Geeking out on Gear: Joel from Dr Colossus Interview

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1. WAS THERE A PARTICULAR REASON YOU DECIDED TO START PLAYING AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR PARTICULAR INSTRUMENT?

Growing up in a very musical home, it was inevitable that both my brother Jono and I would take up music. We started on piano and as we got older, explored other instruments in the home such as guitar, bass and drums. We watched a lot of Saturday morning Rage and shows like Recovery and became very inspired by the rock and metal music at that time. I distinctly remember one day realising that the guitar Angus Young was holding on a poster on my wall was similar to the SG copy that Dad had, which was off limits to us as young kids. It was all over from that point forward! We had a group of young guys all picking up instruments at the same time and a few of us lived out of town so we had no problems starting bands and playing loud which was awesome and kept us progressing.

2. WHEN YOU FIRST STARED PLAYING WHO WAS IT YOU WANTED TO SOUND LIKE?

I was a massive Angus Young fan when I first started playing, the songs were pretty easy to navigate and learn from, and because we had the SG copy at home – you really felt the part! This was pre-internet so I learned by ear and from guitar magazines. We would trade tapes with friends at school who had older brothers they could get copies from. I had lots of AC/DC, and then it was of course Metallica and Hendrix and the snowball rolled on from there.

3. WHAT SETUP ARE YOU CURRENTLY RUNNING? ( INSTRUMENT/ AMP/ PEDALS )

Currently for Dr Colossus shows I’m running a Gibson Les Paul “Raw Power” in white, which is all maple. I really like the look of white guitars with maple fretboards, so I saw it and had to add it to the collection. I have also used a Telecaster in the past with a Humbucker fitted. Neither are ideal for Drop B tuning so I have a PRS Baritone on the way and I’m looking forward to that also. For amps I switch between a Peavey 5150 mk2 and a 50w EVH 5150 with either a Marshall MF400 or Mesa 2×12 cab depending on the gig, I utilise the footswitches for these amps also for lead boosts and the fx loop.

On the pedalboard its pretty simple, Line 6 wireless, Dunlop mini wah, MXR phase 90, and a Way Huge Swollen Pickle. I also run an Earthquaker Devices “Dispatch Master” in the loop for delay and verb, they are excellent.

4. IS THERE A PIECE OF GEAR YOU’VE SOLD THAT STILL HAUNTS YOU?

I haven’t really sold too much in my time but the only guitar I really liked that I sold was an early 80’s Ibanez Destroyer. It played so well and sounded great but I wasn’t using it much so it was time to move it. I sold it to a friend though so it never went totally off the radar.

5. WHAT BUDGET GEAR HAS SURPRISED YOU, AND DO YOU RUN ANYTHING IN YOUR SETUP THAT MIGHT SURPRISE OTHERS

I’ve never paid thousands for a guitar so i guess most of my instruments could be considered to wards the budget end of the scale to some degree at a pro level. I would always recommend Japanese Fenders for someone looking to save a few bucks and still get something great quality. I think my favourite budget gear outside of the guitar world, is the Behringer Xair mixer – so powerful and convenient and a fraction of a big name price. Otherwise I think my setup is pretty stock standard but I definitely appreciate digital amp-sim technology. I used some of the Neural DSP plugins for leads and layers on the latest album and they are so fast and recallable if you’re recording parts over a long period of time and can’t keep a specific chain setup.

6. I TRUST ANYTHING WITH A ………………. LOGO

Peavey

7. INSTRUMENT/ PEDALS/ AMP. WHICH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO ACHIEVE YOUR SOUND.

When touring, I always wish I could bring my own amps. Anything 5150 I really love playing through and I’m very attached to the response and tones from these amps. I also cant live without an amp with 3 channels as a lead boost is super important to me. An overdrive pedal cant really give you that extra volume in a high gain setting as the guitar is already so compressed, you’ve gotta get it on the power amp side of the amp in my opinion.

8. IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY TONE FROM ANY SONG, WHICH WOULD IT BE?

I’ve always loved Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover tone. Its not particularly useful for anything I do, but it’s so creamy and lush and unique I think it would be great to have that on tap playing at home.

9. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HORRIBLE CASE OF GEAR FAILURE ON A STAGE?

Nothing too crazy, touch wood! I think its only ever been venue gremlins like a power point cutting out and things like that. I try to keep on top of maintenance and have backup plans ready to keep those little anxieties at bay. I did have someone step on and snap a lead off in the input of my amp at a party gig once. Luckily there was an identical amp I could swap with and it was an easy fix the next day.

10.IF YOU COULD TALK OVER GEAR AND SETUPS WITH ANY MUSICIAN ( LIVING OR DEAD) WHO WOULD IT BE?

I think everyone would love to chat to Eddie Van Halen, he was such an innovator and creator and I’m sure he would have some great insights. He had the drive to create the technology that he couldn’t buy, and changed the game for everyone else that followed. There’s not many people on that level and I could only hope something might rub off.

Cheers to Joel for sharing these insights with us. If you haven’t yet checked out the new Dr Colossus album you really need to, NOW. Links below. Thanks!

Bandcamp

Spotify

Apple Music

Artist: Dr. Colossus

Album: I’m a Stupid Moron With an Ugly Face and A Big Butt and my Butt Smells and I Like to Kiss My Own Butt

Label: Death Mountain

Release Date: 21/05/2021

Country: Australia




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