I had no idea speakers had to be mounted
to a board so they could push air. It was
pretty ineffective, but when you’re a kid in
a basement in Akron, trying to perfect your
Pete Townshend windmills, it was fine.
What guitars are you using these days?
For the live shows, I’m using a ’ 59 Les Paul
reissue—a Gibson Custom Shop instrument
modeled after Mike Bloomfield’s guitar. For
the new album, I used a 1964 SG and a couple of my G&L SC-2s. The SC- 2 is probably
my favorite guitar. I was introduced to them
when we did the New Traditionalists album.
I did an interview then where I mentioned
buying a weird guitar called a G&L and how
much I liked the tremolo system because it
stayed in tune. The day after the interview hit
the newsstands, someone from G&L called
me and asked, “Hey, can we endorse you?”
Is there a G&L Bob1 Signature model we
don’t know about?
Uh, no. G&L gave me three or four of their
top-of-the-line guitars and then they sent
me the SC- 2, more of an entry-level student
guitar, which is what I stuck with.
What drew you to the SC- 2?
I love its [Magnetic Field Design] single-coil
pickups, which have a really springy sound
with great high end. The guitar itself is lightweight and plays really well. The tremolo has a
great feel and, as I mentioned, it stays in tune
better than any other I’ve tried. I can throw it
against the wall and it still plays great.
Besides the SG and SC-2s, did you use
any other guitars on the new album?
Yes, I played a Rickenbacker 330 of
unknown vintage that I bought from Doug
Fieger of the Knack, as well as a custom
guitar Ibanez made for me.
The blue one?
Is that a cloud or a spud?
It’s funny you should ask, because when we
were in Japan in 1979, Ibanez asked me to
endorse their guitars. I said, “Well, whad-dya got?” and they showed me a catalog. I
looked at them all and said, “Nah, no thanks.
I don’t like any of these.” Then they said,
“We’ll build you one.” So, very flippantly, I
took a Magic Marker to a Les Paul-shaped
guitar of theirs and drew scallops on it and
said “Here, cut it like a potato, paint it brown,
and put every possible type of electronics
in it.” Then, about six months later, the blue
guitar showed up. It was supposed to be a
potato, but it wound up as a Japanese artist’s
interpretation of what I had drawn—so it’s
somewhere between a potato and a cloud.
During the dark days of the mid ’80s, after
the band went on hiatus, I lost the Spud
guitar. Years later, my friend Vahe Vahe of