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After a mere four years of working freelance for Orange I decided it was time for me to make an attempt of getting one step further, to second base, you might say. ‘Can I pretty please have a column where I write about everything music related, and give it a cool Lester Bangs sorta name?’ I was holding my breath waiting impatiently for the reply; ‘Let’s give it a go.’ Shit, so I’m doing this – a column where I share my thoughts on whatever, but what do I call it?! Then all of a sudden, there it was, clear as day; ‘Ramble On’ – it’s perfect! I landed on this name as I, well, talk a lot, and the Zeppelin song is an absolute banger.

Growing up I knew Led Zeppelin from my dad’s record collection, to me they were one of those epic bands from way back when, when rock ‘n’ roll was still new, and giants walked the earth – there was no one like them, except maybe Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. All three giants from lost times that helped shape music the way it is today. I never dreamt in a million years that I’d ever get the chance to catch any of them live, well, Zeppelin for obvious reasons, that ship tragically sailed and sunk on the 25th of September 1980 with the passing of John Bonham. 

Ozzy, photo by Fin Costello

However, I’ve managed to see Robert Plant twice, first with Alison Krauss in 2008, then second at the iTunes festival at Roundhouse in 2014. My heart skipped a beat both times as I cried myself through ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ – how could I be hearing these songs played live? I’ve also seen another quarter of Zeppelin in the flesh with John Paul Jones playing with Seasick Steve, where he played a variety of instruments alongside bass, some of which I’d never seen before and to this day am still unaware of what were. Obscure to say the least! 

I’ve somehow also managed to catch Black Sabbath twice before it all ended (although not with Bill Ward, gutted!) – first time in 2014 with Motörhead (which again for me was a major childhood dream come true!) and Soundgarden supporting, not knowing the importance of what I was witnessing and the end of two eras to come as both Lemmy and Chris Cornell, two such massive figures within their own genres, passed away within the next couple of years.

Pink Floyd

Last summer I also got to see Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, my Virgo birthday brother from another mother; I’d been obsessing over Waters since watching his ‘In the Flesh’ DVD at 13, and being gifted Floyd’s ‘Wish you Were Here’ for Christmas that same year. Fast forward a few years to finding ‘Live at Pompeii’ and the damage was done, hell, you don’t get that stuff these days. The stuff they use to have, do, well, we probably don’t get that these days either… Anyway, I’m loosing track as I often do, hence the name ‘Ramble On’ (works well, huh?), which brings me to my next point of the fact that I have yet to see Jimmy Page perform; the ultimate guitarist, and the final boss of rock ’n’ roll legacy. Maybe just break out that Earls Court dragon suit one last time…?!

Despite being fortunate enough to have caught these incredible artists decades after it all begun, I can’t help but speculating and dreaming about how it would have been to see them in the glory of their heyday, when Black Sabbath spent more money on coke than recording, Pink Floyd exploring psychedelics and visuals at the UFO club, and Led Zeppelin melting minds with four day long versions of ‘Dazed and Confused’ while taking on the title as ‘the greatest band in the world’. Until time travel’s invented I’ll just watch ‘The Song Remains the Same’ religiously instead, and ramble on.

When our Lead Designer Ade Emsley first came to Orange in the late 90’s he was tasked by Cliff Cooper to create a new line of guitar amps that would bring the brand into the 21st century.

Originally the AD series consisted of the AD30 Single Channel head, AD30R (Reverb) 2×12” Combo, and the AD15 10” Combo. The success of the AD series led Emsley to consider a two channel design that would offer more versatility. In 2001, two years after the first AD15 rolled off the production line, the AD30 Twin Channel was introduced to high praise, both from consumers and big-name artists alike.

One of those big-name artists was Jimmy Page.

Jimmy Page began using the AD30 Single Channel in 1999 while on tour with the Black Crowes. He was smitten and immediately incorporated the amp into his studio and touring rigs. In the past nearly 20 years, he has switched back and forth between the Singe Channel and Twin Channel AD30. But the 2007 Led Zeppelin Reunion is by far the best example of Jimmy utilizing an AD30 (Single Channel at that time).

“Pictured: A small nation-state’s GDP worth of advertising”

Jimmy removed the “A” and “N” from the logo so it read “OR-GE” (which we assume was a play on “Orgy”). It didn’t matter to us though. Jimmy Page essentially took care of our entire 2007 marketing campaign in a single night.

Over the years the AD series has remained our flagship model. It’s our most classically British guitar amp. The tone is crunchy yet springy, simple yet complex. It’s been called one of the best “palette amps” by players who seek to have a good baseline tone before they start adding their multitude of effects pedals. They marvel at how well the amp takes pedals even though it lacks an Effects Loop (something Emsley said would change the tone for the worse if added). All these years later, the AD series is still one of the best examples of “modern British tone.”

Beyond Jimmy Page, a wide variety of guitarists have used the AD series in bands both big and small over the years. Here are a few choice cuts:

Robert Smith – The Cure

“Smith played the AD30 between 2003 and 2010” (Photo by Trixie Textor/Getty Images)

James Bowman – Against Me

“Bowman was one of the original AD30 endorsers, going back to Against Me’s ‘Is Reinventing Axl Rose’”

Omar Rodríguez-López – The Mars Volta, Solo

“Omar’s AD140 stacks were iconic even without tolex or logos”

Earl Slick – New York Dolls, Solo

“Earl played the AD30 between 2012-2015 with the New York Dolls”

Matthew Murphy – The Wombats

“Murphy called the AD30 ‘one of the most integral parts of my band’s sound’”