Rubikon is just another band outta Boston, they barely make enough to surviiiiiiive – because they spend it all on gear, apparently! Their new album Delta is out now – make damn sure to check out their INSANE music video for the lead single here.
Let’s go ahead and start with the guitars, since we all know that’s the only thing people want to see anyway. Just kidding, amp and pedal wonks – we’ll get those in a minute.
So we start with a bathtub full of crap. Here’s why: if “Clapton is God” as they used to say (and many of us still do), and cleanliness is next to godliness, then it just made sense to me to put all of my guitars in the shower to clean them up. Maybe some of that Clapton mojo will rub off on me. Doubtful. Anyway, let’s take a look:
So, from left headstock moving to the right we’ve got:
A 2000 ESP custom Telecaster with a pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers, flame-red maple top, mahogany body, rosewood board and Sperzel tuners. Fun story – back in the day Hughie and Josh lived in a house with a bunch of musicians in Cambridge MA. When it came time to move out, Hughie was the last to go and I gave him a hand moving. While I was poking around in closets making sure we got everything, I came across this guitar inside a case. Josh somehow moved out and forgot such a beaut. So, I held on to it for a few months for him until the next time I saw him. Years later, when he joined the band, he went ahead and gave it to me. Solid
Next up is a Davison four-string banjo, a loaner from my pal Adam D (no, not the guy from Killswitch, a different Adam D)
1977 Gibson Les Paul Artisan – this is a HEAVY guitar but one of my mainstays. Also, just a gorgeous thing to look at. Reminds me of a nice piece of antique furniture – I mean that as a compliment
1996 Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 – far and away my favorite guitar and the most comfortable instrument I have ever played. It’s got a pair of Bill Lawrence humbuckers in it, because that’s what Dimebag would have wanted. Absolutely adore this beast
1990 ESP Mirage Custom – this was a present to me when I was a kid, and I grew up playing that red-crackle-finished masterpiece. It was stolen from me in 2001 after a show, and FIVE YEARS LATER a buddy found it on Ebay, so I bought it back without question. When I got it back, the thief had removed the George Lynch autograph I’d gotten on the back of the headstock, which unleashed the Dokken curse. Somewhere out there, someone is unable to get Breaking the Chains out of their head – and it serves them right
2005 MTD custom baritone – Mike Tobias is a legendary luthier and great guy. He showed Hughie and I around his workshop in the Kingston NY area in the early 2000s and built a few basses for Hughie as well. I asked if he could build me a baritone, and he came up with this gorgeous piece. African Zebrawood on top of mahogany, Macassar ebony fingerboard on a maple neck, Bill Lawrence pickups, and Gotoh tuners. I currently have the top five strings tuned to Open Gb with an extra low Gb on the bottom. It booms
2004 Gibson Les Paul Standard – this is Josh’s but I hold on to it for him so he has something to play when he comes to Boston. The natural finish is kinda boring but this guitar plays AMAZINGLY well and sounds great amped, too
2000 Taylor 314ce – for our more tender moments. This is the only guitar I have that I baby by keeping it humidified in its case; despite that TLC (not the band) it’s got a few huge cracks on the back of it. Womp womp
And what do I play all of this stuff through, you might ask?
Here we have an early Mesa Boogie Road King 120w amp head. I’ve been playing Boogies for years, and I absolutely love this thing. Tones of tones in a one-ton wooden box. Looks like a space station with all the lights and knobs on it. It’s snuggled into an ATA case with a Korg rackmount tuner, Furman power conditioner, and, up there on the left side, a Shure wireless rig. It’s got some golden garland hanging from it, a postcard of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son”, and an applesauce recipe I got from (drummer) Diggs’ wife. It sits on top of a Mesa 4×12 slant front straight cab. And on top of THAT sits:
…a Marshall 1960A x12 cabinet. Notice the logo has been reworked to feature our drummer’s last name. What’s that you ask? Oh, no, I don’t actually own that cab, it’s a loaner from a friend. Good one.
I sometimes split my signal through a Fender Blues Jr. and an old Marshall JCM 900 2×12 combo that looks like this. Get ‘em, Randy and Ozzy:
And finally, I’ve got some effects pedals. I used to use lots of effects, to the extent that I had a giant old keyboard road case with about 20 pedals in it. That case was affectionately named Leviathan and generally required two people to carry it, unless you were particularly diesel. I downsized to a much smaller board, and just recently acquired a few small Pedaltrains that I haven’t quite yet put together. Take a look:
We’ve got the Road King’s ridiculously oversized “King Kontroller” (their name, not mine) there in the front, a Boss phaser and octave next to a Pigtronix Philosopher’s Rock (killer pedal) and Line 6 expression pedal above King Kong, and then a trusty Line 6 DL-4 delay above that. I’ve owned 4 or 5 of those things over the years. One of my very favorite pedals of all time right there.
This pile of junk is just a handful of the pedals I haven’t used in a while:
I spy…a three-way signal splitter, an EBS flanger, Digitech Whammy (I have two of the original ones, but they don’t quite work right anymore so I have this newer one – which also doesn’t quite work right), Boss Noise Suppressor, Pigtronix delay, a Dunlop Dimebag wah, Line 6 filter modeler, a Boss EQ and the Boss PS2 Pitch Shifter, which most people call “The Cave In” pedal since they have used so well across many of their fantastic recordings. Great band.