Saturday, April 16, 2016

World Wide Woozle #398

Sorry everyone....first up is a potentially boring guitar gear story. Feel free to skip it and go to the music.

In the early 90s I played in my first band here in Canberra. We were called "Mr Walker" and to be frank, it was more fun that almost anything. We played fairly standard bar room rock and roll and had a blast doing it. Looking back now on what we achieved with limited and basic equipment just reminds me that it was all about the music. At the time I read guitar magazines cover to cover as well as repeatedly! They weren't cheap either so you had to make the most of them. Of course, it was the advertising as much as anything else that kept us interested. I was playing my original red Stratocaster copy at the time through a very heavy solid state Crate 160 watt amp. Getting a decent rock and roll sound was a challenge and for a long time I was lucky to have the use of a relatively old Boss overdrive pedal. Then one day I saw a pedal made by British amplifier company Marshall in a guitar shop. It was a no brainer to buy it. I couldn't afford an amplifier with my name on it but the pedal was within my grasp. I didn't like it much sadly and after struggling with it for a few months I sold it for a song. Those pedals in good condition are now pretty expensive and sought after. They also came to prominence as Gary Moore famously used one on his "Still Got The Blues" album (it's pictured clearly on the cover). I got to thinking about the pedal and why I didn't like it at the time. The answer is clear...solid state amplifiers sound a certain way and valve (or tube) amps sound another. Most rock guitarists favour the more organic sound of an overdriven valve too. I've been playing valve amps for years. It's very common to use an overdrive or distortion pedal to push the amp a little harder to make it sing. That's what the Marshall Guv'nor pedal does best. So a few years ago I started looking around for one at a good price. Impossible. Even old crappy, beaten up ones that may or may not work were going for over $250. Finally, last week, one popped up on an internet forum for a good price. I jumped on it and it's now here....later on today I'll find out how it sounds pushing my tube amplifiers...fingers crossed. And by the way; I had two holy grails of pedals on my list and I've managed to get them both for less than the price that many people are selling one for. Now I can move on to Telecasters! Ha ha!

Gary Moore - Oh Pretty Woman (live 1990) -

DJ Al-eeSun and I were chilling in front of the TV last night when this next song was used in the show we were watching. I haven't played it for a while but it's got that hit quality of being instantly recognisable. The lyrics are fantastic as well.

First Aid Kit - Emmylou (live 2015) -

Angus is 18 next week. Where did that time go? 

Chris Cheyney - Birthday (live Beatles cover) -

And for those of you unaware of who Chris Cheyney is well here he is with his regular band The Living End. He's a fantastic rockabilly and punk guitarist and writes songs with a killer hook.

The Living End - All Torn Down (live) -

I noticed that there's a big Pink Floyd show coming to the Canberra Theatre in June. Given that there's no chance of ever seeing the real thing in the flesh I think that this show may warrant further investigation. Depending on some reviews I could be tempted to go. It's billed as "Pulse" which is one of Floyd's live albums...

Pink Floyd - Learning To Fly (live 1994) -

This week I've been listening to The Screaming Jets 1992 album Tear of Thought. There are 16 tracks on it and not a dud in there. It's the band's second album and whilst maybe not quite as raw as their first it's proof that playing lots and lots of shows has the potential to make a band grow musically. I'll finish off this week with a few choice cuts from it...

The Screaming Jets - Dream On -

The Screaming Jets - Think -

The Screaming Jets - Hard Drugs -

I've got 10 days to get my Midnight Oil guitar parts all sorted out. I'd say I'm at about 85% at the moment so a few more hours in the garage making a racket should sort it out. There's a lot worse ways to spend your time than playing music.

Def Leppard - Let's Get Rocked -

Oh look...the sun has just come out. And there I was thinking that I'd have to ride on wet roads today. It seems not. Goodbye.


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