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Since the formation of Record Store Day in the US, where its headquarters are still based, back 2008, the event has grown and expanded globally with international organisers in the UK, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Poland. Record sales have been on the rise for a long time now, and did in 2019 outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, which is pretty cool.

Obviously, this year’s Record Store Day is a bit of a write off, seeing as we’re all locked up away at home due to the global pandemic. Luckily, that means we should have all the time in the world to listen to our current favourite records, while planning what to purchase once we’re yet again allowed. Record stores will be hit hard by the current situation, so I’m personally gonna treat myself to a couple more than usual once this thing settles – it’s all for a good cause, right…? Support independent businesses and hard working musicians, it’s a no brainer. In honour of this year’s Record Store Day, we figured we’d catch up with some of our artists to find out what’s currently on their turntable.

Thomas Jäger, Monolord

Album: Benefit
Artist: Jethro Tull

One of my fav records is Benefit by Jethro Tull. It hooked me with the midrange punch guitar and reeled me in with the clever lyrics and melodies. I love it.

Sally Gates, Titan to Tachyons

Album: Irony is a Dead Scene
Artist: The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton

I had some friends turn me on to ‘Irony is a Dead Scene’ when it first came out. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Emperor, Today is the Day, Cryptopsy, etc. I hadn’t heard anything from Dillinger Escape Plan or Mike Patton, other than a couple of FNM tunes on the radio. This record grabbed me immediately, as from the first track it’s a completely chaotic, twisted, and weirdly upbeat ride. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of juxtaposing multiple genres within quickly changing song structures, while retaining a coherent flow.

From here I went down the wormhole of this style (avant-rock/math metal), and came across Fantômas, Mr Bungle, and more Dillinger albums. (The Fantômas ‘Directors Cut’ album became another inspiring record for me in a different way, as a go-to soundtrack while working on paintings). These bands quickly became favourites, and had a marked influence on my writing style. ‘Irony..’ is such a short, perfect 18 minutes, and continues to influence me now. I’ll often throw this on for inspiration on the way to a gig, particularly if it’s free improv. Favourite track: ‘When Good Dogs do Bad Things’. 

Peter Hughes, Sons of Huns & Danava

Album: The Evil One
Artist: Roky Erickson

Roky Erickson was a Texas-born rock ’n’ roll howler best known for his early years with The 13th Floor Elevators, whose lysergic reverb-soaked hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was written by Roky at the tender age of 15 and would endure as his highest charting song and the definitive composition of his career. The 13th Floor Elevators are credited as the first Psychedelic Rock group and their first two albums, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & Easter Everywhere are the most notable. The Elevators LSD-steeped sound rippled across Texas west to San Francisco and clearly influenced the sonic palette of a number of bands that went on to enjoy larger commercial success, the heavyweight of the bunch being boogie behemoths & fellow Texas natives ZZ Top. Guitar hero Billy Gibbons first found his footing on the Texas club circuit with his band The Moving Sidewalks (an obvious nod to the Elevators, as Gibbons himself freely admits) who later toured as the opening act for Hendrix before going on to form ZZ Top. Even Janis Joplin considered contributing her soulful blues-tinged vocals to the 13th Floor Elevators before deciding to head to San Francisco instead. Continue reading here…

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

Album: Gorilla
Artist: Gorilla

Originally, I was going to talk about another artist’s album but unfortunately as RSD got cancelled as well as our European tour, I have chosen the first Gorilla album Maximum Riff Mania. This album was recorded in 2000 exactly 20 years ago, so this makes this a special year for Gorilla as it’s the 20th anniversary of this debut album. Gorilla have put together an ace Coloured Vinyl limited edition reissue, with CD, poster, photos and sticker inserts (limited to 300 copies). It reminds me of very happy times! We recorded the album at Toe-rag studios, back when it was pretty much the only totally analogue studio around and practically no one was really releasing vinyl, and it was all about the CD. We recorded and tracked our set live at the time, including most of the vocals straight from the studio floor. I was using my Rickenbacker 4001 through my trusty gig rig, a seventies Orange OR120 head, and  a Celestion Greenbacks loaded Orange 4×12. The straight-to-tape warmth of the sound, and our super tight performances still make me really proud, considering we’d only been together for a year or so! We didn’t compromise on anything it was influenced by all music that Gorilla loved and not led by any trends that were happening in the year 2000. Maximum Riff Mania “fuck the safety net” rock’n’roll! 

“A power trio in the time honoured tradition of blue cheer and cream, Gorilla recorded the ten track album at London’s analogue friendly Toe Rag Studios. Superbly led by Guitarist/Singer John Redfern, the threesome bridge the gap between old school riff rock and the more recent genre practitioners with dexterity. While the thunderous Coxsackie recalls The Stooges, circa fun house, a potent combination of poppy melody and grungy sounds ensures that She’s Got A Car isn’t far removed from peak period Nirvana. Although clearly boasting enough knowledge of metal history to keep the retro rockers happy, the first Gorilla album suggests they also have the armoury to impact on the immediate future.”
–  Record Collector review

“Imagine if you will Jimi Hendrix jamming with The Who, then throw in a dose of Black Sabbath, then you almost have the rumbling roar which is Gorilla. This is analogue sound at it’s finest and instead of ripping off their hero’s, Gorilla take the influences and make them their own. It’s unfair to label Gorilla as a stoner band although there are elements contained – they are a damn fine rock n roll band who know their way around their instruments and make on hell of a glorious racket.”
– RockSound review

Album available here.

When catching up with Orange artists, one of the things we tend to ask is how they first got into playing – some were pretty much force-fed music from a young age growing up in musical homes, others found music for themselves. Over the next couple of weeks and as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign where we offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), we’ll be sharing a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Andreas Kisser, Sepultura

Mainly KISS and Queen, they were my two main bands. Queen came to Brazil in 1981, but my mum wouldn’t let me go because I was too young. Then KISS came in 1983, and that was my first ever show. Being able to go see them live at their Creatures of The Night tour, was insane, that changed my life. That’s why I’m here! Seeing that, in my home town, at my football team’s stadium.. As I said, it changed everything. When I first started playing, my goal was to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’, so that’s what I told my teacher. She gave me the basics and a good ground to learn on, gradually. It started out with acoustic Brazilian music, before moving onto other things. Slowly I’d expand my music taste as well, and start listening to bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Cream, all of those incredible vintage sounding bands and artists. I’m also inspired by Brazilian music, and as I’ve become older and developed my taste I’ve picked up on a lot of the older Brazilian music, which has been a huge inspiration to Sepultura. That’s played a huge part in finding our sound, using Brazilian percussion and other bits from our more traditional music.

Lord Paisley, Heavy Temple & Grave Bathers

I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the States when I was five. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and uncles playing me music, those dudes loved Metallica. My dad would also drive me around with Pearl Jam on repeat. All my uncles played guitar, and my grandfather the cuatro, so I had early exposure to those instruments. I didn’t pick up a guitar myself until I was 15 or 16, when my dad finally got an acoustic for Christmas and I got bitten by the bug. Eventually I bought an Epiphone Les Paul for money I’d earned selling candy in high school, and once that was done I stopped doing just about everything else to pursue playing. I’d recently been turned onto At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta and was like ‘Damn, that dude’s got hair like mine and he shreds, let’s learn that shit!’ My dad also made sure I knew Led Zeppelin was the greatest band of all time, so I guess that shaped a lot of my playing too, Zeppelin>The Beatles

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

I come from a musical household where my dad would experiment with home made hi-fi speakers and play bands such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and Dylan, as well as church and choral music. My mum, brother and sisters were also into music and would dabble in guitar, piano and singing. When high school came around, my older brother introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors, and it was around this time I bought one of my first records which was Hendrix live. After that I just wanted to play guitar like him, he was a huge inspiration! Strawberry Fields was also a mind blowing experience when I first heard it.

Sarah Jane, take us back to the beginning – what triggered your interest in music?
Sarah Jane: I come from a musical household where my dad would experiment with home made hi-fi speakers and play bands such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and Dylan, as well as church and choral music. My mum, brother and sisters were also into music and would dabble in guitar, piano and singing. When high school came around, my older brother introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors, and it was around this time I bought one of my first records which was Hendrix live. After that I just wanted to play guitar like him, he was a huge inspiration! Strawberry Fields was also a mind blowing experience when I first heard it.

When I was around 18 I started playing my brother’s Les Paul and I stuck with guitar for about three years on and off, before switching to bass, mostly just because I found it more fun to play, and as we all know, bass is obviously the most important part of a bands sound… After about a year of practice, I joined my first band ‘The Morticians’. I never had any formal lessons as I A. couldn’t afford them and B. I preferred to develop my own style mainly playing by ear, using some tabs and watching videos of The Who, Black Sabbath and jamming with my own band. My advise to beginners would be to play what you want – the whole beauty of rock ’n’ roll is that there is no rules, so ignore the idiots trying to tell you otherwise. Do whatever you need to do to develop the style and sound that suits your own music, whether that is playing with others in a band or having lessons and learning covers, whatever you feel the most beneficial.

You mention your first band The Morticias, how did your current band Gorilla come to life?
Sarah Jane: When The Morticians split around 1999 guitarist Johnny and I decided to get another drummer and keep going as Gorilla, and we’ve been going ever since with different drummers. We’re currently on number 15 – they get worn out! Our latest victim Ryan is great, and has given us a new lease of life and inspiration, we’ve always just wanted to play music inspired by the bands we love ourselves, such as The Who, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, Budgie, Blue Cheer, The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Mountain – you know, basically heavy 60s and 70s rock, which still remains our main influences. In the beginning we just scored as many gigs as we could until we got lucky and spotted by the bassist from Melvins who pitched us to a Swedish punk rock label who ended up releasing our first LP. We’ve released three full length LPs, one split LP and a single, with another album in the works.

Gorilla at London’s Dublin Castle in 2002 – Vintage Orange 1974 OR120 Amp with old Orange 4×12

Wow, drummer number 15! In true Spinal Tap spirit. What can you tell us about the upcoming album?
Sarah Jane: We’re heading to a new studio called North Down Sound in Folkestone which has lots of analogue equipment and is run and engineered by a friend called Mole, he loves the old vintage valve sounds and equipment. Musically you can expect maximum riffage, high energy rock ’n’ roll, basic ‘full on f*ck the safety net’ hell ride, in other words, business as usual Gorilla style! It will be released in June on Heavy Psych Sounds so keep an eye at our social media for updates and announcements.

Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange?
Sarah Jane:
I first saw Orange gear when watching Beatclub Videos where the Orange amps just looked and sounded awesome, all the bands I loved seemed to use them too, so I just knew nothing else would do!

What’s your own history and experience with Orange?
Sarah Jane:
My first piece of Orange equipment I owned was a hard wired (no kettle lead) Early OR120 I purchased in 2001 from a friend for £250. I didn’t know how to date this amp so phoned the Orange Factory and spoke to a very nice bloke called Jeff, who had apparently worked there from the early days of Orange. After I got the amp I needed a cab to go with it, and luckily my guitarist from GORILLA,  Johnny, had a ‘spare’ 4 x12 which sounded amazing paired with it. The cab had it’s original Celestion speakers and was actually 15 ohms! The cab was previously owned by NWOBHM band, May West, and the logo was sprayed on the bottom. I had a standby switch fitted onto the back of the amp to preserve the valves as it didn’t have one.

The second Orange amp I acquired was sold to me from a friend for £100 in the same year, a late 70’s graphic model. This amp didn’t sound as good as my early OR120. Jeff told me that this could be because they had ‘drop mounted transformers’, which apparently were not as good as the early amps.

Sarah Jane with her 70s Hustler.

In 2003 I was walking past my local music shop and spotted in the window a flash of orange colour underneath a Peavey Flag. I went in to see what it was and spoke to the owner, who underneath the Flag dug out a brand new Bass Hustler Combo. He explained to me that this had been in the shop when his dad ran it in the 70s. The Combo wasn’t for sale it was being used to display tambourines and the Peavey Flag, but of course I asked how much he’d want for me to take it off his hands. I was delighted but tried not to look too happy when he asked just £50 for it! I call that a bargain!

I now own a new Orange Bass Terror which is 300 watts, an excellent amp to gig with, very Loud, and i can can actually lift it! I also used a Crush Bass 100 for a gig last summer, and I want one! I was surprised how great this combo actually was, I’ve used a hell of a lot of different combos before and I can honestly say this was the best modern bass combo I’ve tried. I was expecting to be totally drowned out by the drummer and the guitar amp but the Crush totally held it’s own. For something that is pretty small I was totally shocked how loud it was, and the quality of bass tone. I would totally recommend this amp for small gigs and practicing.

Sarah Jane playing a Bass Crush 100 as Gorilla plays a The Jonesing Jams gig at Blondies.

If you strip your record collection from the obvious rock ’n’ roll and artists mentioned above, what would remain?
Sarah Jane: My taste is actually quite varied and stretches from everything from 1940s blues and classical music to sixties garage and old school hip hop, particularly gangster! Lots of psych such as The Pretty Things, Zombies and Quicksilver Messenger Service to most of the 60’s San Francisco bands, Beach Boys and folk.

Despite ladies like yourself rock ’n’ roll is still very much a man’s world, what’s your experiences as a woman in such a male dominated genre?
Sarah Jane: Sadly some males in the industry, in record and music shops are still very intimidated by female musicians, and I’ve heard all the usual stupid and sexist remarks such as ‘You can actually play!’, ‘You play like a man!’, or ‘You’re really good for a girl!’, as well as having to deal with people’s surprised faces when I show my knowledge of guitars, amps or bands I like. I’ve also been ignored by male staff in music stores while they talk to my male partner – I just think it’s a bit sad that those old prejudices and attitudes are still around, maybe they’re scared of being shown up by a girl? Luckily it doesn’t bother me that much, and when it does I’m also lucky to say I’ve been blessed with a good aim and swift right hook, don’t let the bastards grind ya down! That said, most of the time people I meet are very positive about me and the music I play.

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