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Way Huge celebrates 30th anniversary with the Red Llama Overdrive MKIII

Way Huge WM23 Red Llama Overdrive MKIII
Way Huge WM23 Red Llama Overdrive MKIII (Image credit: Jim Dunlop Manufacturing)

30 years ago, Californian boutique pedal builder Way Huge launched its first production stompbox, the RL2 Red Llama Overdrive.

Founded in 1992 by electronics whizz Jeorge Tripps, the brand released a number of now highly sought-after effects pedals including the Camel Toe, Super-Puss and Swollen Pickle.

Way Huge closed its doors in 1999 after Tripps started working for Line 6 where he helped develop the firm’s game-changing four-button modelling pedals.

Having made little more than 3,000 stompboxes in total, prices of Way Huge units subsequently went through the roof.

Today, RL2 (opens in new tab) Red Llama Overdrives from the ‘90s remain in demand, commanding high prices when they pop up for sale on the vintage market.

Currently Director of Product Development for electronics at Jim Dunlop Manufacturing, Tripps now takes care of MXR and Cry Baby, as well as the brand he started back in the early ‘90s.

In 2009, Way Huge was first revived under the wing of Dunlop in the form of three pedals: the Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz, the Pork Loin Soft Clip Injection and the Fat Sandwich Harmonic Saturator.

In 2012, Tripps’ Red Llama Overdrive reappeared in the guise of a MKII (opens in new tab) version.

In 2017, a third iteration – the WHE206 Red Llama 25th Anniversary Overdrive (opens in new tab) – was released in the form of a more pedalboard-friendly unit featuring a third knob labelled Hi Cut.

This year, in celebration of Way Huge and the Red Llama’s 30th anniversary, yet another version of the popular pedal has been released.

Appearing in a compact Smalls enclosure, the new WM23 Red Llama Overdrive MKIII has been designed to “conjure all the warm goodness of the original Red Llama Overdrive.”

Having tested numerous modern components Way Huge claim to have been able to capture the signature sound and touch sensitivity of the original ‘90s pedals.

Ranging in tone from a gentle crunch redolent of Fender tweed tube amps to harmonically rich saturation, the WM23 Red Llama Overdrive MKIII appears “more compact than ever.”

Visit Dunlop (opens in new tab) for more information.

Rod Brakes
Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab)Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.