The Mother Truckers Josh Zee on Coexisting with Soundmen

Mother Truckers guitarist Josh Zee is in fine form on his band’s latest release, Van Tour [Teal Zee], with huge chops, infectious hooks, and a great sense of humor.
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Mother Truckers guitarist Josh Zee is in fine form on his band’s latest release, Van Tour [Teal Zee], with huge chops, infectious hooks, and a great sense of humor. His blazing solos, which sound a little bit like a bar fight between Danny Gatton and Eddie Van Halen, are all characterized by Zee’s big, clear tone—a tone, he explains, that can only happen one way. —Matt Blackett

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“I play through a blackface Fender Super Reverb and a late ’70s Marshall JMP, both running at the same time. The two make for a great tonal spectrum because the Marshall has the low punch and the Fender has the great mids and highs. But for me to do what I need to do, both amps have to be at a certain volume. I use a 1x12 Fender cab for the Marshall, and that speaker cuts the Marshall’s volume way down, but sound guys are always barking at me to play quieter. They say, ‘If you turn down, I’ll put more of your guitar in the monitors.’ I tell them, ‘If I turn down, I won’t want to hear myself in the monitors!’ The tubes in those amps just have to be driven, and that only happens with volume, although my Marshall is at about 6 and my Fender is only at 3 or so. I’ll sometimes ask the soundman to think about a stunt driver who does all the crazy, high-speed tire-screeching twists and turns and driving on two wheels. Try telling the stunt man, ‘That’s great, but we need you to do all that same stuff, only driving really, really slow.’”

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Van Tour

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