Roxy Music live in Melbourne – March 3, 2011

On Thursday night Mrs I Heart Guitar and I went to the Roxy Music gig at Rod Laver Arena here in Melbourne. We don’t get to go to many concerts together – I’m a metalhead and she likes far classier music than involves far less shouting, skulls and demons – but occasionally our tastes overlap. Like Zappa, Steely Dan and David Bowie. The Roxy Music gig was great, with a balance of the rowdier, glammier moments that we live for, and the more poppy, radio-friendly early 80s fare that it seemed the rest of the audience was waiting for with folded arms. My buddy Joe Matera was also at the gig – he recently interviewed Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera for Guitar & Bass Magazine – and he was kind enough to let me accompany him backstage to say hi to Phil afterwards. Thanks Joe!

By the way, Manzanera used some great guitars during the gig, including his red Gibson Firebird, a 3-pickup Les Paul, and a Fender David Gilmour Stratocaster.

Here’s the setlist.

India (Tape, for walk on)
The Main Thing
Street Life
Pyjamarama
Prairie Rose
If There Is Something
More Than This
Jealous Guy
Like A Hurricane
2HB
In Every Dream home A Heartache
Tara
Bitter Sweet
To Turn You On
Same Old Scene
My Only Love
Virginia Plain
Love Is The Drug
Editions Of You
Do The Strand
Avalon
Let’s Stick Together
For Your Pleasure

If you’ve never really checked out Roxy Music before, might I suggest this, which I hold up there with Bowie doing ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ as one of the greatest things ever to happen in the early 70s.

GUEST POST: Joe Matera on his new single Almost With You

THE MAKING OF MY LATEST SINGLE, ‘ALMOST WITH YOU’

By Joe Matera

The background

The decision to record a cover of The Church classic Almost With You was something that dates back a few years. Prior to joining my previous and last band Geisha, Ash Naylor – who many will know from Melbourne indie pop-rockers Even as well as Paul Kelly’s Band – and myself performed for a number of years around Melbourne in an acoustic duo under the moniker of Radio City. One of the songs that was included in our set was Almost With You, a track that remains a firm favorite of mine from many of Australian band The Church’s brilliant catalog.

Read More …

INTERVIEW: Geisha’s Chris Doheny and Joe Matera

Classic Aussie band Geisha recently released Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a CD combining new tracks, greatest hits and covers. The guys from Geisha, founder Chris Doheny and recent addition Joe Matera (who is also a music journalist that you may remember from his excellent guest posts on I Heart Guitar), recently played email tag with me while I was swanning about in the US.

Joe Matera



How you did you come to join Geisha?

Chris and I first met when I interviewed him for an article I was doing on Geisha’s debut album for Australian Guitar magazine. After the interview, I mentioned I was a guitarist and we got to chatting about similar interests. Later we jammed together and realized we had an incredible chemistry between us, and so started working together further and that eventually evolved into me joining Geisha.

‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ contains greatest hits, new tracks and covers. When you perform a cover are you consciously ‘Geisha-ing it up’ or is it an organic process?

I think whenever I perform any song, whether cover or original, it will always be performed ‘the Joe Matera way’. I am the sum of all my influences which will obviously come out in the way I play and approach things musically. I have always loved guitar harmonies, big riffs and melodic guitar solos, so they are in many ways integral to the way I will stamp things musically on anything. And when you add Chris and I together, because we share a similar musical background and outlook, then, every musical thing we play together will become “Geisha-ed” of its own accord.

There’s some pretty sweet guitar overdubbage on the cover of The Small Faces’ ‘Tin Soldier.’ What’s your approach guitar harmonies and multitracking?

I’m old school in the approach in that I love double tracking rhythm and lead parts as it thickens the sound of the guitar to make it sound huge. It also gives it a much fuller headroom sonic wise, where you can also pan the guitars left and right. Harmonies wise, it’s not always the typical building block of thirds I’ll use it’s usually what sounds good to the ears and will sit better with the rest of the chordal harmony. Some of the harmony guitars utilize not only thirds, but fourths, fifths and sixths. 
 
What was it like working with Tom Werman? What are your favourite albums he’s produced?

Working with Tom has been great and was a tremendous learning curve. Tom has an amazing knack for song arrangement, and an incredible ear for sonic detail, producing isn’t just about guitar tones, it’s about everything involved in making the song the best it can be. He also brings out the best in you as a musician. One of the many things I learned from him was about making a guitar solo as concise and appealing to the ears as possible. Some of my favorite Tom Werman produced albums are the “classic trilogy” of Cheap Trick albums – In Color, Heaven Tonight & Dream Police and Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry.

Your guitar tone seems quite clear and warm (and really has that ‘make you wanna crank up the stereo’ factor). What gear do you use?

In the studio, I play a Les Paul Epiphone and a couple of Fender guitars, a Fender Deluxe and a Fender Standard. Both are modified with Seymour Duncan JB humbuckers in the bridge. The other two pickups are stock single coils. On the single, Birthday, Gibson kindly loaded me a reissue of a 1958 Les Paul Custom which had an amazing sound and tone so I used that on for the rhythm tracks and the intro and solo. I also used my black Epiphone on some of the initial rhythm tracks and my white Strat for the outro solo. Live, I’m primarily using my Fender Deluxe though the Les Paul is my back-up. My amp of choice is a Laney GH50L head and Laney cab with 4 X 12s. As for effects, I use a Boss Chorus, Boss Overdrive/Distortion and a Boss Digital Delay. And I use custom made Grover Allman guitar picks exclusively. When it comes to acoustic guitars, I only play Matons. They’re the best damn acoustic guitars in the world. Period.


How do you set up your guitars? Do you make any modifications?

I like a low action on my guitars as I like the fluidity of playing lead and aside from that, I basically keep my guitars stock, with the exception of fitting all my guitars with a graphite nut. And as mentioned, all my Strats are fitted with humbuckers in bridge position; a Seymour Duncan JB which gives my Strats a real ballsy my tone.

How did you get started in music journalism?

In 2000 I started writing for some music websites and eventually scored my first “real” published interview in Australian Guitar magazine. It was with Killing Heidi who at the time was one of the biggest bands in the land. That interview led to others and eventually other magazines came along. My big international break came when I got an article – ‘Metallica In The Studio’ – published in US mag Guitar World. Soon after, I got a regular gig writing for UK’s Total Guitar magazine and the rest as they say, is history. 
 
What have been some of your standout experiences as a music journalist?

There have been many but the one that stands out the most was meeting and interviewing Sir George Martin and his lovely wife, Lady Martin. I spent half an hour with Sir George and we discussed The Beatles and music in general. And to hear many of his stories and being given a glimpse into his production approach…


Do you have any advice for anyone looking to work in the music industry, either as a guitarist or a writer (or both?)

I think as writer the most important thing is persistence. As you know yourself Peter, it’s a very hard work and solitary for the most part. So you have to have discipline, passion and be well researched. There is nothing worse than lazy journalism. Don’t ask an artist a question that can easily answered from a quick perusal off a press release and ask something that has been asked a hundred times before. Find a topic that engages the artist’s interest. Sometimes something totally unrelated to music can open up a discussion that leads to some of the best answers you may ever get.

As for advice for guitarists, I believe it’s important to always be playing with other musicians. And to also always be yourself, don’t try and imitate anybody else or your guitar heroes. Every player is unique in his or her way. At the end of the day, it is what makes up your character as a musician and person you are that will be your calling card.

Chris Doheny



Chris, you played bass and acoustic guitars on the tracks. Do you think being a singer influences your bass playing?

I think being a songwriter probably influences my bass playing more. I will quite often leave the bass part until last, even after the vocals. Then I spend a long time writing the bass lines around the melody and the rhythm. Sometimes I wish I did take being a singer into account more when I write the bass parts I would probably make them more “bass player/singer” friendly!
Being a multi-instrumentalist, do you find that the instrument dictates the musical idea, or is it the other way around, with the music as a whole influencing your choice of instrument?

I think when you have the seed of an idea; the instrument does dictate where you are going to go in terms of say, style or genre(I sometimes write on Keyboards, guitar, or even bass guitar to begin a song idea) However once you get a more complete structure (intro, verse, chorus, bridge and mid 8 etc..) I think the song gets a life of its own and it starts to tell you what instrumentation is going to be required.

The Sgt Pepper’s cover has a very cool drum sound, and an overall production that’s respectful to the original yet has its own personality. What is your approach to engineering?

Thanks. I treat most tracks individually in terms of recording construction. With this track though, I first recorded a basic rhythm track of the complete song (guitar, vocal, click track). I then had our drummer on this track bring his drums in to a very large woody and live sound room that I thought was suitable. We used a mixture of vintage mics and pre-amps (Neumanns, Shures, Sennheiser)It was also important that the drums were wacked pretty hard to get that slamming sound you hear on the track. The heads have also been tuned with the tension right down.

Could you tell us about Geisha’s history from your perspective, and the recent revival of the band?

The band has been around since 1983. We had 8 Australian top twenty hits and two albums in the top forty during the 80’s. I have had the pleasure to work with amazing producers and engineers throughout seven albums. Like Peter Dawkins (Dragon), Richard Lush (Beatles) Dave Marret (Little Heroes), Kevin Beamish (Reo Speed wagon), David Courtney (Leo Sayer), Peter Blyton (Choir Boys), and now Tom Werman (Cheap Trick, Motley Crue). Geisha made a come back in the late nineties and the reaction was fantastic. But it wasn’t until 2005 when I started work on the remastering of our back catalogue that it really clicked again. In 2006 Geisha toured in the States and when I returned to Australia. I met Joe Matera who was interviewing me about our debut album. We got to talking and pretty soon developed a connection with each other. I soon asked Joe to join Geisha as guitarist and after a few gigs started work on our eighth album “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”. Last June we released the first single “Birthday” which was received well. In January 2010 we released a double A side “Mystery Writer / Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” which is already getting a lot of attention.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow contains greatest hits, new tracks and covers. When you perform a cover are you consciously ‘Geisha-ing it up’ or is it an organic process?

The covers we have on the album are The Small Faces “Tin Soldier” The Beatles “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” recorded by us in late 2009) and “Come Together” (recorded for our the debut album in 1985 but never released on CD before and Geisha’d up 1985 style!). I have been playing these songs for years live because I love the songs dearly. I used to personally drag a 1973 Fender Rhodes piano to my gigs just to play Tin Soldier and get the authentic keyboard sound. It nearly killed me every time because that thing weighed 70 kilos! Sgt Pepper has been in my head since it was released in 1967. My Ma gave it to me for Xmas 1972 along with a little record player and I wore the record out, I swear! I think probably these songs get Geisha’d up because of the fact that we are Geisha and that’s just the way we play, if you know what I mean.

How did you hook up with Tom Werman, and what did you learn from him?

Joe became a good friend of Tom’s after interviewing him some time ago. When Joe and I joined up Joe asked me if I minded if he played some of my newer tunes to Tom. I said “Are you crazy? This guy only produced two of my fav albums ever!! I would be absolutely rapped” I was talking about Cheap Trick “Heaven Tonight” and “Dream Police.” It turned out that after listening to the tracks Tom did want to produce us and now here we are. Tom has a great ear for arrangement and he knows it when he hears a hit. He is a stickler for getting things just right. He also really understands melody, harmony, contrapuntal and parallel sound. We use a lot of harmony and counterpoint in our vocals and in our guitar work and Tom made sure that it was right every time! I also learned a lot about mixing from Tom (I mixed the single Mystery Writer with Tom overseeing my work).

LINK: Geisha’s website

NEWS: Martin introduces Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Edition

I got this press release from Martin Guitars the other day about Jorma Kaukonen returning to the C. F. Martin fold. I’ll be checking out all the new Martin instruments at NAMM in January.

Oh by the way, check out Joe Matera’s ‘A Brief History Of Martin Guitars’ guest post on I Heart Guitar.

MARTIN GUITAR INTRODUCES THE M-30 JORMA KAUKONEN CUSTOM ARTIST EDITION

LEGENDARY JEFFERSON AIRPLANE AND HOT TUNA GUITARIST’S UNIQUE DESIGN INSPIRES A PERFECT GUITAR FOR ACOUSTIC FINGERSTYLE BLUES

SEE IT AT THE NAMM SHOW IN JANUARY!Nazareth, PA – December 8, 2010 – Friends let friends play their Martin guitars. Credit David Bromberg for bringing fellow guitar wizard Jorma Kaukonen back into the C. F. Martin fold and inspiring the impressive new Martin M-30 Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Edition.

“I played a gig with David Bromberg somewhere in New Jersey and he brought along the prototype of his Martin M-42 Signature Edition,” recalls Kaukonen. “I played that guitar and immediately fell in love with it. ‘When this guitar goes into production, I’ve got to have one,’ I told him. ‘Done,’ he said. When I got it, I loved it and I still do.” So much so, in fact, Kaukonen now plays Martin acoustic guitars exclusively.

While playing a loaned Martin Custom Shop M, Jorma began to really love certain aspects of that guitar (which he calls the “M-5”) and decided to combine specifications from it and the M-42 David Bromberg to create the Martin M-30 Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Edition.

One can appreciate Jorma’s selection of Martin’s M body style (jumbo width, 000 depth and 25.4” scale) for his Custom Artist Edition; it handles everything from fingerpicking to flatpicking with ease. The M-30 Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Edition features a top of rare Italian Alpine Spruce and forward-shifted scalloped braces for full, saturated tone and impressive dynamic range. The top is paired with East Indian rosewood back and sides for rich, warm bass and strong projection, with an enlarged soundhole for enhanced midrange and treble response.

The Modified V neck with diamond volute is carved from genuine mahogany. “As much as I love my Bromberg, my aging hands need a somewhat wider neck. This works beautifully for my style of playing.”

In a career that has spanned five decades, Jorma first went electric as the lead guitarist of Jefferson Airplane in 1965. The Airplane became one of America’s most popular bands of the era, helping define the San Francisco Sound with hits like “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit,” and had eight Top 20 albums during his seven-year tenure. He also first recorded his fingerstyle classic, “Embryonic Journey,” while with the group. Jorma was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Jefferson Airplane in 1996.

Before he left the Airplane, Jorma and longtime friend (and Airplane bassist) Jack Casady joined forces in a side project: Hot Tuna. It began as a duo playing acoustic blues and expanded to include additional musicians, different genres, electric sets and original material. More than 35 years and 25+ albums later, Hot Tuna is still going strong, with Jorma, Jack and multi-instrumentalist Barry Mitterhoff mixing acoustic and occasional electric performances.

Jorma has also recorded 13 solo albums and in 2002 released “Blue Country Heart,” an album of traditional country blues that received a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Traditional Folk Album.”

In 1998, Jorma and his wife Vanessa established Fur Peace Ranch in the rolling foothills of southeastern Ohio. Here guitarists of all styles and skill levels stay, play and learn at workshops led by Jorma and an impressive roster of top musicians. Fur Peace Ranch also hosts a concert series throughout the year called “Live From the Fur Peace Ranch.” This series is broadcast on the Ohio University NPR affiliate, WOUB.

In complement to its unique design, the Martin M-30 Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Editionshowcases handsome vintage Style 30 appointments, the first time they have been used with the M body style and only the second time they have appeared on a modern Martin. A Style 45 rosette in select abalone pearl (with the inner ring eliminated) encircles the large soundhole and a vintage-inspired polished and beveled Delmar tortoise-color pickguard protects the top.

The polished East Indian rosewood headplate frames an abalone pearl version of the familiar “C. F. Martin” logo, which arches over a slightly modified Martin “torch” inlay, also in abalone pearl. Nickel Waverly tuners with oval ivoroid buttons complete the headstock. The African black ebony fingerboard features rare Maltese “diamond and squares” position markers in abalone pearl, with a Maltese cross at the 3rd fret, two diamonds at the 5th fret, a square at the 7th fret, two diamonds at the 9th fret, a square flanked by cats eyes at the 12th fret and a cats eye at the 15th fret, and culminating in his “Jorma” signature – no last name needed here – inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. Both the headstock and fingerboard are bound in grained ivoroid, and inset with mitered black/white fine line inlays. Black/white fine line inlays also accent the grained ivoroid heel cap and end piece.

The nut, compensated saddle, pearl dot-topped bridge pins and endpin are all crafted from bone. Aging toner on the top adds to the guitar’s vintage vibe, and Martin’s polished gloss lacquer finish highlights the beauty of both its tonewoods and appointments.

Each Martin M-30 Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Editionguitar is delivered in a vintage style Geib™ hardshell case, and bears an interior label personally signed by Jorma Kaukonen numbered in sequence without the total, and a second interior label depicting his Fur Peace Ranch. Left-handed guitars may be ordered without additional charge and factory-installed electronics are an extra cost option. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will begin taking orders for the Jorma Kaukonen Custom Artist Edition immediately and participating dealers will be listed on the C. F. Martin website: www.martinguitar.com

NEWS: New Geisha CD featuring Joe Matera

Geisha – the band founded by Chris Doheny and today featuring occasional I Heart Guitar contributor and all-round rock journalist god Joe Matera and drummer Tom Hosie, is releasing ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,’ an album combing their greatest hits together with some new songs and covers. ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ will feature the eight singles the band had between 1985 and 1987 from their two EMI albums ‘Geisha’ and ‘Midnight To Down’ as well as two new songs ‘Birthday’ and ‘Mystery Writer’ (produced by the legendary Tom Werman) and covers of The Beatles ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and Small Faces ‘Tin Soldier.’

Track listing:

Birthday*
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Fools Way
Rainy Day
Kabuki
Part Time Love affair
Girl Like You
Come Together**
Calling Your Name
Normal People
Never Tell You Why
No Second Prize
Nobody’s Angel
Tin Soldier
Mystery Writer*

*Produced by Tom Werman

** Recorded for Geisha’s 1985 self-titled debut album and here, issued for the first on CD.

The album will be released on December 16th by Diamond Dog Records.

Read Joe Matera’s I Heart Guitar guest posts:


A Brief History of Martin Guitars

Joe Matera is also interviewed in Neil Daniels’ book ‘All Pens Blazing – A Heavy Metal Writer’s Handbook’

NEWS: Joe Perry on possible Oz tour, Steven Tyler’s recovery

Joe Matera, rock journo extraordinaire and guitarist for Geisha, spoke with Joe Perry of Aerosmith the other day. Joe Perry told Joe Matera the following, which he has provided to I Heart Guitar as an exclusive news item. Thanks Joe!

JOE PERRY INTERVIEW

Joe Perry: “…I’m hoping to get down there [Australia] with The Joe Perry Project and play for our fans down there that have been waiting for forever and ever to hear us play.

Joe Matera: When do you expect that to happen?

Perry: Probably some time in the coming new year, as I don’t think Aerosmith are going to be working for awhile. So its going to give me enough time to do a tour of not only of the U. S, but we’re also going to try and cover every place we can play around the world.

Matera: How is the recovery process coming along for Steven [Tyler]?

Perry: From what I understand he is resting and his doctors will know in the next couple of weeks how well it is mending and if he is going to have surgery or not to help the bones knit. So there is a lot of waiting around as it takes awhile. Any time you have a bone that is cracked or broken, above your waist, it is hard to keep it still because you have to breathe you know. I’ve had cracked ribs before and I know how long it takes for those to heal because you have to breathe and your ribs are always moving. And so they have taped them up very tightly and its really uncomfortable and really painful and he’s trying to deal with all of that right now.

CLICK HERE to preorder Joe Perry’s new album, Have Guitar, Will Travel (released October 6) from Amazon.com.

Joe Matera links:
www.joematera.com
www.geishatheband.com
www.twitter.com/joematera
www.myspace.com/rockjourno

GUEST POST: Joe Matera interviews Jim Marshall

In a rare and candid interview from 2001, the man behind the legendary amplifier talks to Joe Matera about the Marshall legacy.

“I really like my old Marshall tube amps, because when they’re working properly i.e. when the volume is turned up all the way, there’s nothing can beat them, nothing in the whole world. It looks like two refrigerators hooked together……..”
James Marshall Hendrix – Los Angeles, 1967

Joe Matera: So how did a drummer end up developing a classic guitar amplifier?

Jim Marshall: Well, I’d started in show business as a singer. I’ve been in show business for 64 years, singing for 64 years but drumming for about 58 years. I started drumming afterwards you see. It’s just something that progressed over the years from showbusiness to teaching. I taught many of the top drummers like Mitch Mitchell with Hendrix, Micky Waller with Rod Stewart…many of the top drummers, I’ve taught during the 50’s and then decided to open a drum shop. But that went wrong because Pete Townsend and Ritchie Blackmore and one or two others got onto me and said “why don’t you stock amplifiers and guitars?”. I said “well, I know a lot about drums but not much about guitars”. They told me if I would stock them, they’ll buy them from me instead of going to the West End of London because they were treated there in London like idiots. The rock and rollers used to use the Fender Bassman. That was the nearest thing to the sort of sound they wanted. Later on in 1961 they said to me “well, the amplifier’s (Fender Bassman) not built to give us the correct sound”. So I got together with a young electronics engineer, he was only 18, but he was brilliant and after 6 proto-types we produced the first rock and roll amplifier and its been that sound ever since. That’s how I got into it and I actually only wanted to do it for my own shop and my own customers but it grew and grew and grew until it’s where we are now. We put roughly 4,500 units a week, amplifiers and cabinets, into the world market.

JM: In many magazines over the years, Pete Townsend has always been credited with developing the idea for the Marshall “stack”. Is this true?

Jim Marshall: No! Unfortunately, a lot of magazines write what they think readers want to read. What really happened was this. Pete came to me and said, “the 50 Watt amp I’m using is not loud enough for me, I want a 100 Watt”. He added, “but instead of a 4X12 cabinet, I want an 8X12 cabinet”. I said “well what sort of cabinet do you want?”. He said ‘a great big square one!” and I replied “that’s going to look stupid with a little amplifier on top, but leave it with me”. I said “what I think you need is the first 4X12 I designed, which was a straight fronted one and the second one to make the amp and cabinet look as if it was designed like that, cause that’s why I put the angle on. We’ll make that a stack”. Pete replied “No, I don’t want two cabinets…put them all in one cabinet!” I thought alright it’ll still be the image of the stack, but it’ll be in one cabinet. Well, I was very strong in those days and I had an athlete working for me on the cabinet side and we carried these cabinets out of the factory in Hayes, Middlesex and they were so heavy it was unbelievable and I said to Pete, “your roadies going to kick my ass!” and he said “they get paid!”. Well, two weeks later he came back and said “your right Jim. I tried to help one of the roadies top put one of these cabinets into the truck and IT was heavy!. Have them back and cut them in half”. I said well if I cut them in half they’ll fall to pieces. So leave it to me to go back to what I suggested in the first place to make it a stack”. And that’s the way it came about. It was him that wanted 8X12’s because of the 100 Watt heads, they were the first three 100 Watt heads we ever made…and he had them. Of course the 100Watt was no good in those days with one 4X12, because the speakers in those days were only capable of taking 25 Watts, unlike speakers today that can take 300, 400 Watts. Thats the way the stack really came about.

JM: You had so many of the early classic British bands actually form in your shop. Every one from Hendrix’s band to Deep Purple.

Jim Marshall: Mitch Mitchell, who was a child actor actually, came to me in the first place to ask me if he could have the job in the shop as the Saturday boy. Then he wanted me to teach him drums. Then Ritchie Blackmore was playing with one of my other pupils in a school group and they all came together in my shop. You see, all the guitarists that came in to see me were those playing with my pupils. I was the first drum teacher over here (England) to teach them rock and roll. And Micky Waller was the first one to get me to teach them, because he said to me “can you teach me to play this new stuff called rock and roll?” And I said “its only even quavers, basically its Latin American, so its quite easy and I’ll teach you”. Because the accents are in different places that’s all it is to it, and because I taught the drummers, the guitarists came in and it was like a labour exchange and thats where a lot of the early groups were formed, in my shop in London.

JM: In 1981, you introduced the JCM800 series.

Jim Marshall: There’s another story to go with that too, the true story! I’d just finished a 15 year contract with a company called Rose-Morris and unfortunately being a pro musician, I thought to sign a 15 year contract with regular money coming in was the next best thing since sliced bread….and I was wrong! After about 3 or 4 months I realized I could outsell this company any day of the week and during that 15 year contract they never ever reached a million pounds turnover in a year!. So in 1981 I’d already done re-designing the appearance of some of the things and I was stuck to know what to call it and for weeks I was thinking how can I put this over. Then one day, I walked out to the car park, and looked at my number plate: JCM 800. That was perfect for the 80’s wasn’t it, so that’s how it (the series name) came about. I had bought that number plate way back in 1972, so it was very lucky I’d bought that number plate then.

JM: You were also contracted to do the VoxAC30 re-issues?

Jim Marshall: Yes, because that had gone through 7 different companies earlier who tried to make the AC30’s and 15’s and none of them established the real sound. And although I did not want to do the Vox AC30 and 15, it was a challenge to me because I knew if anybody could do it, we could re-create the original Vox sound which we’ve done. Everybody else gradually before us got worse until Rose-Morris did it and that was a disaster!

JM: What’s the secret to the enduring success of Marshall amps?

Jim Marshall: Well it’s having a good design team as I have now, probably the best in the world and sticking to the original sound. The original sound MUST be in the unit somewhere. Although with the Marshall amps these days, you know, you can choose what sound you like out of it, it can be country and western, jazz, rock and roll etc.

JM: What is the company’s direction for the next few years?

Jim Marshall: Exactly what we’re always tried to do, you know, it’s to produce the best in the world and keep the established Marshall sound going through because that’s what all the rock and rollers and heavy metal youngsters want. But to try and please all musicians too, that’s all we want to do and to keep the quality as it is now…the best.

JM: What has been the highlight of your career?

Jim Marshall: Well I suppose it was the first time I saw Marshall on television.

JM: You would have many stories to tell. Which one in particular is your favorite?

Jim Marshall: I suppose the best one is of course, in regards to my greatest ambassador and that was Jimi Hendrix. He was playing at Ronnie Scott’s in London and Mitch (Mitchell) was on drums with him, but the group that was playing there at the time were all using Marshall and he said “I’ve got to meet this Jim Marshall because my name is James Marshall as well”. So Mitch brought him into my shop and Jimi said to me, “I’ve got to have Marshall amplification”. And I thought, “Christ!, another American wanting something for nothing!”. But fortunately he said ” I don’t want anything given to me. I want to pay the full retail price but what I do want is service wherever I am in the world”. I thought, “Christ, that’s going to be a tough one” because we were only dealing with France, Germany and Canada at the time. They were the only places I had distribution, but his roadie at the time, came and spent two weeks in the factory learning how to change the bias and change the tubes or valves if they went down and do simple soldering. And we were never called out once by Jimi Hendrix. He actually purchased 4 complete stage set-ups to have in different places in the world so he would not have to transport any too far. And that’s one of the best stories of the company.

Links:
www.joematera.com/
www.geishatheband.com/
www.twitter.com/joematera
www.myspace.com/rockjourno

CLICK HERE to see Marshall amps on eBay
Marshall JCM800 2203 Vintage Series 100W Tube Head
Marshall Haze MHZ40C 40W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp Black
Marshall Haze MHZ15 15W Tube Guitar Amp Head Black

COOL BOOK ALERT: All Pens Blazing – A Heavy Metal Writer’s Handbook.

I just got an email from my buddy, Geisha guitarist and journalist extraordinaire Joe Matera (you may remember his recent guest post about Martin guitars HERE) telling me about a book he is featured in, All Pens Blazing: A Heavy Metal Writer’s Handbook.

I’m nothing if not a geeky collector of music books, and this sounds brilliant! Can’t wait to pick up a copy.

ALL PENS BLAZING: A HEAVY METAL WRITER’S HANDBOOK
By NEIL DANIELS
(Foreword by MARTIN POPOFF)

CHRONICLING FOUR DECADES OF HEAVY METAL & HARD ROCK JOURNALISM
IF YOU WANNA LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF METAL MAGAZINES THIS IS THE PLACE TO LEARN…

Ever wondered what it takes to be a heavy metal journalist? In this comprehensive collection, Neil Daniels has interviewed a staggering 65 of the world’s most successful writers of heavy metal and hard rock. Many of these writers are successful biographers, editors and long-standing freelancers who have interviewed some of the genre’s leading artists from KISS to Metallica and Black Sabbath to Slayer. They’ve travelled the world over, lived in tour buses, got drunk with their idols, attended some of the greatest gigs in history and are still alive to tell the tale. It’s all here; the wild stories, the anecdotes…and the advice!

All Pens Blazing offers a potted history of the genre as well as the publishing industry from the legendary Sounds and Melody Maker to metal bibles Kerrang! and Metal Hammer to modern day magazines like Terrorizer, Powerplay and Classic Rock. There’s also a wealth of information on fanzines and webzines as well as long-gone magazines like Metal Forces, RIP and RAW. With a foreword by the Canadian metal historian Martin Popoff, this collection makes essential reading for the heavy metal fan. It is also a worthy historical document for the serious enthusiast and can be used as a handy reference tool for the aspiring metal writer.

Includes exclusive interviews with: Geoff Barton, Dante Bonutto, Paul Brannigan, Steffan Chirazi, Ian Christe, Dave Dickson, Malcolm Dome, Paul Elliott, Lonn Friend, Neil Jeffries, Howard Johnson, Dave Lewis, Dave Ling, Peter Makowski, Matthias Madder, Joe Matera, Joel McIver, Alexander Milas, Derek Oliver, Martin Popoff, Greg Prato, Dave Reynolds, Steven Rosen, Xavier Russell, Brian Slagel, Paul Suter and Jeb Wright, et al.

Published by Authors Online (http://www.authorsonline.co.uk/)

Links:
http://www.joematera.com/
http://www.geishatheband.com/
www.twitter.com/joematera
www.myspace.com/rockjourno

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