One of the best and most interesting guitarists on the New York scene (which means anywhere), Brandon Seabrook combines elements of metal, jazz, punk, noise, and free improv into a guitar style uniquely his own. He also plays banjo in a way that might put all those jokes to rest. He has an amazing new record out with Mike Watt and percussionist, Mike Pride, Stove Top [Rare Noise], under the band name Three Layer Cake. Recorded remotely, it nevertheless sounds interactive and cohesive enough to be mistaken for live, save for the terrific textures and additional instruments they overdubbed. We talk about all of the above, the joys of the ZT amps, and more.
I have been using ZT amps for well over a decade. When I was living in Manhattan, their Lunchbox was a godsend, allowing me to take the subway to gigs, avoiding traffic and parking issues. Now in Nashville, I still use the Lunchbox for living room rehearsals with a country band (Including drums). I have also done a couple of house concerts using two Lunchbox amps as a stereo PA for my “guitar-through-laptop-ambient-excursions.” So, I was excited to try out the new Lee Ranaldo Club.
Over five years of artist interviews in Guitar Moderne, it has become evident that a large number of modern guitarists are steeped in, or at least fans of, roots music like traditional blues, country, and/or gospel. Kentucky born, Sacramento raised Ross Hammond continues the trend. His journey begins in the blues, traverses jazz and free improv, and has come full circle to a personal style of acoustic instrumental work that often employs the steel-bodied resonator guitar favored by the likes of Bukka White, Son House, and Tampa Red. His record, Follow Your Heart sets his acoustic outpourings in a church, for some sonically beautiful and soulful music.
Guitar amplifiers have been largely resistant to major innovation; the classic tube designs from the middle of the last century remain the most popular. Manufacturers have flirted with solid state, and digital modeling amps have made greater inroads than one might have imagined, but few amp designers pushed the envelope—then came ZT.
The 2013 Winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show had the most palpable excitement of any NAMM in the last five years. Whether from the rising economy, or because with the death of record sales, musicians need more instruments to play live, who can say? The bottom line is: this show was alive with fantastic new technology, much of it of special interest to the modern guitarist. There was way more than I can cover alone, but these were the products I found most interesting. Read on for words, pix, and vids of this year’s extravaganza. Keep in mind that NAMM unofficially stands for Not Available Maybe March (or May), so check the company sites for shipping dates.
Oz Noy in the Seymour Duncan booth, with Steve Ferrone and Darryl Jones. Poor kid can’t muster up a decent rhythm section.