Enslaved, Norway

Terror Bass
AD200 MK3

Since the formation of the band in 1991, Enslaved have released 14 albums, and made a name for themselves internationally on the black metal scene. Taking inspiration from Norse mythology, vikings and their Norwegian heritage, Enslaved is the picture perfect ‘Voice of Norway’, which is in many ways the black metal capital of the world – so much so, that guitarist Ivar Bjørnson was commissioned by the Norwegian government alongside Einar Selvik of Wardruna, to create a musical piece celebration the 200 year anniversary of the Norwegian constitution back in 2014. Hell yeah Norway!


In recent years, ‘maid cafés’ have become somewhat of a thing in Japan, and the concept is simple; In these cafés, the staff, or waitresses, are dressed as maids, and asked to treat their customers as their personal master and mistresses. The idea behind BAND-MAID came from founding member Miku Kobato who’d previously worked at a maid café. BAND-MAID’s built their image around it the concept of the cafés, with each band member’s maid costume being fitted to their personality, as they refer to their fans as ‘masters’ and ‘princesses’, with a submissiveness that creates a huge contrast to their aggressive way of playing. Only in Japan..

El Amir, Spain

Crush Acoustic 30
Acoustic Pre

Some of you might have read the recent interview we did with El Amir – if not, let’s recap; El Amir is a German-Spanish flamenco guitarist and multi instrumentalist, currently on the road with Hans Zimmer’s show, ‘The World of Hans Zimmer’. Hans Zimmer might be known to most as a film score composer, as he has done the music for films such as The Lion King, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight – and the list goes on. While on the road with the Hans Zimmer show, El Amir is in charge of electric as well as acoustic guitars, ukulele and the Greek instrument bouzouki. El Amir started playing flamenco at the age of 8, and first performed publicly at the age of 12. As an adult, he played oud, bouzouki and guitar for Radio Tarifa for nearly a decade, and has played venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall, all in London alone.

Lankum, Ireland

Rockerverb 50 MKIII

Kudos to the Irish for making Irish folk music not just acceptable to play at pubs and bars, but something people gets genuinely stoked about hearing in bars – who doesn’t love a shanty when you’re ten pints deep?! GUILTY! Now, Lankum might not be your typical drunken Irish shanty band, but they play Irish folk nevertheless, and beautifully so, if I might add. Having been described as  “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”, Lankum mixes elements of classic Irish folk music with the ambience and emotion of Bon Iver and textures of Sunn O))). They initially named the band ‘Lynched’ after band members and brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, but changed it to Lankum to avoid associations with the practice of lynching, announcing in a statement that “We will not continue to work under our current name while the systemic persecution and murder of Black people in the USA continues.”

Gorilla, England

Terror Bass
Crush Bass 100

Now, this list wouldn’t really be complete without a British artist on it, would it? Representing good ol’ England and London on this list is one of our most recent endorsed artists, Gorilla bassist Sarah Jane. Inspired by great British bands such as Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Motörhead and The Who, Sarah Jane picked up the bass after dabbling with the guitar for a couple of years and got sucked in as “we all know bass is obviously the most important part of a bands sound…”. She’s been playing high paced and heavy rock ‘n’ roll with Gorilla for two decades now, and is currently promoting their latest album ‘Treecreeper’ out on Heavy Psych Sounds. Sarah Jane’s got quite the collection of Orange gear, just check out the interview we did with her earlier this year.

In the light of their recent endorsement and wanting to get to know them a little bit better, we had a chat to High Reeper to find out more about this holy union of heavy riffs, what they look for in an amp, and why they love Orange so much – not honking our own horns, but they really really do, *blush*.

How did you guys all meet and get together playing, had any of you played in bands together prior to High Reeper?
Andrew (who used to be in the band) and Pat grew up together and they have been friends with Zach (our singer) since they were in their early teens. I have known Justin (our drummer) forever. I met Pat through a mutual friend, and Andrew and Zach through work, and we’ve been playing together in various projects for more than ten years.

You were originally only meant to recording band and not really play shows – what changed?
Our original idea was to make a “sabbath” sounding record for fun, and maybe do a couple of local gigs just for kicks. When the record was done and we started passing it around, the response was really positive so we decided to take gigging seriously. Now, 1.5 years later we’ve played over 80 shows in Europe, including Desertfest London, Berlin and Belgium as well as a bunch of other cool stuff. we’re due to play around 100 shows in 2020 alone across the US and Europe.

Besides the Sabbath worship, did you all have mutual musical influences?
We’re all inspired by all of the classic stuff, early Deep Purple, Zeppelin, James Gang, Blue Oyster Cult and all that kinda stuff. Andrew and Zach were in a really cool riff rock band about 10 years ago, and Pat sometimes played with them. Justin’s been a touring death metal drummer for the last 15-20 years, and I was a guitar player in a metal band in the 90s.

So, let’s get down to business – what’s your history and experience with Orange, and what do you look for in an amp?
Pat: The first time I saw an Orange amp was around 2002 when I saw a band from Massachusetts called ‘Orange Island’. The guitar player had a 70’s OR120 half stack and it sounded massive. Soon after that I found myself an Orange 4×12, and I bought my first vintage OR120 when I was 16. When I turned 18, I bought a 1974 “pics only” OR120 that I used with a Gibson Les Paul Custom. That pair used to shake paintings off the walls. Brutal! When buying an amp, I look for something that is loud and powerful, and with enough gain on tap to get dirty but without sounding thin and buzzy. The Rockerverb has everything I need in one amp. The clean channel has the loud, beautiful cleans of the old OR120’s and the dirty channel screams with gain and midrange. It sounds three dimensional and makes my guitar sound alive. 

Shane: I walked into Black Market music in San Francisco in 1993 and it was filled with vintage, impossible to find at the time, British amps and I snagged an Orange 4×12 on the spot. About three months later at a guitar show in DC I got an Orange/Matamp OR50 (serial number 199!) and cab. Following that, I snagged a graphic full stack in Ohio and an 80w overdrive in Virginia. The Ormat full stack was my rig for the 90s. I was using a complicated multi amp bass set up that was really annoying to gig with, and one night we played w a band who was using an OB1-500. I used their bass rig and loved it and ditched my complicated rig and ordered an OB1-500 the next day. My fascination with Orange of course began with the Beat Club videos! The OB1-500 covers everything I look for in an amp, high power and the ability to get dirty. The OB1-500 really is like two amps in one and it’s made my life a lot better.

You’ve had a busy year this year, and you mention tons of touring in 2020 – what else is next?
2019 has been insane for us. We released our second record and toured Europe twice and securing an Orange endorsement was the perfect ending to our year. We are beyond stoked! Our 2020 is gonna be even busier than 2019. We’ll be touring the US in March and Europe in June and that’s just for starters. We are super grateful to have Orange with us the whole way!

Hi Folks, my name is Amir John Haddad – El Amir, flamenco guitarist and multi-instrumentalist currently touring with Hans Zimmer’s new show “The World of Hans Zimmer”.

This show requires many different sounds and instruments for each song. We are performing Hans´s most famous film scores such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Mission Impossible, Rush and many more. Therefore I am in charge of all electric guitars, Flamenco and nylon guitars, Greek Bouzouki and the Ukulele!!

In the first place it is a huge honor and joy to be featured as one of the soloists for this new show and with it comes the responsibility of having a good and solid sound. The important thing is to achieve that the sound of your instrument fits into the mix, the musical concept and even cuts through in big arenas. For this tour, I need various instruments.

Pic. by Dita Vollmond

The electric side is covered with my two electric guitars. One is an old Fenix Strat by Young Chang. Actually it is the first guitar I bought when I was 14 years old. I upgraded and customized it with new Seymour Duncan pickups, Schaller Vintage bridge, new jumbo frets, new wiring, electronics, knobs, etc. The other one is a special edition by Samick with Avalon inlays and amazing woods, it is more like a PRS Style guitar with double humbuckers.

For the acoustic set I have chosen to bring my El Amir signature flamenco guitar built by Jose Salinas. It is a guitar made with very old cypres and an amazing sounding cedar top which gives me the warm and yet punchy attack I love. It is powered by the amazing Carlos Amplification custom VIP DM with a piezo and condenser mic inside. I use the flamenco guitar in songs like “Mission Impossible”, “Pearl Harbour” or “Gladiator”.

For some of the other songs such as “The Holiday” or “Spirit” besides the electric guitars I am using a new electric nylon guitar called the Nylocaster. These guitars are actually Stratocasters with nylon strings modified by Ben Woods and have a special (and secret) passive piezo. No volume nor tone knob, just pure piezo sound!! I am endorsing his guitars and so far the result is very very good. My greek bouzouki has a great Schaller acoustic pickup. It delivers a very round acoustic sound.

And NOW ladies and gentlemen!!! I have to tell you the ultimate secret I am using on this tour to make my acoustic setup sound the way it sounds now!! It was important for me to achieve a huge and clear sound that would still have all the intimate aspects of an acoustic instrument. The emotion of sound has to be just right to express yourself properly. Not too long ago, actually, at Winter NAMM 2019 I was approached by Danny Gomez from Orange to try the new pedal called the Orange Acoustic Pre. As you all know it is a twin channel device with separate EQ settings, individual inputs and outputs, frequency shapers and many more features.

The interesting thing that captured my attention was the “Heat button” with adjusts the amount of valve sound you want to add to your line. This was one of the key element (if not the one!) for me to have a powerful line signal and yet being able to enhance the sound with a warm and natural touch. I have always been playing my flamenco guitar in front of a mic, which I still do in Mission Impossible, so I needed a great preamp that would help me to enhance the line in order not to lose that acoustic vibe of the instrument and make it fit and blend perfectly into the orchestral arrangements and symphonic sound of the show. I am running all three instruments, the flamenco guitar, the nylocaster and the bouzouki through the Acoustic Pre.

On my pedalboard, I also have a tuner (obvious …laughs) a chorus, delay, line selector (to set the output signals of each instrument equally) and an additional EQ for when using the Bouzouki (you need a little extra kick there for the mid & treble). I am very happy with the result of this sound combination and the Acoustic Pre is an authentic and reliable “working horse” for these live situations. The feedback and reactions on social media about my playing and sound on this tour have been overwhelming and very positive so far. That should be a good sign, I guess!

I am happy to share this experience and knowledge with you! Music, sound and creativity have no limits and we all have to learn from each other in order to grow!! All the best Folks and hope to see you soon live!!

Yours truly,

El Amir

Michael Ciro knows a thing or two about tone, about session work and music life in general…

We first met four years ago during top-selling artist Alejandro Sanz´s Sirope tour in Málaga, Spain. After some promising emails about technology, my work as a product designer, and his session work, we immediately felt a kinship, like old friends that just hadn’t met yet.

Mike was (and still is) the Musical Director and Guitar player for Alejandro Sanz. Aside from that he has recorded with Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Notorious, B.I.G., Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson. He’s also performed with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Corey Glover, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and many more.

With such a background it is my real pleasure to bring him on board to the Orange Artists family, where we can support him on tour and in the studio, as well as learn from his input while testing our amps and pedals worldwide.

Ladies and gents, our friend Mike…

“Hello my name is Mike Ciro and  I’m the musical director and guitarist for Alejandro Sanz on the tour “La Gira”.

I’m a new member of the Orange family I’m very happy and using this this gear is perfect for this tour that I’m doing now because the Pedal Baby is perfect for the way I’m using the Fractal and the cabinet is projecting the sound that I need so I’m very happy with this situation right now and I’m happy to be in the family.

My favourite setup to use the Celestions and the 412 cabinet. We have a mic on this and I also use another situation direct to the PA if you want to… come over we’ll take a look at this here !!

I’m using the brand new Pedal Baby 100 this is a straight power amp just with volume and tone,  that’s very simple but it’s perfect because I use it I paired up with the Axe FX too so all my modelling and everything comes through here into the power amp out to the cabinet we also come out direct to the PA from here along with mic in the cabinet so I have a lot of variations and sound and this thing has been great so far it’s really stable and and I love it

I’m really happy with orange and the support they’ve given me. Danny Gomez is the best and the whole team there and I´m excited about this tonight we have 60,000 people sold out in Madrid so we’re gonna have some fun so stay tuned…  we’ll talk again !!”

[Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted by Orange Artist Relations Nashville Rep, Pat Foley]

Marvin King and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few years. I wanted to know how he’s enjoying his son’s phenomenal success and as a touring guitarist himself for many years, just how proud he is of his son. We were chatting away on the phone when I realized that I had better turn on the recorder and get to it.

[Marvin] This world we live in now is so different, you know. I think if this were the 70s or 80s he’d already be all over the radio.

[Pat] Well, because we had consolidated radio, we all listened to the same music. Now it’s so widespread. But anyway, I gotta go meet a tour manager at the showroom and swap some cabinets out at 2 o’clock. So, I’m gonna get on with this. All right?

[Marv] Yes sir, rock n roll.

[Pat] Marvin, you brought an amplifier to the Marcus King Band Family Reunion Festival in Asheville, North Carolina a few weeks ago, which was fabulous. And it was an old AD15. So, is that an amp that you’ve used a long time? And is it, perhaps the first Orange amp that Marcus played through?

Original AD15 Combo

[Marv] Ok. The amp that I showed to you and Jon actually belonged to a friend of mine and Marcus’, Charles Hedgepath, who plays with the Shady Recruits. I sat in at an after party one time here in Greenville. The stage was loaded with big amps and they tell me to play through this little Orange. I said ‘OK, what the heck’ as it was mic’d up and all. So, I jumped on it and I said ‘holy crap!!’ I played it and absolutely fell in love with that amp!

You know in about 1970, I bought a Marshall stack. At that point I never had heard of Orange except maybe from Wishbone Ash.

When I saw the Allman Brothers. I saw them in about 72 here in Clemson, they opened for the Brothers and they had all Orange amps. And I said, ‘oh man,’ cause we were already doing Wishbone Ash songs before we saw them. I believe ‘Jailbait’ was a song we were doing then. But I thought they were a great band. I thought they sounded awesome. And the Orange amps just blew me away. I just loved the way they looked and sounded.

From 1970, I think it was, not to bring up the friendly competition, but I bought that Marshall. I used it for several years and then it got to where I had gotten married. I had to play to eat and feed a family.

I had to play stuff that I couldn’t use the Marshall for anymore, you know. It’s just too rock and roll. Like top 40 club crap. So, I just got a [Fender] Twin and used pedals. But my whole career, Pat, and I’m not kidding, I’ve always tried so many pedals and amps and stuff that would work, and I know in my head I’ve always been wanting to get that sound that, you know, I cut my teeth on. When I played through that Orange, I went, ‘that’s it, that’s the sound I’ve been looking for,’ you know. Celestion speaker, British tube design, and its orange, too. How cool is that? So, I loved it. I loved that amp.

I said, ‘Charles, I want to buy that amp,’ and Charles, of course, said ‘man, if anybody, I’d sell it to you but I ain’t selling it. It’s my amp, sorry. Maybe I can find you one.’ You know, then I told Marcus, I’ve gotta find an amp like that of my own. But as far as Marv goes, that was my first experience with that.

And you asked about Marcus. I think Marcus played down in a little place here called Chicora Alley in Greenville where Charles was playing. And he sat in there and Charles let him use that amp. If I’m not mistaken, that was Marcus’ first experience with an Orange amp. And he dug it, too. He really liked it. You know, he was only about 13. He had Xs on both hands. He wasn’t supposed to be in there, that’s for sure. In South Carolina you have to be 21 to be around alcohol in a bar.

Listen to Marvin and Marcus King’s first musical project together

[Pat] Well when I first met Marcus that was the first thing that he said to me is that his dad had always loved Orange, so that was the connection for him. He was very receptive to trying some Orange amps. We got talking and we just hit it off. And that was a good few years now.

[Marv] So, when Marcus and you guys were so nice to get me that AD30 Combo, I mean it just was a beautiful moment in my life when he gave me that. I was just tickled to death. And then, you know, just for me. I’m 66 years old. I’m back at the same level I was when I got out of high school, but I’m 66. Until I sit in with Marcus, then I’m up there. You know what I’m saying.

[Pat] You played with Marcus and Doyle Bramhall II at the Family Reunion Festival. Have you have you gotten up on stage with Marcus before? And how does that feel to be on the big stage with your son?

[Marv] Oh, it’s phenomenal. I mean, it’s the planets lining up. I leave my body when I when I do that. And no, that was by no means the first time, you know, since he’s gotten to that level. I’ve sat in with him many times down in the (Allman Brothers) Big House and Theater there in Macon. Just a lot of really cool venues. He brings me up and lets me play and there’s a magic to it. Yeah, I’ve played with MY dad and people just, I don’t know how to explain it, but there is a magic to see a father and son play together.

[Pat] Yeah. Agreed. And Doyle Bramhall, he’s a bad ass guitar player.

[Marv] I mean, he sure is. He’s one of my heroes man.

[Pat] Yeah, he even played with Clapton for a couple of years.

[Marv] I told him afterwards, Doyle, I can’t believe I just played with you.

Marvin and Marcus King perform together at Marcus King’s Family Reunion Fest 2019

[Pat] I know that for Marcus, family is really important, obviously. And, you know, he told me the first day I met him that he plays his granddad’s ES345 and he told me a little bit about that story and all. So, your father was also a musician?

[Marv] Well, you know, my dad was in the Air Force but he was in the Army initially and that’s where he met my mom in Munich, Germany, and they got married. Then in 1952 or 53 they moved back to the United States. But dad didn’t play for a long time. We were stationed in Montana and he had bleeding ulcers. And the doctor said, ‘Sergeant, you’re going to die if you don’t get a hobby, do you golf or anything?’ And he said, ‘no, I don’t do any of that stuff. I love to play music, but I haven’t been able to play music in probably 10, 15 years.’ ‘Well, you better start playing again or are you going to die, you need a hobby.’ So, he went out and bought the Holy Grail. He bought that Gibson 345 and a black face Fender.

And then from there forward, he played every weekend. He had a country band, so he taught me Buck Owens and Haggard. I really enjoyed The Ventures and he played Chuck Berry a lot so I learned some of that. My dad played fiddle, too, you know. That was his first instrument.

[Pat] So it took three generations to produce Marcus King the guitar player?

[Marv] Actually, my dad’s father and my grandfather’s father were all fiddlers and my grandmother played acoustic guitar. My grandpa played fiddle you know, so dad had it in his blood. Now I have it in my blood and Marcus in his blood. We can’t even help it. We just, we come out of the womb looking for something to play, you know. Yeah, and it goes all the way back.

[Pat] I know I’ve told you the first thing that impressed me about Marcus, just meeting him, before I even heard him play was his awareness of great music. He was talking about organ players. He was talking about Jimmy Smith. Then he was talking about Curtis Mayfield and the Stax stuff. He invited me to come see the show here in Nashville. And I could hear all these influences like Motown and Curtis Mayfield and Stax-Volt and all this. I was amazed that somebody that young had not only an unawareness of that stuff but seemed to have a real knowledge of it and had absorbed it into his playing.

[Pat] Yeah, he’s very knowledgeable, and he’s an old soul. I mean, you would think that I turned him on to all this stuff. Well, a lot of that stuff. He turned me on to, you know, like being in the Air Force and on a base all my life. I knew Hendrix and Cream and Zeppelin and all that. I just knew they were blues rich bands, but I didn’t know anything about the blues, you know. So Marcus, he just gravitated to that. I didn’t push it on him. He’s just an old soul and he just liked that stuff.

[Pat] Well, he told me once that that he at one point growing up didn’t want to listen to Hendrix and Clapton and all those guys because he didn’t want to be influenced too much by that. He said he started listening to horn players and keyboard players.

[Marv] Absolutely, he did.

[Pat] And he told me that they had taught him to kind of take a breath, you know, like when you’re soloing, don’t play a lot of notes all the time but to kind of take a breath. That’s the way he relayed it to me, like a horn player you blow a line and then take a breath and then play the next phrase, you know. And I think that’s really informed his playing.

[Marv] Yeah. And he just plays what the song needs and no more. He never overplays. It’s great. Have you listened to “Huge in Europe”? You’d really enjoy that especially coinciding with this interview. And it’s an album my band did called “Marvin King, Huge in Europe” Featuring 11 year-old Guitar Slinger Marcus Lee King. You’ll see little Marcus with his cool hat on and his old Stratocaster. You know, you should get that record. I put an asterisk by his solos so his friends would know, because I’m serious. You listen to it, his solo playing at eleven. Okay. I’m forty some years old at that time. Been doing this all my life. His playing at eleven in the studio for his first time, just listen to it. How reserved and how in the pocket he plays, it blew me away. So, I put asterisks so you would know when he’s playing, cause you can’t really tell whose playing him or me.

[Pat] Thank you very much for everything Marvin.

[Marv] Absolutely. I really appreciate you, man.

[Pat] And Marcus has been incredibly loyal and supportive to us at Orange. I just see great things continuing to happen for him. I always have since the day I met him.

[Marv] Oh, yeah. All right, my brother. I’ll talk to you soon. All right. Thanks so much.

Those of you who read last week’s ‘Voice of Heritage‘ article (A little bit of shameless self promotion’s never killed anyone, has it…?) might recall Wishbone Ash and Andy Powell’s significance to Orange as they were one of the first major British bands to take Orange to the States (alongside Fleetwood Mac), with Wishbone Ash’s relationship to Orange dating all the way back to our humble days in Soho. So, needless to say, I was over the moon with excitement and filled to the brim with joy when I was asked to interview guitarist Andy Powell, an inspiration to so many musicians to follow, with the likes of Thin Lizzy and iron Maiden both citing Andy and the band’s twin guitar sound as a major influence to their own music.

They say you should never meet your heroes, but if your hero’s Andy I beg to differ, as he’s humble, kind, extremely charismatic and of course, incredibly talented. The interview turned into an hour long or so chat (for which I must apologise for to my fellow viking Marthe who had the tough job of editing it all together), and I reckon I could sit and listen to Andy’s stories for another three days without getting sick of them. However, I’m sure Andy’s got better things to do than self-indulging for my listening pleasure for days on end. In our hour or so of chatting, Andy shared some amazing stories from his life on the road, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.

Back at Fest last year, we caught a Spanish Love Songs set that blew us away. The Los Angeles band’s style of heartfelt punk rock played to a crowd that seemed to feel every word was so convincing, in fact, that we spoke to them about an Orange endorsement that same night.

Cut to six months or so later, after some of the administrative errors that naturally come with trying to sign a band after a set at a festival (read: Dylan lost the email), the band were now part of the Orange family and in the UK playing two sold-out nights at the New Cross Inn in London to an audience whose hearts were won over by the band’s 2018 album, Schmaltz.

So, we figured we’d get to know ‘em a little better and sat down with guitarists Dylan Slocum and Kyle McAulay to talk their journey in music so far, how they’re secretly a country band that have fooled everyone, and what’s to come from their next record.

Oh, and since this was a little while ago now, they’re a lot further ahead in the process of that new record than they were here so hopefully we won’t have too long to wait to hear it.


DYLAN: I don’t know, my dad bought me a guitar when I was eight, like, for no reason – I was playing baseball at the time. I just came home and there was a guitar there and it sat under my bed pretty much until I was thirteen. Then when I was thirteen I was like, ‘Wait, people will think I’m cool if I play guitar’. Then my friend taught me ‘Dammit’ by Blink-182 and I was like, ‘I’m a guitarist now!’. I always loved music but I don’t know why I picked up a guitar other than it was there.


DYLAN: Yeah I played baseball through college. Then I got a knee injury and quit to play in a band, which was truly the downfall of my life. Yeah…


KYLE: I started playing music in sixth grade on the drumline and I did that all the way through high school, and eventually I knew too many drummers and I had a friend who knew guitar very, very well who taught me bass, and then he moved back to Canada so I learned guitar and taught one of my drummer friends to play bass.

DYLAN: You learned the guitar because you knew too many drummers?

KYLE: Yeah, it’s a very weird problem to have.

DYLAN: That’s so backwards.

KYLE: Yeah, I knew like twelve drummers but nobody that played guitar.

DYLAN: Bunch of nerds… Where I grew up I didn’t play in bands for years at a time cause there were no drummers available. I started programming my own drums cause I didn’t have drummers. My high school band was like a computer dance rock band because of that.


DYLAN: No, absolutely not. My first band was when I was thirteen or fourteen – Forever Zero.

KYLE: Ah, Jeez.

DYLAN: Yeah.. It was like a shouty hardcore – we’d just gotten really into Thursday and so we were, like, doing that but not as talented. Then I played in some emo bands in high school – screamo with a dedicated screamer, which I hated but it was a way to play music. And then I did a band called The Mathletes when I was like eighteen, doing synth-pop computer stuff.

I was ahead of my time (laughs). No, I don’t know, I got very bored just like midi programming drums and just thought ‘I can’t do this anymore?

KYLE: My first bands were when I started drumming in hardcore bands, trying to play as fast as you possibly can. Then my first guitar band was pretty much a blink rip-off band that holds absolutely no merit these days. I have the recordings and they’re awful.

DYLAN: You still have ‘em?

KYLE: Yeah. Nobody will ever hear them. Nobody. Ever. I promise.

DYLAN: I wanna steal them for the next album.


KYLE: No. It’s never gonna happen. I password protected them.

DYLAN: That would be so good.


DYLAN: I mean, Tom Delonge. Obviously. The stuff that influences us now is probably the same stuff, it’s like Bruce Springsteen and by virtue of that The Gaslight Anthem were huge. I wasn’t really focused on guitarists though, I never really fancied myself a good guitar player. I was more focused on people who made me feel things, I guess. Third Eye Blind, like Stephan Jenkins I think is amazing. They do some amazing guitar work. I guess it wasn’t Stephan Jenkins on that first album, it was that other guy, but Stephan Jenkins is Third Eye Blind so… Yeah, I think those are the big ones.

Then there’s country music too. My parents used to listen to like Dwight Yoakam and stuff like that, and Hank Williams. Then there’s Blink like I said, Thrice was really big when I was growing up to me. They had great guitar players.


DYLAN: No. We’re a country band that plays punk music. Yeah, it is [the storytelling aspect]. Country music is very specific and that’s where it gets its power from. So I always joke that we’re basically a country band, especially with the depressing lyrics and stuff.


KYLE: I mean, a lot of what Dylan already mentioned I share with him. Not even a good guitar player, but one of the reasons why I wanted to start playing guitar was that Johnny Ramone looked so cool playing in all the Ramones videos.

DYLAN: That’s fair.

KYLE: I learned a lot of the power of simplicity through that and how you don’t have to be a virtuoso to connect with people.

DYLAN: I don’t think either of us consider ourselves to be particularly good guitarists…



DYLAN: Yeah, that’s fair. But every time we read a review that mentions the ‘powerful guitar’ or ‘twin guitar leads’ we just laugh.

KYLE: I mean it’s nice, but I don’t get it.

DYLAN: Yeah that was made in the studio cause one of us went ‘ooh, that sounds cool’.

KYLE: Yeah, but that’s how everything’s made. If it doesn’t sound cool, you’re not gonna record it.

DYLAN: We’re actually really lame, cause when we were making the album we were like ‘we’re not gonna put a guitar lead in that you can’t sing’. So, like, we wrote all of our guitar leads by singing them and then playing them.


DYLAN: I’m not sure. It just kinda started happening. I’ve always written that way – I don’t love stuff that’s fluffy. I like being direct, I like getting to the point, I like being sincere. I think we’re trapped in a world where being sincere is not valued, and it’s made fun of a lot, and I think that’s dangerous. I was a creative writing major in college, like every other guy in a band, and I was doing a lot of journalism, like longform journalism, and that is very much like ‘get to the point and tell me why this is important’, but in a fun way.


DYLAN: Oh no, I was bad at this. I loved it cause I was so anxious and hated talking to people and I would have to force myself to do it. But I did more like magazine-type stuff. Longform, go live something and do it. My dream job in college would’ve been to be one of those Rolling Stone reporters who goes on tour with the band and lives the Almost Famous moment – even though that doesn’t exist anymore because Twitter has kinda killed the need for that.


DYLAN: No, we met through craigslist – sorry I’m still fighting a cold. He worked at a studio, that really drew us to him.

KYLE: That’s fair.

DYLAN: The story’s kinda been covered but basically he just moved to LA, posted on craigslist looking for people to go to shows with and was, like, ‘also I play guitar’. We were a three-piece when we started, it was me, Ruben (drums) and our then-bassist Gabe and I needed another guitarist cause I wasn’t good enough to do this. Also it’s just limiting. Our songs are incredibly simple, but if you got rid of a guitar they are like sadly simple – like, not-listenable simple. So it was like ‘let’s hit this kid up, he seems cool and we go to all the same shows…’. I think you practiced with us once and we were like, ‘hey, wanna join our band?’

KYLE: Yeah, you had the hard drive in your car.

DYLAN: Yeah, with the original recordings.

KYLE: So I just took those and started mixing them and was like ‘they kinda suck, wanna just re-do ‘em?

DYLAN: ‘At my fancy studio’

KYLE: Yeah, at my fancy studio for free. So that was our first record.

DYLAN: Are we even friends now, I don’t know… Just kidding.


DYLAN: That’s not a good thing.

KYLE: Yeah, the reason we could do that is cause I got the time for free.

DYLAN: That’s actually changing now cause we have to do a proper album next and we’re on a budget and we’re on a timeframe and so that’s gonna change real quick.

DYLAN: I think we’re gonna have more time as a whole, cause we’re not gonna have to do it on his days off. And then we’d get to the studio to do guitars and it’s like ‘oh, so and so soundcloud rapper just bumped us’ – y’know, not to name names… So it took us eight months to do Schmaltz, but it was maybe fourteen days of work. Not for him, he had to mix it and stuff, but of in-studio time. It was not a ton of time. On this next one, I think we’re gonna get just about thirty straight days in the studio. Fingers crossed that’s what we’re counting on now at least.


DYLAN: Yes, but not because we had eight months. Nothing really changed that much. Mixes and tones would change, but really we’d go to record a lyric the day of and I would flip out in the studio and I’d spend an hour and a half changing the lyrics, but it wasn’t planned or thought out in any grand way. It was pretty dumb the way we did it. I’m a huge proponent of rewriting, but apparently what I mean by that is rewriting while he’s setting up the microphone and shouting ‘DO YOU LIKE THIS RHYME?’ and he’s like ‘NO’, ‘OKAY WHAT ABOUT THIS RHYME?’


KYLE: They’re just awful.

DYLAN: Yeah, I have some really bad rhymes sometimes. It can be truly terrible.


DYLAN: Oh, absolutely. 


DYLAN: It’s a natural outcome of what we listen to, and also like… we’re not twenty-two anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with being twenty-two and playing pop punk, or even being thirty-one and playing pop punk, but I haven’t listened to just pop punk in a very long time. The songs that come out of us tend to be pop punk, but we want to be a rock band. When people ask what we play, I just say rock’n’roll now.

It’s intentional and, not like from a cynical point of view, but I don’t understand why you’d want to be in a band and not wanna be in the biggest band on Earth. And the way to do that – or at least the way that we feel comfortable trying to really embrace who we are and do what we want to – is just to write big rock songs in the vein of stuff that we like and listen to. And try to, I don’t know, approach some greatness that we haven’t hit yet.

I think Schmaltz was as far as we could go in this direction with this current group of members and be happy with it. If we were to just re-do it again, it wouldn’t feel great.


KYLE: I think it’s great. I think with Schmaltz being out, we’ve kinda broken down the walls that say we have to do ‘this’ because we’re part of ‘this’. Now, with the EP, we just kinda sat around and did what we wanted to do without thinking ‘oh, we gotta write this record so we can play this festival’.

DYLAN: And there’s still some self-editing going on, cause ‘Losers’ when it was first written sounded like a The National song and we were like ‘woah, too hard left’. We love The National, but we gotta steer it back towards the middle.

KYLE: Still down to the core they still have to be Spanish Love Songs songs.

DYLAN: I like that, we broke down the walls while also reinforcing them. I’ve had so many people be like ‘you have to keep singing sad songs now forever’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t! You might not like it but…’


DYLAN: I think that guitar riff is the guiding direction for the next few months. I’ve been writing a lot of little noodley riffs like that. Yeah, I guess it’s Americana-punk. To me I hear like, as cheesy as it is, old Chuck Berry riffs. Even though I don’t listen to Chuck Berry. I don’t listen to old guitar rock and go ‘yeah, let me shred on my axe’.


DYLAN: (Laughs) I mean I know what Chuck Berry sounds like. You can’t put that on an Orange interview, this guy going ‘oh what does guitar sound like…’


DYLAN: (Laughs) Nope. We had a month to do them and he was working six days a week, so we’d take his only day off and get together. I was like ‘I have these songs, they’re half-formed’ and we just did it all in the bedroom and got ‘em done. I don’t know how. I think there was more forethought as we were working on them. Losers was one thing, and then No Reason To Believe was a deliberate effort to do something verse-chorus-verse-chorus, in that kinda realm and try to be… not catchy, but to write a pop song. Y’know, like a classic pop rock song, which we’d never really tried.


DYLAN: We’ve been talking about this constantly. I think we want to hone in on like… My favourite part when we’re playing music is the epic, kinda cinematic stuff, so I think honing in on that.

And then lyrically, finding a way to not just sit around and complain about how bad I feel. It’s getting – not ‘old’, I know a lot of people want to know that other people feel that way, but I think there’s other things we can write about that other people are thinking too. I don’t know, maybe we’ll write a bunch of love songs. That’d be pretty sweet.


DYLAN: Yeah, given our name we probably owe the world some love songs. They won’t ever be ‘happy’ songs, but like we’re writing a rock album and it’d be really cool to capture the spirit of a Born To Run, or Celebration Rock, or The Hold Steady’s albums, of just like… rock’n’roll positivity, but with our cynical look on it. We’ll see.

KYLE: That’s kinda No Reason To Believe in general…

DYLAN: Yeah, it’s a happy rock song that’s like ‘not everything’s good, but maybe it doesn’t matter that everything’s not good cause, I don’t know, the world’s ending let’s fall in love.’ Maybe that’s the vibe.

I don’t know if we’ll go too far over to the happiness side. I love that Culture Abuse album, but I don’t think I’ll ever sing like ‘I’m in love with you and that’s really cool’. That’s not how my mind works, I’m like ‘I’m in love with you, it’s really cool, oh shit you’re gonna leave and also somebody just shot up a school. Wait, that’s Buffalo. I just described Buffalo.

We wanna reach for the positivity, but we’ll probably land somewhere like ‘The world’s bleak, but maybe there’s some cool stuff to go do while it’s slowly crumbling.

I think the guiding principal of the band is making sure that people feel like they’re not alone, but there are other ways to make people feel not alone than just complaining about being depressed. ‘We understand you’re sad Dylan, we’re good.’

It’s dangerous to just sit there and be just like ‘the world is shit, the world is shit’ and yeah it is, but there are bright spots to hold on to. I’d hate for somebody to listen to our music and align to feeling even more alone because of how bad the world is. I hate the phrase ‘building a community’, but I’d rather people come together (laughs)… that’s a synonym, but like y’know.


DYLAN: I didn’t have my first Orange amp until this album. I grew up watching so many pop punk bands play those sweet Thunderverb heads and I was like ‘I want that’. My parents supported my music career and helped me a lot, but that was always one of those items that was Next Level, like when you’re a pro you can have that.

So I ignored it for years and just played my gear, but then I bought a Dual Terror and you bought an OR-15 and now half of our album is an OR-15. Just an OR-15 dimed.

KYLE: At least one side of the rhythm track of Schmaltz is just an OR-15 turned all the way up.

DYLAN: It’s just the coolest tone.

KYLE: The studio, NRG Studios, where I worked and where we did the record, they have a 1974 OR-120 and a matching 4×12 cab. I think that might have been the only cab we used – the studio had like thirty different heads, but that was the one song we used the entire time.

DYLAN: Then after the album, I was like ‘okay well if this album is half Orange amps and half the amp we both already play, I should probably try to do it. So I finally went out and got my own AD30 and I remember the first time I took it to practice, plugged it in and played a chord and it was like ‘Oh, it’s what I always wanted it to be!’

KYLE: That’s how I felt at Fest last year. There was an AD30 head at the High Dive and cause we flew I didn’t have my whole pedalboard or anything, so I just remember plugging in and strumming and being like ‘Oh, this is cool’.

DYLAN: It’s nice when you hear what you wanna hear. I guess subconsciously it’s just always been it for us. I think it’s a very distinct flavour too with the AD30 – it’s that specific British voicing, but with that Orange flavour and overdrive. We’re using a Rockerverb on this tour and that’s great, it’s got a sweet crunch, but I can’t wait to get home and get back to mine. Also mine’s a combo, I’m too old to haul around a half-stack anymore. I can’t wait to get home to my little baby combo, swing it around and get onstage with it.

Orange have since the start in 1968 played an important part in British music history, from the likes of Cream’s Eric Clapton stopping by the original Orange store to pick up a left handed Fender Stratocaster for Jimi Hendrix (more on that here), to providing Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac with a full Orange backline during one of their early US tours. Here we take a look at a few artists who have played a vital role in Orange’s success over the years.

Fleetwood Mac, John McVie

Terror Bass
4 Stroke Bass
AD200 MK3
Fleetwood Mac’s story with Orange began in October 1968, when their road manager Dinky Dawson brought guitarist Peter Green to the Orange Shop where they placed an order for the first ever Orange PA, and just a few weeks later, the band got six 100-watt amps and sixteen cabs. The band took the backline for a spin around the UK, before taking them on a three month tour to the states.

Fleetwood Mac’s former guitarist Peter Green

Over the past five decades the band has had several line up changes as well as musical changes, going from classic British blues to melodic pop rock and soft rock. The only constant thing in the band since the early days if the solid rhythm section consisting of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. With this sort of history with the band, Orange was proud to welcome John McVie as an official endorsed artist in 2015.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder, one of the biggest names in funk and soul and another one of the earliest artists to use Orange. Stevie Wonders history with the company dates all the way back to 1969 when he used the then existing Orange Studios. He first used Orange Amps while recording Superstition for his 1972 album “Talking Book”, and can be seen using them in a seven minute version of the song on Sesame Street in 1973.

The single hit number one on the Billboards and the album was certified Gold in Canada and the United states. Decades after the 70’s funk and soul heyday, Stevie Wonder is still going strong and is an avid Orange user and ambassador to this day. He’s also stopped by the Orange stall at the NAMM convention a couple of times to reminisce about the good old days with founder and CEO Cliff Cooper.

Wishbone Ash, Andy Powell

Rockerverb 100
Orange Matamp

Another band that brought Orange to the states and opened American’s eyes to it were Wishbone Ash, and who’s history started with Orange in 1970 when guitarist Andy Powell stopped by the old Orange shop in Soho. He was then served by founder and CEO Cliff Cooper who sold him a Gibson Flying V which later became his trademark guitar, and one of the original Orange Matamp heads, which incredibly enough is still going strong this day today. Wishbone Ash are known for their two lead guitars and guitar harmonies which got Andy Powell and former bandmate Ted Turner voted two of the “Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History”, and in 1972 described by Melody Maker as “the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds”.

They have also been hugely influential on other guitarists, and inspired later bands such as Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy.

Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page

Custom Shop 50
This one is pretty self explanatory, don’t you think? We feel pretty confident when we say that Led Zeppelin was, and probably forever will be, the biggest rock band the world has ever seen. From “Whole Lotta Love” to “Black Dog”, “Kashmir”, and “Immigrant Song” to, well, “Rock ’n’ Roll”, Led Zeppelin produced jaw dropping, foot stomping mind blowing powerhouse rock ’n’ roll songs with elements of blues, folk, fairytales and – hmm, lemon juice.. Fronted by Greek God-like Robert Plant and mysterious Jimmy Page in his silky dragon suits with the drummer of all drummers John Bonham behind the kit and multi-instrumentalist and bassist extraordinaire John Paul Jones on bass, well, other bands stood no chance. Led Zeppelin was a force to be reckoned with, heavier than their name itself, and we could not be prouder or more excited to have Jimmy Page as one of our artists. He first started using Orange in the 70s along with a few other amps and have been an avid user ever since. Some of you may have noticed he also used Orange for Led Zeppelin’s 2007 Celebration Day? Yeah, pretty cool huh?


The 90s saw a few bands fight for the throne of the Britpop empire, but as far as commercial success goes, none exceeded Oasis, fronted by the Gallagher brothers who were featured as much in the media for their, uhm, ‘disagreements’ and wild lifestyle as for their music. Disputes and partying put aside, their second album, 1995’s “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?” became one of the best selling albums of all time, with 22 million copies sold worldwide. These were pretty quiet times for Orange, but towards the late nineties the company was making it’s way back to the top, and Noel Gallagher’s decision to use Orange on their 1997 record ‘Be Here Now’ as well as on their accompanying world tour certainly fuelled the fire.