What was the philosophy for the guitars on Metamorphosis?
We’ve done records in the past where we would
throw up a bunch of guitar tracks. We would take two
or three different amps, get a sound, bounce those down
to one track, and then do that over and over—like four
or five times. That makes a huge wall of guitar sound,
but it’s not really necessary. This time, we wanted space
and attack to the guitar sound, and we wanted to have
some kind of clarity to the distortion. You can get a
really powerful sound with one or two tracks. That’s
how they did it in the old days, and that’s all you need,
really. We wanted to concentrate more on writing good
riffs and playing them well.
Our bass player Tobin wrote that riff. He
plays guitar, too, and he writes a lot. He likes
that kind of odd, chromatic, and sometimes
dissonant stuff. Jacoby [Shaddix, singer] and
I heard him playing that in the bus and we
said, “Wow! Record that.” So he threw it on
Garage Band. If any of us hears something
we like, we try to make the other guy record
it. I was playing something kind of cool the
other day, but I didn’t record it and now I
don’t remember it.
We’ll do one pass all the way through and
then in the choruses we’ll overdub another
guitar. For that song I played a ’67 Les Paul
though a modded Marshall JCM800, with a
25-watt greenback cab.
It’s funny you ask that because we had
our old front of house guy on tour with us
and he asked me, “What effect do you have
on that?” I told him there’s no effect. I’m
using some pinch harmonics. I put just
enough of them in there so it seems like
there’s a delay or something on the tone,
but there’s not.
Oh yeah. When we moved into the house
where we wrote this record, Tobin said we
should go see a movie. I said “What? We’re
here to write the record. Why would we stop
working to go watch a movie?” He said it
was okay because it was the U2 3-D movie.
He thought it might inspire us. We went to
see it and we did get inspired. We wrote “Had
Enough” and “March Out of the Darkness”
after that, so absolutely that was an influence.
Mick Mars played that solo. While we
were in the studio, we knew that we were
going on Crue Fest, and that song has this
pentatonic bluesy structure and we thought,
“Why don’t we get Mick Mars? That’s what
he does.” We called him and he said yes.
When we were on the road with Motley Crue
in Tampa, we popped into a studio and he
did it. He didn’t use an amp, he used Eleven,
the Digidesign plug-in. He did a bunch of
passes and we picked the best sections and
put it all together.
For the main heavy stuff, we used the Les
Paul and the JCM800. We also had an old
Tele, but that thing wouldn’t stay in tune.
Actually, the Les Paul wouldn’t really stay
in tune either. Marc LaCorte from Schecter
lent me his USA-made Schecter PT model
and we used that quite a bit. We also had a
couple of my Schecter Tempest guitars and
a ’69 or ’70 Gibson SG Custom with three
I use a Marshall JMP-1 preamp and EL34
100/100 power amp. For my heavy tone, I
use the OD 1 setting on the JMP-1 with the
gain and volume all the way up. I really like
that preamp for live work, because we have
so many sounds and I don’t like to tap dance.
It’s just one button per sound. I run the EL34
power amp to a Marshall cab with Vintage
30s, and I have a Marshall Valvestate 120
power amp that goes to a cab with 75-watt
Celestions. I also use a Vox AC30 that goes
to a Palmer D.I. box. The Vox is on all the
time, set to a semi-clean tone, to give the
overall sound some punch. Our sound guy
can mix the Vox in as he sees fit. When it
comes to clean tones, I like a full sound, so
I usually have the guitar in the middle position.
I tried using the Vox, but the way I set
it, the clean sound isn’t right, so I use the
Marshall preamp—that thing sounds great
clean. I play Schecter Tempest Customs, and
I have a new signature series coming out
later this year, based on Schecter’s Solo 6.
Metallica. That was the start of it. Then
I got more into metal like Megadeth, Slayer,
Sepultura, then industrial and death metal.
I think that probably came from the Beatles.
They were the main influence on that.
We like the sound and the structure of the
pop song. We like melody, and we’re exploring
dynamics too. I started playing guitar
because of those heavy bands but then kind
of moved on.
Apart from Mick Mars, we did a tour in
Australia with the Chili Peppers and John
Frusciante is sort of otherworldly. He plays
with such feel and he really makes his guitar
sing. He approaches it in a way that’s
different from anybody else.
There are genres that come in and out
and there are a few bands from each that
stick. We ended up being one of them. We
did have that hip-hop influence, but we’ve
always been evolving, since before we got
signed. So, it was natural for us to move on
to something else. We definitely wanted to
be a career band, and we knew that if we
were going to stick around, we had to change.
It was a risk, and some people in the industry
viewed our second record as a failure
because it didn’t sell the three million that
Infest did, but it was a step we had to take.
In the long run it paid off because we’re still
here. We’ve lost some fans but gained some
too. We make music that makes us happy
and if you like it, great. If not, that’s cool
I don’t know that you have to do anything.
As long as there are bands that have
great riffs, kids are gonna just keep picking
it up. It’s the most popular instrument in
the world. I don’t see that diminishing.
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