Bird Land: Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani Let Fly with Chickenfoot
By By Michael Molenda
Tue, 1 Sep 2009
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CHICKENFOOT MAY BE ONE HELLUVA SILLY NAME FOR A BAND, But Joe Satriani and Sammy Hagar Are Dead Serious About Their Flock's Riffin' & Rockin' Debut Album

CHICKENFOOT_promo“WHAT’S THAT? ARE THOSE YOUR NOTES , JOE?” Sammy Hagar has just bounded into the conference room of his San Rafael, California, studio complex, and if it weren’t for the fact my high school days have long faded into history, I’d feel like I was just caught playing Dungeons & Dragons in the weight room by the captain of the football team.

“Oh, man,” laughs Hagar, “That’s why I’m not playing guitar in this band. When Joe does his parts, it’s like Guitar Center with guitars all over the place. And he documents every little thing. He writes notes on the air in the room, man! I just shoot from the hip. I can’t help it.”

It seems like an episode of the Odd Couple, but the Satriani and Hagar partnership in Chickenfoot is based on a love of blues and ’70s riff rock, mystical musical telepathy, and the desire to bash out tunes live in the studio, rather than get all clinical with click tracks and DAW editing. To some, Chickenfoot may seem closer to a “Sammy thing,” as most of the tracks on the band’s self-titled debut album [Redline Entertainment] stick pretty close to the singer’s lusty bluster, bravado, and party-time exuberance. But Satriani, who can be extremely scrupulous in the studio—even to the point of spending hours or days playing a specific guitar line to get just the right tone, phrasing, and emotion—is, kind of surprisingly, almost matching Hagar note-for-note in enthusiasm, energy, and rock-and-roll spirit.

“I really love being in a band,” Satriani says. “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Chickenfoot’s beginnings can be traced to a jam during one of Hagar’s solo shows at the Palms in Las Vegas last year, when the Red Rocker assembled Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, former Van Halen mate and bassist Michael Anthony, and Satriani to join the festivities. The connection that occurred at that gig continued—even though Satriani was committed to his own solo tour for a few months—and, after the jazzed guitarist started writing songs for “a band,” the quartet ended up at Hagar’s studio to work on the material that would define its sound. Sessions continued at Hagar’s joint, George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound, and Satriani’s home studio, and Chickenfoot includes tracks from all three locations—most everything directed by the legendary producer Andy Johns (who famously engineered classic Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones albums). When Johns became ill near the end of the sessions, the album was mixed by Mike Fraser at The Warehouse in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And while Satriani was unable or unwilling to jettison his penchant for comprehensive note taking, there’s absolutely nothing butt-puckered about Chickenfoot. This is a big, thumping, joyous, propulsive, driving, bombastic celebration of riffs, rhythm, and groove forged by four brilliant musicians who still know how to get crazy and rock with abandon.

Let me get a People magazine question out of the way. With your fabulous guitar technique, Sammy’s voice, and Michael’s distinctive high background vocals, was there any concern that fans would go, “Oh, this is just Van Halen without Eddie and Alex”?

Satriani: People have heard two to three decades of music from all of us, so I knew there was no way we could get away from Montrose, Hagar, Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Satriani.

Hagar: But I’ve learned that one guy can change the chemistry of a band so freaking much, because when I joined Van Halen, it changed. Now, the chemistry in this band is something different, and, for that reason, we’re not going to sound like Van Halen. If we just allow everybody to be themselves, it’s going to be Chickenfoot.

Joe, you haven’t been in a vocal band since the ’80s with your trio, the Squares.

Satriani: Yes, but most of the music I listen to is music like this—music with vocals. I’ve actually spent more of my life playing this kind of music, although for the last two decades, people think that all I do is play instrumental stuff. In Chickenfoot, I have to say that it’s liberating—and kind of a relief— to not have to carry the ball from the top of the song all the way to the end. Because Sammy is singing, my solos can take on an entirely different role. They can be the thing that explodes in the middle, rather than the thing that carries the melody from intro to outro.

Did you have an overall concept for the Chickenfoot guitar sound?

Satriani: It all starts with the rhythm guitar. Chickenfoot is a trio with a singer, so I was reminded of being in my basement at 14 years old with my band thinking, “This is my little Led Zeppelin, or my little Black Sabbath.” That was an era where the rhythm guitar really defined the song. It played the riff and created the energy with the band while the singer was out front delivering the message.

Hagar: For a singer, it’s definitely all about the rhythm guitar. There’s no question about that. When you’ve got a guy playing a badass rhythm riff right in the pocket, it’s that great feel that makes you sing so much better. And even if a guy plays an amazing solo, he still has to be soloing over something. Now, some guitarslingers don’t play good rhythm. They don’t know how to chunk a riff. They don’t have that pocket. But one of the first things I noticed about Joe when we started doing the Chickenfoot stuff was that he plays amazing rhythm guitar. That’s a special thing.

Satriani: I really wanted to be able to rock out like Ron Wood or Keith Richards, and then the solo would just come when you needed a guitar solo. I believe that rhythm guitar is the essence of rock music—not the solo. Whether it’s Hendrix playing “Little Wing,” or Townshend or Page, it’s the rhythm-guitar riff that creates the vibe of the band and the identity of the song. Somehow, that got flipped around, and it became about the guitar player almost being selfpromotional. But, for me, playing the guitar parts to “Runnin’ Out” or “Sexy Little Thing” with these guys is so exciting, because I feel I’m really part of the song. It’s not like just hitting a chord, and then playing your favorite lick as fast as you can, or as loud as you can, or something like that. It’s an entirely different aesthetic. On a technical level, focusing on rhythm guitar meant I could finally step back from having super-high gain all the time. I wouldn’t need all that sustain and saturation for soaring melodies and screaming solos like I do when I’m onstage for three hours every night doing instrumental music. I had been kicking around this idea of a 50-watt amp with Peavey, and now the time had come when I really needed to get it prototyped and move forward with it. To play heavy riffs and still leave space for Chad’s sound and Mike’s sound, I needed a different system, and that’s where the Peavey JSX 50 came in.

So is it the 50-watt package that delivers a significant part of what you were looking for?

Satriani: It’s not so much the wattage. It’s the fact I wanted to make an old-school ’70sstyle amp. Generally, those amps don’t go to 11—they kind of go to seven-and-a-half. But the thing they did have was a very present and in-your-face sound that allowed you to have space in-between notes. It wasn’t wall-to-wall sustain all the time. It was a different kind of a buzzsaw. It was more like a chain saw, I guess. It’s hard to put into words. But I knew the sound I was looking for— enhanced fidelity, dynamics, and punch that still leaves room for everybody else and all the overdubs.

As there are a fair amount of musical influences running through both of you, was it difficult choosing a songwriting direction for Chickenfoot? Did any of your influences bubble up more than others?

Satriani: I’ve mentioned the fact that the rhythm guitar was so important, and that it would be part of the fabric of the rhythm section and each composition—the whole Jimmy Page approach. This concept was very important to the songwriting, as well, because Chickenfoot is not like a super group where each member just does what they’re famous for. All of us wanted to play into the stories of the songs, and we thought about bands that used to do that a lot. Zeppelin was one of them, and so was Humble Pie. Even when they tackled difficult songs, the vibe was always somehow down-to-earth, in-your-face, and bare bones. So that’s what I was going for, and when stuff clicked, the experience was overwhelming. The good songs would explode in a matter of minutes, and we’d say, “Let’s record this right now before we forget what we’re doing.”

Hagar: There were a couple of songs where we knew we had it in two seconds. After the first chord, we were like, “Oh yeah!” There were also a few songs that I didn’t relate to for a while, and then they came around. And, of course, there were songs that didn’t work for the group at all. I remember there was one that was like the song Joe wrote for Coldplay [laughs]. We jammed on it for two hours, and really tried to make it happen, but it never went anywhere.

Satriani: It was a song about being on the beach in the late afternoon. I had this whole movie going on in my head about it.

Hagar: What?You should have told me. I could have written lyrics to that [laughs]!

Sammy, it appears that Joe’s song demos were pretty complete. Did you derive any lyrical content from his sketches?

Hagar: Joe inspired a couple of lyrics, for sure, but as a singer, it’s much better to sing your own lyrics. It’s hard to sing someone else’s lyrics unless you can really relate to them. The lyrics usually explain the music in a kind of cosmic way, so you can’t just sing anything to anything. You have to sing with the right emotion. As soon as I heard Joe’s demos, I’d get inspired. It was that way when I joined Van Halen. When Eddie and I first started writing, he would play me something, and I’d instantly start singing. That’s what you look for—inspiration.

What’s the main difference between writing with Joe and working with Eddie Van Halen?

Hagar: It was much harder in Van Halen, because when Eddie would play me a song, it was hard to find a place to sing. Joe can play all over the place, but he realizes you have to leave room for a melody line. Eddie didn’t think. He was writing entire pieces within a single guitar part—complete instrumentals— and there wasn’t a hole anywhere. So what I really learned from my ten years in Van Halen was to find places to sing without clashing with—or doubling—the guitar part. I had to go way up high and hold notes, because down below the music was so busy. Eddie was on his own trip back then. He really didn’t give a crap about what anybody was singing, and, as a result, Van Halen had a sound where the guitars and the vocals were clearly separated. With Joe, however, the vocals and guitars—and the bass and drums for that matter—can coexist in an almost organic way.

Was there a particular song that typified the Chickenfoot style—a benchmark that every other song was weighed against?

Hagar: We didn’t see it at the time, but looking back, I think “Avenida Revolution,” “Get It Up,” and maybe “Future Is the Past” are the songs that don’t sound like anyone else. To me, those songs define what Chickenfoot is, and what it may be in the future. Who can say? But we also decided we were kind of bluesy, and we started to fall into this Led Zeppelin meets the Stones kind of thing. Now I love “Sexy Little Thing” and “Oh Yeah.” I loved those songs from the first riff. They sounded funky—like some Delta blues guy with a cranked-up electric. But while they’re so Chickenfoot to me, they’re also songs that sound like bluesy stuff from other people. I think we actually pulled back the reins a bit after we cut “Runnin’ Out” because we thought we were going to make a damn blues record if we weren’t careful.

On that note, I felt that Chad’s modern rockfunk approach of playing on top of the beat, rather than laying back a bit, certainly kept things from sounding too bluesy.

Hagar: Yeah, that’s what makes it. Chad is heavy. We made all these jokes like, “Chad is in the pocket so deep that he can’t find any loose change.” But he’s also playing all this extra stuff, and his energy elevates the entire band. He’s so exciting and so reckless. “Soap On a Rope,” for example—that thing is so close to falling apart at any moment. But that’s what makes the song sound young and exciting. We tried using a click a couple of times and it ruined everything [laughs].

Satriani: The essential ingredient in the whole recording concept was that we played the tracks live without a click. And as we started to arrange things, not playing everything on the backbeat all the time became a signature. We wanted to draw listeners in to the fact that here was a bunch of guys playing right on the edge.

Hagar: This is how magic the sh*t was: Chad played his part to “Avenida Revolution” to just the guitar part from Joe’s demo that he recorded at home. No click—just Joe’s guitar in Chad’s headphones.

Satriani: And that guitar part is crazy. It was an experiment.

Hagar: Joe had all the music sketched out, and Chad, Mike, and I built up the track that way because Joe was touring Europe, and I wanted something I could use to work out my vocal part. Well, we could never outdo that “demo” take, so that’s the track on the album.

What about Michael? He seems to have gotten a rap in the bass community for being kind of an invisible support guy.

Satriani: The first things I noticed about Mike were how much he could play, and how open and big his sound was. I thought, “How come I haven’t heard this from him the past 20 years?” But when you’re in Van Halen, and Eddie is writing guitar parts that have the melody, solo, riffs, and rhythm all in one, it forces the bassist to lay back.

Hagar: Hey, when Eddie plays all these different parts, he’s going, “Okay, Mike, you just go boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” It’s true. There’s no other place to play. Also, Alex [Van Halen] is a great drummer, but he’s real basic and solid. Chad is complex and all over the place. So when Mike played with Chad, he was all over the place with him. Mike showed us how good he can be, and he’s the fastest learner I’ve ever seen. You show him something…

Satriani: He nails it.

Hagar: In like three seconds. We call him our computer chip. We’d ask, “Mike, how’d that thing go?” He’d know the answer. He’s just really, really solid. First guy there, last guy to leave, remembers everything.

How did you relate to Andy Johns as a producer? I’m curious, because you guys have sold millions of records and certainly know how to produce an album. What did Johns bring to the party that the four of you couldn’t figure out by yourselves?

Hagar: Tons of stuff, but mainly sounds to start with. None of us know how to get drums to sound like he can—that’s for sure! Andy has his little tricks. He’s always turning knobs. I remember doing a vocal take on something, and he said, “Sam, will you sing that again?” I went, “You jerk—that was a good take!” “Yeah,” he said, “but I don’t have this thing right.” He was doing certain things with compressors, limiters, EQs, and stuff to make my voice real present. I discovered why messing with all the gear was worth it when I started singing “Turnin’ Left” and my voice sounded like sh*t. I said, “Wow, this sounds terrible. I can’t stand it.” Andy said, “Oops,” and immediately started turning the machines on. Click. Click. Click. Click. Suddenly, I sounded like Frank Sinatra again [laughs].

Satriani: Andy has an awesome sense of time and an awesome sense of pitch. He could recognize what the band was really good at, and what made it special, and he made sure every take had those elements in it. He wanted that magic on everything we did, and he wouldn’t let our “professional” heads try stuff that was superfluous or unnecessary. For example, I’d play something and then ask to do it again, and Andy would scream, “You don’t know what you’re doing—that was the greatest thing in the world. I’m going home!” And he’d grab his keys and drive back to the hotel. I’d be standing there thinking, “What just happened? Are we still recording?” But he’d be right. Two days later, I’d listen and go, “I get it now. That was the take.” He could hear soul and life in a performance, and anything else anyone did would just be extra stuff. Also, when you’re working with a real producer like Andy, you can go on and on describing their qualities. They’re not just sound guys, or arrangers, or cheerleaders, or taskmasters, they are all of that, as well as a person you want to hang out with and have some fun with.

Hagar: Now, I worked with Andy in Van Halen, and he didn’t bring all that. I fired him. I said, “I won’t do vocals with this guy. He’s too crazy.”

So even though you had a prior bad experience with him you were willing to work with him on this record?

Hagar: Even though we had that history, I knew how good he was. And this is Chickenfoot. We get along so good that there’s no weird sh*t. Joe just said, “What do you think about Andy Johns?” I just said, “F**k yeah!” That’s trust. We almost killed Andy, though. He went into the hospital near the end of the project.

From stress?

Hagar: Bad lifestyle. All those Led Zeppelin records.

Satriani: Ulcers.

Hagar: Yeah, he was bleeding and he wouldn’t tell us. He kept hinting that this would be his last record, and Chad would scream at him, “Nobody dies on a Chickenfoot record!” But he was really ill. We didn’t realize he was in such bad shape. And yet, he was really giving it his all—which makes this album even more special to me.

I’m assuming Andy wasn’t hands-on during the mixes, then?

Satriani: No, not at all. We would have had to wait months for him to get better.

Hagar: But Joe brought in Mike Fraser to mix, and he mixed the sh*t out of this record. Every time Mike finished a mix I’d call him up and go, “What an amazing mix. You did a great job.” But he was always throwing the ball back to Andy by saying, “Hey, the stuff was recorded good.” He gave Andy a lot of love.

There seems to be a “performance” theme to the record, from you guys cutting tracks live to Andy tweaking knobs while Sammy is singing.

Satriani: That’s actually a good point. Maybe that’s another thing you can add to Andy’s contribution. Andy was always performing, but he was using the studio as an instrument, and he ultimately became part of what we were doing. Mike is the same way when he’s mixing—he reacts to the performance, making sure the performer’s thing actually makes it into the mix. If you watch him mix, you’ll see that he constantly rides the faders. He knows mixing isn’t just about setting basic levels and slapping on a limiter.

Chickenfoot is being called a supergroup, and supergroups tend to be little more than calculated “projects” these days—especially when some of the players are still in other bands. But the vibe around here is more like—well, as you said earlier, it feels like a bunch of 14-year-olds in their first band.

Satriani: Listen, this is a band. Like Sam says—it is not a project. After the jam in Las Vegas, I felt a mystical connection to Sammy, Chad, and Mike, and those jams became so much more than just a great jam. It was something unique, and there was real chemistry there. I thought, “Wow, this is something important.” The chemistry was there again when we came up here to Sammy’s place and started putting songs together. Everyone was so enthusiastic about making the other guys’ ideas complete. There’s nothing calculated about that kind of interaction. That’s four guys loving playing together.

LIVE OR MEMOREX?

Want to hear the rhythm parts Joe cut live with the band in the studio? It’s easy—they were mixed solely on the left channel. Any guitars you hear in the right channel are overdubs. There’s one caveat: If a solo was done live as the song was going down, it may still be in the left channel, but these performances were sometimes moved to the center, and a rhythm overdub would take its space to avoid having a “hole” in the mighty Chickenfoot rhythm onslaught. —MM

JOE’S CHICKENFOOT TONE RECIPES

“MYGUITAR TECH, MIKE MANNING, AND I KEEP big notes on everything—amps, guitars, mic placement, cabinets, pedals, and all sorts of stuff,” says Satriani. “The notes were kind of abstract during Surfing with the Alien in 1987, because there were two guitars and not much else. But they started getting pretty complex around Crystal Planet [1998].”

Thanks to Satch’s meticulous note taking, GP can offer you song-by-song tone recipes for Chickenfoot, so eat hearty! And, as you’ll see, Satriani isn’t someone who develops signature gear for everyone but himself. His Ibanez, Vox, and Peavey tools are all over Chickenfoot. This is also the album that fired up the creation of his Peavey JSX 50 amp, as he wanted to honor and evolve the sound of classic ’60s and ’70s 50-watters to power the rhythm-riff concept he designed for his musical partnership with Sammy, Michael, and Chad.

“AVENIDA REVOLUTION”

“This is the track where I recorded the main guitar (left channel and solo) at home using my chrome Ibanez JS touring guitar—which we called the Eb Chrome. In the beginning of the Chickenfoot days, we weren’t sure which songs were going to be in Eb, and which songs would be in standard pitch, so we made a distinction by putting a little piece of tape on the guitar that says ‘Eb Chrome.’ The signal chain was theEb Chrome into the Vox Satchurator, the Peavey JSX 120’s clean channel, a Marshall SE100 Speaker Emulator, and right into Pro Tools. Once we decided this was going to be the main guitar part, and I wasn’t going to re-do it, we added a ‘ghost guitar’ part with the Ibanez Super ColossalJS guitar—the one that has the image from the album cover on it. It’s a very unusual-sounding guitar that has this extra low-end thing, and I plugged it into a Wizard head and a Peavey 4x12 cabinet. We wanted to keep the trio sound as much as possible, so this part never steps out. Basically, I use the Super Colossal JS to play smaller versions of the big chords performed on the main rhythm-guitar part.”

“SOAP ON A ROPE”

“I can’t remember if I used the Ibanez JS Black Dog or Chrome on this one. I think the signal chain was the guitar into the Vox Satchurator and the JSX 120. The ascending pre-solo riff is definitely beefed up with a 6-string Danelectro bass into a Dunlop Fuzz Face and a Leslie rotary speaker, and I used a rackmounted, stereo MXR Flanger for the solo. It seems I played a second rhythm part on a white Ibanez ART.”

“SEXY LITTLE THING”

“‘Sexy Little Thing’ is one of the two songs where I use my original Ibanez JS-6 guitar with .011s on it, tuned down a whole step and capoed at the second fret—kind of unusual. I was just fooling around with stuff at home, and the JS-6 had .011s on it from the last couple of records where I used it for slide or some big chords. I started to really like the way the .011s felt, so I wrote this piece of music on it, and when I paired it with the JSX 50, it had just the right tone. This is the main guitar for ‘Sexy,’ and it also does the solo. I’m trying not to bend too far, because I’m playing with a capo and it’s a live track, so I didn’t want to put it out of tune. There’s another wah/slide guitar track done with the white Ibanez ARTthrough a ’59 Fender Twin. The banjo is my Deering, which I’ve had since 1990.”

“OH YEAH”

“This was my chrome touring guitar or the Black Dog into the Vox Satchurator and a Peavey JSX 120— basically, my live rig. We sometimes used the direct output on the amp. I wasn’t really sure what was happening with the signal chain, because this song was recorded at Sammy’s studio, and we were making demos, remember? Not album cuts. A ’55 goldtop Les Paul makes an appearance on the power chords, and I used an Ibanez JS 24-fret prototype for the middle section because I play a high G. That was the first time I had ever done it, and I was waiting for the string to break. Ibanez should have the 24-fret guitar finished by January 2010. I also used the Black Dog guitar, an MXR Flanger, a Leslie, and a Rickenbacker 12-string through a direct box. We laid down a lot of guitars to make that middle section work.”

“RUNNIN’ OUT”

“‘Runnin’ Out” is pretty much the same setup as ‘Sexy Little Thing’—the JS-6 with the .011s, and the capo on the second fret—but I added a Fulltone Deja Vibe pedal. We had done about four or five takes, and I started to think about Humble Pie’s ‘30 Days in the Hole,’ and I just whipped out the Deja Vibe for the next take, and that was the one. I plugged into the JSX 50, and panned it left. Then, I doubled the part with a Wurlitzer electric piano plugged into the Peavey JSX Mini Colossal amp and a Leslie, which was panned right. The solo guitar was a 1959 Gibson ES-335 into the Vox Satriani Big Bad Wah and the JSX 50. In fact, I used the rhythm setup for the solo. I almost wish it had one more notch of gain, but I thought it sounded grittier to have the overdrive a bit dry like that.”

“GET IT UP”

“This would have been my chrome touring guitar, the Vox Satchurator and an Electro-Harmonix Mini- POG for the extra low end stuff. It’s my live rig again, so the main amp was the Peavey JSX 120. I also put down some Fender and Rickenbacker electric 12- string tracks through a direct box and an old ’64 Vox AC30. The solo was done on the Ibanez JS 24- fret prototype plugged into a Way Huge Pork Loin and a MXR Phase 90 for the solo section.”

“DOWN THE DRAIN”

“This was written on the spot as we were recording it. I used the Ibanez Super Colossal JS-1000. It was tuned to Eb, and it was strung with either .010s or .011s—just like all the stuff recorded at Skywalker Sound. The tracks I did at home may have had .009s on some of the guitars, because I was still touring. But I felt that, considering the way Mike and Chad sounded, I needed to go up a gauge or so to put out more sound. Also, every once-ina- while you’ll hear what sounds like a guitar through a Leslie—that’s a Korg G4 Rotary Speaker Simulator. Whenever Andy and I felt a song needed ‘stuff,’ we’d very carefully drop in Rickenbacker or Fender electric 12-strings, piano, B3, or, in this case, eighthnote guitar lines here and there.”

“MY KINDA GIRL”

“This is the Ibanez JS-1000 Snake in dropped-D tuning into the JSX 50—that’s what you hear on the left side. On the right side, I doubled the part with a ’58 Fender Esquire that was set up with Tele pickups. Chris Kelly [Peavey A&R manager] got that for me when I was recording The Extremist[1992], and it has been on every album since. For the solo, I used the JS 24-fret prototype. There is also some Rickenbacker 12-string on the choruses. Andy was really into tracking six 12-string parts direct, mixing them to mono, and then bringing them in ever-so-slightly when the big chords came in. We did a lot of that kind of stuff.”

“LEARNING TO FALL”

“The guitar on the left channel is the ‘live’ tracking guitar. I used my touring chrome JS into the JSX 50 and a Vox Big Bad Wah. I did a little doubling of the rhythm track that gets mixed in now and then. There’s also grand piano, B3, synths, acoustics, mandolins, etc.—all mixed mono on the right channel, and just barely breaking the surface in the track, but providing a beautiful sonic counterpoint to the raw rhythm guitar. The solo was done on the JS 24-fret prototype through a 4-channel prototype amp that is in development. Those amps were really Frankenstein looking, and all the switching had to be done manually. I used them for the super-high-gain stuff.”

“TURNIN’ LEFT”

This is the Ibanez JS Super Colossal guitar into the 4-channel prototype amp.”

“FUTURE IS THE PAST”

“‘Future Is the Past’ was the Ibanez JS Snake drop- Dguitar into the JSX 50. There are also some direct Rickenbacker 12-strings and a Bruce Sexauer D Works acoustic. Sexauer is a guitar builder in Petaluma, California, who makes astounding acoustic instruments. The wah solo at the end is probably the JS 24-fret guitar into a Vox Big Bad Wah and the prototype 4-channel amp.”

“BITTEN BY THE WOLF” (Bonus Track)

“This was weird, because we recorded it without really thinking about it. Sammy said, ‘Play me the song,’ and I said, ‘Do you have an acoustic guitar somewhere?’ He had a Yamaha CPX 400 or 900— I’m not sure what they’re called—that he used live, and I tuned it to all Es, except for the B string, which is a B. I used to call that ‘Stephen Stills tuning.’ I played it for him, and everyone said, ‘Okay Joe, let’s plug that in.’ So 20 minutes later, I’m sitting in the booth with the Yamaha miked, routed to a direct box, and sent to a Fender Vibrolux or something, and I’m thinking, ‘We’re going to record this now?’ And we did—that’s the acoustic guitar sound. The slide stuff in the middle was played on the white Ibanez ART—which was used for all the slide parts on the album—going into my tubeless tube driver prototype from Vox and the JSX 50.”

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