I want to give a big shout out to D'Addario Strings. I've been with them since the very beginning. Through thick and thin, they've provided me with a very consistent, high quality sound, and have given me the space to try new products and approaches.
Thanks to Roy Abbate at Battery Plus in Mount Laurel NJ for making me the custom made, Battery Farm. It provides the ultimate in 9 Volt power. It'll be on my board when I play in the Netherlands next month with Eljuri.
Thank you to InTune Guitar Picks. I am very happy to endorse these great picks from a great company. All of their stuff is custom made. I am able to select the precise materials, artwork, gauge and style. This is a boutique US operation run by actual people you can count on. My days of using generic picks are over!
BASS STUFF: .... skip down below for drum stuff
This is a fun one, and very challenging! There's a lot of background vocal singing in addition to bass playing. The entire production travels to each show. At the moment I'm running my blue P-Bass with flatwounds through an SVT Classic head and 4x10 cabinet. The vocals are via a headset, so I can move around and dance a lot. No pedals, not even a tuner, all wireless. More to come...
Live I usually grab my white Soul Asylum P-Bass. Most of the gigs are fly dates and overseas, so I'll use whatever bass amp and cabinet they've got, and bring a Darkglass Microtubes 500 bass head just in case. It's very small, light, fits in my carry on luggage, and has PLENTY of power and tone shaping ability. On my pedalboard is my new custom Z-Vex Super Hard On for the song, "Feed You", a small TC Electronic tuner, and a Source Audio C4 Synth pedal. For the acoustic portion of the show, I'm rocking my 4 string Cordoba guitar.
TINA THE BROADWAY MUSICAL
This was a fairly crazy setup. I had to play on AND offstage. For the onstage parts representing Ike & Tina in the 50's and 60's, I played a white, maple neck wireless Fender '51 reissue with flatwounds, and a complete overhaul by Matt at 30th Street Guitars. He put in a custom pickup, new pots, wires, and a jack.Strings are of course, D'Addario Chromes. Sounds amazing. For Ike & Tina in the 70's, and Tina in the 80's, my 90's era Fender Jazz, wireless, also heavily modded by Matt with a custom, "Steve Count" tone curcuit. It has mother of pearl dots, so it sort of looks like a '61. Strung with D'Addario XL 170's. For the wired basses, a brand new Sadowsky Metro 5 string bass (D'Addario Pro Steels), custom made for the show, a 2019 Fender American 5 string Jazz, and my trusty black ROA P-Bass, now a Tina bass. The Fenders are all passive, and the Sadowsky is active. Pedals and effects....Once again, I'm using a Z-Vex Super Duper 2 in 1, and a custom Z-Vex Super Hard On to control the various gain levels between the wired instruments. A Boss Waza TU-3W tuner does the trick for all the wired basses, and various clip on tuners for the wireless.
It's been a minute since I've played with these guys, but the set up for this is bulletproof. A P-bass, a cord, an amp. Maybe a distortion box every now and again for a little extra grit? If I need some more fuzz I'll step on a Z-Vex Super Duper 2 in 1. The songs come so fast and furious that tuning is a luxury! Since many of the gigs are outdoors, (in subzero weather, and snow(!) only the strongest gear can make the cut. For speakers, a 40th Anniversary SVT 8x10 cabinet. These are the ones with just speakers, no horns, thank you. Amps, a pair of 70's era Gibson Lab Series L2's named "Isabella" and "Ferdinand". The signal is a combination of a Radial JDI Passive Direct Box, and a Sennheiser 421 miking up the cabinet. Before hitting the road, these amps get a clean bill of health from Twin Cities amp guru Casey Gooby. For basses, a pair of mid 90's P-basses. Nothing fancy, stock everything. They're exactly the same except one is white with a black pickguard and the other black on black. They get set up by either Matt at 30th Street Guitars in NYC, or Eric Collier at Russo Music in Asbury Park NJ . My pedalboard is by Justin Sharbono who makes his own boards. He's pickier about pedalboard design than even the pros who do it for a living. Everything gets played with a pick, a heavy, courtesy of InTune Picks.
DEMOLITION STRING BAND
My blue P-bass, strung with flatwounds, a cord, into my Bassman TV 15. When we play at Skinny Dennis in Williamsburg NYC, I'm happy to plug into their Fender Rumble 200. If it's another place, I'll bring my own Fender Rumble 500. Yes, beyond the bump in wattage, there is a difference between these two models. E-mail me if you want to talk about it. When I want to tune, I slap a clip on tuner onto the headstock. This straight wire approach yields the best country western tone that this cool band requires. The blue P-bass has a quieter output than some of the other basses I have, so it's super clean and sweet. For upright stuff, my bass fitted with a Krivo magnetic pickup.
BILLY HECTOR (bass)
I switch between a few setups: For small rooms, a Fender Rumble 500 combo amp. Medium size rooms get a Fender Bassman TV 15 combo amp. I'll throw an effects pedal into the mix now and then to liven things up a bit. For festivals and BIG rooms a Gallien-Krueger 1001RB bass head and a custom 4x10 cabinet made by Raymond Halgren. I swear this is one of the best sounding speakers I've ever heard. Completely handmade to the specs I've always wanted to see in a cabinet. For upright stuff, my upright gets amplified with either a David Gage Realist pickup if it's quiet, a Krivo magnetic if it gets louder, or some combination of the two. The upright signal gets fed into a Fishman Platinum Series Preamp.
ROCK OF AGES THE BROADWAY & OFF BROADWAY MUSICAL
I'd like to give a shout out to all the guys in the audio department who made it sound great, and made my job easy: Front-Of-House engineer Bob Etter, (now retired, congratulations!) Monitor Mixer Rob Lindsay, and Sound Designer Peter Hylenski. I used my trusty black P-Bass, and a 5-string Fender P-Bass as well. The signal path was: tuner, Boss chorus pedal, Avalon DI and then off to the monitor desk into a Neve 4081 Quad mic pre and split, one way to in-ear monitors, the other to front of house. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Rock Of Ages closed Off-Broadway, but I'm sure it will return again soon. And look for the Broadway's Rock Of Ages Band at a state fair, or corporate event near you this summer and fall.
My Nena setup was pretty simple too. My '62 P-Bass, and a late model 5 string P-Bass (yes, Fender makes a 5 string P-Bass) into a pair of Ampeg SVT-7Pro's into 2 Ampeg 4x10 cabs. The upright bass was run direct for the song "Wunder" All that gear lives year round in Germany.
BILLY HECTOR (drums)
With Billy Hector, I use a Yamaha Power Special kit, 12" rack, 16" floor, and 22" kick, 14x6.5" Gretsch metal snare. For Cymbals, Paiste 2002 18" medium crash, 20" or 24" medium ride, and 15" Sound Edge hats. Yamaha hardware and hi-hat pedal, Vic Firth sticks, and Rhythm Tech percussion. I'm trying out theSonor Jo Jo Mayer bass drum pedal at the moment, and kinda liking it. Thanks to Rocky Bryant for turning me onto this. I made the switch to Evans drumheads and I'm very happy with that choice.
At Livewire Studios (Van Romaine's place) recording rhythm tracks for a new rock and roll project.
At Lakehouse Studios in Asbury New Jersey producing tracks for October Man.
At Bass Hit Studios in NYC recording bass and vocals for the new Laurie Berkner record.
At The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck tracking the Eljuri album, "Reflexion". I had a chance to bring everything, and the kitchen sink for this one. A nice week of basic tracks, and then I returned to do background vocals and a couple of overdubs.
At my place, Leisuretowne Studios in New Jersey. I did bass and vocal overdubs on the latest Soul Asylum record, "Hurry Up And Wait".
Bass overdubs and background vocal tracking for the Soul Asylum record, "Change Of Fortune". The basic tracks were recorded at Waterbury Studios Minneapolis MN, The band cut live with producer John Fields behind the board. I found a nice Edison NJ era Ampeg B-15 buried in a road case in the band's rehearsal space, so it got drafted into service.
I played drums on a track for the new Oklahoma record. Produced by Justin Sharborno, recorded at Leisuretowne Studios NJ.
I played drums and percussion for the Kara Laudon's Christmas song, "A Holly Jolly Christmas", produced by Justin Sharbono recorded at Leisuretowne Studios NJ.
If you have any questions about any of the devices that I use, just