Tosin Abasi teams up with Bad Cat Amps and is using a prototype Jet Black model on tour with Dream Theater

Tosin Abasi is officially a Bad Cat artist, and is road-testing a new model
(Image credit: Bad Cat Amps / Facebook)

Tosin Abasi has a new official guitar amp partner in Bad Cat, with the Animals As Leaders guitarist currently using two models from the Californian boutique brand while on tour with Dream Theater and Devin Townsend on the Dreamsonic 2023 Tour.

Abasi was announced as a Bad Cat artist yesterday, 19 June, and is presently playing a Lynx head and a prototype of a model known as the Jet Black. We have no other details of this new model. And in the press shots released by Bad Cat, Abasi is tactfully obscuring the new amp's control panel, so speculation on features is beyond us. 

But we can say that Abasi is running these two amps in a stereo live rig and both parties sound delighted by the hook-up. “When I plugged into the new Bad Cats I didn’t have to look for my sound first, it was immediately there,” said Abasi. “I hadn’t heard such clarity and definition before.”

There is no word that the Jet Black is going to be a signature amp design. Bad Cat has an extensive and stylistically diverse artist roster that includes the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Jamie Cook of the Arctic Monkeys, Keith Urban and Troy. Van Leeuween of Queens Of The Stone Age. It has made signature amps for the likes of Jeffrey Kunde and James Duke, but only on the basis that they occasionally make custom amps for artists that they then want to sell more widely. 

Time will tell whether the Jet Black could be one such design but Peter Arends, CEO, Bad Cat Amplifiers, sounded like he was hinting at some sort of custom collaboration with Abasi. 

“Working with Tosin is simply inspiring. His creativity, musical abilities and innovative playing are recognised and admired well beyond any rock genre,” said Arends. “We share a passion for creating new sounds without preconceived ideas and we certainly won‘t stop here.”

Abasi’s input on a boutique US tube amp brand design would be interesting. His sound requires no shortage of fortitude in that low-end, with high-gain eight-string thump a non-negotiable. But it also needs the clarity to articulate his groundbreaking percussive style. 

The Lynx has all of the above in spades. A high-gain design that incorporates the classic tone Bad Cat profile, it is voiced to work with riffs played out on extended-range eight or 7-string guitars. Might the Jet Black offer an even more contemporary sounding platform.

This Bad Cat collaboration is the latest in a number of endorsements from Abasi, who has most recently partnered with Ernie Ball Music Man for the Kaizen, a state-of-the-art electric guitar range that was expanded at NAMM 2023 when EBMM launched six-string versions. 

For an idea of how Abasi’s Lynx/Jet Black stereo live rig sounds, check out the fan-shot footage above from Dream Theater set closer The Spirit Carries On, on which Abasi joined John Petrucci, Devin Townsend and Mike Keneally  featured an all-star performance of the classic track from Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory. 

Head to Bad Cat Amps for more information on the brand’s current range.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.