Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
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An in-depth discussion with a band or artist, generally in the form of a straight Q&A – no editorializing.
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Album streams, our Set List "top five..." features, our year-end "best of" lists and other music-related miscellany.
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Contributions on a range of topics from a range of industry figures: musicians, filmmakers, editors and more.
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A melting pot of mixed content: movie, book and even video game reviews. Updated sporadically, but eclectically.
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A semi-regular column exploring new and rising local bands and artists deserving of attention.
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We post a variety of features in recurring series – click below to browse them.
One-question interviews with artists where we find out about the gear and equipment they use to achieve their sound. Browse 60 features
A collection of items grouped by topic, eg. "Top 5 Worst Beatles Songs" or "Top 10 best '77 punk releases". Browse 20 features
A wide-ranging guest column written by BJ from Ancient Shores, mainly covering film but extending into philosophy and aesthetics too. Check out BJ's work on the A389 podcast. Browse 15 features
Guest column by T of Vegas Browse 13 features
There’s so much music released, whether physically or digitally, that keeping up with what’s going on becomes almost like a full time job. With Only Death Is Real, the aim is to bring you something new. Browse 9 features
Our annual roundup from Gainesville, FL's famous Fest. Browse 4 features
It's the end of 2013, so here's our best-of roundup for the last twelve months. Browse 4 features
SPB's coverage of the annual festival in Gainesville, Florida. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2014. Browse 4 features
A brief but englightening chat with an artist who reveals an interesting or unexpected story from their career Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2015. Browse 4 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2016. Browse 4 features
A roundup of coverage of the annual punk rock festival held in Gainesville, Florida Browse 4 features
A life lived and lessons learned by Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Browse 4 features
Our summary of the best music (and more) of 2018. Browse 3 features
Our wrap-up of the best music and more from 2019 Browse 3 features
A collection of coverage rounding up the year 2012, covering our favorite albums, shows, bands, and more, as well as asking record labels and bands about their past twelve months in music Browse 3 features
Discussing the state of the music business at the kitchen table Browse 3 features
How an artist spends their time by day will influence the creative process at night. In Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Scene Point Blank looks at how musicians split their time, and how their careers influence their music – or, alternately &ndash Browse 3 features
A cookery column by Nick, vocalist with metal band The Famine. Veggie/vegan friendly! Browse 3 features
Our annual round-up of the best music of the year 2017. Browse 2 features
A regular series by Robert F. Browse 2 features
Our coverage of the annual Fest extravaganza. Browse 1 features
We survey some of the other music releases out there. Results may vary...may get weird, but hopefully something covered here piques your interest. Browse 1 features
A semi-regular column where we choose a specific area and give a local scene report. Browse 1 features
Mike Bruno (Adult Magic, Iron Chic, Dead Broke Rekerds) SPB: What is your favorite 1960s artist? Mike Bruno: My personal favorite ‘60s artist is definitely the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jimi Hendrix, of course is one of the greatest guitar players to ever live, if not the best. His band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience (that existed mid-late ‘60s composed of Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell) are definitely one of the most electrifying 3-piece power trios in rock ‘n’ roll history. They do not get enough credit at all. They were tight as hell, but still somehow displayed a care-free, almost punk ...
Quite literally, a one question interview. Also known as 1QIs, we post these first to our social media on a near-daily basis, with the archival piece here. Check 'em out.
Miski Dee (City Mouse)
SPB: What type of guitar do you play and how did you choose that model?
Dee: I absolutely love my guitar! It's a 2006 Epiphone Wilshire and I would say that it chose me. After I started City Mouse I kept switching guitars (I had a little metal Ibanez, a Squier, then a Washburn) and one day in maybe 2007 or so I was practicing at a buddy's house in Kentucky and I borrowed this guitar and found that because of the weight and shape of it, I instantly felt more comfortable playing than I had ever felt before. It was so easy for me to hold and move. It was probably the first time I had ever felt like I was really rocking out! My buddy saw me playing with it and before I could even ask him the details on it, he said "That guitar was made for you. It's yours.
And it's been an extension of me ever since.
SPB: The new record is strictly analog. Can you walk us through the (main) gear that you used?
Steven Mandell (American Standards – bass)
SPB: Show us your rig setup and tell us what you like about it.
Gino Bambino (Gino and the Goons)
SPB: Walk our readers through your kit and offer insight as to how you arrived at your sizes (shells and cymbals).
Gino: I have a 1966 set of Champagne sparkle Ludwig drums. It’s not worth much due to the fact they made so many at that time and the shape it’s in now. But the sound is perfect to me. I bought it in the mid-‘90s when I went with a friend to a music store so he could buy a guitar. I bought drums and he didn’t buy a guitar. It’s set up at SunWray studios so no one has to lug theirs for practice. And I love the sound.
I hate black hardware on drums (and guitars)(and automobiles) but one time at my moment of laziness I let a Goon drummer use his personal kit with black hardware for some shows. Ugh. I looked the other way cuz he had a Gino and the Goons logo on his kickdrum but still I shouldn’t have let it happen.
The kit Is a 22”x14” kick. 16x16” floor with a tambourine on it. 14x5 wood Yamaha snare drum. Broken mismatched 15” hi hats with a tambourine on it and one 20” Sabian cymbal. Mostly cuz all my other cymbals are broken. They were 18”.
Michael J. Wolf (Wolf-Face)
SPB: How has Wolf-Face’s mission/concept changed since the band first formed?
Wolf: My mission to spread the word about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage werewolf remains unchanged—that we all have things that make us different from our peers. Everyone can relate to the idea of not being like other people and that’s not a bad thing but is something each of us should embrace. Maybe it’s easier for me to deal with that sort of thing since what makes me different is that I'm far superior to common mortals, but I think the concept is still relatable.
Ryan Jones (Body Stuff)
SPB: Is there a specific piece of equipment that’s essential to “the Body Stuff” sound?
Jones: "Yeah man, I'd say the one thing that comes out of the speakers that is a MUST is the drums. Those are some Steven Slate drum triggers!!!"
Noel (Grumpster – drums)
SPB: You just released a new 7", following last year's full-length. What is your favorite format of record (EP vs LP) to listen to as a fan?
Noel: LPs! We feel like a longer release can be more cohesive, and indicative of the artist(s) at the time of release; an LP can almost define an artist. For example, we feel like our LP Underwhelmed is a pretty good example of where we were and who we were when we wrote and released it. The Mindless 7” is a little bit more of a piece in transition, we were playing with some ideas that we didn’t feel would really fit on the LP that were currently working on.
Chris McNeal (Vincas – bass)
SPB: What bass/amp pairing do you use and why did you choose it?
McNeal: When I was a kid, every band I saw that had an awesome bass player seemed to play thru a old SVT bass head paired with a 8x10 bass cab. After seeing and hearing many ear destroying shows with this pairing, I decided that was the combo for me. So, I worked my ass off doing construction all summer when I was 16, and waited until a used one from the late ‘70s with a 8x10 cab showed up at the local gear shop. I remember hauling that thing immediately from the store to a basement show we played that night in my Honda accord hatchback that probably looked like speedboat at a 45 degree angle. Everybody’s hair looked like Peter Murphy’s hair in that Maxwell ad when we started playing. It was awesome. I still play that head today, but it might get retired at some point for a GK 800RB due to that thing weighing 80lbs and full of finicky tubes. I doubt it, though, because I love that bass amp.
SPB: Is there a single piece of gear that you would say is the most essential to “the Storm Ross sound”?
Ross: As you can see in the video, I primarily play a 2008 Gibson SG Custom. I run this through an array of pedals, ending with a looper that then goes into my amp, a vintage Kustom 200-watt. Since this amp has four channels, I use the other three channels for table electronics; in this instance a Kaossilator, a Kaoss Pad, and another looper. The result is a big mono blast that allows me to mix on the fly while playing live.
Rick Jimenez (Extinction A.D. – guitar/vocals)
SPB: Did you experiment much with different equipment, setups, mics or equipment when recording Decimation Treaty? Did any particular item stand out?
Jimenez: While we recording Decimation Treaty we actually experimented quite a bit with different amplifier and cabinet combinations. We quad-tracked the rhythm guitars like we tend to do and, as opposed to throwing a doubled amp in the left and a doubled amp in the right, we used two different amps on each side and just favored one over the other by 60/40 split on each side. After the experimenting we decided on my go-to amp since 2005: a mid ‘90s two channel Mesa boogie dual rectifier through a straight recto 4x12 cabinet and a Peavy 6505 through a custom full force studios Vader 4x12 cabinet.
These are both pretty basic set-ups when it really comes down to it, and not like we were or are breaking the mold exactly, but the secret sauce (if there is one) in the rig was the addition of a Maxon OD-808 and a Boss Compressor CS-3 that I actually found in Detroit in 2009 or so and has been a staple with me ever since. Two of the most underrated pedals that I believe exist. Together they add that little extra push off the cliff that is both subtle and blunt at the same time. Or let’s be honest, if you’re as sloppy at guitar as I am, you need all the help you can get and those always save my ass.
We’re in the midst of recording our follow-up record now and being that we’re being slowed down due to the pandemic, we’ve been making as much progress as possible. Part of that was deciding to record all the stronger instruments direct signals to be re-amped in the future. This was the ultimate test for me because after not getting comfortable with any guitar amp plug in, I decided to test my chops and just record the entire album literally clean. No plug in to monitor, no distortion or overdrive to mask imperfections... just raw, clean tone for 10 tracks of the most aggressive album yet. Once I got past the initial shock of this, it not only became a fun challenge but opens up the opportunity to listen to completed tracks while experimenting with different sounds once the re-amp process begins. I’m looking forward to shaping the sound of the record without having to cater it to my what my playing technique requires. I assure you though that the Maxon OD808 and the Boss CS-3 will be a part of it. Maxon has taken care of me for many years but hey Boss, I’m ready for my hookup now!
Chris Rest (Lagwagon – guitar)
What model guitar do you play (and how did you choose it)?
Check out Chris' answer below:
TN (...But the Shadows Have Foes)
SPB: How much space in your home is dedicated to music storage (instruments or records)?
TN: I've had to move cross-country for work a few times, so I sadly wound up paring down my record collection from its staggering heights in my early twenties. However, I've managed to live in the same place for a while now, so I finally have a music room. When we first moved into this house, there was a decent size room in the basement where we stashed all our moving supplies. As we slowly emptied that room out of cardboard boxes, all my music related stuff migrated there. So now, there's a few boxes of LPs, a few boxes of seven inches, and a whole bunch of gear. I have two half-stacks down there I use for different bands, two guitars, a bass, and a cabinet full of guitar pedals and mics and that sort of thing. Having lived in tiny apartments for most of my adult life, to have an actual room in my home dedicated to records and gear feels like an enormous privilege, and it legit feels good every time I walk in there and see everything hanging out, all nice and organized.
Stu Folsom (SpiritWorld)
SPB: Your musical inspiration (heavy + country) combines two worlds. Was that part of the concept behind the project’s name, which is also a melding of two worlds (of sorts)?
Folsom: That is interesting. I'd like to say I was that on the ball to tie everything in but no, the name is an homage to the movie Young Guns. Our demo starts with a sample from their peyote trip. The samples are only available on the physical demos or the bandcamp stream.
When I started this project, it was just for fun. Matt Schrum (Folsom, Fight Like Hell), Justin Fornof (WristMeetRazor) and I were just hanging out making racket at Matt's apartment. Once I got really serious and writing a lot of material, I made the decision to get as weird as I want. On one hand, there is an expectation from bands to pick a genre and try to perfect that sound that I am not really interested in, and on the other hand, there is the challenge of pushing yourself to do something new and uncomfortable. I am much more intrigued by the latter and like to try out things that are new and exciting and maybe stumble onto something special.
I have played guitar just to write riffs for years, but I had never played an instrument live, much less play guitar, and sing at the same time. That alone has added a whole level of difficulty to SpiritWorld that has been very rewarding.
You are spot-on to pick up on the melding of two worlds. The worlds that I am trying to merge are my beloved hardcore punk and metal scenes with the roots music that I grew up on. I really believe that people will get behind music that is authentic and crafted with care. There is nothing stopping me from building a following of hardcore punks, skins, greasers and long hairs who are all stage diving and screaming along together except me not putting in the work.
Cory (Bar Tape)
SPB: If I understand correctly, you’re all US expats now living in Dublin. Was it hard to acclimate to the scene in a new country?
Cory: We’re lucky enough to have been embraced by both the hardcore and punk scene in Ireland.
After we started, our friends gave us a chance to play a fundraiser for the Karate Klub (punx practice space). We asked a few of our other friends if we could play their shows and they were all helpful. We’re super lucky that our friends supported us and able to give us the confidence to release material. We’ve been dismissed/ignored by local press (assuming that it’s because our sound is overplayed American garbage that was popular 10 years ago), which we’ve submitted our material to, however we seem to appeal to people who like skate punk and melodic hardcore. I figure if we were around 20 years ago, we’d be more popular. We’re still delighted with the reaction we’ve received from Irish punks/hardcore kids and rockers, despite the lack of local press.
Jim (Boilerman - guitar)
SPB: What's the most overrated guitar feature? eg. whammy bars, D-Tuna?
Jim: I don't know about overrated, but my most hated guitar feature is the floating bridge. The Dan Electro guitar I use for Boilerman doesn't have one, but the guitar I learned on did and it caused me nothing but trouble as a kid. I get why they can technically be helpful, but I feel like the cons outweigh the pros on these monstrosities. They also look real goofy.
SPB: What guitar do you use in your solo material, and how did choose this model?
Kepi: Lately is has been a Martin 00-15M acoustic. I am on my 2nd one! I got one a little over 10 years ago, I think. I played over 500 shows on it and it was signed by Daniel Johnston! It got broken by an airline but they made good and replaced it. I have been playing #2 since 2016 and since shelter one place has begun, I have recorded and posted 115 daily “pick me up” songs almost exclusively on that guitar (2-3 might have been a cappella!)
When it comes to electric I play an Eastwood “Jetson jr. / Ghoulie Green,” a “signature” model that Eastwood made a couple dozen of, to my specs with a little kepi skull on it! Yay!
Jem (DEAD - drums, WeEmptyRooms – label operator)
SPB: Walk us through your kit and offer insight as to how you arrived at your sizes (shells and cymbals)?
Jem: I have never owned a complete, matching kit and probably never will. I'm a tone chaser and I imagine when I find the "perfect" kit is when I will die. My kit is set up specifically for playing live shows but...who knows when that will ever happen again. In the studio I change it from the below. I don't follow any brands.
Kick Drum: Tama Artstar Cordia 24x16. Coated Emperor heads front and back, no muffling. I love this thing. It's loud and obnoxious which suits this band just fine.
Kick Pedal: Pearl eliminator, strap drive, wood or hard felt beater. Never been a chain guy and I think the strap makes some things easier and a lot of things much harder but it's the feel I like.
Snare Drum: Gretsch 14x8 Hammered Brass, Die Cast hoops, 3ply or kevlar top head. I started using super thick heads for economic reasons but as long as you have a loud drum to begin with it sounds great too. The only drum I've ever bought new. Got it for $300 on a US tour and they went up in price a LOT soon after. Don't have a whole lot of luck with drum stores but can't rate Drum Center of Portsmouth enough.
Mounted Tom: 14x13 Tama Artstar II Maple, Die Cast Hoops, double ply head w/dot. Tuned just above finger tight. It's white, I wish it was a cooler colour.
Floor Tom: 18x16 Tama Starclassic Birch/Bubinga, Die Cast Hoops, double ply head w/dot. Tama have completely lost the plot lately with their wraps and this thing is as ugly as fuck but it sounds great. I recorded one of our albums on Dale Crover's Tama Bubinga kit and loved the shit out of it.
Hats: 15" ‘80s Sabians + a broken cheap as shit cymbal on top of the top hat. I know nothing about these but they have not broken and served me a long time so I give them two thumbs up. The broken cymbal on top makes them dirty and good for the improv bits of our set. I tend to find 14" hats stick out a bit too much - like they're yapping away in the corner whereas 15s blend into the kit more.
Crash: 22" paiste 2002. I live in fear of the day this thing breaks and I have to replace it. It's only a matter of time. I know it's a big size for a crash but it works for me.
Ride: 22" Sabian "metal" ride. On our last US tour my ride broke somewhere in the midwest and when we got to Seattle a friend of Ben Verellen offered me this cymbal for $50. I decided I would play it till it broke and 5 years later I'm still playing it. It is amusingly brash and it makes me laugh a lot but I've become very fond of it. I prefer a 24" ride but I guess 22" is more versatile for the way Jace plays.
Sticks: Vick Firth "metal" wood tips or Power 5bs if we're playing a quit show. The sticks have the biggest effect on the sound of the above kit. I've never understood why people don't pay more attention to that. I use the tree trunk style sticks for volume and for the thud sound on the drums. It's a compromise 'cos you lose all subtlety in the cymbals. But Neanderthal style is my happy place.
I've always loved big drums; I love being inside the kit like it's a fort. They are easily found now but it was not the case when I started playing live. Initially I was very drawn to ‘60s and ‘70s drums. Partly because they were cheaper (I miss those days!) but I also loved the more subtle tone. As I began to play louder and louder I realised that you were pushing shit uphill to play that kind of gear in a live setting. I got sick of repairing my kit mid set and not being heard. So I basically seek out the heaviest shells I can find, with solid hardware and play thick skins and beat the crap out of them. You lose about 90% of the dynamic range but I enjoy the challenge of working within that remaining 10% and the sound you get from hard hitting makes me very fucking happy. It's a sound that's really ugly on its own but then works when I pair it with Jace's rather confronting bass tone.
I find the 8" depth snare a lot more versatile than shallower ones and it's a sound you feel in your chest. What's not to love about that?
Writing this all down has made me really miss playing live!
Listen to Raving Drooling by DEAD.
Lance (Caffiends – guitar)
SPB: From when you were starting out to now, what parts of your (gear) setup have really helped voice your sound over the years?
Lance: Wow, I would have to say all of our gear is really important for our sound. Haha, I mean over the years, I have learned that just turning on, plugging in, turn up, and playing as fast as I can is not always a set up for a success for sound, but sometimes you can get lucky I guess. Though, if I had to pick, it would have to be mostly my amp heads, and pickups in my guitars that have been the best help in my sound changes over the years to get the sound I like.
Marc Diamond aka The Fresh Prince of Darkness (The Dwarves)
SPB: What is your gear setup when playing with the Dwarves and why did you choose what you did?
The Fresh Prince of Darkness: When we tour, be it foreign or domestic we don't bring our own gear. We have the support band carry the backline. But to get the gig they must provide the correct gear. For bass its am Ampeg SVT with an 8X10 Cabinet. For myself , it must be a tube head with gain. Preferably a Marshall JCM 800 or 900, although Orange, Mesa Boogie will also suffice, with a 4X10 slant cab. We only carry our guitars, Fender P bass, Gibson Les Paul. Sometimes I'll bring out a Les Paul Jr or an SG, but generally a Les Paul.
If Nick Oliveri aka Rex Everything and I are also performing a Death Electric set of his old QOTSA or Kyuss material, then I bring a Schecter S1 to do the low C tuning stuff on. It would fuck up the intonation too much to downtune a Les Paul every night.
As far as pedals go, I always travel with an Ibanez tube screamer. The only thing that I've ever used. Drives the tubes and gets you more gain but without sounding metal.
Patrick (Eye Flys-drums)
SPB: Who is the first musician whose technique or technicality really stood out to you?
Patrick: Easily, Dave Grohl. When I was 10 or 11 I was into Metallica and Guns N’ Roses and things like that. I was right in the pocket for "Grunge," so when I saw Nirvana on TV as a kid and him beating the crap out of a four-piece drum kit, that was an epiphany for me. I of course thought Lars was great, but that seemed so unattainable at the time for me. It was like having that punk rock epiphany -- like, "whoa, i can totally do this too!" -- before I got into punk, really.
Maybe not even the "technicality" but pure caveman style, sticks above the head, hair flying. All kick-snare flams, big toms, and big open beats. Basically learned from watching him and still rip that style today.
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