When you played it for the first time, did you think, “There’s music inside this guitar. I can do something with this”?
“Yeah. It just completely suited me. The way it had been already changed – somebody had a Gibson humbucker on the front, and they put this overdrive into it, its out-of-phase switch – it just completely worked for me. It’s an amazing guitar, kind of a life-changer.”
What kinds of pedals and effects are you using now? Anything new that you’ve fallen in love with?
“Yeah, I… I should get my book. One thing I will say, having so much equipment available, I’ve had to sort of organize. It’s not like I’m in a room with a bunch of pedals lying on the floor. I’ve actually got all my guitars catalogued; they’re all in a book. If I forget one, we look in the book and it’s like, ‘Oh, there it is. Well, where is that? Oh, it’s upstairs. It’s number 47. Let’s go and get it.’ [Laughs] We’ve got it organized.
“Finally, with my pedals, we’re fairly up to date with them in the book. ‘These are fuzz, these are distortion, these are chorus, these are echo.’ I made little notes about what they all do. To some extent, it’s like a painter with an incredible, never-ending box of colors. You kind of have to have some way of being on top of it, so we finally notated it all.
“Currently, one of my favorite new ones is the Eventide Harmonizer H9 pedal – fantastic. I mean, quite special, very sonic. I’m using that quite a lot. There’s a new one from TC Electronic called Dark Matter, which I really like. Very good. I don’t know what you’d call it – fuzz or distortion – but it’s tremendous. I just got something called a Rotobone by a guy named Paul Trombetta. I haven’t tried it out yet, but we’ve had conversations on the phone.
“I’m using things like [Z.vex] Lo-Fi Junky, Lo-Fi Looper; I’ve got Electro-Harmonix 16 Second Delays… Christ, it goes on forever. One move I did recently which has really helped me was, ‘cause in my studio I sit on the couch and the Pro Tools is in front of me. So instead of standing over my pedalboard and squinting down, trying to remember what everything is, I made this little table that’s right about knee-high, and I’m sort of leaning over it. So I can really clearly see with my eyes and my head much closer to the pedals.
“I know this sounds weird. I’ve got everything right in front of me, and I can switch pedals around and hit buttons. It’s made a huge difference. I know it sounds really eccentric, but you know, I’m in an intimate, creative moment, and I want to be right on top of these things that are making the sounds. They’re literally right under my hand. That’s how I’m doing it now. Of course, I couldn’t do that live.”
I was going to ask about that.
“Yeah, well, the glorious thing about live, if I can get back to it if we can ever afford to do it in this band, is to have somebody else operating the pedals.”