KEITH MERROW Demos the Driftwood Purple Nightmare

One of the premier gear reviewers of our day, Keith Merrow (whose glorious KM-7 was my very first review), has returned after an absence of many months (presumably spent growing his fabulous new head of hair) to bring us a new demo of the Driftwood Amps Purple Nightmare head and cab in glorious HD. In fact, aside from a demo for the PRS Archon head 2 months ago, he hasn’t personally done a demo for 8 months (he did produce some with Tosin Abasi and Wes Hauch), and boy are we glad to have him back.

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I don’t think he’s ever put out anything that didn’t sound like solid gold, and this one is no exception. I’ve never tried any Driftwood heads before, but now I’ve got a jonesing to. They are a small German company who makes all their amps by hand, so the likelihood of getting my hands on one is quite slim.

The Purple Nightmare is unique in several ways – it has a built in Tube Screamer that you can turn on and off with the footswitch or assign to a channel (!), a built in 2 watt mosfet power amp that you can switch to for low volume practicing, a 9v output to power your pedals, a dedicated tuner out, and a whole host of MIDI and relay switching options. All in all, this is an amp built to take care of ALL your needs. At around $2600, it’s not cheap, but it’s not really that expensive for what you’re getting, either.

Informal poll: do you prefer a demo like this, with no yakety sax from the peanut gallery (thoughtful commentary on the product) or do you like a review with some contextualizing and monologuing from the reviewer?

Also, the song in the review is from an as-yet unnamed mystery project… anyone else curious what Keith’s next musical output will be?

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As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.