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During the first night of their two sold out co-headline shows at London’s Boston Music Room, I caught up with Black Peak’s Andrew Gosden and HECK’s Matt Reynolds to find out how life on the road is, and how it is sharing the spotlight. But more importantly, what their weapon of choice would be during a potential zombie apocalypse.

How is it being on a co-headliner tour compared to touring on your own?
Andrew: This tour has been great so far. It’s really interesting and exciting playing a co-headliner, you get the opportunity to play in front of people who may not necessarily buy tickets to see you, a bit like playing at a festival. It feels like the audiences have been open and accepting of both bands. I think it is a great mix of music with something for everyone. You can have a sing and rock out to our songs, and also experience the pure insanity and awesomeness of HECK!
Matt: At the very start of the tour I imagined it was  going to be incredibly nerve wracking going up against Black Peaks every night. They’re such an enormous sounding live band that it was a daunting prospect. After a few days of the tour that all faded away, although we’re both very different bands it became very evident quite quickly that we play off each other very well, both of our fan bases have come together in a wonderful way too. Having four guys that we now consider our brothers in Black Peaks side stage every night only spurs us on and feeds our appetite for carnage. I’ve been in the pit for Peaks nearly every night… Having said that, that bass guy, Guss or something I think they call him, he’s a bit of a prick.

Where did the idea of the tour come from?
Matt:
We made friends over the festival season, both Black Peaks and us were playing a lot of the same stages and I guess subliminally it just made us want to recreate that dynamic between us on a tour. It just seems to make sense, it’s like kicking an audiences ass in two very different ways every night.
Andrew: The idea of doing this co-headliner had been floating around for a while. As soon as the opportunity to play with HECK became a reality we jumped at it. We are all huge fans of the band and thought it would be great fun. They are such lovely guys!

You’re both in pretty heavy bands, is there any bands or artists you’ve been influenced by that plays music completely different to the one you play yourself?
Andrew: I listen to such a varied mix of music that I guess even subconsciously I will be taking influence from so many different genres. I am a huge fan of 70’s prog rock. Bands such as Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull are in constant rotation on my iPod. I am also a huge fan of bands like Autolux, Young Widows and Bjork who are very different to the music we play.
Matt: LOADS! Our van playlists are pretty much entirely made up of wonderful, luscious, over-produced pop, Steely Dan and Hall and Oates are particular favourites. Our van is chock packed full to the rafters with wall-to-wall bangers! Influences wise I’ve always listened to tonnes of blues music too, which has definitely shaped the way I write and play

Any guilty pleasures?
Andrew: I own a copy of Madonnas ‘like a virgin’ record. It’s such a great album. I guess that can be classed as a guilty pleasure..
Matt: I’d argue to the death that You’re the Voice by John Farnham is the greatest song ever written. It’s also unfollowable, there’s not a track in the world that can be played after that doesn’t then sound flat and lifeless. Robbie has been creeping in an awful lot recently too, the cheeky badger.

How does a day in the life of HECK and Black Peaks on the road look like?
Andrew: At the beginning of the tour it started off quite civilised. Now it has descended into a torrent of passive aggressive abuse and sarcastic banter.
Matt: Toil and bedlam. With a pub lunch at Weatherspoons for an hour at about 6pm-ish.

Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange, whether it was seeing it or playing it yourself?
Matt:
I just remember seeing them on stages and in videos as a kid and thinking that they were just so damn cool and iconic. All of the coolest bands seemed to use them, it was only a matter of time until I took the plunge and got one too, I’ve played through nothing else since. When I was old enough to have a full-time job I spent my entire first month’s wages on a Rocker 30 and 2×12. I bunged it in my tiny box of a bedroom and used to give the neighbours and my ear drums hell, it was really dumb and definitely too big for my bedroom, the door couldn’t even open fully with it in there, I just had to kind of side step my way through. But I loved it and I’ve not looked back since!
Andrew: The first time I really noticed Orange amps was when I saw Converge for the first time. That iconic look and sound gripped me and I knew they were the amps I wanted to use from then on.

What do you look for in an amp?
Andrew: Something that sounds great is simple to use and reliable.
Matt:  Yeah, something that sounds huge and can withstand the horror that I throw at it! With Orange it’s all about crushing bottom end and unashamed ballsyness.

What’s your current set up, amps and pedals?
Andrew: I am currently using my AD200 and a Thunderverb 50, each running through an Orange 4×10 cab. I run the AD200 relatively clean and have the Thunderverb running really dirty. I am using the Orange amp detonator to split my signal between the 2 amps. I have the AD200 running all the time and kick in the Thunderverb for heavy sections and parts where Joe is soloing or playing lead lines.
Matt: I currently use a Thunderverb 200 (the greatest and most ridiculous guitar amp ever made) through a 2×12 and 4×12 loaded with V30s. I have a fairly simple pedalboard, but some absolutely choice little bits of wizardry on there. My favourite of which is my original Russian big muff, built like a tank and flattens like a steamroller. I couple it with a Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer to achieve some ridiculously gnarly square-waved sub bass madness. I also use a EHX pitchfork and a Disaster Transport modulated delay by Earthquaker for gentler moments.

It’s the zombie apocalypse – choose your weapon of choice and explain your reasoning.
Andrew: It depends what kind of zombies we are talking about?! I think I would have to go for a crossbow. You don’t have to worry too much about ammo running out as you can reuse the arrows, you can pick them off at a safe distance and use it as a melee weapon up close. I’d like to think I’d be a badass like Darryl from The Walking Dead. In reality I don’t think I’d last too long……
Matt: I’m going with (Dillinger Escape Plan’s) Greg Puciato’s eternally punching arms. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, I guess I’d just attach them to my chest and let them punch away. They’re like a horse’s legs with hammers attached. I can just imagine them relentlessly punching away reducing zombies to rubble. No one would fuck with a guy with hammer-horse-legged arms sticking out of his chest. I’d shit ’em.

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Photo: Andy Watson

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

Was there any specific bands or artists that led you onto the path of playing the music you do?
My dad listened to a lot of classic rock, which definitely turned me onto guitar based music, and then at 11 I found bands like Nirvana, Slipknot and Smashing Pumpkins, and from that ventured off down a few different paths that led me to where I am today.

What records are you currently listening to?
I’ve kind of been kicking it old school, and I’ve actually been listening to a lot of Marilyn Manson recently, ‘Disposable Teens’, that kind of era. I’m also a die hard Placebo fan, so they’re always on rotation.

Did you always know that this is what you would end up doing?
I never knew, but I always hoped.

Do you feel like you have been faced with certain challenges being a female musician within a genre that is predominantly male dominated?
You definitely get the occasional sexism and mistreatment, or people thinking you dont know your own gear or what you’re talking about because you’re female, if that happens I tend to just hit them back, prove them wrong and shut them down.

How long have you been using Orange?
It hasn’t been too long actually, I’ve only been using it a few months but so far it’s been really great.

What’s your set-up?
I’ve got an OB1-500 head and the new O Bass.

You guys have had a busy year, how is the rest of the year looking?
We were away the first four months of the year and you get so used to this weird lifestyle on the road, so as soon as you come back you dont really know what to do with yourself. We’re heading back out on tour later this year as we’ll be touring Europe with Turnover, we haven’t been to Europe since January so I’m really looking forward to that!

Can you tell me us a bit about how the three of you met and got the band started?
Jeff, Noah and I all grew up in the same scene in Bellingham, Washington, which is a small town so we all kind of knew each other. I was just coming out of another band and we all wanted to do something different, so we got together, gave it a go and we just stuck with it.

Did you have a mutual idea of what kind go music you wanted to make, or was that just a result of the three of you coming together with different ideas?
We did a lot of experimenting, when we first started playing together we would just thrash around and play as fast as we could, without vocals. We were all into Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan and that kind of vibe, but also into 70s prog rock like YES, King Crimson and bands like that, so we were just trying to figure out how we could put it together. We started experimenting with traditional song structure, and that was when it really clicked.

Listening through your album I do find a lot of different genres, which keeps it really interesting.
People who listen to the album seems to have a similar reaction to you, they don’t know how to classify it or call it, which is in the win column for us, we love that kind of stuff.

You released your album ‘Harvest of Darkness’ last year, have you been busy since doing so?
Absolutely, when the album came out we were touring with Red Fang, followed by a big tour with Kvelertak who’s on the same label as us, Roadrunner. Then we had about a month of rehearsing for this, and now we’re back at it. So to answer your question, yeah we’ve been busy.

What’s your relationship with Orange?
I haven’t used it for long, touring in the England I couldn’t not use Orange, so I got a Thunderverb 200, and when I plugged into soundcheck I just knew I wanted an entire Orange set up, I was in love. It actually kind of shook me up a bit.

Do you remember the first time you saw an Orange amp?
Yeah, I went to see The Blood Brothers, which is from my home town, and I remember they’d just gotten signed and were putting on a show, and their guitarist Cody had two Orange half stacks, and it just looked so cool with the bright colour and the vintage logo. They were just the coolest band for me at the time, so I remember thinking, ‘THAT’S cool!’

You say you’ve been touring a lot, how does your day to day schedule look while on tour?
Sometimes we have to get up really early for a long drive and an early load in and soundcheck, if we’re lucky we’ll have a few hours to explore outside the venue, which we always try to do. We don’t really get that much time, but then again we get to see the entire country while driving through it.

What’s the highlight for Wild Throne thus far?
There’s always the one highlight after the next, instead of one definite moment. We never take anything for granted. There’s a few one that sticks out, getting to meet our producer Ross Robinson and make an album with him, traveling to Europe to play our music, that’s a dream for a kid playing guitar in his room.

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Since the birth of The Wytches in 2011, the Brighton based psych surf rock band has built up a solid following both within and outside the UK. Bassist Dan Rumsey has been an official Orange ambassador just over a year, and was more than happy to sit down with Orange for a chat.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
I live in Brighton right on the sea with my wife and my dog. It’s the best place in the world to live. Well so far anyway.

What got you into music and playing in the first place?
Well, I guess I got into it late, really. I heard bands like the Offspring, Green Day through my older brother. I remember thinking how different and exciting this music sounded to anything I’d heard before. So I slowly got all the Offspring back catalogue then looked into similar bands to them like Dead Kennedys and The Vandals and the list went on. I discovered new bands by looking up those bands influences. I was heavily into that kind of punk rock for a long time and still am. When I found Alkaline Trio and AFI though; I was done, I could have died happy. I wanted to be like these bands so I got my dad to get me a guitar and taught myself, then when my first band came along they needed a bass player so i got one of those instead. The first instrument I learned was the drumkit though but that was when I first started school and had to choose something.

Can you tell us a bit about your history and experience with Orange?
I think the first time I ever saw an Orange amp was onstage at a show, i can’t remember who now though. I remember how striking they looked. Then I first heard one properly when I was in a band where the guitarist had a tiny terror. I always thought they must be special because not many people had them. My first Orange amp was a practice bass amp which I ended up using in some pretty big venues actually. But eventually I had to upgrade so used other makes which I borrowed until I was able to become an ambassador for Orange. They were always the go to amp for me though wherever possible.

What’s your current set up?
I play an American standard Fender Jazz bass in black through an Orange 1000 watt Bass terror head; into an Orange 810 cab also in black.

Can you name five albums you’re currently listening to?
Lucette: Black is the colour
Fairport convention: Unhalfbricking
Bill Ryder Jones: West Kirby County Primary
Nick Cave and the bad seeds: Let Love In
Joanna Newsom: YS

What do you do when you’re not touring and recording, any hobbies?
I run a small illustration business called Oh So Grim. I draw stupid drawings of weird people and animals and basically try to sell it to people. I write my own music too, so I don’t really stop with the creative stuff. If I do I, feel really guilty that I’ve wasted a day, same if I watch TV for too long, then I have to go and even it out with at least some guitar practice.

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Monolord’s Mika & Thomas talk Orange at Desertfest 2016


Thomas: Hi my name is Thomas. I play guitar and sing in Monolord.

Mika: Hi my name is Mika and I play the bass in Monolord.

When was your first experience of Orange amps?

Mika: My first memory of Orange amps is from 23 years ago when i was just a small kid learning to play guitars. I was with my best friend. We were learning how to play guitar together. His farther had a huge stack of amps and guitars. Of course he had orange there.

Thomas: I think it must of been at an old beat club concert with black sabbath. They had their classic paranoid video, I think that’s the first time I saw an Orange amp.

Mika: The first time I played an orange amp I was about 20. I was with my friends at a rehearsal.

Thomas: When I was about 25 I bought my first Orange amp for recording an album in my old band.

What is your current set up?

Mika: Right now I have an 8 x 10 speaker cab and an OB1500 amp which I’m very happy about it has a lot of power in that. I had to try the OB1500 because of how good it sounded in previews. Now I am looking at getting another 8 x 10 speaker cabinet and an AD200.

Thomas: I have the OR100H. with a high powered 400W cab. Then I have two old cabs, one is from 79 and the other from around 2006. I have an old modified slave head from 73 that was modified a while back. They had put a Matamp face plate on it but now I have found an old Orange face plate that was from 73 as well. So now it’s back to a normal Orange again. It’s reliable, built like a tank! And if you play a smaller club or a bigger club it doesn’t matter, it still works and sounds great.

Thomas: We have been working really hard to get our sound that we can use together, not only sound great separately but to sound great together
Mika: We have gone through quite a lot of gear

Thomas: Ye but now it seems like we have found our thing. It sounds good on stage but we like that it even sounds good out side the stage.

Mika: I get all excited about it every time I get out the amps!

Thomas: ye like ooooo (excited expression)

Mika: Like a giggling small boy

Thomas: Like Mr Burns eeeexcellent (strums fingers together)

Mika: For my main sound I just use one fuzz pedal but of course I combine it with some effects here and there. But basically the main sound is one fuzz pedal straight to the amp and its perfect with the OB1500, you can really turn up the gain there!

Thomas: Ye the sound is more or less the guitar, a fuzz pedal and the amp. It’s nothing more really, I have some delay and flange and phaser just to broaden the sound a little more.
Of course we were really really happy when we talked to Alex in Atlanta and we also visited the office outside London. When we became ambassadors I felt … well it was like a dream!
To be able to use Orange I’m really thrilled about it!

Mika: Ye I’m stoked about it!

 

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Can you please tell us about your history with Orange?
I always wanted an Orange amp because Black Sabbath was playing them, and they were pretty hard to find in the States back in the day. We also played that NAMM show in Anaheim for Orange’s, I think it was their 40th anniversary, and we met all of the Orange people, and obviously the backline was all Orange, and I told them “I’d like to take this home with me.” and they said “Ok”, and I was like “Oh, that’s very, very nice of you!”, and I’ve been using Orange ever since.

What’s your set up then?
I had an old 15inch cabinet and a 4×10, and the MK3 200 watt head, which I love – it’s never given me any problems. After a while I needed something bigger, so I asked for the 1000 watt Tiny Terror head and an 8×10 cabinet and I’ve been playing them all over the US.

A lot of people that normally wouldn’t listen to country or southern rock still listen to Blackberry Smoke, why do you think that is?
We all come from different backgrounds, back in the day Brit and I were in a metal band called Nihilist, so we’re a band that can play a wide spectrum of music, and it boils down to good versus bad. When people say Blackberry Smoke is a country rock band that turns a lot of people off. I wouldn’t call The Eagles or The Rolling Stones country rock bands, but they both definitely did country rock-ish music at one point or another, outstanding country rock music. They also both did dance and pop music as well, and that’s why they’re both so good and still in business, they just appeal to such a wide variety of people as they instead of sticking a specific genre they stick to playing good music, whether that’s country, rock or something else. Another band like that is Motörhead. It’s a shame that so many bands get tossed around the genre machine and never manages to come out of it.

How is it being in a band that’s known to “always be on tour”?
We played less shows in 2015 than we did in 2014 and the year before that. In 2013 we played 255 shows, and when you tour like that over many years it does become a lot. We’ve started to cut back a bit because everyone’s got small children, except for Brandon. Which we know of, he might be making some children as we speak…

IMG_6490 (1)Photography by Aimee Giese

First of all, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Dan Aid, I live in Denver, CO, and I play guitar in Authority Zero.

Can you tell us a bit about the band you’re in – how you guys met, and how long you’ve been together?
Well, Authority Zero has been playing shows and putting out records since 1994, but I first met Jason and the crew in 2013. My other band, Wiredogs was opening up for them at The Marquis in Denver, and we just sort of ended up hanging out that whole night. Then every time they came through Denver after that, whether I was playing with them or not, we would always meet up and grab dinner or drinks and catch up. I got a call from Jason a couple of months ago asking if I could fill in for a couple of shows on Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog cruise, and then we got offered the Japan tour right after that, and then the dates with Pennywise came up, and then the US/Canada run, and then Europe, and I just kept saying ‘Yes!’ to everything, and that’s how we got to where we are now. Mostly I just feel really fortunate to be in this situation where I get to step into a family that has been working at this thing for 20+ years. It’s a very tight knit crew, and there’s a huge amount of heart and respect that go into every rehearsal and show, and I’m stoked to see what we create through the end of this year.

Was there anyone or anything that got you into playing in the first place?
My dad always had his guitar out when I was a kid, and he would play old Dylan tunes or Phil Ochs, and my sister and I would sing along. He then bought me this little Montana acoustic for Christmas when I was eight years old. I would sit down with this red spiral notebook of my dad’s, where he had written out all the lyrics and chord changes to his favorite songs from when he was a teenager, and I would just learn the songs by ear, and when I came across a chord I didn’t know he would teach it to me and I’d keep going.

Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange?
The first orange amp I ever had the chance to play was a tiny terror. I remember plugging into it, shifting those three knobs into every possible configuration, and loving every tone and sound that came through it. I have never in my life had that experience with another piece of gear. In every other area of trying to create sounds for live shows or in the studio I’m always fidgeting with knobs, adding gear into my chain, taking other gear out of the chain, a constant struggle to capture something that my ears love. But with Orange, so far in my experience of it, I just have to plug into it and I get inspired by the tones that already live there. Plus they look cool. The first guitar player I ever saw playing orange was Lawrence from Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I was 14 years old at the Ogden Theater in Denver, and I distinctly remember the Orange full stack he played with the cabs and head wrapped in the white tolex. It seemed like every other guitar player in the mid 2000’s who was playing punk was playing the JCM Marshall series heads, so the orange aesthetic immediately jumped out at me.

How long have you been using Orange, and what’s your current set up?
I’ve been playing Orange amps for almost four years now. I currently use an AD30HTC head through a PPC412 cab, and I love it.

Playing with one arm you’ve been faced with a lot of challenges other guitarists haven’t, was there times you wanted to give up?
When I lost my hand I think there was a lot that felt unknown. From tying my shoes, to taking a shower, to playing guitar I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do any of it. But honestly, I’ve just figured out each of those things as they have come up. I’ve had to figure out my way of doing everything, and sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I fall on my face, but that’s just life.

What made you keep going?
I mean, I love music, and I love playing guitar, and I love writing songs, and I love sharing those songs with people. I have to do this; It doesn’t really feel like a choice. It’s where I feel the most alive, and that affects every other aspect of my life. So I guess I kept going for me, because playing music is where I feel the most powerful. And I kept going for my family, because we all lost a hand, and that sucked, but we all also have worked for and created all of these beautiful moments that I am getting to experience now. No success I have had playing guitar was created solely by me. It was created by the years of love and support from family, friends, fans, and anyone who has reached out and given a fuck and kept me going over the years.

Growing up, who was your musical role models?
Green Day and Rancid were the bands I discovered that really spoke to me as a kid. Green Day made playing the guitar feel accessible, with the simple, but super hooky riffs. Insomniac was the first record I ever sat down with and learned front to back. I feel like I really learned how to write songs from listening to Rancid records, and I feel like I learned how to put on shows from going to Rancid shows. Meeting Lars and Tim when I was 15 had a huge impact on me, they were just very human and encouraging. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t discovered those records and had those interactions at that age.

When you’re not busy making and playing your own music, do you tend to go to other gigs?
I do. There are a ton of great local bands in Colorado like Wire Faces, Spells, In The Whale, and Slow Caves, so I love going out and seeing friends do their thing as much as I can.

What sort of advice would you give to young aspiring musicians faced with similar disabilities as yourself?
We all get knocked down. It’s how we choose to respond in the dark moments that defines who we are.

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Having just released their latest album Bloodsweat, Plague Vendor crossed the atlantic to tour the UK with noise connoisseurs Love Buzzard. Before officially starting the tour, the guys did a set at London’s Rough Trade East where I had a chat with them before politely handing them some tokens while asking them to step into the photo booth for their close ups. Here’s what they had so say.

Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Jay: I’m a 29-year-old dude that loves playing the guitar, touring the world and drinking ice-cold beer.
Michael: My name’s Michael and I live in Whittier, California. I love music, my friends and family.

How old were you when you started playing? Was there anything or anyone in particular to inspired you to do so?
Jay: I started playing guitar when I was 13 or 14, somewhere around there. My good friend Andrew inspired me to play, he was super awesome at guitar and would teach me songs. I think one of the first riffs I ever learned was “Crazy Train” by Ozzy.
Michael: My mom and dad bought me a Fender bass package, the one that came with a P Bass and small amp when I was 12-13 for Christmas. My dad loves music and growing up he would constantly be showing me different shit. From The Beatles to Radiohead to Frank Zappa…The list is endless.

Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange, whether it was used by someone else or your first time playing one?
Jay: I was and still am a super huge fan of The Blood Brothers, I remember seeing them for the first time when I was 16 and Cody, the guitar player, was playing an Orange combo and I thought it sounded so fucking awesome. Shortly after that show I got my first job and saved up for 6 months to buy a Rockerverb 100 and a 2×12 cab. The Rockerverb that I bought way back then is still the same one I use today! I love it.
Michael: I would always see Orange amps in Guitar Center growing up and always thought they looked like the coolest amps.. Then when I heard them I knew they were the coolest amps. I think Jay was the first person that I knew that had one…and then I bought an Orange bass head when we started the band.

How long have you been using Orange, and what’s your current set up?
Jay: I’ve been using the same setup for the past 10 years. I have a Rockerverb 100 and an Orange 2×12 cabinet. I’m all about Orange.
Michael: I’ve been using Orange for the last 8 years. I have the Terror Bass 500w and I love it.

Any specific pedals that works well with it?
Jay: I think the overdrive on the Rockerverb is the best I’ve ever heard so I don’t use any distortion/overdrive. I do use some delay for some of the songs though.
Michael: I just bought a bass overdrive pedal a few months ago and it sounds badass. Super crunchy and heavy. 

What do you look for in an amp?
Jay: Something that is loud and clear and has a great high end. Also, a great amp needs to have an awesome overdrive right out of the box.
Michael: Something that is loud and kinda on the warmer side.

What albums are you currently listening to?
Jay: I really like the new Autolux album Pussy’s Dead. Also, I’ve been really into old PJ Harvey stuff like To Bring You My Love era.
Michael: The new Underworld album Barbara, Barbara, we face a shining future. Also the new Tame Impala record Currents.

Any hilarious jokes, words of wisdom or funny anecdotes you wanna share with the readers?
Jay: I’d say if you start a band keep pushing. Things will happen even if it’s a slow start.
Michael: Find what brings you joy in life and do that. No matter what it is and no matter what anyone tells you. Life isn’t meant to be lived for someone else. You do you, boo boo.

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How did you end up using Orange?
When we started out I was using Marshall, which I did for five or six years. They’re big amps and it was a bit of a hassle getting them around, so I ended up trying a Rockverb 50, and I was like ‘That’s it, this sounds amazing!’ A year later they both got stolen out of our trailer, and we went and got three more so we’d have one for back up. After that we used them for about three more years, before deciding to experiment with a few different brands. After about a year of doing that and not really finding anything I liked as much, I went back to Orange.

What’s your current set-up then?
Over here in the UK, I’m playing the OR50 head with two 2×12 cabs, and it sounds monstrous! Back home I was using the Custom Shop 50 with two open back cabinets. The ones over here are closed, and I’m kind of digging them, you know? The OR50 and the Custom Shop 50 both sounds good, and I almost feel like I’m cheating on one of them. I haven’t tried the Custom Shop 50 through the closed back cabs yet, so maybe I should give that a try.

How about when you’re recording?
We recorded with Brendan O’Brien, and he’s got so much vintage gear and old amps, so we would use a bit of whatever he had around. You don’t need the same massive wall on sound in a studio as on stage, and often a smaller amp might sound amazing in a studio. We used a lot of different things instead of just sticking to one. On the ‘Little Piece of Dixie’ record I used Orange the whole time.

I’ve noticed there’s been a bit of a wait between all of your albums, with five years between the two first ones, is there any hope of new music from you guys before 2018?
The reason it’s been such a long wait between the records is because we’re always on the road. When recording an album we don’t spend more than a week in the studio, we know what we’re going to do, so we just go in and get the job done. After that Charlie and I will go somewhere else and lay down the vocals. But to answer your question, it shouldn’t be that much of a wait before the next one, this one’s only been out a year and they’re already talking about recording again. Charlie’s already got quite a few tunes written, and we’re all looking forward to it.

All of your albums have been released on four different labels, do you think you’ve ‘found the one’ now?
Here in the UK, Earache records are unbelievable. They don’t have an office in the States, but if they did I wouldn’t go anywhere else. We’re so happy to have them over here, we love everybody there and they’re all so nice and fun to be around. In the US we’ve been hopping a bit around as record labels just change so much. We haven’t landed any major record deal yet, but we don’t really worry about that. We’re at that point in our career where if we want to give out an album, we can.

You keep getting compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd, is that something you get a bit sick of, or do you just take it as a massive compliment?
When we started this band I’d never expect that, we just got together and started playing, and people would just associate us with Lynyrd Skynyrd, which is awesome. At first I thought it was unbelievable, as I honestly don’t think we sound anything like them, they’re in a league of their own. It still blows me away when people compare us to them, and I feel honoured.

You’re also known to cover some heavier rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin how did that come about?
All of us are kind of metal heads in a way. But then Charlie’s also introduced me to so much music I’d never really listened to, like bluegrass. It’s crazy that when you listen to metal you hear all these guitar players that are just blazing, and I was always like “this is amazing, these guys are killing it!”, and then Charlie started playing me some bluegrass, just a guy with a tiny mandolin, and it was just unbelievable. It’s got a totally different feel to it, but it’ll blow your mind watching a bluegrass player play. But yeah, back to the rock thing. We all listen to it, but I tend to be a little bit more outspoken about it I guess, which has kind of labelled me as the ‘metal head’ of the band.

To me you almost seem like a crossover band, where people that wouldn’t necessarily listen to southern rock, will still listen to Blackberry Smoke, I guess the fact that you’re influenced by so many different genres might be one of the reasons for that?
Yeah definitely! Truth be told though, it was actually Charlie’s idea of covering Sabbath, but we were all really into it, and we do all listen to all kinds of music. I grew up listening to bands like Megadeath and Maiden, the latter which I have yet to see live. I snuck in to one of their shows when I was younger, but didn’t get to see the whole thing.

After more than four decades in the industry, you’re now getting the highest acknowledgement there is in rock ’n’ roll by being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – how does that feel?
We are thrilled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s hard to imagine that it’s really happening.

You’re notoriously known for your 12 string bass and at times you’ve almost had a function as second lead guitarist, how did the idea about the 12 string bass come about?
I had the idea for the 12 string bass back in 1973. Our friends Paul Hamer and Jol Danzig were starting the Hamer Guitar Company and by 1977 I was able to talk them into making me one.


Can you tell us a bit about your history and experiences with Orange?
Our guitarist Rick Nielsen and I went to London in 1968 and met Cliff Cooper at his Orange Music shop where he was just starting to make Orange Amplifiers. Rick ended up buying one of his 2×12 combos at the time which he still uses on stage. 

What’s you’re current set up – guitars, pedals and amps?
My current live rig is an AD50 Custom Shop head running an Orange 4×12 cabinet and an AD200B MK3 head running another Orange 4×12 cabinet. I don’t use any effects or pedals.

As mentioned earlier, you’ve all been doing this for a very long time, will this be your last album, or do you have any plans of recording yet another one? How does the future look like for Cheap Trick?
We are releasing a new LP, “Bang, Zoom, Crazy, Hello” April 1st on Big Machine Records. After that, our plan is to release a new record every year. We’ve almost completed our follow up record!