Spacebag are Seattle’s one and only. Other bands have progressive noise rock bands (Behold the Arctopus come to mind…) but none of them put on a party like Spacebag! I will hold them up against any other act for shear insanity of music. And they have something no other band in the world has: A grind keyboard player. As you will read, Luke LaPlante has been playing since he was eleven.
But he’s not the only prodigy, Dave Webb is badass who unabashedly subscribes to the school of shred but who also knows how to just settle down and rock. Steve Vai meets Carcass if you like. I could tell he was excited to talk about his rig, as any good shredder would!
And Andrew Gormley, what a pedigree! (As Encyclopedia Metallium so eloquently puts it ex-Torment, ex-Die 116, ex-Kiss it Goodbye, ex-Playing Enemy, ex-Rorschach, ex-Shai Hulud, ex-The Arid Sea, ex-Under Control, ex-Today is the Day (live)) The man is a monster of a drummer and such a nice guy! With many other talents as you will see. He even recorded their last record, which is phenomenal.
They are all super nice guys. I told Luke that I thought Andrew and Dave were the first guys he’s ever played with that truly complimented him. Not to put down Luke and Dave’s other bands/bandmates, Sean and Wah Wah Exit Wound respectively. Nothing but stellar talent in those bands but with Spacebag, for me, something really clicked! When I finished the Sandrider interview I had mentioned to Luke that I wanted to talk with Spacebag next, and then life happened. Any of the dozen of people following my interviews know they are few and far between (Only two in a year?!?!) it takes time to transcribe an hour-long interview and then edit it etc. I’m just happy I’m finally getting a second interview in before the end of the year! And all because Luke hounded me, thank you Luke!
(As always, opinions of myself and those being interviewed are just that, opinions and we all know that opinions can’t hurt you. We all have different tastes and experiences so please don’t sue or troll ok? Well thought out discourse is most definitely appreciated. Thanks!)
Luke LaPlante: Keyboard
Andrew Gormley: Drums
Dave Webb: Guitar
Jeffery: I have three questions I ask everyone and depending on how loquacious you are this could take a while. Seeing’s as how we just spent ten minutes talking about ProTools rigs it should go fine…
Andrew: I have a question, what does loquacious mean?
Jeffery: Talk a lot basically…
Andrew: OK thanks. I’m a drummer you gotta dumb it down.
Jeffery: What was your first rig and what was the story behind it? Who wants to go first?
Luke: Peavey “Renown”. It was the first time I ever tried distortion with a keyboard. 2x12 right? And it added some distortion but I played around with a Rat pedal. That was the beginning of ‘Captain Power Chord’.
Luke: Peavey “Renown”. It was the first time I ever tried distortion with a keyboard. 2x12 right? And it added some distortion but I played around with a Rat pedal. That was the beginning of ‘Captain Power Chord’.
Jeffery: How old were you?
Jeffery: So you decided you were going to play distorted heavy metal keyboards when you were fifteen years old?
Luke: Yeah. This was in my fourth year of piano lessons. The distortion, the huffing gas, smoking weed and punk rock just made me quit piano lessons. Cause I could fucking play with my favorite records and I was like, “I can do that!”
Jeffery: Four years seems like a long enough time for lessons, I mean, unless you want to play Chopin for a living or whatever.
Luke: Yeah, eleven to fifteen until I was like, “Fuck you Dad!” (Laughter)
Jeffery: So, you had the peavey, what was your first keyboard?
Luke: Roland XP10. I mean I had a Casio but the one I remember the most was the Roland, which my old drummer made into a crazy art piece and it’s like a shelf in my house now. It’s got saw blades coming out of it and stuff… my drummer from Sean, Mike (Peterson).
Andrew: My first drum set was a Tama Swingstar, it was the cheapest of cheap drums, you could get a whole kit for like $300 they had pressed wood with a black plastic laminate around it. I saved up my paper route money to buy that. I started off with the five piece with the really shallow toms 12”, 13” & 16” and as I got a new job I added a floor tom and some high toms and I set it up like Clive Burr from Iron Maiden and that drum set was a piece of shit but the hardware is awesome!
Jeffery: Tama hardware is the best man!
Andrew: I’ve used that hardware for a long, long time, and touring and they just stood up! But the drums I used WAY longer than I should have. I was recording like bigger records with that shit set until someone came up to me and said, “You are NOT supposed to be playing drums like that.” And I was like: OK.
Jeffery: We have one of those Swingstars at Vera and at first I was like, this is a jazz kit so I put coated Ambassadors on everything and I was like why does this kick sound so bad and then I realized it was a crappy kit so I put a Powerstroke 3 on it and now it sounds like a plain old kick drum. It’s fine. Records fine. But does it sound awesome? Not really.
Andrew: I believe with the right tuning and the right heads you can make shitty kits sound good. And I stood by that philosophy for a long, long time but it just got to the point where those drums just weren’t working out. For the longest time I even had the front head removed from that kit and since the lugs on that kit would rattle I removed them so I couldn’t even put a head back on there.
Jeffery: Single kick?
Andrew: Yes, I’ve always played single kick. The first band I ever played in was called Torment a New Jersey thrash band and I got kicked out because I didn’t play double bass.
Jeffery: You son of a bitch… turns out you can still do it with one foot…
Luke: And a floor tom. (Laughter)
Andrew: Actually that’s how I learned to do the alternating floor tom etc. I started doing that in Torment. They didn’t appreciate it.
Jeffery: That was the Swarming Hordes trick, the fake double kick thing. It sounded awesome!
Andrew: Yeah. I think you can make it sound more interesting than straight double bass.
Jeffery: I think so to, totally agree. What about you Dave, what was your first rig?
Dave: My first guitar was an acoustic guitar I found in the attic it was a Yamaha and I didn’t really know how to play it but I played it all the time and saved up, saved up and bought a Mexi-Strat in middle school. Sixth grade I think.
Jeffery: Mexi- Strat everyone’s first guitar.
Dave: And a Peavey Bandit. I thought I was Stevey Ray Vaughan (Laughter) it was pretty fucking awesome.
Jeffery: Someone called them the Tennessee Marshal ha ha!
Luke: I call them the Peav(static sound)!
Jeffery: The only thing I liked about the Bandit was that you could turn the gain all the way up and the mids all the way down and sound like Celtic Frost ha ha.
Andrew: When I first started playing I learned bass at the same time and my brother had a Might Mite he but I actually went out and for Christmas, I must have been 12 years old, my present was a Peavey TKO65 and that thing was massive for it’s size.
Jeffery: They are actually pretty tough. The TKO.
Andrew: I blew it up it was the TKO65, 65 watts
Dave: I always get the TNT and the TKO mixed up ha ha!
Luke: Did you guys all do the thing where you had the singer for your first band sing through someone’s old practice amp Cause they traded up into a new practice amp?
Jeffery: Ha ha we really didn’t understand the concept of buying a PA. Plus we were practicing in my friends room right next to his water bed so…
Luke: I Had an early band where we had that like ancient Roland PA? With the tall speakers and shit?
Andrew: Did you have the Sure Vocal Master?
Luke: Maybe that’s what it was!
Jeffery: I’ve always wanted on of those-
Luke: You think you want one of those! HAHA
Jeffery: That’s how you get that garage rock vocal sound. But what you have to do is mic it like another guitar amp.
Luke: You mike the P.A.?
Jeffery: That’s what Billy Childish from Thee Headcoats does, it seems kinda stupid at first but if you want that like, totally distorted garage rock sound it sounds totally rad.
Dave: Can I add one thing? In my original rig I had a… fairly soon after the bandit I was awarded for Christmas or Channuka or something it was the plastic Tube Screamer the black one, they called it the Soundtank. I was like this distortion pedal is gonna be awesome! And I turned it up with a crystal clean amp and I turned it on and it did like nothing… I was soo disappointed. And one day, many years later I discovered the power of the Tube Screamer-
Jeffery: The real Tube Screamer?
Dave: It doesn’t matter I still have that one it’s right there in that red bag. But I had no idea that you have to have a tube amp turned up loud to make it work. A Tube Screamer into a small solid-state amp is a horrible sound.
Jeffery: My bullshit theory has always been: real tube distortion into solid state, solid state distortion into tube… I don’t know if that’s a good thing but that’s always been my style ha ha.
Jeffery: Oh man, the Vibrator…(Chuckles)
Andrew: Put the Vibrator and the Big Muff Pi together and magic happens! (Laughter)
Dave: At some point the Big Muff entered the picture. I had the green one-
Jeffery: The soviet one?
Luke: Chasin’ the Muff! (More sophomoric laughter)
Jeffery: I could never figure out when I was younger what was better distortion or fuzz you know?
Luke: Well, 90’s was all fuzz!
Jeffery: That’s the thing in the 90’s they’d have like “hyper triple fuzz”! It sounded brutal but I was like what does this do?
Andrew: I was always anti-fuzz.
Jeffery: As opposed to distortion? I can handle a vintage fuzz, but it just squares up the wave instead of jagging it up so it doesn’t give you that much articulation.
Dave: I think of fuzz as more of a special effect because once you turn a fuzz on there is no more dynamics. Not much picking or anything. Some of the germanium ones you can roll back but that seems to become like an extension of the amp… but with a Big Muff or something it’s just ON. But sometimes you get like weird overtones like dancing around and the octave thing happening.
Jeffery: And they sound pretty good on bass if that’s what you are goin’ for, Muff on bass and a Rat on guitar and BOOM! 90’s!
Luke: And the Muff on the organ! (Big laughs)
Jeffery: Funny AND good sounding!
Andrew: I think we got a new song title!
Jeffery: I think you do!
Dave: We put a Muff on the organ on that Sean record!
Jeffery: So Luke tell me what our set up is right now…
Luke: I just bought a Roland Juno DI. It’s all white which rules! I play through a Gallien Kreuger bass amp, it’s a 700RB with a 4x12 and separate 1x15. That head has never fucked with me; it’s the most solid amp ever.
Jeffery: You kinda can’t go wrong with a GK.
Luke: And I play through a Metal Zone, I put it through the Rocktron Hush first and tthat is more to gate out not only noisy shit but like the sustain that’s natural on piano…
Luke: And I play through a Metal Zone, I put it through the Rocktron Hush first and tthat is more to gate out not only noisy shit but like the sustain that’s natural on piano…
Jeffery: I was wondering about that because it’s not like it’s feeding back…
Luke: It cuts out that natural sustain of the piano which gives it most of the realistic sound of a guitar. It’s the piano preset, everything else is random synth sounds, but using the piano is the way I can play the fastest. And it’s the closest to a guitar string…
Jeffery: Did you ever see Today is the Day when they had the keyboardist who played like sampled bass sounds through a bass amp?
Luke: Yeah! I also saw a really cool keyboard on the self-titled tour but that guy had way more crazy presets and stuff.
Andrew: Scott Wexton and Chris Reeser. I played in Today is the Day for two shows and I played in that line up with Chris.
Jeffery: Amazing. I remember seeing that and I was in an industrial band at the time and I conned my band mates into going to see that show and they were like, “What?!?!” it was intense.
Andrew: I think what he had- I was in for such a short period of time, but I think had had the bass sounds and samples going on with the other hand so that blended in with the noisy parts that Steve (Austin) was playing and he actually had a bass amp and a guitar amp so he split it out. He had a really interesting set up.
Jeffery: Well it was about as high-tech as you could get at the time.
Andrew: He had a disk and he had to load those sounds on there…
Jeffery: That was the main problem with those old samplers you had to load the sounds and you’d be, “Holy shit I gotta play in like 2 minutes!” The Young Gods is another band that did not have a guitar player they just had a keyboard that played guitar loops musically.
Dave: So it just begins the riff?
Jeffery: No he had complete riffs for each song and he’s play the samples…
Dave: But it wasn’t a guitar setting on a keyboard? He’s just like triggering samples?
Jeffery: Yeah but I don’t know how he did it but it sounded really cool because they are so loopy as a band. I don’t think you could have just hired a Death Metal guitar player like those other industrial bands did, KMFDM or Liabach or whatever.
Jeffery: Exactly, they’d just hire whatever metal dudes they knew to come in and play the riffs.
Luke: Even though they are watching me play keyboard not guitar people are like, “No, there is some kinda bass or whatever!” Like there is some kind of secret to what I’m doing, or people will have been outside like, “I could have sworn it was a guitar!”
Jeffery: I think that’s the beauty of what you do; you are distorting the shit out of a piano and it blends well with the guitars.
Luke: And I can’t play guitar at all!
Jeffery: (Laughs) Why should you?
Luke: I wanted to play keyboard because I watched Unsolved Mysteries and wanted to play songs like that.
Jeffery: It that true?!?
Luke: Yeah (Laughter) and then I got into Napalm Death and shit… let’s combine em!
Jeffery: Andrew, we talked about your old crappy drum set, when did you finally move up into something more ‘pro’?
Andrew: Well, when I was on a tour with Playing Enemy one of our buddies, Eric Kinder worked a drum shop down in San Francisco and he goes, “Look, I’ll just give you a drum set. Pay me when you get the money.” The set I was playing more recently was a black Tama Rockstar, giant kick, the whole kit was giant, 24” 13”, 14”, 18’ floor… everything was just monstrous. And the problem with that drum set is you’d play fast and you are not getting any of the articulation of the notes it’s just a lot of rumble, rumble, rumble. I used that kit on one of the Playing Enemy records and Matt Bayles was complaining, “These toms are just ringing the whole time, you gotta play smaller toms.” So after that I rented a kit to record the second Playing Enemy LP from American music and it was really cheap like $300 for the whole weekend and the guy said what kind of heads do you use and he put all new heads on the drums and he matched up the toms that I wanted a 12/14/16 and I loved that drum set, whatever it was… It was a Yamaha, a little but older, and I thought I should probably get a set similar to this one so I ended up getting a Yamaha StageCustom “Advantage” which isn’t really as high end as the one I played on.
Jeffery: But it’s a step up from their entry level Stage Custom.
Andrew: Yeah this one is probably the last drum set I’ll ever buy. It definitely works well with what we are doing here.
Jeffery: I agree it’s like a working man’s kit, it’s not like a DW that’s expensive and every drum sounds the same, it has good wood you can hear it when you play.
Luke: What is it?
Andrew: You know, it’s like this Japanese basswood, I don’t even remember like 7 plys and they alternate a couple different plys, it’s not maple. People think it’s maple just because of the color. But my snare drum was a maple Tama snare I really liked and the shell started splitting, I was just throwing it in a suitcase and going on tour so I said, “Man I just want another maple shell and just reuse the Tama hardware. And this guy Jerry Garcia just cut the shell and put it together for me.
Jeffery: Garcia drums?
Andrew: He just cut me out one for like $40
Jeffery: Well I was going to ask you because it hilariously matches your other drums but I was going to say I really don’t like the stock snares that come with those kits. Way to 90’s sounding for me…
Andrew: The snare was unusable. One of the problems is, they only have eight lugs. You need a ten lug snare to get the torque even and kinda crank it down in a way that you can actually get some attack on it. The eight lugs you crank down on it and just get a higher clunk. And I use the Tama IronCobra Jr… I don’t use the highest end but something that works for me.
Jeffery: Relatively rugged and fast? It must be fast I see you play and I’m like-
Andrew: Well I learned how to play with whatever came with the Swingstar, I was always breaking the straps on it but that’s what I learned how to play and that’s what I need something similar to that so I’ve always stuck with Tama. I’ve tried other pedals and they’re great but I just can’t play the same way with them.
Jeffery: I’m big into those Camco pedals. To me they are no frills, they’ve made pedals that are more rugged and more articulate but to me…
Dave: More like a Speedking? Those things are awesome.
Jeffery: Well that would be even older… Camco at least has the chain. There is a newer company, Big Dog, who has a model that I love that is essentially the same thing. Simplicity man, there is a lot to be said for that shit.
Jeffery: What are you playing right now Dave:
Dave: Well, I’m glad you asked!
Jeffery: I have noticed you rock the Hamer.
Dave: I do love me some Hamers. I was talking about that Mexi-strat I had earlier? My next guitar, it was some like that they were blowing out on sale, it was that other Hamer, (he’s holding a bright green one) not this one, it’s my back up. That one it’s got like a Les Paul thing going on; mahogany with the maple top, only it’s a double cut away 24 & 3/4 scale…more like a Les Paul Jr. except it has the top like a Les Paul. So that guitar I’ve broken the headstock and stuff and I’ve tried a lot of guitars but that one always sounds the best so I use it on all the recordings but I wanted something with a Floyd Rose for metal. And I feel like, with this band, it’s got like a party vibe so I tracked this thing down and this one is from the golden age of shred. I think it’s like an ’86… and the cool thing about this guitar is: almost all the “super-strats” are 25 & ½ frets like a Fender and have bolt on skinny wide necks like an Ibanez. So this is all mahogany and it’s a set neck, 24 & ¾ just like a Gibson and I really like the ebony instead of rosewood and it’s got the Floyd Rose…
Jeffery: So you can do all that crazy ass shit that you do in this band and it’ll stay in tune.
Andrew: What kind of pickups do you have in that guy?
Dave: I fucked around a lot. The electronics that were in here were super goofy, it had 3 way switches, one for each pickup: on, off and on but out of phase so if you wanted to go from on to all off you had to do this (complicated switch/hand movement) it was like how would you ever do any of that? The middle pickup was kinda in the way of my picking so I just took it out and this is a regular three-way switch and this is a DiMarzio Aria, they are really cheap and they sound maybe better than any other noiseless pickup. You know how noiseless single coils usually sound like there is a blanket over it? I think they just compensated for that by making it so bright you have to turn the tome down a bit. So it’s the brightest noiseless one.
Jeffery: Do you use it?
Dave: I go to that pickup in between songs because it doesn’t feed back that’s what I use it for ha ha.
Andrew: What makes it “noiseless”?
Dave: It’s basically a tiny little humbucker. It’s a fairly modern one so it sounds pretty good. And this one is a Seymor Duncan. I tried a few different boutique humbuckers and stuff. I tried a whole bunch of stuff because the Floyd Rose basically kills your tone. There is no sustain, it’s off the guitar body.
Jeffery: And the strings aren’t resonating through…
Dave: Yeah, so even though it’s mahogany it doesn’t sound like a Les Paul, so this is a Seymor Duncan Custom 5 that I got for free because the plastic was broken so I just taped it together and put it on and I was just trying it for fun but I like it. It’s got a hot vintage sound. I normally like the JB’s that’s what’s in my other Hamer. And that’s your standard 80’s metal sound… it’s weird because I normally like midrange a lot but this a fairly scooped pickup but maybe that’s what compensates for the tonal qualities of the guitar. And it actually sounds good clean.
Jeffery: Yeah the old school ones do but the new hot ones usually don’t. That’s why a band with brand new Schecters with active pickups and they click down into the clean and it’s like, “Fuck!” It’s so brittle and gross sounding. I guess Metallica got around that by using Roland Jazz Choruses as their clean sound. Which makes sense since they had those huge long parts with clean arpeggios and such. What amp are you playing right now?
Dave: I think it’s an ‘82 or ‘83 JCM800 and I think I got it in 2005 so I’ve had it for a while and a few years later I got this.
Jeffery: The JMP, with a master volume on it?
Dave: It’s exactly the same thing the early 800’s and the later JMP’s are the same if it has the two vertical inputs and a master volume it’s the same. The last ones with the master they just hadn’t switched to the box yet. That’s a 50 watt and that’s a 100 watt that cab is a Vader cab I got on Craig’s list it’s covered in truck bed liner so it’s indestructible it’s got Eminence speakers and is rated for 600 watts or something stupid so the speakers don’t break up at all. But I like a lot of definition and I tune down to D.
Jeffery: The whole guitar is in D?
Dave: The whole guitar is down one step.
Jeffery: I love that! It’s like the old school Death Metal tuning. But you definitely have more of a shredder style, which matches your guitar and head, but the tuning deepens your tone and makes it sound different than the traditional E.
Dave: I started playing in D when I was in a duo and then I’m really, really lazy, like I don’t like playing with capos and I don’t like playing in alternate tunings I’d rather just force everyone in the band to have to learn to play in D.
Jeffery: It’s not that hard to get Luke to play in D ha ha!
Luke: I’m always in tune! That’s why I had to get a new keyboard. I bent the crap out of the bender, just annihilating for so long. I was out of tune. And there was a show where-
Dave: Everybody is looking at me with the Floyd Rose and-
Andrew: We are like, “Come on tune your guitar we are playing a show here buddy!”
Dave: And I’m hitting the tuner and I’m sweating, messing with these little things and I’m getting out my hex set, undoing the locking nut…
Andrew: Everybody is staring at him like come on dude!
Jeffery: Basically because you just hammer that thing…
Luke: It just got stuck bent.
Jeffery: Half detuned sorta shit!
Andrew: When we finally figured out what was going on he would plat=y it and you would hear it going in and out of tune.
Luke: It’s like, “I might as well get a new car ha ha!”
Dave: and when you are tuning on stage you can’t really hear yourself and typically the stage tuners, you gotta trust it but I’m looking at it I’m turning the knob but what I’m hearing is wrong!
Andrew: And then I feel like an asshole going, “Luke, your keyboard is out of tune!”
Luke: You’re an asshole! (Laughter)
Dave: I think it says a lot about modern society and the technical age we live in where we just blindly trust these computers.
Andrew: Oh man!
Jeffery: We are going down a wormhole here!
Andrew: A singularity. Before we get there you should talk about your other pedals too!
Dave: Before we get there I do want to say one more thing about this guitar: this was volume and tone and because of where I play it was really hard to do swells or anything so I switched em. So basically I redid all the electronics in the whole thing.
Jeffery: So someone else would try to play it and be like, “What tha?!?”
Dave: Why does the volume sound like a shitty wah wah pedal? And I leave the tone off. Not all the way up. Only on this guitar, I’ve always been an all the way up kinda guy but the tone has to be on 8 1/2 otherwise it’s Shrill Bill over here.
Jeffery: Every guitar I get I take the tone knob off, switcher comes off, one humbucker in the bridge position volume only and I take off the wammy and throw it across the room. It’s a ritual of mine if I get a fender or something
Dave: I and a new like Charvel sort of thing that was made in Japan but that was a very nice guitar and it had a real Floyd Rose on it that was the biggest piece of shit in the world… And I hate to be one of those guys but they just don’t make em like they used to! I think the old 80’s ones are better. I tend to like old guitars and new pickups… So this pedal is cool, it’s like the main thing-
Jeffery: Just to explain this thing looks like an electrical box-
Andrew: It’s an electrical box you get at Lowes!
Luke: It’s an AC quad box.
Dave: So we were talking about Tube Screamers earlier, when you’ve got an 800 it’s got a fair amount of gain but if you really want to get all those sweet pinch harmonics and dive bombs and stuff you’ve gotta hit it with a Tube Screamer or something. And I was using a Screamer before but I’ve always wondered about the Klon pedal, have you heard of that? It was like the original “Boutique” pedal from the 90’s I think and this guy built it and built up a mystique around it, it’s basically a clean boost. And it had a little bit of overdrive, so it’s kinda like a Screamer but different frequencies are emphasized. It does something else and it got silly people were paying like $800 for a Klon pedal on EBay. Just ridiculous. So Andrew built me one. For $40 I parts or whatever!
Jeffery: Nice! So you just looked it up online?
Andrew: Well he had the PCB-
Dave: The deal with the Klons is that he covered his circuit board with goop so you couldn’t copy it. Some guy bought one, took the goop off and copied the circuit board.
Andrew: there is a whole open source thing going on online with guitar pedals and if you go off into the computer world there is a lot of Arduino’s for those of you who know what that is… never mind ha ha! They will reverse engineer and someone well say well that cap isn’t right you need this part. So I went online and sourced out all the parts. The parts are so cheap when you get them on line just a bunch of resisters and capacitors.
Dave: So we didn’t use the special boutique-
Andrew: I think I used the special film capacitors yeah I got all the good stuff in there. The green Mylar capacitors…
Dave: So anyway it sounds good! It sounds a little smoother than and it’s more flat than a Screamer.
Jeffery: Sweet! I might have to fire that thing up later!
Dave: But honestly once the band is playing, like I said I used the plastic TS, I bought the fanciest recreation of the original like SRV used, but it doesn’t really matter I guess. If the frequencies are nice that’s just extra. So that’s on all the time and when we do the starts and stops I just turn it off so it doesn’t feed back. I have it right on the edge but I hate it if it’s just constantly feeding back. In a perfect world-
Luke: You’d never listen to Eyehategod haha
Jeffery: Yeah but they use that!
Andrew: Yeah but if you are playing anything technical if you just feedback over the breaks it just kills it. There is no dynamics. When you have a heavy band that’s doing something complicated you want those stops and starts to mean something.
Luke: Even the jocks like the gates like Pantera used.
Jeffery: That’s why I have a gate right away because I play the same head that EHG plays and I love that fucking thing but the problem is it’s a solid state head so get it to break up you have to crank the gain and output so as soon as that happens it’s instant feed back.
Dave: I never realized a lot of the feedback that I was getting was actually mechanical feedback. Have you ever stuffed a shit load of foam under your pickup and screwed it down?
Jeffery: What? NO! That’s a thing?
Dave: The pickup is jiggling around and I’ll be feeding back and I’ll just hold it and it stops. So you think about Van Halen and those guys who used wood screws and screw their pickups directly to the wood. It actually makes sense
Jeffery: Never thought bout it but yeah… And just for the record MXR phaser?
Dave: That phaser is the reissue of the old one and it was cheaper than the Van Halen one and I wanted to do some Van Halen stuff-
Andrew: Didn’t you buy the Van Halen one?
Dave: I had the signature Paul Gilbert signature flanger. And I decided the flanger was a little too much. It had a cool airplane taking off sound but with a flanger the bottom drops out but with the phaser things just get squishy. I just kick it on for all my high stuff and it adds a little squish to the high notes that just make ‘em sweeter. And for the most recent show I added the Micro POG. I just use it when there is like a single note thing, not a chord that just needs a little more. Cause I’m not good at moving power chords around really fast like a lot of dudes so I just do single notes a lot of times, or when Luke is playing high-
Luke: Which is often! Ha ha high man.
Jeffery: I feel like you can move power chords around pretty fast is the point I wanna make.
Dave: But it’s not y go to thing, I’m more of a position player. I’ll get into a position and play a lot of shit but I’m not usually moving chords are around as much
Luke: It’s because he never listened to punk ha ha
Jeffery: Well that’s not your thing. I mean you can play rhythm but, me personally I only play rhythm… basically because I never learned how to play guitar. It took me 10 years to learn the circle of fifths and know what note I’m playing…
Luke: We’d be here a long time if we didn’t know what actual notes we are playing…
Dave: Actually playing with a keyboard player has improved my theory more than anything I can think of in recent memory. Because I am accountable; Luke is like, “What note are you playing?” and I have to count up and be like, “It’s an A sharp sir!”
Luke: And apparently guitar payers don’t like fifths. Cause I’m like playing all these fourths.
Jeffery: Guitar players don’t like fifths?!?
Luke: Not this guy.
Dave: Not me I was in a duo forever so I always play fourths…
Jeffery: And like you said you’re not rolling power chords like crazy.
Luke: And it kind of generic to be like juh juh juh juh.
Dave: I always play fourths and I like the reverse power chord but it’s really just the minor 3rd. if you play the one and the minor third together and move it around.
Jeffery: I love the dissonance of that.
Luke: Plus the fourth is a backwards power chord but for me, I’ve been playing fifths for so long just to move my finger over a quarter of an inch (Laughter) it’s like some weird tyrannosaurus arm grind shit!
Dave: Clenched fingers!
Luke: There is some weird brain thing where I can just play fifths all day long cause I’ve been doing it since I was 15.
Dave: So if I have to play one of Luke’s riffs and don’t play the fifths I just turn on the POG and it fattens things up.
Jeffery: The secrets!
Dave: And if I’m playing a lick in one register and if I could play it down an octave, I don’t have to.
Jeffery: It gives you that octave.
Dave: Because I’m really lazy! (The rest of the band chuckles…)
Jeffery: Once again, he is “Really lazy”!
Andrew: I know, I know!
Jeffery: I’ve fucking seen you play guitar dude! Jesus. Third Question:
Andrew: That’s only 2 questions?!?!
Jeffery: I told you man, loquacious! What do you wish you had? What would you drool over?
Andrew: Ah some spaghetti with a side of meatballs?
Luke: Two chicks man! Ha ha
Jeffery: We haven’t really talked about your cymbals… you obviously have everything you need.
Andrew: These are just cracked practice cymbals. I’m not very snobby about my equipment but something simple. AAX’s I like. I used to play the 2002’s but they just got so expensive
Jeffery: They got popular too.
Andrew: But you now the metal they use in the 2002’s is the same metal that they use for B8’s
Andrew: It’s like a 8% they add an extra tin like 8% tin to copper so that’s why it’s a B8 so when you have like a 20% that’s when you have in the Zildjians and Sabians and they add a little silver to that as well. So a 2002 is closer to a B8 then an AAX.
Jeffery: See I knew there would be some nerdery if I asked him about cymbals!
Andrew: I was thinking about making my own cymbals! Not really.
Luke: Yes you were!
Andrew: Well I’m interested in how they are made so…
Jeffery: Well the fact that it starts with a solid piece of bronze and they lathe it out, that’s weird!
Andrew: they have to heat it up and roll it and heat it up and roll it over and over again. So when you have an alloy, the metals don’t just combine so they keep on doing that over and over again. Then they cut it down and they lathe it down and sometimes they hand hammer it. Usually they just have a machine that hammers it down real fast.
Jeffery: So weird! And then they take all that extra shavings and stuff and melt it back in and make another one? What a trip. I was freaked out when I learned about it I thought for sure they’d just take some sheet metal and hammer it out. I had no idea.
Andrew: I would love to have a giant like Neil Pert kit, Pert sorry…
Jeffery: Say it right!
Andrew: But I would never want to set it up more than once!
Jeffery: Set it up in the basement-
Andrew: Or have it on a flat bed so I could like park it and be done with it ha ha, no I think this is all the kit I need so.
Dave: That’s why I would never, I’ve thought about bringing the second amp or maybe have the low go to one but I was just like, it doesn’t really matter” especially for the kind of gigs we play and stuff. Just plug and play a half stack. Do you really need anything bigger than a half stack to play a bar?
Jeffery: No, the only reason I started playing a full stack is because we started playing bigger shows and I needed to hear myself. It meant I didn’t have to put guitar in the monitor. I didn’t turn up any louder it was the exact same setting it’s just I could hear it.
Andrew: You can make the argument that this much air sounds better than this much air being moved on a bigger stage. But with what we are doing you are putting a mic in front of it in most places and the other places are small so...
Jeffery: Yeah you got these guys rolling in playing the exact same shit the Stones were playing stadiums with back in the 70’s and they walk into the club and it’s like. “Holy fuck!” And loud is cool, but now that I have been doing sound for so long I’m like well loud is cool if your drummer is loud and if your singer is loud and you can all keep up but if one person is out of the equation then…
Dave: Listen. Just listen… In a perfect world, vocals aside, if you put one mic in front of a band you should be able to hear everybody right? I mean we are not a jazz band where you can record us with two mics or whatever, we are a metal band, but I see so many bands where all you hear is guitars and cymbals.
Luke: We are loud enough. It’s not over the top, but we can hear each other on stage.
Jeffery: Another key us having the drums pushed forward.
Luke: That’s how we practice too.
Andrew: When I played in Playing Enemy there was a lot of competition for space.
Jeffery: Well I can see that because everyone was moving around a lot-
Andrew: I’m talking sonic space.
Dave: That’s why I really started going for a mid range sound with guitar. I started realizing the guitar doesn’t have to have tons and tons of low end. It’s a midrange instrument. That’s why when you watch all those behind the music things where they isolate the tracks on the mixing board and by itself it doesn’t sound that big, because it fits like a piece of a puzzle into the whole band.
Jeffery: Well when I’m mixing I always end up rolling all that stuff off anyway. Like everything below 100hz on guitar, which is like for most grind bands, “Why do you have a bass player?”
Dave: Poor guy!
Jeffery: Ha ha yeah, just two full stacks you don’t need a bass player.
Luke: He owns the van! (Laughter)
Jeffery: Yeah! Exactly. They aren’t doing anything but moving more hair… unless you are Dan Lilker in Brutal Truth where the bass player is integral… So, nothing else on the wish list?
Luke: Well when I was recording a record with Andrew I did get to use a Dual Rectifier
Andrew: Demain’s (Great Falls).
Luke: Fucking Brutal. But I’m afraid to fuck up tubes with what I play with my keyboard. I can’t prove anything but I just have a feeling.
Andrew: You should try that Ampeg SS150.
Jeffery: Yeah dude you could try rolling mine? I have an extra one you could borrow… No pedal needed! But I think your set up is perfect.
Luke: Even though I’ve been playing like this since I was eleven I’m still in that experimental (stage)... plus I’ve been looking into a midi controller into a laptop, but then that laptop would fuck up.
Andrew: Yeah then you’d be dependent on stuff like that. That does remind me, I DO have a wish list. I want my own synth set up! The bass pedals I can play with my high hat foot. The high hat is totally useless get some bass going on! With a refrigerator 8x10 with an Ampeg SVT sitting on top.
Dave: Keith Moon didn’t need a high hat! Can I answer for them, what I would like them to have?
Jeffery: Yeah, no one’s ever done that before! Ha ha!
Dave: I would like Andrew to have bass pedals, (laughter) just like he’s talking about. A whole thing over there and then I’d Luke to have like the 3 tiered keyboard set up.
Luke: I’d like that too! Mostly esthetically …
Dave: A Rick Wakeman style of vibe so he could do this spread eagle stance. And I would just like to be louder than everyone else-
Jeffery: As usual!
Dave: Cause I’m a guitar player!
Andrew: Yeah right!
Jeffery: I need more me in the monitor!
Andrew: Ok riddle me this: how come guitar amps only go up to 100 watts usually but bass amps are like 7000 watts?
Jeffery: ‘Cause it takes more watts to push low end…
Andrew: That’s bullshit though because every fucking bass player is like bubububuh, “Hey can you hear me?” With the big refrigerator and that’s all you hear!
Jeffery: Well those SVT’s are 300 tube watts but it does take more power to push low end but for me I have an Ampeg V4 that’s 100 watts and it’s the loudest fucking thing! It’s on 1 and a half when we play live. I went back to my SS150 because it sounded awesome but it’s heavy as fuck I can’t even lift it.
Dave: And those are dicey because there are so many tubes in them. My favorite thing about the Marshalls is there are only 2 preamp tubes and 4 power tubes and they are right there not upside down like a Fender…
Jeffery: Well I was told that my V4 has one tube that they don’t have a source for. Fortunately it doesn’t go bad all that often I’m told.
Dave: This guy, he has an all tube SVT and he’s had so many problems with it. First of all when he has to get it re-tubed you have to practically take out a bank loan to do it.
Dave: Because they’ve got KT88’ s… or 6550’s which are a little cheaper but they don’t sound as good as the KT88’s are like 40 bucks a tube.
Jeffery: It might be the year, because they had a lot of solid-state stuff in that time but I think the tube stuff went downhill… It’s the blackface one. The Blue-face ones are better or the classic reissue is ok. There is actually a 100-watt tube guitar head they made for a short time there which I’ve only seen once in Olympia for like $200. And I’ve never seen another one. It had the same face but I looked in the back and was like, “Wait a minute!” That thing probably sounded awesome! They always have such good gear in Oly you ever notice that?
Dave: They do!
Jeffery: I don’t know what that’s all about but you’ll see someone with like three Sunns and they got them at the pawn shop…
Dave: Three sons? Get a job you gotta feed those kids! (Laughter…) Forget being in a band!