hitting mainstream success with Rage
Against the Machine in the early-nine-ties—what pushed you in the direction of
being such an effects master?
Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not really
using different effects on every album or
each tour, but the case is that I’ve used the
same pedalboard and effects—which aren’t
that many—since the start of RATM. I use
the same Marshall JCM 800 2205 50-watt
head, which goes through a Peavey 4x12
cabinet that I’ve had for almost 20 years.
As it goes for effects, I primarily only use
four pedals: my Digi Tech Whammy WH-
1, Jim Dunlop Crybaby Wah, Boss DD- 2
Digital Delay and DOD Electronics FX40B
boost for solos. That’s basically it, which
is far fewer effects than most guitarists.
However, I’m always trying to find creative
and new ways to use these same pedals.
Photo: Charlyn Cameron
What pushed me into that direction of
playing style was the fact that there was a
point that I practiced playing guitar eight
hours a day, every day and amassed a pretty solid technique on the instrument. But,
I sounded like every other guitar player
that could play shredding solos. There was
one particular gig early on with RATM that
sticks out in my mind. We were opening
up for two cover bands at a college out in
the San Fernando Valley and the one band
had two guitarists and the other only had
one. All three of these guys were amazing, shred-fest musicians and I thought,
“If there are three shred guitarists on this
shitty college campus stage, there doesn’t
need to be a fourth.” I knew I had to find
my own voice on the instrument. That is
when it dawned on me that the guitar players that I loved like Page, Holdsworth and
Andy Gill of Gang of Four, all had their
own unique voice on the guitar. I realized
at that show that I wasn’t just going to be
the guitarist of Rage, but the DJ.