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.
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.
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.
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.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/18-july-2019-20-scaled.jpg17082560Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px-279x103.pngElla Stormark2020-04-09 08:00:002020-03-19 14:58:20“How I got into playing” PT. IIII
Steve Harris, where do we begin with Steve Harris? The only constant member in legendary British hard rock band Iron Maiden alongside guitarist Dave Murray, and is also the primary songwriter of the band. Since the formation of Maiden in East London’s Leyton in 1975 the band has released sixteen studio albums, toured the world a countless time in their own airplane flown by singer Bruce Dickinson and made their mark as one of the biggest heavy metal bands in history. Steve Harris has developed a recognisable way of playing such as the “gallop”. Paired with drummer Nicko McBrain and his unexpected clever ways, three guitarists and Bruce Dickinson sprinting and jumping across the stage throughout every single Iron Maiden show, and let’s not forget, fights Maiden mascot Eddie on a regular basis, their shows are nothing but spectacular. In addition to his bass playing and songwriting, Steve Harris has also produced and co-produced their albums, directed live videos and played keys for the band while in the studio. A Jack of all trades, so say the least.
Glenn Hughes is not just an incredible bassist, but a remarkable singer with the most astonishing vocal range. He first made a name for himself while in Trapeze, before joining Deep Purple in 1973 where he shared vocal duties with David Coverdale, and brought the funkiest bass lines to the band. With Deep Purple MK III he released “Burn” and “Stormbringer”, before Ritchie Blackmore left the band and Tommy Bolin was brought in on guitar for Deep Purple MK IV. They released “Come taste the Band” in 1975, before all going their separate ways the following year. Since then, he’s released a one of album with Pat Travers’ guitarist Pat Thrall, recorded with Gary Moore and fronted Black Sabbath briefly in the 80s. In more recent years, he released a one off album with his short lived band ‘California Breed’ with Jason Bonham on drums and guitarist Andrew Watt, as well as playing in Black Country Communion with Joe Bonamassa, Derek Sherinian and again, Jason Bonham on drums. His latest venture is touring the world, twice, as “Glenn Hughes plays Deep Purple”, bringing back to life all the songs from way back when.
Rush have over the past forty years pioneered progressive rock with their unusual compositions and musical craftsmanship, with each member repeatedly being listed as some of the most proficient players of their instruments. This has led to Rush being somewhat of a ‘musician’s favourite band, and they have been highly influential within their genre, although that has changed slightly over the course of the career. Geddy Lee first started playing music when he was around 10 years old, and got his first acoustic guitar at 14. Before this, he played drums, trumpet and clarinet. However, it wasn’t until he was introduced to popular music at the time and some of the great Brits such as Cream, Jeff Beck and Procul Harum, and cited Jack Bruce as one of his first and early influences.
It wasn’t until in recent years that Bronx bassist Brad Magers got his hands on his first Orange and we are stoked to now have him as one of our artists. He’s got a few different set ups consisting of either the 4 Stroke, or an AD200, which he describes as: “A monster of an amp, it’s just such a simple set up but exactly what it needs to be. I hate when all these amps have all these annoying tweaks on them as there’s just a few things you really need. As long as there is gain I’m pretty much good to go – you set it up in like two seconds and then you’re just there like: “Well, that’s the best sound I’ve ever heard!” When Brad isn’t busy with the Bronx, he puts on his mariachi suit and picks up the trumpet with side project Mariachi El Bronx. Rumour has it that there might be a surf band in the works as well, but we can’t say for sure – yet..
Anthony Meier’s first encounter with Radio Moscow was back in 2012 when his other band Sacri Monti played a few gigs with some of Radio Moscow drummer Paul Marrone’s other bands, and they got chatting. However, it wasn’t until a year later when singer and guitarist Parker Griggs relocated to San Diego that the band started looking for a new bassist. Paul suggested Anthony and he was invited to jam with them. Needless to say, the jam worked out well, as Anthony’s still in the band over five years later. When not on the road with Radio Moscow, he still keeps busy with his other band Sacri Monti that’s due to come over to Europe this summer. He also DJs regularly at local San Diego / Oceanside bars, and is an skilled pool player, some might even say excellent.
Cheap Trick bassist and Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Tom Petersson turned heads in the early 70s when he came up with the idea of creating a 12 string bass. The reason behind this was wanting to make the band sound as big as humanly possible, and by adding (after inventing…) the 12 string bass, he was left with an instrument that almost sounded like bass and guitar all in one. This has become a vital part of the bands sound, and his amps plays a huge part in this. He is a big fan of both the AD50 and AD200, and plays them both straight out without any pedals.
Yesterday morning I woke up with a bang after not one, not two, but three cans and bottles fell and landed on a sleeping Riley Hawk’s face, being probably the worst wake up call of the tour – for Riley, obviously. I was perfectly fine as I watched it happen from afar.
Waking up, I was pretty bummed out as this was the end of the tour for me and I knew I’d be shortly on my way back to London and reality, while the guys set off to France for an early night before Motorculto festival later today. Luckily, they had a last minute change of heart and decided to head back to London with me for record shopping and a night of fun in the big smoke. After all, this was also the day of releasing ‘New Beginning’, the first single of their upcoming album, ‘New Beginnings’, and if that isn’t reason enough to celebrate, then what is?
We arrived at mine in London where they had a play at my shitty guitars that finally got their chance to shine, before heading towards the tube – or ‘the underground’ as those Americans call it. There were a few technical complications as I tried to maneuver them through the process of buying their first ever Oyster cards followed by certain band members who shall not be named (Paul) getting caught in the barriers while trying to exit the station, which resulted him calling out my name in panic like a damsel in distress (Sorry Paul.) Despite all odds, we made it to Rough Trade.
Petyr’s Riley Hawk and Paul browsing – Parker and photographer J.T Rhoades surfing. By Ella Stormark
After 25 minutes of intense browsing and record shopping, we headed towards Camden and one of my favourite bars and venues, The Black Heart where beers were drank, fun was had, and Holy Diver was played. We left The Black Heart for a to check out a funk playing brass band at The Blues Kitchen, only to get rejected at the door as the youthful looking papa Paul didn’t have ID, and the journey continued to The Dev where more beer was consumed, enough for the majority of us to decide that dancing would be a great idea. There are a few videos on my phone I’m keeping for a rainy day when Radio Moscow’s taken over the world, and I can make millions on footage of Parker doing the worm. He didn’t actually, but damn do I wish he did.
To just dive right in there and continue where I left it off at my last post; we left Bristol slightly later than expected, and after a quick pit stop at Electric Ladyland we set sail towards the land of Black Sabbath – Birmingham. A few hours of blasting Birmingham’s finest kings of darkness in the tour van, and we rolled up to the The Castle & Falcon, which apparently up to very recently, used to host mainly bands playing Irish music.
Support bands for the evening were local bands Luna & The Moonhounds and You Dirty Blue, and I’ll be honest with you – I missed out on pretty much both of their sets for the sole reason that we had a TV that could play youtube videos in the backstage area, and I choose to spend that time horizontal on the sofa while requesting live videos of Grand Funk Railroad – that Paul would refuse to play as he was already knee deep in old Captain Beyond. Fair enough.
All the way from Stoke-On-Trent band Psyence’s Jamie and Jamie had embarked on an hour long car journey to attend the gig, leaving one Jamie to indulge in all the booze while the other one had to soberly watch him do so. As Radio Moscow started playing, I had the pleasure of watching both of their reactions to their first ever Radio Moscow experience, and it was pure joy and excitement in their eyes;
«Radio Moscow. Hands down the best gig I have ever been to. The man is like Hendrix reincarnated!»
Jamie Bellingham, Psyence bassist.
When the night ended we packed up our stuff and headed to the swanky hotel we were meant to stay at, only to find out a mix up had been made and that there was no more rooms left. That was ok though, who wants soft, comfy beds at 1am anyway when you can be stranded in the rain instead? We headed back to The Castle & Falcon where they took us in with open arms and sorted us out in the cozy backstage area by re-stocking the fridge we’d previously emptied for beer, making sure we’d stay hydrated through out the night. At this point, we were all pretty much partied out, and Netflix seemed like a great idea. I broke out my brightly coloured green sleeping bag yet again as we all tuned in to watch Ozark, and it took me about 15 minutes before I crashed, burned and fell asleep on the floor.
Last night was the third and final night with the Groundhogs, and I dare say it’s been the best night so far. There’s been a lot of speculations around Groundhogs touring without founding member and original frontman Tony McPhee, and to be fair, I wasn’t around to experience ‘em back in the day, but personally, I cant imagine them ever being any better than they are now with current frontman and lead guitarist Chris D’Avoine, who’s boosting as much charisma as he is talent.
As mentioned in my last post, there were rumours going that Radio Moscow guitarist Parker Griggs would join the Groundhogs on stage, and after having a sneak peak during soundcheck, I got even more excited for the show. Groundhogs played an impeccable set before being joined by Parker on stage for the final hurrah, ‘Cherry Red’, of their 1971 album ‘Split’, and just when you thought Groundhogs couldn’t be louder and more powerful – they did. Three guitars, extended solos and jamming galore. Damn, I almost needed a cigarette after that and I don’t even smoke.
Once everyone’d had some time to gather the pieces from their blown minds, it was yet again time for Radio Moscow to take the stage, and it pretty quickly dawned upon me that they’re either getting better and better every night, or that my brain just haven’t been evolved enough to wrap my head around their humongous musical talent, and is only becoming so now as I’ve been exposed to it over an extended period of time. I could go on about how good they are and draw insane comparisons, but let’s be honest, I’m with them for another day and I cant make ‘em too big for their boots just yet.
While sat in the backstage area after the show, I ended up chatting to Groundhogs drummer Ken Pustelnik who asked me if I’d heard the story about how himself and Parker originally met;
«It was a late night in Bristol when I saw these three long haired guys who looked totally out of place in an area they shouldn’t be wandering around in, so I walked up them and asked if they were alright, as they looked a bit lost; ‘Are you looking for the train station?’ ‘No, we’ve just played our first ever gigs over here in the UK, and we didn’t get paid. We’re struggling a bit as we can’t get back home to Iowa.’ So we ended up taking them back to ours, and I got them a few gigs, their first ever paid ones in Britain, and eventually they managed to make the money to get back to the states. Parker was about 17 at the time, and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.»
What are the odds – three seventeen year old broke musicians in a foreign country with no place to stay or way to get home gets approached by a guy who just happens to be Ken from the Groundhogs, someone kind enough to house them, and has the connections to get them paid gigs and back on their feet. What a guy!
As we left I pretty much crashed in the van while everyone else was ready to party it up at the house. When we arrived, it didn’t take long before Anthony fell asleep under the kitchen table – that guy can sleep pretty much anywhere and through anything, which is a skill I highly admire. I hung out for a bit, before retracting myself upstairs and into my borrowed brightly colored green sleeping bag around 3am, while listening in on something that sounded like Rage Against the Machine blasting out from the speakers downstairs. Five hours later, I wake up to find photographer JT stretched out on the floor, as Parker climbs into the other bed having been carried away in conversations about ‘life and music’ with drummer Paul until the light of day – which means heading to bed about two hours before we were meant to pack up and go at 10.30.
Another day, another city. We left beautiful seaside city Hastings behind, and have just rolled into Bristol and The Exchange.
Last night saw a local band called ‘Gorilla’ supporting Moscow as well as The Groundhogs, a band fronted by Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell frontman Jonny Gorilla, former RIDDLES drummer Ryan Matthews and some crazy talented bassist extraordinaire called Sarah Jane.
Following Gorilla was Groundhogs yet again, and I could keep singing their praises as they’re just incredible – and probably some of the nicest guys around. As I type, Petyr’s Riley Hawk who’s tagging along for the ride just got his Groundhogs Split vinyl signed by Ken, who let us in on the secret of how they made that infamous record cover – with scissors. Cut, copy, and paste. ‘It’s amazing the lenghts you go to when there’s no technology.’
Anyway – Groundhogs came, saw and conquered, and as Radio Moscow took the stage at around 10.30, people were getting super stoked – fan base fronted by two die hard fans air-guitaring front row. As for the Moscow dudes, I’m not sure what they put in the water over there in San Diego, but these guys takes musical craftsmanship to a whole new level as they’re all some sorts of psych connoisseurs. Sadly, due to an early live music curfew, music was cut at 11, leaving them with only a 25 or so minute slot which was a massive disappointment to everyone who made their way there to see them.
To drown our sorrows, we packed up and headed down the road to ‘Tin Tins’, the kinda place people head to mostly because it’s the only place open at that time a night, with weird ass mix of people and shitty pop music. Still, beggars cant be choosers – they had beer and who I assume might be the biggest Radio Moscow fan there is, who kept us fueled by Jägerbombs and Belgium beer until the end of the night, before somehow ending up back at the hotel with us with a bottle of whiskey, 24 beers and an acoustic guitar playing us the blues.
It’s currently pushing six o’ clock, and I’m sat on the floor listening to Radio Moscow sound checking and jammin ‘Walk in my shadow’ of Free’s debut album ‘Tons of Sobs.’ Rumour also has it that Parker will be playing with the Groundhogs later;
First day on the road with Radio Moscow and I’m currently on the verge of dying from alcohol poisoning and bad decisions.
Kicking it all off, they played a sold out show at London’s Borderline last night supported by the legendary Groundhogs, and I must say, having the Groundhogs supporting you is pretty damn cool – and pretty damn brave as those guys can tear shit up and have been doing so for decades, even before any of the Moscow dudes were born. It was my third time ever seeing Groundhogs, and needless to say, they left big boots to fill. Luckily, Radio Moscow are pretty damn great too and had every mind in there blown within the first song. It was my first time ever seeing them, and I’m stoked I get to see them again tonight. And tomorrow. And Thursday. Then twice again in October. That’s right, no getting rid of me now for these dudes.
Following last night’s gig I spilled an entire bottle of ranch over myself backstage before venturing next door to the dingiest dive bar of them all, Crobar. A place you go to lose your dignity, memory and personal belongings, and it might not come as a surprise that it’s all a bit of a blur after that. Cans of red stripe, hotel hallway vending machine bags of crisps, listening to Dirty Tricks and falling asleep on the floor. So far I think I’ve made a great impression on everyone, and it’s going really great.
Most of today has been spent in the van feeling horrendously hungover, with the highlight of the day being a pit stop at some pub in Kent which hosts Freddie Mercury, Michael Bublé, Elvis, and of course – white Tina Turner tribute nights. Next level entertainment right there, so I shall be returning once I’m sick and tired of this San Diego psych rock and in the mood for an upgrade.
As for now, we’ve just arrived in Hastings to find the venue being on the second floor, and had to load in a bunch of amps up through three flights of stairs, and as you all know, Orange amps are good as gold, but god damn heavy as led. Still, spirits are high, and as I type the guys are setting up and getting ready to soundcheck. Tomorrow we’re at The Exchange in Bristol, followed by The Castle and Falcon in Birmingham on Thursday, and I’m hoping for lifts and no condiment spillage.
You’ve been playing with Radio Moscow for quite some time now, how did you end up in the band in the first place?
It goes back to 2012 when I was playing with my other band Sacri Monti, and I briefly got to know Paul (Radio Moscow drummer) as he was living in San Diego and playing in a few other bands as well that we’d occasionally play with. When Parker (Radio Moscow singer/guitarist) moved to San Diego early 2013, he was looking for a new bass player, so Paul suggested me. Parker came along to one of the Sacri Monti shows and invited me to come jam with them. After that jam session he asked if I wanted to go on tour with them in the fall, and basically join the band. It’s been three and a half years, and here I am!
You released a live album earlier this year, ‘Live! In California!’, is there any plans of a new studio album any time soon?
Yeah, we’re currently in a period between shows and touring trying to work on a new album, which we’ll hopefully have out before next summer so we can start touring that, and repeat the cycle.
I know as a kid you picked up the guitar before bass, what made you swap?
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 realized 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.
Do you find it difficult to combine the two bands?
Ehm, yeah, sort of. The past three years I’ve spent a lot of time on Radio Moscow as we’ve been touring like crazy, I think we may have done thirteen or fourteen tours over the last three years, so it’s been a lot of my time dedicated to that, but it’s all good as it’s a lot of fun. Both bands are working on new albums right now, and we’ll start touring again next year.
How long have you been using Orange?
I bought an Orange amp myself in 2014, so I’ve had my own for about two and a half years, but a few of my friends have been using Orange for a long time so I’ve used theirs prior to that when we’ve been jamming and stuff. After starting using Orange I dont really need another bass amp, it’s perfect for me.
What’s this perfect set up of yours then?
I’ve got an Orange AD200 MKIII with OBC 4×10 and 1×15 cabinets, and for pedals I just use a vintage Ibanez super tube screamer.
When off the road and not touring, is it mostly jamming with both bands that takes up your time?
Yeah, I dont have another job so it’s a lot of jamming with friends, playing pool, and just hanging out. It get’s pretty crazy on tour so it’s pretty nice to take it easy when I can. Or just keep partying at home.. But right now I do actually need to focus on writing songs for both bands new albums, this is kind of my calm before the storm.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/1941428_870296449650931_2051997158251639069_o-2.jpg6401136Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px-279x103.pngElla Stormark2016-11-28 15:29:562018-12-18 17:19:43Interview: Radio Moscow’s Anthony Meier