TESTED BY BARRY CLEVELAND While visiting the Peavey booth at the 2003 Summer NAMM show, I found Peavey senior engineer James Brown squatting in front of several small amps, playing some hot country licks. The sound was so big, and the distortion so sweet, that at first, I assumed he was playing through a 1x12 combo. On second glance, I realized he was plugged into a tiny practice amp sitting next to the combo. When he saw me, he said, “Oh no, just my luck—a Guitar Player guy shows up while I’m testing a secret new amp.” Intrigued, I pressed him for details, and reluctantly, Brown disclosed the amp was a prototype for a model that wouldn’t go into production for many months. Noting my keen interest, he promised to keep me posted, and when the “secret” Peavey Backstage amp arrived last November, I was eager to see if it would measure up to my memories. New & Improved! The Backstage is the latest addition to a series of solid-state practice amps that Peavey introduced in the late ’70s.
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