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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
OB1-300
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
PPC412
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
AD30HTC
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?

Oasis

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.

A lot of people ask me what kind of work goes into acquiring new sponsorships from guitarists. They assume that I have to be very proactive in order to nail down endorsements. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the time I have the pleasure of being reactive to endorsement requests. I rely on a network of managers, touring crew members, and even guitarists who introduce me to other guitarists. Sometimes it’s just a complete coincidence.

Here are four examples of how Artist Relations is all about who you know and timing.

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes is one of the last true rock stars left on the planet. He oozes confidence and screams, “look at me!” It was at NAMM about 6 years ago when I first met him. Our Managing Director at the time saw Glenn walking the aisle and begged him to come into our demo room to test out some amps. Glenn came in to the room, plugged into the AD200B, started playing, stopped, put the bass back on the wall, and then looked at all of us and said “that’s the tone I’ve been trying to find for 40 years.” His mouth was literally agape.

Ever since then Glenn has been one of Orange’s biggest cheerleaders. If you’ve ever seen him live you understand why. His current rig consists of the AD200B, OBC810 and OBC115 cabs.

Geddy Lee

You’d think getting Geddy Lee on board would be a huge undertaking. He is, after all, arguably the most important bass player of an entire generation. When he gives his endorsement of a product you’re basically guaranteed an increase in sales. This was true for us as well. Within a year of putting out the infamous “Geddy sitting on his amp” picture we saw a nearly 75% uptick in bass profits.

However, it wasn’t hard to get Geddy to endorse the AD200B and OBC410 cab. In fact, believe it or not, Slipknot ended up doing all of the work. When Rush was in the studio writing 2012’s ‘Clockwork Angels’ they happened to be recording next to Slipknot. Geddy heard Paul Gray through the wall and sent his tech over to find out which amp he was using. Paul didn’t even endorse our products at the time. I had simply sent some extra gear up to Nashville for the band to try out. Within the hour I was on the phone with Geddy’s tech, Skully, coordinating the logistics of getting Geddy his new bass gear.

Even though Orange made up about 1/3 of Geddy’s stage tone (we were the overdriven, high gain portion) it was an endorsement that put us on the radar of a completely new demographic, and one that solidified our presence in the bass market. 

Steve Harris

Iron Maiden ‘Beyond Flight 666’ by John McMurtrie

Orange’s Technical Director, Ade Emsley, is an Iron Maiden super-fan. I’m not sure exactly how, but through some connection he maintained with the band’s management he was able to secure the opportunity to remaster Iron Maiden’s entire discography for release on iTunes. Yep, he’s not just an amp wizard; he can also master the shit out of a record.

Knowing that Steve Harris was looking to change things up with regards to his stage gear, Ade set out to design an amp based on Steve’s needs. The result was the (now discontinued) 4 Stroke 300, our first ever rackmountable bass amp featuring a 4 band parametric EQ. Steve loved it and has used it ever since for both Maiden and British Lion touring.

I’ll never forget when I was in London visiting our HQ and Cliff Cooper, Orange’s Founder and CEO, took me aside to let me know that Steve’s tech would be coming to the office shortly. Cliff had just returned from one of his many warehouses with four vintage Orange speaker cabinets that he had been hoarding away since the 70’s. They were brand new, in the box, never opened front-loaded 412 cabs with the original Eminence speakers in them. If I had to blindly assign a value to them I’d guess somewhere in the range of $8000. These were the only cabinets that Steve wanted and Cliff didn’t give it a second thought.

John McVie

Some of the best endorsements I’ve ever secured have been through tour managers, production crew, and guitar techs. John McVie is no exception. A few years ago Drew Foppe, one of the best techs on the road today, sent me an email explaining that John was interested in learning more about Orange. See, back in the 70’s, John was actually friends with Orange’s owner, Cliff Cooper. Over the years, they’d grown apart though. Now was my chance to rekindle their relationship.

I flew out to Los Angeles because Fleetwood Mac was playing The Forum in Inglewood. I’d get only about 20 minutes with John during soundcheck, so I went ahead and sent out multiple bass amps and speaker cabs to ensure no stone was left unturned. When I arrived, I was ushered into the venue and told to wait by a small tent that had been erected side stage. John came out and introduced himself, then took me into the tent, which I soon realized was set up purely for John to smoke cigarettes before and during the band’s set. There were two little chairs, some art on the walls (marine aesthetic), and a vintage floor ashtray. In that tent we discussed Orange and how he was trying to move back to LA from Hawaii “because general contractors on the islands never do a good job the first time.” Considering any building in LA is strictly no smoking, I thought it was an extremely “rock star move” that he was allowed to do so without any restrictions.

Afterwards we went up on stage and John tested out the AD200B. It wasn’t for him though, so we moved on to the Terror Bass. When he plugged that amp in the tone hit him like a lightning bolt. He immediately requested four of them to pair with multiple OBC410 and OBC115 cabs and the rest is history.

I do want to mention something I found interesting though: Mick Fleetwood has heaters blowing air at him while he’s playing live. Yes, you read that correctly. Mick Fleetwood, despite playing a nearly three hour set, was so cold on stage that he needed hot air blowing on him. It’s something I just can’t get over.