As the son of a world war II veteran, I have a fondness for those who serve their country, and that soldier’s sense of duty is what inspired my recent album, Band of Brothers [Cleopatra]. The tracks were expressly tailored for each guest guitarist, and I felt the instrumental “Lock & Loaded” was perfect for Gary Hoey’s aggressive playing and guitar tone. Basics were recorded to an Otari MTR-90 for that fat, two-inch tape saturation, and then transferred to an Otari RADAR II digital multitrack for mixing and editing.
For the overdriven rhythm guitars, I used a 1997 Gibson Les Paul Custom and a 2014 Floyd Rose OT-3, both with their low-E strings detuned to D for a full, ominous tone. I used the Floyd Rose guitar and a Marshall plexi and Marshall 4x12 cab to track the first rhythm part live with drummer Reggie Pryor and bassist Rick Mullen, and then I overdubbed the same part using the Les Paul and an EVH 5150III into Carvin Legacy 4x12 cab. Each pass was miked with a Royer R-101 ribbon mic positioned off-axis, and six inches away from the speaker cone, and then into a BAE 1073 preamp. The two parts were panned hard left and right. The two clean-rhythm tracks were also panned hard left and right to produce a landscape of beautiful crystalline tones. A Gibson ES-335 through a Mesa/Boogie Mark IIB was miked two inches from the center of the speaker cone with a sE RT1 tube-ribbon mic, and a Fender Custom Shop Strat and Fender Super Reverb was captured with a Beyerdynamics M 160 ribbon mic. I added a Dunlop Uni-Vibe UV-1 on these parts to provide a sense of motion.
For the main melodies and harmonies, I used a Framptone Amp Switcher to play through two amps simultaneously with my Les Paul Custom. Amp 1 was the Mark IIB miked with the RT1, and amp 2 was a Fender Pro Sonic head/Marshall 4x12 recorded with the M 160. The amps were panned at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the stereo spectrum. I added a Dunlop HT1 Heil Talk Box for the intro and B section. The solos were played with my ’74 Les Paul Deluxe through the Mark IIB, and miked with the RT1.
I left a large section in the middle for Gary to improvise over, as well as a section at the end for us to trade solos. He used his ’97 Fender Big Apple Strat, an EVH 5150III head and EVH 4x12 cabinet, and an Ibanez TS9 for a bit more edge, sustain, and harmonics. One of the cabinet’s Celestion Vintage 30 speakers was miked off-axis using a Shure SM57, and routed into an Avalon VT-737 mic preamp. As the solo is pretty long, Gary built intensity by viewing each eight bars as a chance to say something new.