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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.

Iron Maiden, Steve Harris

Iron Maiden ‘Beyond Flight 666’ by John McMurtrie

4 Stroke

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

Crush Bass 100
AD200 MK3 Head
OBC810 8×10 Bass Speaker

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, Geddy Lee

AD200 MK3 Head
OBC410 4×10 Bass Speaker
OBC810 8×10 Bass Speaker

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.

The Bronx, Brad Magers

4 Stroke
AD200 MK3 Head

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..

Radio Moscow, Anthony Meier

AD200 MK3 Head
OBC410 4×10 Bass Speaker
OBC115 1×15 Bass Speaker

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.

Tom Petersson, Cheap Trick

Rockerverb 50 MKIII Head
PPC412 4×12 Speaker Cab
AD200 MK3 Head
OBC810 8×10

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.

Glenn Hughes – bassist extraordinaire and singer from a different dimension, a musician who played a vital part in British heavy rock and introduced Deep Purple to funk, briefly fronted Black Sabbath in the 80s, released an album with Pat Thrall, and played with musicians such as Joe Bonamassa, Joey Castillo and Jason Bonham, to mention a few. Most recent, is his “Glenn Hughes plays Deep Purple” adventure, where he’s re-living what he did with MK III and MK IV over two extensive world tours. 

First of all, let me just say I think it is so wonderful that you’re doing this tour, not just for myself, but for a lot of people who maybe got to know Deep Purple through their parents, and also just for long time Purple fans from way back when – it’s a tremendous pleasure and even privilege to be able to hear these songs being brought back to life decades after being written – how has it been playing these shows, and bringing this music to a new generation?

Glenn: In 2017, I was asked by promoters around the world if I would be interested in doing these legacy shows with what I did with MK III and MK IV. If you know me, you know I have played some songs in my shows previously, as well as other songs from my past bands such as Trapeze. I’ve never done a complete two hour show of this music, which meant I had to go back and dig deep to figure out which songs, arrangements, how I’d play them and if I’d be able to do so with the same angst and energy as I did when I was 23.

When this tour became a reality, I had to get in shape, which I did, and you know, Ella, and you can tell me later after the show, I would not do this, if I could not deliver. This isn’t about some guy walking on, grabbing a guitar and just standing still, this is a man who’s gone into character. When I’m up there, I don’t want to be 23, but I feel effervescent, I feel young, and when I sing those songs, you can’t really tell the difference. I’ve grown my hair, and I’ve got the outfits. Not the original ones, as a lot of them were lost along the way, and some even displayed in the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Luckily, I’m friends with some incredible designers, and fashion is something I’ve also always had a keen interest in, which I got from my father. But of course, it’s music that is the centre of my universe, what I live for.

In recent years you’ve also been pretty busy releasing new music, latest being last year’s Black Country Communion’s fourth album BCCIV, have you got anything else lined up either by yourself or with others?
Glenn: The plan for now is to do this for two years, go around the world twice. I’ll be back again here in the  UK next May for more of this, and I’m doing three American tours, one of which I just completed two weeks ago. When the time’s right, I’ll figure out what’s next, but something will come up for me because I’ve sat around for too long – I mean, I have a great home in L.A and a great lifestyle, but I was becoming restless, and people who know me, knows that I am very much a live singer, I’m not someone who can settle for spending all their time in the studio, I need to be performing, live on stage.

Now, let’s get slightly more technical and talk amps, Orange Amps. Obviously, when you’re at this place in your career where you are now, you can pick and choose among all amplification manufacturers around the world, how did you end up using Orange?
Glenn: Let’s just say, before I started using Orange five years ago, I was with other companies. Big ones. As I was walking through NAMM in L.A I was approached by Orange who asked if I wanted to come try out some of their amps, which I had always wanted to do, genuinely. When I got to the stall, there was a P bass in front of me, and and Orange amp with four knobs. “That’s easy for me”, I thought. When I started playing, I was getting this sound that was very, very similar to what I had with Purple in the 70s, and it was something that I wanted to be a part of. That day, I forgot about everything else that wasn’t Orange. I want you to hear the sound I’ve got tonight, it’s such a dynamic sound, a dynamic, and really wild sound, that says Orange, and it says Glenn Hughes. Cliff Cooper, he believes in me as an artist, and he believes that I love his company, which I do.

I can’t speak for Cliff, but I feel like I can safely say on behalf of the company, it is very exciting to have you as one of our artists, someone that has played such a big part in British music history and heavy rock, and I dare say even bringing funk to British hard rock.
Glenn: The funk for me, will come from my love of Motown which I’ve had since I was a youngster. Growing up living in America, and knowing a lot of great black musicians. Then all of a sudden, I find myself being in Deep Purple, as a rock star, and icon, but also remembering that my background is from Detroit. Not only did I change when I joined the band, but the band changed. I came in, and they felt the movement of what I was playing and writing. I didn’t hold them and gunpoint, they went with me, and those pieces of work we did together, are very important to me.

Just before I let you go, back to the technicalities – what’s the set up for this Deep Purple tour?
Glenn: I’ve got a few set ups, maybe two or three, but the ones I’m using right now is two 8×10’s and the AD200. That’s primarily what I use, this is perfect for what I’m doing now, and the 8×10’s been working really well for me.

From an Artist Relations perspective, the AD200B bass amp is one of the best weapons in my arsenal. It’s an amp with extremely pure bass tone, lots of clarity no matter how you’ve set the knobs, and it’s overdrive is a perfect blend of classic and modern. I’ve had hundreds of artists make the switch from “the other standard bass amp company that which will remain unnamed” onto the AD200B.

Artists love it because it’s produced to the same standard as most vintage tube bass amps. They also tend to make the switch when their classic bass amps are ready to come off the road to become studio-only pieces.

Here’s the backstory on a handful of Orange Ambassadors that use the AD200B (which we commonly refer to as just the “AD200”):


Geddy Lee – Rush

This might be hard to believe, but Slipknot is actually responsible for Geddy Lee playing the AD200.

Rush and Slipknot were recording next to each other in a Nashville studio. On a whim, Geddy heard the bass tone coming out of Slipknot’s studio and peeked his head in to find out what was making that glorious sound. Martin, Jim Root’s tech at the time, told him it was the AD200.

It took us about NEGATIVE FIVE MINUTES to decide Geddy could make or break Orange bass amps. Once we got that now-iconic photo of him chilling on top of his AD200’s we started buying up a ton of full page ads in guitar magazines. It was basically an entire year of promoting Geddy. The result? A nearly 100% increase in bass sales (and they’ve been growing every year since then).

Geddy used the AD200 for ¼ of his onstage bass tone. He turned the gain and the treble all the way up and everything else down as far as it could go. So basically the AD200 was his overdrive tone. However, the bass tone on Rush’s 2012 album Clockwork Angels is FULL of AD200 (check it out).


Glenn Hughes – Deep Purple, Black Country Communion

I was at Winter NAMM in 2011 when suddenly I got pulled into our demo room by an extremely excited Cliff Cooper (Orange’s Founder and CEO). He told me Glenn Hughes had stopped by and asked to try the AD200. We stuffed ourselves into that demo room like sardines. Glenn plugged in, played for 10 seconds, and then stopped and looked at all of us. His face had an expression of disbelief.

“This is the tone I’ve been trying to find for decades…this is my sound.”

Since then Glenn has been using the AD200 at 99% of his shows without fail. When I can’t find backline for him in some random city in, say, Africa, he makes sure I know how sad it makes him. He recently switched from playing through a combination of OBC115 and OBC410 speakers, to a pyramid-looking set up featuring (3) OBC810 cabs turned sideways.


Tom Petersson – Cheap Trick

Everyone knows that Tom is constantly switching up his rig, but for the past 7 years Orange has become a staple of Tom’s tone. Tom plays 12 string bass guitars (which he’s famous for doing) and his rig is a mash-up of bass and guitar amps.

The first Orange amp he added to the mix was the AD200. Then he started throwing in Orange guitar amps, specifically the now-discontinued AD50 hand-wired, the AD30, and more recently the Custom Shop 50 hand-wired. For about a year his rig was entirely Orange, but in true Tom fashion he’s started to put some Fender back into it. Honestly, as long as Tom Petersson of motherfreaking Cheap Trick has Orange on his stage I’ll be OK with whatever it is!


Jason Narducy – Bob Mould, Superchunk, Split Single

I’m putting Jason Narducy, one of my favorite people in the world, right below Tom Petersson because Tom is the reason Jason picked up a bass. I’ll just let Jason tell you what he thinks about the AD200:

“The first time I played an AD200 was in a rehearsal space in LA in 2006. It was the first practice with Bob Pollard’s new band and we had to learn 357 songs or something like that. We also taught our livers what 357 beers felt like. Despite the beer and avalanche of songs, I knew right away that the Orange AD200 was special.

I noticed the amp was orange just like the manufacturer’s name. They nailed that. But more importantly, it had the best tone for my P-bass. There were no hollowed out frequencies that you get with the common rented bass rig. The AD200 has presence and muscle. It is my favorite thing besides beer. And my family, I guess.”

 


Ben Lemelin – Your Favorite Enemies

If you’ve been following Orange closely over the past decade you know that there’s a super insane French-Canadian dude named SEF from the band Your Favorite Enemies who has done product reviews for us. SEF is like the human version of candy-flipping. However, we also have been working with the band’s bassist, Ben Lemelin, for the same period of time, and he’s just as good at doing killer demos.

Ben loves the AD200 for its super pure bass tone and for its ability to get wildly overdriven when necessary.

 

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