Page Hamilton, Warped Tour 2006, Denver CO
Photo: Scott D. Smith / Retna Ltd.
are responsible for the versatility, and then see
if we’ve retained it. If we have, let’s throw it out
there and see if anybody recognizes that.”
The idea was to take your mind off of the
switches and buttons and all that stuff. You
just play, and then you realize, “Oh, wait
a minute, I’m playing this amp that I never
thought could do these sounds, and without
all the features I thought I needed.” And
that creates a moment of an awakening to
a particular segment of the guitar-playing
world that thought we were just a metal amp,
or that we were just about whatever kind of
sound or artist was associated with it.
It seems very much like an artist’s
approach to problem solving: put all the
things you need to know in your mind and
then just wait, let it cook.
Yeah, the needed component finds its way to
the top, if given the opportunity.
amp, and the artistic approach of letting the
missing piece find its way into the pattern?
That’s a really good question. If I knew, I probably could answer it. I would say that whatever
you call balance is the product of the time and
place you’re in—just like music is… and the
gear that you use to get a sound is simply the
approach that you used at that time. In the real
world, players often find themselves not using
the gear they thought they needed to accomplish what they set out to do. I do the same
thing working out ideas as I would for playing
music—try to stay in receive mode.
It also sounds like you’re clear about
approaching the whole thing as a journey,
just kind of going for the ride. Lots of
people sell themselves on the idea that
there’s one path, and that they shouldn’t
take any detours or follow anything that
interests them, but it seems like you really
respect the different places your own
obsessions have taken you.
It’s hard to explain, but you have to really
look at that and think, “There’s something
going on here that is organic.” But not
organic in the sense of the word when
people say, “That’s a really organic-sounding
amp.” That word can mean a lot of different
things to different people. The organic I latch
on when you use the word is the synergy
between the player and their gear that happens as you warm up to it and get into it. It’s
not about what circuit board, or a particular
capacitor, or that sort of thing. It’s that there’s
something in there that wakes up.
Is that balance something you’ve always
been able to strike—between the engineer-
ing and the “know-how” of building the
It’s very much a ride. The detour, by the way is
often the most interesting and revealing path.
Closing the door and saying, “Okay, the ride’s
Are there particular amps that are a product
of that kind of happenstance—that came out
of a situation like that, where something just
developed, or turned into Ysomething else?
There’s a couple, actually. One was the
Deliverance. Someone hereM Ysaid they thought
our sound was too sophisticated to cop something like the guitar sound on Anarchy in the
UK. So I took a couple of minutes and set up, I
think the CLX, to sound likeK, or more correctly
put across the attitude of that guitar sound.
From there, we started exploring how we felt
that there was something some people weren’t
“getting” about our amplifiers—that their
versatility is not a function exclusively of the
feature set. How do we make that apparent?
How do we put something into the hands of a
player that illustrates the versatility absent all
the features? The obvious answer was, “Let’s
just yank out all the features that people think