Outside the society… (Patti Smith)

I play in a coverband! I don’t say we are good at playing but we have fun and for some strange reason the local youngsters like it. Over time we have built a repertoire of sixties-, seventies- and even millennial songs. Being in a band with friends is great. It doesn’t matter what level of technicality you have or how virtuoso you are at your instrument. Most important is you can participate in a creative process with other people and experience the joy. Music connects people and playing in a band is great fun. It is why I stimulate young people to be musically creative in any style or at any level.

We now live in Youtube era and inevitable some of our gigs or part of them end up on the social network. Often shot with a phone camera and in crappy quality. I don’t mind. For me they are a library of memories, for some they are a pain in the ears. Our gig flicks rarely get views and thus more rare are the comments. But… I was surprised with one (only) comment. Not offended, not angry, …just surprised:

“Old white people singing a song with the N-word!” One of the songs on our playlist is Rock’n’Roll Nigger from the Patti Smith Group. A song from 1978. The female viewer was obviously “stunned” we had our go on a song with the repetition of a racial epithet. The vid did not even have 50 views and the first comment was an accusation of being an “old white man”? Well… that is how I understood as english is not my native tongue.

First of all you can’t say Patti Smith is an “old white”. I think (and certainly in 1978) she was more on the left side of the political spectrum, rebelling against the “old white (male)” dominance. If Patti Smith is a racist then I must be Big Bird from Sesame Street. Secondly, …didn’t she notice our singer is female and rather young (20)? Also one of the guitarists just turned 24, is that old nowadays? I got a feeling this commenting lady did not even see the clip. I am open for all critique: crappy movie, lousy song, poor quality, bad musicians,… all these things are fine by me. But posting your prejudice comment without knowledge is plain stupid. Probably Mrs K is just a grumpy old women, … my idea.

GMP Guitars – Roxie

Wow, what do we have here? A custom made guitar from the GMP luthiers in San Dimas, California. In the early nineties they built a guitar for Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper band) and thus introduced the Roxie line of guitars.

In 2010 GMP celebrated their 20th anniversary and the Roxie guitars were still their benchmark guitars. Behold the 2010 Ryan Roxie Standard in green metal flake with the “Ghost Skull” graphic. Nothing standard about this guitar. It has some unusual features.

First of all this guitar is heavy! A solid poplar/maple body, no chambering or weight relief. If you suffer back pain, don’t play this one. Eat your wheaties if you want to chop with this axe. The neck is quarter sawn mahogany with a maple fretboard. Body, neck and headstock have a silver metal flake binding. This guitar looks stunning. All green flake with a cool skull graphic. The fingerboard sports 6100-frets and big diamond green flake inlays.

The scale length is 25,5 “. A set neck, the upper frets are easy to reach due to the contoured neck heel. The headstock has an abalone inlay and is equipped with Sperzel locking tuners. The Roxie features a Graphtec nut and a TonePro bridge with stopbar tailpiece.

Monster tones come from the Rocket Guitar Pickups. An “Old School Classic” in the neck position and a “Satellite” pup in the bridge. Rockets are amazing guitar pickups handmade by Willy Houston.

This instrument comes wit a G&G custom case in green and black tolex. COA and case candy included. There is nothing standard about this Roxie Standard. Luckily I have the perfect amp to match: The Diamond “Phantom” (also part of Ryan Roxie’s rig). The amp will be reviewed in another article and I shall include a vid with this Roxie Standard.


GMP Roxie Standard – Green Metal Flake Skull: €3250,- Diamond Phantom – 100W class A amp head: €2200,-

Loud and proud!

Here at Château PGC we all have a bad case of tinnitus, caused by loud amps. Two of my favourites are the Marshall Jubilee 2555 and the Orange 40th anniversary custom shop.

In 2008, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Orange Amps, they issued a limited run of 40 handwired guitar amps. Each amp had a different voicing. 30 watts of class A tube power switchable to 50 watts in class AB. Every one of the 40 heads was identified by a girls name instead of a serial number. These heads were simple as can be: presence-; bass-; mid-: treble controls and a volume knob. Hi- and low inputs with no effects loop. With a hidden selector the amp could be switched to 110 – 230 volts. The amps are not to be confused with the limited run of 400 OR50 amps produced in 2008.

I could lay my hands on two of these heads (5 percent of the total production): “Angie” – how Rock’n’Roll is that – and “Sally”. You need to turn the volume way up before it starts breaking up. I use these monsters of noise as a pedal platform. They take pedals very well. One channel simplicity.

My other go-to amps are two Marshall Jubilees. A silver jubilee from 1987 and an original jubilee from 1989 with the regular black tolex. The same amp was reissued in 1996 as the “Slash” signature. The Jubilee is a JCM800 on steroids. No need for pedals on these, … and the luxury of a master volume. But who wants to play a Marshall on low volume? Switchable from 100 to 50 watts. The clean channel has a clipping mode for crunchy rhythm play. The lead has a separate volume to control this beast.

For those about to get deaf, we salute you!

1961 Gibson ES-335 Warren Haynes Signature

I found this guitar on a shelf, I almost forgot about . The ES-335 is an exact replica of the 1961 model Warren Haynes used with the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and Gov’t Mule. Built in 2013 by Gibson Memphis and recreated into every detail. It has the period correct Mickey Mouse cutaways and a 60’s rounded neck. The laminated top and back show a nice “Cathedral” pattern and the pickups are Burstbuckers 1 & 2. This is number 38 from a limited run of 500. I never saw the on the Gibson website, … so here it is for you to enjoy!

Gibson ES-335 Warren Haynes Signature
Gibson ES-335 Warren Haynes Signature