I made the jump from leaping off the furniture pretending to play guitar on a tennis racket, to sitting down and actually trying to figure out some chords and riffs when I was 12.
I was always really impressed by people who could whip out a guitar at a cottage or campfire and have a group of people silently hanging on every word or note. I secretly harboured a desire.
For my 13th birthday my dad got me a used early 70’s Strat which looked just like Robbie Robertson’s and that was enough for me. I still use it on tour as my open E guitar.
Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones
Livin’, Lovin’, Louvin – The Songs of the Louvin Brothers
Abraxas – Santana
Diamond Dogs – Bowie
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Jack Johnson – Miles Davis
Blue Valentines – Tom Waits
I know that’s 7 but I have about a hundred.
A particularly memorable stage moment was opening for the Stones in Cologne in the driving rain in front of 80,000 hostile or indifferent German Stones fans and hearing the boos gradually but steadily turn to cheers.
I heard about Reverend guitars through my guitar associate Paul Langlois who was playing one and was very impressed.
I’m using a… I want to say sunburst one… I don’t know the model name (editor’s note: Jetstream 390). I just know what I like and I like it a lot.
It is a very smooth playing instrument with a dark, aggressive tone.
In the studio I will try any amps or pedals in search of what a song seems to want. On stage I use two Mesa-Boogie Lonestars as a stereo rig with a pedal board of Line-6 Delay, Modulation and Distortion Modelers – all with expression pedals. I also use a Cry-Baby Wah.
When I’m not playing guitar or writing I enjoy my leisure time by learning other instruments… mandolin, dobro, banjo and my current love/hate obsession – pedal steel.
My advice to young players would be to not limit yourself. Listen to different styles of music, play with all kinds of different people and rather than imposing your ideas on to musical situations be sensitive to the song and let it tell you what it needs.
Currently The Tragically Hip is writing for a new album that we hope to be recording by the early spring. In the lull after it is completed I hope to do a second album with my other band, Strippers Union.