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

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

Titanic – One Night in Eagle Rock

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

Flower Travellin’ Band – Shadows of Lost Days

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

Tim Buckley – Get on Top

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

Funkadelic – Standing on the verge of getting it on

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

Cher – I Walk on Gilded Splinters

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

Black Sabbath – Swinging the Chain

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

Blue Cheer – Black Sun

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

Granicus – Taste of Love

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

Goliath – Dead Drunk Screamin’

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

Budgie – Breadfan

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

This year at Black Deer Festival Orange got the pleasure to sit down with Oskar and Alex from Icelandic rock band Vintage Caravan. The band had just played a set at the festival and chatted about their Orange rigs, the Rockerverb MKIII and the Terror Bass, we also found out about their influences and how Icelandic culture and weather helps to galvanise a band.


Oskar: Hi my name is Óskar Logi Ágústsson, I play guitar and I sing.

Alex: Hi i’m Alex and I play bass.

What inspired you to start playing music?

Alex: I remember starting to listen to ‘Rage Against the Machine’ and thinking that guy sounds pretty fuckin’ bad ass. That kind of propelled me into playing bass and stuff like that, really got the juices flowing!

Oskar: Ugh! I started playing guitar when I was 9, I watched School of Rock and that got me thinking, if they can do it, I can do it.

Alex: I think every kid our age got inspiration from that.

Oskar: Thank you Jack Black! When I head Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix, there was no turning back.

Tell us about the music scene you grew up with?

Alex: I mean the music scene has always kind of been very strong in Iceland, it’s kind of inspiring to grow up there but also there is not that much to do. The weather is awful all of the time or most of the time.

Oskar: It’s also dark for most for most of the day in the winter time, so you have to do something.

Alex: For nerdy kids like us that meant playing bass and guitar.

When was the first time you spotted an Orange Amp?

Alex: A guy I played in a band with, when I was like 11, he had an Orange combo. I can’t remember the exact model, it was such a noticable brand as there are no other Orange coloured amps. So immediately when you see it you can’t….

Oskar: You can’t get confused with anything else! For me it was seeing Tony Iommi, Paul Kossoff, seeing Fleetwood Mac and Peter Green. Seeing those guys using it, I was associating Orange with great tone and great playing, as they were flying the Orange flag, it was very inspiring.

Tell us about your current set-up?

Alex: I’m running an 8X10 and actually I have be running almost exclusively a new Terror Bass amp. Its cool because I can fly anywhere and it sounds amazing. I’ve tried a lot of these Class D, solid state amplifiers because there is a lot of them out now. Actually I have never tried one that has a weight to the sound, like you get from a really good solid state amp or a tube amp, that you don’t really see in a lot of those other small amps.

Oskar: For me I’m getting the Rockerverb 100 MKIII.

Tell us about why you choose this particular gear?

Alex: In terms of sound I always try to go for something that can stay full and rich but is immensely punchy. Because I have to have a lot of punch all the time, I don’t know maybe i’m compensating for something. Not every amp can do that, I really like how you can turn up the gain on an Orange amp, it seems to do something funny that makes it really fat and powerful, which i don’t see in many modern amps.

Oskar: The Rockerverb just gives me the wings to fly! A cliche yes! I almost teared up myself. It makes my guitars really sing and its super tight, I don’t know really how to explain it but it has that huge body to it and it sings. There is no part of it that is floppy, it is just there and great for the mix.

How does it feel to be part of the Orange family?

Oskar: Being an ambassador of Orange is a dream come true, it’s mind blowing just being part of the huge roster.

Alex: It’s a big honour for us, for sure, we are very happy to working with you guys,

Oskar: Super happy, it’s quite surreal seeing our names on the website. I know that man!

Since the formation of Record Store Day in the US, where its headquarters are still based, back 2008, the event has grown and expanded globally with international organisers in the UK, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Poland. Record sales have been on the rise for a long time now, and did in 2019 outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, which is pretty cool.

Obviously, this year’s Record Store Day is a bit of a write off, seeing as we’re all locked up away at home due to the global pandemic. Luckily, that means we should have all the time in the world to listen to our current favourite records, while planning what to purchase once we’re yet again allowed. Record stores will be hit hard by the current situation, so I’m personally gonna treat myself to a couple more than usual once this thing settles – it’s all for a good cause, right…? Support independent businesses and hard working musicians, it’s a no brainer. In honour of this year’s Record Store Day, we figured we’d catch up with some of our artists to find out what’s currently on their turntable.

Thomas Jäger, Monolord

Album: Benefit
Artist: Jethro Tull

One of my fav records is Benefit by Jethro Tull. It hooked me with the midrange punch guitar and reeled me in with the clever lyrics and melodies. I love it.

Sally Gates, Titan to Tachyons

Album: Irony is a Dead Scene
Artist: The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton

I had some friends turn me on to ‘Irony is a Dead Scene’ when it first came out. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Emperor, Today is the Day, Cryptopsy, etc. I hadn’t heard anything from Dillinger Escape Plan or Mike Patton, other than a couple of FNM tunes on the radio. This record grabbed me immediately, as from the first track it’s a completely chaotic, twisted, and weirdly upbeat ride. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of juxtaposing multiple genres within quickly changing song structures, while retaining a coherent flow.

From here I went down the wormhole of this style (avant-rock/math metal), and came across Fantômas, Mr Bungle, and more Dillinger albums. (The Fantômas ‘Directors Cut’ album became another inspiring record for me in a different way, as a go-to soundtrack while working on paintings). These bands quickly became favourites, and had a marked influence on my writing style. ‘Irony..’ is such a short, perfect 18 minutes, and continues to influence me now. I’ll often throw this on for inspiration on the way to a gig, particularly if it’s free improv. Favourite track: ‘When Good Dogs do Bad Things’. 

Peter Hughes, Sons of Huns & Danava

Album: The Evil One
Artist: Roky Erickson

Roky Erickson was a Texas-born rock ’n’ roll howler best known for his early years with The 13th Floor Elevators, whose lysergic reverb-soaked hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was written by Roky at the tender age of 15 and would endure as his highest charting song and the definitive composition of his career. The 13th Floor Elevators are credited as the first Psychedelic Rock group and their first two albums, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & Easter Everywhere are the most notable. The Elevators LSD-steeped sound rippled across Texas west to San Francisco and clearly influenced the sonic palette of a number of bands that went on to enjoy larger commercial success, the heavyweight of the bunch being boogie behemoths & fellow Texas natives ZZ Top. Guitar hero Billy Gibbons first found his footing on the Texas club circuit with his band The Moving Sidewalks (an obvious nod to the Elevators, as Gibbons himself freely admits) who later toured as the opening act for Hendrix before going on to form ZZ Top. Even Janis Joplin considered contributing her soulful blues-tinged vocals to the 13th Floor Elevators before deciding to head to San Francisco instead. Continue reading here…

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

Album: Gorilla
Artist: Gorilla

Originally, I was going to talk about another artist’s album but unfortunately as RSD got cancelled as well as our European tour, I have chosen the first Gorilla album Maximum Riff Mania. This album was recorded in 2000 exactly 20 years ago, so this makes this a special year for Gorilla as it’s the 20th anniversary of this debut album. Gorilla have put together an ace Coloured Vinyl limited edition reissue, with CD, poster, photos and sticker inserts (limited to 300 copies). It reminds me of very happy times! We recorded the album at Toe-rag studios, back when it was pretty much the only totally analogue studio around and practically no one was really releasing vinyl, and it was all about the CD. We recorded and tracked our set live at the time, including most of the vocals straight from the studio floor. I was using my Rickenbacker 4001 through my trusty gig rig, a seventies Orange OR120 head, and  a Celestion Greenbacks loaded Orange 4×12. The straight-to-tape warmth of the sound, and our super tight performances still make me really proud, considering we’d only been together for a year or so! We didn’t compromise on anything it was influenced by all music that Gorilla loved and not led by any trends that were happening in the year 2000. Maximum Riff Mania “fuck the safety net” rock’n’roll! 

“A power trio in the time honoured tradition of blue cheer and cream, Gorilla recorded the ten track album at London’s analogue friendly Toe Rag Studios. Superbly led by Guitarist/Singer John Redfern, the threesome bridge the gap between old school riff rock and the more recent genre practitioners with dexterity. While the thunderous Coxsackie recalls The Stooges, circa fun house, a potent combination of poppy melody and grungy sounds ensures that She’s Got A Car isn’t far removed from peak period Nirvana. Although clearly boasting enough knowledge of metal history to keep the retro rockers happy, the first Gorilla album suggests they also have the armoury to impact on the immediate future.”
–  Record Collector review

“Imagine if you will Jimi Hendrix jamming with The Who, then throw in a dose of Black Sabbath, then you almost have the rumbling roar which is Gorilla. This is analogue sound at it’s finest and instead of ripping off their hero’s, Gorilla take the influences and make them their own. It’s unfair to label Gorilla as a stoner band although there are elements contained – they are a damn fine rock n roll band who know their way around their instruments and make on hell of a glorious racket.”
– RockSound review

Album available here.

It’s an incredibly simple concept with revolutionary results: go where we’re needed most. Since 1968, Doctors Without Borders (aka MSF/Médecins Sans Frontières) has been tackling one medical crises after another, always remaining impartial and neutral in their treatment methods. The international charitable organization has a rich history of providing medical professions, training, and supplies to war-torn areas and peoples across the globe.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the work performed by Doctors Without Borders is saving countless lives. The organization has been caring for patients, offering health education and mental health support, and providing training for vital infection control measures in health facilities around the world. This pandemic threatens the lives of people around the world, and presents even greater risks in countries with weak or fragile health systems.

Orange Amplifiers is proud to support the mission of Doctors Without Borders. We encourage you, the customer, our extended family, to do the same for this Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization. Donate now to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic and other emergencies around the world.

If you’re outside the USA, consider donating to the local version of their charity here: https://www.msf.org/donate

Photo Nick Slade of Togada Studio

It’s great having you join the Orange family! Can we get a bit of background on you please?
Izzy: I’m Izzy, Sweden born, London based guitarist. I come from a musical family so playing an instrument was always a given. I first got in to playing guitar by circumstance, it was my best friends preference and we just did everything together, needless to say I clearly got hooked. My first choice at the time probably would’ve been the piano or the flute, that’s what 10 year old me rated cool! Later on I got in to grunge and metal and I got desperate to play the electric guitar. Music, playing and writing has been my life ever since.

You’re the guitarist in Kings Daughters, how did you all come together?
Izzy: We’ve known each other for years and played music together in different constellations but we only formed Kings Daughters sometime early spring last year so it’s still very fresh! I would describe us as a weird mix of geeks and rebels that blend flamboyant pop with gritty rock. Though our first single is a pure feel good track.

You just released the video for your single ‘Get up’ today, which was produced by none other than Brian May! How did that come about?
Izzy: It was as dream we certainly had to pinch ourselves the first time we joined him in the studio. The day he put down his guitars on the single was probably the most special, just being in the same room when he started warming up gave me chills, it was pure magic. I thought to myself: wow I am in the presence of a legend. I truly feel so lucky!

You’ve been playing our TremLord 30 for our little while now, how have you been getting on with it?
Izzy: It’s been fantastic exploring the Tremlord. Both the tremolo and reverb has such a beautiful vintage sound to it and I love how nicely it breaks up when you crank it. Not to mention the bedroom setting is just lush for me as I live in a block of flats. My neighbours thank you!

Photo by Ambre Arneodau

What are you three currently working on / towards / what’s the plan for when this madness ends?
Izzy: We are just dying to get out and play, tour, even just meeting up for a rehearsal would be bliss at this point! We are also working on our next single, doing the final bits of production and then sorting out all the details. So we’re excited for the release of that too.

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

Anthony Meier, Sacri Monti & Radio Moscow

Photo by Emily Power via The Jonesing Jams

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

Shaun Cooper, Taking Back Sunday

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

Devin Holt, Pallbearer

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

Space, Black Futures

Hey Todd! Cheers for taking the time to chat to us in these locked down times, would you be so kind to introduce yourself to the reader?
Todd:
I’m Todd Winger, the guitarist in the UK rock outfit, Collateral. When we’re not out touring I work in a little bicycle shop in Maidstone during the day to keep my wife & daughter fed and watered. I started playing guitar at around 10 years old because my older brother was my childhood idol, and seeing what he could do with a 6 string was incredible! He taught me for a while until I began learning songs by ear which has served me well so far. I’ve never been one for reading music!

How did Collateral come together?
Todd:
Angelo & Jack have been in bands for a long, long time, I joined just over 2 years ago when a good friend of mine told me Angelo was looking for a guitarist. I’d never met him, but only heard good things about his talents! I sent a couple videos over & it spiralled from there. About 5 months later we needed a drummer and my long time friend Ben Atkinson being the best drummer I know, joined the crew.

You released your self-titled debut album in February and congratulations is in order, so congrats! What can you tell us about it?
Todd:
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has purchased it, streamed it, voted for it and plugged it all over the world. To reach the top 5 in the UK rock chart is amazing for us! We live an hour apart so we tend to send each other ideas, riffs and demos.. we then change a couple of things, put our own spin on it and send it back.. We usually then track the guitars on a computer clean and ‘re amp in the studio. I’ll run the solos in pretty much last thing when I’ve got a solid feel for the song. We recorded the album with Sean Kenney at Ten21 Studios in Maidstone. He’s a great guy to work with and puts a great mix together! For the album the Orange Rockerverb MKiii 50w was used on every song and on all solos!! 

Hell yeah! Can you tell us a bit about your relationship and experiences with Orange?
Todd:
The first time Orange really jumped out at me was seeing Blackberry smoke at Download 2015.. They are one of my all time favourite bands & for such a dark festival.. seeing an entire backline of Orange was awesome!! A year or so later, at a Cadillac Three gig, I met a lovely lady by the name of Karla-Ann who it turns out, is the Queen of covering the Orange amps & cabs at the factory! She told me about how amazing the company are to work for. Personally, having experienced both sides of the coin work wise that goes a long long way in my book! My relationship with Orange so far, has been nothing less than amazing!! Rapid responses to my ridiculous questions and so, so much kindness!! You’ll have to beat me away from Orange Amplifiers with a seriously big stick!!

What do you look for in an amp?
Todd:
I like an amp that you don’t have to put a ton of pedals in front of to make it sound good. In my search for an amp head, I trudged to a well known guitar shop with ample choice.. I played a plethora of different brands and models and regardless of my soft spot for Orange.. the Rockerverb MKIII simply blew every other brand out of the water! I wanted the ability to pull some utterly filthy distortion out of it and in turn, dial it back to a nice southern crunch. I rarely use a clean tone, but the Rockerverb has tons of chimey clean through smooth funky tones in the bag, no problem! 

What’s your current set up?
Todd:
I use the Rockerverb 50 MKIII head, PPC412 cabinet loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s. The one and only effect I use is a Zoom …. Chorus Pedal to widen the sound a little, mainly for rhythm purposes. That puppy sits at the back and stays on always. At my feet sits a korg pitch black tuner and under my fingers.. Jackson guitars with either Tonerider (Awesome pickups from down here in Kent) or Seymour Duncan pickups.

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

Marcus King, The Marcus King Band

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

Steve Bello

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

Becky Blomfield, Milk Teeth

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

Photo by Carla Mundy

Stoked you’re down to chat from afar while both being quarantined away. Your band Haggard Cat just released ‘Common Sense Holiday’, congrats! It’s a killer record, what can you tell us about it?
Matt:
Why thank you! We’re both very proud of it! It’s certainly was the most intense writing and recording process we’ve ever entered into. I think from the very first track that we wrote (First Words) we knew that we were potentially looking at something very special, so we set out to make over very own Dark Side of the Moon. I think it’s my favourite album that I personally have ever been a part of. The song writing feels more evolved and mature.

We never want to relax into being the type of band that releases the same record twice, as I’m really not interested in releasing an album where a listener will already know exactly what they’re getting before even hearing a note. Some bands do this very well, but I think it makes the whole scene quite a lethargic place to be. So I never want us to stop moving, I want to take in as many different types of music from different places and allow it all to become absorbed into what we do!

In particular, now that I’m able to stand back and look at the album more critically, I’m very proud of the work I did lyrically, I think each of the songs has it’s own thing to say. I actually isolated myself to write the bulk of the lyrics (which seems quite ironic now given “the event”). I was away for a few weeks in Christchurch, New Zealand – so I set myself the task of cutting myself off the world and really honing in on what I was writing. I went a little stir crazy, but I think it really gave me a unique perspective on what I was writing about.

To sort of recap a bit, how did Haggard Cat come about in the first place?
Matt:
Haggard Cat has been mine and Tom’s passion project for almost 10 years. It has basically always been our method of writing songs, and practicing material to get it up to scratch no matter what project we were working on at the time; just the two of us going into a room and playing loud. So it only made sense for us to embark on making this our full-time project. It’s definitely the most honest form of us making music together – it’s what comes out naturally. We’ve been playing under the name Haggard Cat since the middle of 2017 when Jamie Lenman took a punt and decided to get us to support him on tour, since then we’ve pretty much been coerced into becoming a real band. Long before any of this ever happened we used to stand a bottle of Bourbon on a wooden stool (named Chris who still comes with us to every show to this day) and we wouldn’t finish the show until the bottle was empty. Hazy, hazy days.

Have you always been into music?
Matt:
A friend of mine at school’s parents bought him an electric guitar. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever, so basically I copied and begged my parents to get me one too. From that point on I did nothing but play guitar. I’d play in between lessons and at break times I would stay indoors and play some more, I would play non-stop after school and I even got our music teacher to write me a note excusing me from PE lessons to practice. I just loved it, and since then making music is all I’ve really had a true interest in doing.

As a guitar and drum two piece, what would you say you find the most challenging?
Matt:
This could sound a little pretentious, but the hardest thing is staying as far away from the 2-piece band stereotype that seems to precede any duo’s reputation. There’s definitely a pre-conceived notion that there’s only so much you can achieve between two of you and I think it’s a lazy idea. That was our main mission statement on CSH, to sound as far away from the typical “rock and roll” duo people have come to expect. We treated the production almost like a hip-hop album, and wanted to have a revolving door of collaborators and musicians that would come along and add their own flavours. And then as soon as it came to playing something live it would be an all together re-imagined different beast, kind of like Dylan would do in the 70s, or more recently what the Raconteurs do to their songs live.

Photo by Carla Mundy

On that note, what do you look for in an amp, and what’s your current set up?
Matt:
I put an unholy amount of bludgeoning low frequencies through my amp, so what’s always been important for me is having something that can tackle those with ease and spit them out with some balls, grit and above all clarity (with the added bonus of being able to do it at ear-splitting volume). My current set up relies on my trusty Orange Thunderverb 200 as its backbone, along with a 1973 Fender Bassman 135 for extra rumble. I also use an Orange Rocker 30 blended in there for a bit of extra sparkly grit, and on the album I use a vintage Roland Jazz Chorus for some spacey wobble. I run all of it through a bunch of tough as a brick-shit-house Orange Cabs loaded with V30s (as is tradition). 

What’s your best quarantine activity?
Matt:
Listening to records and drinking whisky. Yes, I’m a cliche.

Haggard Cat’s heading out on tour in September, after having to cancel their original spring tour due to Covid-19. Full touring schedule below, something to look forward to hey?!

1 Watt amps. Remember that craze? Yeah, so do I. I thought they were a bit disappointing too. The thing is, it seems like such a good idea: you love the sound of your big amp running full-tilt at a gig, but it’s just too loud to be practical in the studio, or sociable at home. Enter the 1W amp – often a simplified version of the front end of a big amp, strapped to a push-pull power amp design made from a dual triode preamp valve. You can see the thinking here but, having spoken to Orange Technical Director and all-round amp genius, Adrian Emsley, I get why this concept misses the point.

Adrian is a man who knows a thing or two about shrinking amps in the search for great tone – he completely turned the guitar amplifier industry on its head (no pun intended) with his now legendary Tiny Terror. This pocket-sized 15W powerhouse wiped the floor with its 100W contemporaries and changed the market forever. The reason? You could crank the Tiny Terror up into power amp overdrive (the holy grail of guitar tone) whilst all the big-rig owners had to get their distortion from the preamp – or get thrown out of the venue for making a racket!

And this is the main problem with the 1 Watt amp fad. Sure, you can turn up the volume until the power amp starts clipping, but you’re still clipping a preamp valve and it still sounds like preamp distortion. You’ll have heard the valve-related terms ‘Pentode’ and ‘Triode’ before and, while they’re a bit nerdy to really go into here, they’ll make some great background reading for those who are interested in this very important difference.

The other big downfall of the 1 Watt amp is, while you’re able to crank it up just like your big amp, it’s not your big amp!! Not only are these often-budget offerings lacking the features or character that we love about our gigging rigs, they also mean you have to buy another amp.

This is where Adrian Emsley stepped in with the aptly-named ‘Headroom/Bedroom’ switch, featured on Orange’s acclaimed Rocker 15 head and combo and the none-more-retro-and-cool Tremlord 30. The Bedroom mode drops the Rocker 15’s output all the way to 0.5 Watts (1 Watt on the Tremlord) by manipulating the signal headroom in the phase inverter part of the circuit. This simple control lets you dial in your favourite gigging sounds so quietly you could hear the neighbours banging on the walls…but they aren’t.

Flip to Headroom and it’s back to all-out, stage-filling, trouser-flapping tone. The best part is you’re always making use of those inimitable pentode output valves and still enjoying every feature of your go-to amp, without compromise. In typical fashion, Emsley has managed to tackle quite a complicated question and come up with an answer that just works. You don’t need room for two amps, you just need Headroom and Bedroom.