high school named Dan Maloney.
He was a luthier for Zeta Systems,
and he built my banjo bass and
one of my uprights. We’re going
to sell a handful of them. It’s
something I’ve wanted to do for
years. Carl is the super-genius,
the Stradivarius of bass makers,
but all his instruments are so
unique—they’re like pieces of
art—so it’s hard to get two that
sound the same. So I decided I
wanted to design exactly what I
wanted—the most comfortable,
user-friendly, easy-to-play bass I
possibly could. And the prototype
is what I’ve been playing for the
last year or so.
Tell us about it.
Claypool: It’s very simple—one
pickup, one Volume knob, one
EMG pickup. The ones I use
have the Kahler whammy bars on
them. The shape is very ergonomic. It’s very light, and it looks cool.
It looks like a cross between a
Carl Thompson, a Rickenbacker,
a P bass, and a Jazz bass—and it
kind of is.
Ler, has your rig changed much?
LaLonde: It actually changed
a lot for this album. I’ve always
used Marshalls for everything,
but I ended up using a Fender
Super-Sonic head through an
EVH cabinet. I was hanging
out at the Fender factory, and
they were like, “What are you
using for amps?” I’d been trying
a couple of different amp companies, and nothing was really
working—it’s Primus, so it can’t
sound too polished or hi-fidelity.
We noticed as soon as I got
the Super-Sonic that the guitar
sounded a lot clearer than with
Is it the 60-watt or the 100-
LaLonde: It’s the 60. I tried the
100-watt and I thought it was
amazing, but when I played it
with the band it was almost
You switched cabinets, too?
LaLonde: Yeah. I was playing the Super-Sonic through
my Marshall cabinet, and I
really liked how it sounded,
but they said, “Hey, would
you be interested in checking
out the Van Halen cabinet.”
I was, like, “I guess so.” And
then I tried it and I was like,
“Oh my god!” It sounded like
my old Marshall cabinet that I
can’t seem to find, which had
25-watt Celestions. I thought it
was going to be more of a new-school sound, but it reminded
me a lot of a vintage Marshall.
What else has changed in
LaLonde: I totally redid my
pedalboard. It’s been 12 years
since we recorded, and back then
if you wanted a vintage sound you
had to actually find vintage stuff
and try to keep it working. So
it was great to find all these new
pedals that have tap tempo for
everything. I took time to try a lot
of stuff, which I didn’t really have
time or patience for in the past.
What did you end up with?
LaLonde: I got that Fulltone
Ultimate Octave, which was a
huge score for me, because I really
didn’t use too many distortion
boxes before. I got three MXR
Carbon Copys, which are so cool
because they’ve got that old-school
analog thing, where you can grab
the knobs and make spaceship
sounds. Over the years of having digital delays, I kind of got
away from that. I’ve got a Way
Huge Swollen Pickle and Ring