wired the front and rear pickups out of phase
like a wah. It was a mistake, but a good one.
What other instruments are you
using right now?
I have a Stratocaster that I use once in a
while, and I still play ES-355s but only in the
studio, not live. I also use an older SG Special
with P-90s for slide—I believe it’s a ’ 75. I have
about thirty guitars total.
Back in the 60’s, did you have freedom to
create your own guitar parts with The Doors,
or were you taking direction from anyone?
I was free to create parts on my own, but once
in a while Jim would tell me what to play. There
were four different versions of “Roadhouse
Blues,” all with different guitar parts.
Lonnie Mack played bass on that track,
didn’t he? How did that come together?
Lonnie had quit the music business and was
actually working for Elektra Records doing
something. I know he sold Bibles for a while
too. He was around the studio when we were
getting ready to record “Roadhouse Blues,”
so we asked him to play bass. He did a great
job, and got back into music after that.
The Doors always used bass players in the
studio, didn’t they?
I’ve heard you bought a sunburst 1960 Les
Paul years ago, too.
Years ago, I had a chance to buy the prettiest ’burst I ever saw—great flame top, lightweight—but I turned it down because the
guy wanted $3000… back in the ‘70s! I wasn’t
going to pay $3000 for a guitar. I should
have bought it, though. So when the Burst
Brothers had this Les Paul at Guitar Center
in LA, a friend of mine saw it and called me.
I bought it, but it isn’t as pretty as the one I
turned down. But it’s still a great guitar.
What do you like about that guitar?
My ’burst is very light. I don’t like heavy guitars, and the neck on mine is slimmer than
the ’59s—which generally had necks like telephone poles. I think Gibson made the best
necks in 1960 and ’ 61. I never take that guitar
on the road, for obvious reasons.
What’s your current amp rig?
My rigs have changed quite a bit over the
years. The first amp I used with the Doors
was a Magnatone with two 12" speakers.
Then we got a deal with Acoustic, and I used
their 260 model for a while. Ray was using
one of their amps, too, but we both grew
disenchanted with them after awhile. Then I
started using a couple of Twin Reverbs that
were rebuilt with JBL speakers in them by my
friend, Vince Traenor, a crazy genius who also
works on pipe organs. He likes to sneak into
cathedrals and play the pipe organs. My current rig is two Fender Hot Rod DeVilles, with
either 2x12 or 4x10 speaker cabs.
What’s on your pedalboard right now?
I use a Boss ME- 10 multi-effect unit, which
they don’t make anymore, and I use the gain
channel on the amps too. That’s my basic rig.
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