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Headstock Group CEO, James Laney, said, “We are very excited that this new alliance with EMD Music will allow us to positively meet the demands of the US market and give stronger and better representation of both Laney and HH Electronics in both the M.I. and Pro-Audio sectors.
EMD Music is a hugely successful company with a great track record of reaching dealers of all levels and types, offering reliable and efficient support, excellent supply chain management, and a proven sales force. We look forward to working closely with them to build our presence in the most influential market in the world.”
EMD Music Operations manager Andrew Swift added, “We are so impressed with the dedication and quality we see in the Laney staff and the product selection. We couldn’t have found a more perfect fit for our growing distribution model.”
For Product Inquiries please contact EMD @ 866-871-5800 toll free or email@example.com
Laney proudly introduces a brand-new guitar amplifier. The Laney GH30R-112 is an all valve combo packing an impressive 30 watts RMS of pure power into a lightweight, open-back combo featuring the classic Laney GHR controls and a very special Celestion G12 V Type 12” speaker.
Designed and Engineered at our UK headquarters, the GH30R-112 calls upon 50 years of British legacy and heritage in building amplifiers to create one powerful, striking and versatile guitar amplifier.
The GH30R-112 allows a player to dial in the amount of Output section in their signal by balancing the amount if pre-amp gain.
POWER AND PORTABILITY
At 21kg the GH30R-112 is lighter than it’s competitors but also has the power and headroom for serious performances. All for an amazing price, you won’t break your back or your bank to obtain powerful tone. A slip cover is provided with the amplifier so the good looks of the GH30R-112 are protected all the way!
OWN YOUR TONE
The GH30R-112 has two channels with independent controls over your pre-amp and power amp. This unique feature of the Laney GHR family gives the player complete control and the possibility to own their tone, not just hear it. A great sound is found immediately, but YOUR sound is found when a little time is spent with the GH30R-112. A real ‘tweaker’ amp, a slight adjustment to the front panel and a difference can be heard immediately, once again showing the immediate responses that the GHR range of amplifiers harness.
It is not the case that Channel 1 is focused towards clean or Channel 2 is focused toward gain – they can be dialed in to produce whatever tone you are looking for. The more you ‘tweak’ your settings, the more you find your sound.
Useful connection options are at the tips of your fingers: The ‘Pull Bright’ on the Channel 1 Drive control, the ‘Pull Mid’ control where your mids will be immediately scooped, the British designed and engineered Reverb control with a pull option to turn your sound from a close reverb to a large and deep reverb, the independent Output Volume control on Channel 2, the Balanced D.I out to the rear of the amplifier (with cabinet emulation switch) down to the finer details like the FS2-Mini footswitch which is supplied with the amplifier. The FS2-Mini has be redesigned for the modern player, a player who has limited space at the best of times, the FS2-Mini gives the option of Channel switch or Reverb on/off in a handy size that can be tucked away on a pedal board or stored between use to the rear panel of the amplifier where the cage around the speaker provides protection to both the speaker and pedal.
- 30 Watts RMS
- All Valve ECC83 & EL34 Loaded
- 1 x 12” Celestion G12 V Type
- 2 Channels
- Bass, Mid, Treb Controls (Mid with Pull-Shift)
- Master Output Volume Control
- Reverb with Pull Focus
- FX Loop with Mode Switch
- Foot-switchable Channel & Reverb (FS2-Mini Included)
- Unique D.I post output section with level control.
- Cabinet Emulation & Ground Link
- Rugged Plywood Cabinet & Chassis
- 2 Colour Covering
- Slip Cover Included
- Folding TILT Mechanism
Find out more on the GH30R-112 on it’s product page below:
LANEY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
Halesowen, West Midlands, UK, August, 2017 – Laney celebrates its 50th anniversary
Laney Amplification is to celebrate its 50th Anniversary of business in September 2017.
Lyndon Laney began making amplifiers for friends and fellow musicians in the mid-1960s. As a bass player on the scene in the UK’s Birmingham & Black Country area, it was a vibrant time for music. Sometime member of “The Band of Joy” with John Bonham on drums and Robert Plant on vocals, Lyndon Laney decided his own true talents lay in amp construction. Using his father’s garden shed, Lyndon sought to design and build amplifiers with key “tonal” characteristics that were unheard of at the time.
The Company was officially incorporated in September 1967 and popularity for the products began to grow. Laney’s signature tone, performance and value helped set Laney apart from competitors. The products were highly sought after and used by numerous local musicians, most notably Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, who first used Laney for the recording of their seminal first release “Black Sabbath” launched on Feb 13th, 1970. This album defined the new sound of Heavy Metal and Tony remains with Laney to this day.
Since 1967, Laney Amplification has gone from strength to strength, working with a great many globally renowned musicians and with a sales network in over 80 countries. Laney also remains a family business with music-making at its heart: Whilst retired from day to day duties, Lyndon stays on as Chairman and to his immense pride, his son James Laney is CEO for the Group.
In celebration of this milestone, Laney is holding an exclusive party in Birmingham for its endorsers, distributors, dealers and other special guests.
We went to the Liverpool International Music Festival where local hero and rising legend Louis Berry was playing the main stage. The weather was hot, the sun was out, and the music was scorching!
Louis and Jesse play Laney amps (Lionheart L20T-212 and Nexus SLS, N410, N115 respectively) we sat down and caught up with both of them, and asked a few questions.
Starting with Louis:
How did you start with music? Well my Grandad had a guitar at the end of his bed, it always interested me, but one day I decided to pick it up and have a go. I learnt a few chords immediately, it was just dead easy for me, made me think ‘wow, this is real’ so I showed my Grandad and he said learn it on a banjo, everyone plays guitar, play a banjo but the guitar for me just stood out, plus you can’t play rock and roll on a banjo!
Actually writing for me, it was by chance completely, I was hanging around with lads who were in to crime and things like that and it was through being involved with that kind of lifestyle that I met lads who happened to play drums and guitar, I watched him write a song on the guitar, I didn’t even know him, and it inspired me. I thought, if he can do that, why can’t I? So I went home and wrote a few songs, started playing them to the lads and they liked it. I got introduced to a producer through one of the lads involved in that world, recorded a few tracks with the producer. After that, the songs got sent into BBC Introducing in Merseyside. They then asked me to do a gig in The Cavern Club, so I did my first gig and got a publishing deal, did my second gig and got a record deal.
How do you feel the fans differ in Liverpool to around the world? Well my own shows in Liverpool are another level, absolutely stupid and crazy man, but playing elsewhere is very different, especially festivals where you have a huge mix of people in the crowd who aren’t necessarily there to see you, which is a double edged sword as you have instant access to new fans, but they will also not be straight into you as they’ve never heard you before! If I do a festival in Liverpool, a lot of the people are there because they like to go and watch bands all the time, but if I do a headline show in Liverpool the people who come, come because it’s me. Because I come from the same world as they come from and I speak about the things that are true to them. They wouldn’t look at Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and think “right, I’m going to dress like him” it just wouldn’t happen, it wouldn’t last five minutes. I’ve the exact same as them and they can relate to me and I think that’s why when I click with a person, I really click with them for life.
It’s going off around the world though too? Well everything is relatable, and when you leave the UK the thing that becomes the easiest relatable element is the music. I was in the Czech-Republic yesterday and there were over ten thousand people there and it was absolutely mental. They might have heard of me, but they’d never seen me play before and it was absolutely crazy. The appreciation for live music on the continent is sublime.
How does the Laney Lionheart suit your playing and your music style? Do you know what? I haven’t got a clue about amplifiers and all that, I really don’t. All I know is that amplifier, honestly, I was using a different amplifier before but when I plugged into that Lionheart it sounded better. I feel better on stage with that behind me and that’s the main thing for me, to have confidence in the gear I’ve got in my hands and behind me. It definitely works with the sound I’m trying to create, plus I like to sound very different to Jack (guitarist in Louis’ band) I don’t need any pedals, I don’t even know how to use a pedal, the only button I have is the one to turn my electric off and my acoustic on. That’s it.
What is the one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without? I’d say my amplifier! I can play my acoustic all day long and just DI it but without the amplifier I’d not have my rock and roll electric!
Any pre-gig rituals? I do some shadow boxing to warm myself up, a lot of Jack Daniels and I always smoke fifteen minutes before stage. I read an article that said it raises your blood pressure when you have a smoke, so I give myself fifteen minutes so I’m not too mental when I do walk out on stage!
What was the last album you listened to? Ben Howard – Every Kingdom. He comes from a different world to me, writes about different things but I really am impressed with him, I saw him at the Isle of White Festival too and he blew me away.
Any tips for aspiring musicians? Make sure you write your own tunes, if it takes you two years to come up with it, make sure nobody is writing for you, nobody is writing anything for you. Stay true to who you are, don’t be playing to backing tracks, that’s just not rock and roll!
Louis sure knows how to get a crowd going, but what about his band and in particular his bass player Jesse Eigen, we had a chat with him too:
How did you start with music? My mums side of the family were really musical, my Grandad was a piano player and my mum played classical violin so they used to send us to get piano lessons when we were kids and we were living in Los Angeles at the time. My piano teacher had a guitar in the corner, and every time I was playing piano I would look over at the guitar and say ‘I want that thing!’ then after I played guitar for two years there was a bass in the corner and I said ‘I want THAT thing!’
How did you go from that to being a professional musician? We moved back to Israel from the states and I went to an arts high school and majored in music there then because you have to do national service in Israel, and I got into a programme that the military runs for musicians which you have to audition for, so you’re trained as a soldier but you go and play for the guys. Generally speaking, because the people who are chosen to do that are really good and top notch, you keep in touch and that’s how you get the gigs. So I did that for a bit then moved over here, and apart from being a massive The Beatles fan which I always have been, I got to Liverpool because I went to a college in Israel that had a partnership with LIPA which I had never heard of at the time.
How do you feel the fans differ around the world? Obviously the Liverpool crowd is always really up for it, but this time around with the shows in Europe we were really pleasantly surprised, you know, places that we have never played a single gig in, to go there and the crowd goes completely off the hook! The fans are great everywhere! When a person loves music, they show it. It feels like it is going up a notch. A year ago we were playing support slots, now we go to the Czech Republic and perform to ten thousand people who are waiting for us. It’s insane!
Why is the Laney the best fit for you? Especially with Louis, you need that rock vibe, but because there’s a few ballads in the set you need to get the deep low end involved and the Laney is a thorough all round fantastic amp for that, especially the Nexus, I knew Laney primarily for rock music, but with the Nexus SLS, it is just so versatile you can play so many styles with it. The Tilt control has changed my life, now that I’ve played it for a fair while I know my exact sound and I know my amp thoroughly. I use it now in another band too called China Crisis, and the Nexus SLS is really useful there as they use Chorus and Octave. When I initially got the gig I thought I would have to buy a few new pedals but they’re all built in the amp! The useful thing about having that rig is, you never know what size stage you’re going to have when you turn up to a gig but the fact that it does have the Tilt function so you can adjust it to the room. I’ll rarely have it the same way twice, and it’s not effecting the front of house too much because you can choose where the signal is taken from via the DI, so the Tilt works for my on stage sound really really well. I just love that amp!
What is your signal path? At the minute I’m jumping from different basses. One is a Sire V7 and a Fender Jaguar. That’s going through a volume pedal to a compressor, I always have that on, then into an OC2 then a Darglass MIcrotubes, a Big Muff then the Nexus Footswitch with the extra options there. Depending on the venue I’ll send the signal either direct to our FOH guy or have it for myself so I can adjust it to my needs on stage.
What was the last album you bought? A new band from Australia called the Teskey Brothers, and I’m a massive blues fan, and these guys are in their 20’s and they have got it nailed, proper old school blues from Australia. Sounds amazing!
Any tips for aspiring musicians? Just keep at it. There’ll be times where you feel like you want to give it up but just keep going.
Louis and Jesse are proud endorsers of Laney Lionheart L20T-212 and Laney Nexus SLS, N410, N115.
That was from day one when I started playing guitar, I was probably around 14 years old. My mum played guitar, we had this electric SG and an old amplifier. I never touched it as a kid, wasn’t interested, then one day I heard Iron Maiden the first album, I was 11 years old, I dived into the music and I was totally crazy about it as I was before with AC/DC but Iron Maiden really kicked me to get involved with music. I thought ‘How does this work?’ I wanted to feel the energy of the audience when you are on a stage, so I picked up the guitar and started learning all the Adrian Smith licks and riffs, I was into Dire Straights and all this sort of stuff. Then there was a point at school where I realised I was not able to live a life where you get up in the morning, go to work at 9, finish at 5 so then you go to your football club or you go to your bar and that was never my imagination of lifestyle. My imagination of lifestyle was; I get up, if it’s 3am or 12pm, it doesn’t matter, I want to get up with the stuff that I love. If it’s Monday or Friday it doesn’t matter. Every day is great for me because I am a musician and I do what I love for a living. That is why I do it because I am poassionate about it. It’s sometimes hard to keep the passion in the music business today. If you transform the music fan from a fan to msuciian there really is a lot of stuff that you have to put aside here and there in order to make a living. Sometimes it is a case of head over heart in order to survive and keep the balance. But if you get the right balance it is perfect, but getting that balance always depends on you. I could sit here and say ‘yeah the 80’s were the best and today it is bad because the music business isn’t what it was’ I think the music business was always bad. The music business has always been exactly that, a business, from the 50’s to now, you’ve always had the controller at the top giving orders to make money, these people might say ‘oh yes take that guitar solo out there’ and this is purely just to make money but if it damages the song then why would you do that if your passionate about the craft and art that is music? I could argue about this every day but I don’t do it because when I am up on stage and I play a guitar solo the people yell! If I’m playing infront of 12,000 people or to 50 people, I walk into the middle of the stage and people still go crazy! I don’t complain about the commercial element or the chart music because I understand that when a person sees good live music it ignites something that nothing else can.
You’ve played all around the world, how do fans in Germany compare to others?
I think it depends on the musical taste, I think if you play really honest rock and roll stuff it doesn’t matter where you are. Everyone feels that kind of energy. It’s not about the hip stuff or the trendy music, when you play true rock and roll people react to it, because people react to energy and music is energy. Music is a transformation of emotion into tone. The music of today I’m not sure if it still tranfers that same energy in the same way as guitar music did back in the cool days of the 70’s or 80’s or whatever but I think if you play cool music that people like the reaction is the same anywhere you go in the world. People freak out and listen, I always say don’t try and impress people, try and touch people. If you touch someone with your music it goes through their ears and straight to their heart. That is the pure musician in us all. It doesn’t matter if you are the guy on stage like me, the person on the front row or the guy right at the back of the venue, we are all there because we have a passion for music and because we connect with music in a way we connect with nothing else.
I started playing guitar because I loved it, and I still love it. If someone says “hey do you want to grab a guitar and play?” I am IN! If I’m sat at home on the sofa and I get a call to go to a rehearsal or a gig I go for it, I think you have to!
Some people say the worst thing that has ever happened to music is the internet, but also other people say the same reason is why the internet is the best thing to ever happen to music. How do you feel about so much access to music in the modern world?
When I found out about a thing called Guitar Pro it completely blew my mind, that my thing! When I found it 6 or 7 years ago I could not believe myself, some crazy guy has sat and transcribed a classical piece that I could never have played accurately and so quickly before, but now I can, and I can do it whenever the spark of imagination strikes. I don’t have to go and find a music book because it is all there online. I think it is a great thing, everybody has access to it and everyone is able to have input on music. YouTube for example, wow, I am a huge YouTube fan. All the great guitar players use it, if I want to find something really obscure, I go on there and I can find it. It is a gift.
When you’re playing live do you change guitars?
I’m a nerd! To me, there are firstly some very important components that you have. First is your fingers, second is guitar, third is the amplifier. It is a chain that works together, it’s not that one is more important than the others but they have to work in harmony together. I am a freak about the traditional guitars. I love a Les Paul, Stratocaster, Telecaster, but here and there I like to play a modern strat you know with a cool tremolo system and I have an endorsement with Comparison which is the most awesome guitars, they’re really good work horse and then at the moment I have a set up of two Comparison, a special guitar made by Fender which is an amazing thing. I use open tuning for certain slide stuff and if I could I would take my vintage Les Paul on tour but it is too precious! I have an oeiginal Joe Perry Les Paul which was previously owned by Joe Perry and is one of only 200 worldwide. The first years I played the big gigs I used to take it with me, which to hear me say now is so crazy. Now I only play it at a gig where I carry it in and out of the venue myself as it is too precious for there to be any chance of it getting damage, stolen or lost!
What is your signal path?
From guitar I go down into the tuner, I use a BOSS TU-3, it’s the only tuner I trust. Then I use a full tone wah pedal, then a dual-drive which is an amazing pedal created by an amazing technician. Then I use a univibe hand made in Germany by a guy called Marcus Bekker. Then I use a chorus which is hand made in Poland which is called EXR, it sounds awesome. I use some BOSS delays, the old tape delay pedals and now I use a new BOSS delay. From that I go directly into my Laney Lionheart L20H and I use the LT212 cabinet also.
When I started I had an old amp from the 60’s, but in the late 80’s and early 90’s the guitar magazines started saying about the new transistor amps “If you don’t play one of these type amps, then you’re not a proper guitar player” so I put it up for sale and then bought a small Laney transistor amp, which I fell in love with and I still love that amps sound, but now I think, you know what, NOW I have the best sound I have ever had.
I have my L20H and when I stand on stage, I am smiling, it doesn’t matter where you are on stage it sounds awesome. I love that amp. I play stadium gigs with a 20 watt Lionheart head. It is so true to the sound of a guitar I don’t need anything more. It is the perfect little amp. And it is still not on the maximum, I play it with about 5 or 6 on gain and volume and it sounds incredible.
How did you settle on that rig?
I realised these were a great combination in the last few years. I played a Bi-Amping system and we changed the set to a more country and rock style and I tested the system which had my Laney TI100 Tony Iommi signature head and the Lionheart together but I found that when I played the Lionheart just on its own, perfect. You know sometimes less is more. I found the Lionheart and it just works. We practice in the recording studio two months ago and my very dear friend who is in the band Claus, he is an amazing guitarist and is crazy about his pedals and gear, you ask him something and he can tell you everything about any piece of equipment. We were talking and he loved the sound of my guitar, which is high praise from a guy who knows so much about equipment and gear and he said: “That sound, that sound is incredible.” So, I knew I had a combination of something very special so I kept it.
What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Of course my head. The Lionheart is the base of the sound.The most important compliment is that one thing that transforms your sound. If you don’t have that good clean channel that transports all the signals that you are sending, you can forget about the best guitar, the best pedals or whatever because that has to be the best possible.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
I have actually two rituals. The first is a gathering before the show and we have a shot of rum! The second is very important to me and actually means the most to me; every time I am on stage I have this short moment where I look at the audience or the sky and I say ‘Thank You’. Thank you for letting me do the job I always dreamt of. I am convicned that the best guitar player in the world works in a bakery or something and they don’t know they are the best guitar player in the world, they might not even play guitar! But for that reason I have such a deep thankfulness for my job. Not many people can say they love their job but I really do and I am very grateful and thankful for that.
When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my goodness! It must be years and years ago, I never read them, I just want to get in to the piece of equipment and check it out. Manuals can be useful but I never read them!
What was the last album you bought or listened to?
Biffy Clyro. I adore Biffy, it shows me that even in the hard times today you can still get great music out there and it can be hugely successful and be appreciated. Shows that you can still headline these huge shows and stand there and actually play a guitar. These bands like Muse, Biffy and Foo Fighters, my goodness look at Dave Grohl, the guy breaks his leg on stage, gets it strapped up and finished the gig sat on a chair before going to the hospital. That for me shows the true consummate professional and passionate musician. He is doing it for his fans, for his love for the music and that is exactly why we should all be doing it!
Do you have any tips for aspiring musicians?
Well we are here in the Rockademy in Cologne, the Rockademy is a future music school, I run this with my good friend and incredible musician Christian Besch, a very successful keyboard player. The kids that come here have the mix of him and me, we teach them all the technologies of recording and we like to combine the good stuff from the future and the past. We give the kids a chance to be themselves, to create music and start their dream with the best foundations possible.
Most important advice I give to my students or anyone who is starting their journey in music is: make your own stuff, be creative! It is the most important thing to be creative. Rock and roll lifestyle is not rock and roll, the music is rock and roll, the music should beam you to another place and not the lifestyle. If you want to be a musican you should do it for the music and nothing else. Music saved my life and I tell my kids this. I got into music just as other kids started to experiment with things and get into trouble but for me I was sitting at home playing guitar. People would make jokes or fun of me but it focussed me and made me realise I had to focus on this dream of playing guitar for a living. I feel a lot of pity now to the kids that didn’t focus their energy and time into something useful and productive.
It started when I was a kid, my father was a drummer, he played in different beat-groups that played for the American barracks, so I started playing drums initially but then I wanted to do something different from my Father so I switched to guitar and I think since I was 15 it was very clear to me that I want to study music and become a musician. I played in school bands and then I went to the conservatoire and studied jazz guitar, the only options at that time were classical or jazz, I chose jazz because I thought that it was a little bit closer to rock music than perhaps classical guitar. I studied for five years and then I went to New York and took some lessons with Mike Stern which really developed me as a player. Then I returned to Germany and a friend of mine asked me to do a tour with an artist that was quite popular around 2005/2006, at this time reggae was quite popular in Germany, so I played in the reggae group and we became the band for this studio where all these artists were from, we started touring and playing some big shows, at the same time I started playing guitar for musicals and teaching, everything you have to do to be a professional musician, which included some unpleasant stuff but generally I have always loved my experiences with music.
How do you feel your relationship with music has changed since you started?
Well since I am a guitarist and no the singer and the frontman I am not really concerned about the business side of it, I just do what I can do best and I try not to be too concerned about that sort of thing. I’m probably too old to really know what people want to hear these days or what can be sold but generally I think that musicians have a different focus from the music industry bosses. They probably will never understand me I will never understand them, and I don’t want to!
Do you feel there are certain elements of music that should be focussed on more than others?
Well I’m not too sure if you can educate people towards listening to more interesting music, but then on the other side you have artists like Prince or John Mayer or Muse who manage to combine making good music but also have a commercial approach to it that people connect with. That is the highest level for me that a musician can achieve, maintaining your integrity but still push the boundaries of both music and society.
How do fans differ around the world?
When I have toured around the globe I have a very special vantage point as a guitarist at the back of the stage. I get to see things from a completely different perspective, for example when touring with the reggae groups I found that in Cuba or Mexico, it seems that the poorer the country, the more grateful the people are for the music. Whether this is because of the location, so less bands tour to these places, especially bands from western Europe but it seems that they appreciate a musician more, these countries where music is so vivid they really seem to come alive when they hear live music. In Germany it is possibly a part of the German mentality that they seem to over criticize an act but the younger people accept all types of music much more frequently than an older person would but I think that is just a case of age teaches you to be less open to new experiences and listening opportunities.
What is your signal path?
I play Ibanez guitars, then I go into my pedalboard, I put a patch bay on my pedalboard so I have a switching system, I use both channels of the Laney IRT60H, but I have a patch bay so I can use the four cable method. Doing this I can put pedals before the pre-amp but also after it, and after the power-amp.
One piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
GUITAR! Well it’s hard to say, of course I couldn’t play without the guitar, but also the head, cabinet or cable, so it’s hard to say as I need all these elements to get my sound! I could probably live without pedals, they’re nice to have but I don’t need all of them!
Although I love distortion pedals, I like to change them and mix them up, I never feel like I’m satisfied with the pedals I have. Even though they say ‘it’s in your fingers’ I agree but also disagree as I think it’s in your head. You need to have a clear imagination of how you want to sound and that’s the reason why different players will always sound like them no matter their equipment because they have such a clear minds eye of how they want to sound that no matter what you give them, they dial in the sound they have in their head.
I think this is the problem with possibly younger guitar players, they start without their imagination, if you don’t have imagination, you don’t have anything to strive for. Probably that’s something that needs to come first.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring musician?
I would say do not try and be these famous rock stars because there is already one in the world. Don’t try and be Tony Iommi or Slash because the world already has them. Try to dig really deep and find what you like and what you don’t like, try to find out how you really see or hear yourself. Sometimes you come to different sounds by coincidence but I think you need to really know first how you want to sound and what you want to be.
You don’t have to be one guitar player, if you want to play country or metal you can adjust your playing style to fit the needs of the song or genre you are playing. How you want to sound like has to come first.
Was there a particular moment in your youth that sparked your musical journey?
This sounds cliché but it really was The Beatles. My Father came from that era and he loved to listen to The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, he also listened to Dire Straights and Marc Knopfler, then I hit puberty and started to rebel, here is started to listen to AC/DC and I didn’t like The Beatles at all, but then I got older and wiser and I am now much more open to all styles of music and any genre.
When was the last time you read a user manual?
Well as I also do professional reviews for Thomman, I actually read them quite frequently, usually four manuals a week to write the reviews! But I don’t like it, I have to read them, say there’s a digital amp that is more computer than a guitar amp, I really have to sit and read the manual in order to understand the product I am reviewing. Plug and play doesn’t work in that situation unfortunately as the review has to be thorough.
What was the last piece of music you heard or bought that connected with you?
I think it is so hard in this day and age to do something new, but there are still so many great artists out there. I’ve always liked bands like John Mayer or Porcupine Tree, I love the last Ryan Adams record. I don’t actually listen to that many guitar players any more, that’s not to say I don’t listen to music but when I sit down and listen to music I want to forget that I am a musician, I want to turn the auto-analyse function off in my brain and just immerse myself into the sounds of the artist the same way that every other person does. Guitar music for me isn’t overly interesting music to me, it is very cool and it’s interesting from a guitar point of view but I find it only on very rare occasions that it is musically exploratory and interesting. I try not to over analyse music because if you put that same idea to a band like AC/DC it would be ‘boring’ music, but it isn’t, they’re amazing and I really love them so it’s a tricky line to walk down between over analysing an artist and just enjoying their music.
Do you think the internet is a positive or a negative for the music industry?
I think there are positives and negatives, the good thing is that anyone can promote their own music and more or less everything is in your hands. The other side is that when you used to have record labels, they would release say ten pieces of music a month, now ten new albums a month is something that everyone can digest and you can say, I like this, I don’t like that but now it is really really hard to find something you like. If you don’t have any friends and you don’t have any community it is almost impossible when you have ten thousand releases a month to get to the good stuff because it’s covered with loads of rubbish. Where is the best place to hide an apple? In a huge pile of apples! It’s the same with music, so I really see both sides. I see the same issue with these huge YouTube guitar players, the main rock guitarists of the world have always been the same, way before YouTube but now with this platform there are so many great guitarists are so visible. The great people have always been great but now with the internet you can see more than just the top layer of incredible players, you can now see the real depth to global talent when it comes to guitar playing.
There is still nobody to replace Hendrix or Scott Henderson, when I started listening to music, I had enough money to buy one record a month. When I bought that record I really dug into it and I knew every second of it, but now there is so much variety and so single driven you can never get to the true core of a record because there will always be a drive to push a popular single that could differ completely from the rest of the record.
Well the very beginning was a long time ago, I was 12 years old and I heard Status Quo for the first time. It was the mystery song that I got from my Mum, that was a magical moment for me and soon after that I got The Who Live at Leeds, after that I was completely transfixed! I had a teacher at school and he was very good at guitar and he sold a guitar to me for a few hundred marks and I was only in my room practicing guitar in front of the mirror and everything and a friend of mine wrote some chords on a piece of paper for me, that was all I had, and that was when everything started to come around to influence me, bands like AC/DC, The Scorpions then I went to Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and all the blues rock stuff.
When was the moment you realised you wanted to play guitar for a living?
Well that was a bit later after school, I was in my first job and I always told my boss “It doesn’t matter what I’m doing here because in the future I will be a musician!” I didn’t know at that point about the facts and reality of being a musician, I just wanted to be a musician at that time. Then I was 19 or 20, I had been in bands for a few years since 16 years old, they had been in a small city far away from where all the big bands would come and tour. Everyone was playing but nobody was really driving and pushing to be a professional musician. Then I got a call from a friend and he heard that RAGE is looking for a guitar player, he put my name onto a list, he called the band and said “I’ve got the guitar player for you, he can play like Jake E Lee!” Soon after I then got a call from the band asking me to go for a rehearsal session and they invited me to join the band. I went back home and couldn’t believe it, wow I thought, I am in RAGE! That was when everything started, they had a record contract and I was in!
How do fans in Germany differ to fans around the world?
Fans in Germany are very lucky, they get everything, all the bands come and play and the market is very packed, they can make a choice to see a band every night. That makes me feel that they’re not hungry enough these days. When we go to foreign countries like Greece or Spain, even South America, people are really hungry to see the gig because not so many bands tour there and you have to wait a very long time to see your big favourite band.
Why do you choose Laney?
My first experience of Laney was when I joined Gravedigger in 2001, I had the Laney GHL, I really liked the amp, at the time the leader of the band wanted a different amp for the band as he thought it was ‘right’ for the band at the time. I asked why because the Laney sounded great and really fitted the sound of the band, but he was the boss and I didn’t have a choice but to use something else. Then during the time I left that band I wanted to get that brutal Iommi style sound, I returned to my Laney and remembered how great it sounded, I then went on the search for more of that Iommi sound, I have always been interested to see what component gives such a heavy sound, is it the pickups, the strings, guitar etc, but I realised one key ingredient to such a heavy sound was the Laney amp. I tried a lot of different amps but I can feel what I am playing with the Laney. The Ironheart I simply plugged in and my sound was there, I didn’t have to search for it.
What is your signal path?
My set up is easy, I go from my LTD Viper, to my Wah-Wah and then to the amp. It is really that simple. The amp has so much to give and it works perfectly for the sound I need in REFUGE.
Most memorable gig?
Well I have played a lot of shows, but one of the more emotional ones we played was in Russia last year. We had never played there before, we first played in Moscow and I saw people in front of the stage, the first three rows had tears in their eyes. When I left the stage after the gig I was crying, I was shocked I thought “What was that?!”. That was really moving you know, I had a similar feeling when we played in Sau Paolo, Brazil it was incredible, really really amazing. The fans are crazy because they have to wait so long, when they eventually get to see the band they go wild!
What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Usually I always have my wah pedal with me, but my set up is so minimalistic, guitar, wah and amp so perhaps the guitar cable because without that I wouldn’t be heard at all! I used to have a huge effects rack and big pedal board and sometimes I would miss a cue to one part of a song, then one day I decided to remove anything I don’t use, slowly over a small period of time I got rid of everything except the wah pedal.
Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
I like to relax, I go on stage as I am dressed right now, as I turned up to this festival and how I will go home. It is honest and real, I don’t feel the need for gimmicks or illusions because if I am false to my fans then I am not being the purest form possible for them. I have a beer and move my fingers a little bit and that is it, show time!
When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my… NEVER! It is all about trial and error! Plug it in, see if you like the sound and mess with it from there.
What was the last album you bought or listened to?
The new album by In Flames, I really bought it and listened to it, I love it.
Any tips for aspiring musicians?
This is what I told my son, he is 20 years old… We have plenty of guitars at home on the walls and I said to my boys, if you like to play any guitar, pick it up and try it. If you have any questions just ask me. Do whatever you want with it, he came and asked me to show him some Avenged Sevenfold and In Flames, so I played him some, but he found so much from YouTube. I said to him, with a guitar in your hands, it’s good with the girls, then he came and asked me to show him more. So I showed him a power chord, he couldn’t believe you can play a whole song with just the power chord. I also said how important the right hand is, if you want to rock you need to take a lot of care for both hands, the one you’re strumming and the one you’re fretting with. Everyone who asks me when they’re a beginner for advice I say to have fun with the guitar, take it in your hand and feel good with it. Get a position you’re comfortable with but then look good with it!
You said about YouTube, do you think it helps or hinders the future of music?
I love it, I love the internet and Youtube and Spotify, I can listen to a lot of music and get ideas from lots of bands, but then on the other hand there are too many bands that think too business-minded and they just want to make money from it. The internet and YouTube is good and if people like it or not well we have to learn to live with it, we can not pull the plug and start from zero, it is here to stay. It’s cool because on Facebook I have met so many other fans of music that I love too, and when you meet them in person it feels like I have known this guy for such a long time, purely because we connected via the internet. Can you imagine that happening 20 years ago? Could you imagine the kid in a country that doesn’t have a metal scene not having the internet? He now has a connection with people from all over the world and I think that is really positive. It creates a feeling of community that I don’t think we would have on such a world wide scale without the internet.
I started to play guitar when I was 12 years old in school, I was taught on nylon guitar, I played for many years with my father in a band playing dance music, so I learnt to play and sing so that’s where it started.
Why is the Laney the best choice for you?
I play a lot of old music and styles like Beatles and Stones, The Who and with the Laney Lionheart you have THAT sound. But you can also put pedals in either the loop or in front of the amp and it sounds incredible. If I play a metal gig I can get that sound, it is such a great amp. The natural sound from the L50H, you can play all music. Channel 2 you can drive it harder on the gain and get a really nice sound.
When did you first come across Laney?
When I first started with an electric guitar, the very first amp was a Laney, I still have it, it’s an AOR Pro-Tube Lead. I would never sell this, it is very special to me. Then I played a GHL and I found my sound immediately.
What is your signal path?
I only use a few pedals, one pedal for the solo, that’s a BOSS Equalizer pedal, I use it a bit like a treble booster really, just to push through the sound when I play a solo.
What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without?
Delay. Oh I need my delay and nothing else with that amp.
When was the last time you read a user manual?
Oh my! I never do that! I have tried but I just learn by doing, trial and error is the only way to do things as a musician!
What was the last record you bought or listened to?
Rival Sons. Wow what a band. I saw them on the last Black Sabbath tour and they were incredible.
Do you think the internet is good or bad for music?
The students don’t use the internet in the right way. They learn parts that work but they pick up a lot of bad habits that only get worse with time. So as a teacher I have to go to them and show them techniques that make playing easier for them. They pick the wrong tutorials of songs and then learn the song incorrectly, now I know music is about feeling but sometimes learning correctly sets you up to feel better. Most students want to copy a guitar hero and are happy with that rather than look up to a guitarist but then find their own style and become their own player. Some are happy to be an exact replica of Angus Young or Tony Iommi, Slash etc, I say to them “These guys have been done, make your own sound!” Listen to the music, how does it make you feel? Express how you feel!
Any tips for aspiring musicians?
Listen to the old music from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, AC/DC etc etc, get your inspiration from them, learn about their styles then find your own. Create and never stop, always be open to all music. I find some young people get very guarded with the music they like, for example if a kid these days likes metal music he feels it is a sin to listen to jazz, but look at where the metal pioneers got their inspiration from, it comes from the blues, jazz and so many different styles of music.