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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.

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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