Author Archives: T-Bone Mathley

Throwback interview: Catching Up With Steve Cropper (September 2010)

This interview was from just a little over 6 years ago.  I’m planning on interviewing Steve again soon!

(This originally appeared in the old T-Bone’s Prime Cuts blog – September 30, 2010.   http://tbonesprimecuts.blogspot.com)

By T-Bone Mathley

cropA member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Songwriters Hall of Fame, The Musicians Hall of Fame and just recently, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. As a member of Booker T. & the MGs, basically the house band for Stax Records, Steve Cropper played on hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, “Sam & Dave and the entire Stax roster. He co-wrote, “Green Onions,” “Midnight Hour”, “(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay” and numerous others. His discography as a writer, producer and player would take two days to recite. Most people with credits like these would be happy to sit back and let their past speak for them. Not Steve Cropper! He continues to tour with both Booker T. & the MGs and the Blues Brothers. When he’s not on the road, he stays busy writing, producing and recording. As a matter of fact, just a few months ago he released “Midnight Flyer.” His second album with Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals.

I had a chance to catch up with Steve at his place in Nashville, Insomnia Studios. We talked about the new album, guitars, Otis Redding and the Blues Brothers.

What was it like working with Felix Cavaliere again?

It’s sort of like stepping back in time. The fact that he sort of came out of high school singing as a teenager and I was playing and singing as a teenager and wound up with Booker T. & the MGs and he wound up with The Rascals doing all those great songs and all. When I say a “step back in time” literally – if you close your eyes, he sounds as good or better than he did when he was 20 years old! And that’s what is really fun. Working with Felix, his attitude is so cool and when you hit a lick or something like that he doesn’t have to say, “What’s that lick?” He just feels it or knows it.

The neat thing about Felix and I – we had already worked together in another band. An all-star band, we did like 21 shows for Northwest Airlines. Went to a lot of cities and had a lot of fun together. Basically it was like a “Hits Band.” We played the ones that people knew and recognized and that sort of thing. It was mainly for their Frequent Flyers Program. People that had earned enough miles, they’d do a little banquet for them and a show.

Second time around it was a little easier, basically because we kind of knew what to expect. The first time we worked together on the album, “Nudge It Up A Notch” it was more of an experiment at least initially at the onset. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We just got together and came up with grooves and stuff like that. Then between 7 and 9 songs into the project we sort of thought we had a direction and went ahead and completed it.

midnight-flyerWhat was the process like for the new album?

This last album, I’ll be the first to tell you- you probably won’t read about it in interviews, but I’ll tell you here… we were more than 3/4 of the way through the songs and Felix called one day and said, guys it’s not that I dislike what we’re doing, I just want to do some things that are a little more progressive. I’ve tried it and I’m just not real comfortable with the songs. And if it doesn’t upset too many people, I’d just like to start it over again. And we did- you could say we started over in midstream. It’s sort of like fishing and deciding to throw the tackle box overboard (laughs) and pick up some different bait and try fishing for a while.

So, you had to start all over again? Go in a new direction?

Well, we got into that mindset and started working with Tom Hambridge, who is a great drummer, an incredible producer and just a fun guy to be around. And he just sort of put it into a “new spirit.” I wouldn’t say a new direction, put things into a new spirit. So we got together here in the studio, Felix was sitting here, playing the piano and kind of mumbling some words- and I was sitting about 3 or 4 feet away coming up with different grooves. And Tom was sitting over in the corner- and he would just kind of log everything. And our engineer, Eddie Gore would record what we would do. Whenever we would finish a groove that we’d like, Eddie would put it down on tape and Felix would take it home and we all sort of worked on the words together. And we wound up with a little record called, “Midnight Flyer.” Hope you guys like it.

Let’s step back in time a bit, and touch on influences. Who were some of the guitarists that influenced you early on?

There are so many that the list would be endless- but the one guy that I always give credit for the inspiration, that I got to see live- is a guy named Lowman Pauling. The guitarist and I guess the bandleader of the Five Royales. That goes back to the fifties and early sixties. I got to see him live in Memphis, TN and it just blew me away. And the funny thing about him- he did a thing when he took a solo, well kind of like Chuck Berry- when Chuck would take a solo, he’d drop his strap down and play between his legs and do all this crazy stuff. Play behind his head and everything. Lowman Pauling didn’t have to drop his strap down- he had a really long strap, so his guitar always hung down below his knees. I thought that was the coolest thing I ever saw in my life! I couldn’t wait- I got home that night… my mom said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m trying to find one of my old belts… I need to make my guitar strap longer!” (Laughs) And I did! I found one and got my guitar strap and did some finagling and punched a hole in it and got longer so it would hold way down. And I think you can see that on one of my websites- or at least a silhouette of me playing the guitar WAY low. That’s that guitar and that picture came from a live show down at the Royal Peacock Nightclub in Atlanta, GA in 1961. I was an old guy then (laughs)… I don’t do that anymore, but it always stuck with me… so I always give credit to Lowman Pauling. There’s a song called, “Think” – all you guitar buffs out there, go and listen to “Think.” (Starts singing) “Think about the good times…” And listen to the guitar on there- it’ll blow your mind.

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From Noisey.com: Ace Frehley of KISS: Guitar Moves

You know what a dinosaur riff is? Yeah, we didn’t either. Until we sat down with shredder Ace Frehley of KISS at Electric Lady Studios.

Ace Frehley info:
Website: http://www.acefrehley.com/

Noisey info:
Subscribe to Noisey on YouTube to stay updated on their daily releases: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-Noisey
Videos, daily editorial and more: http://www.noisey.com
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A Guitar for John Oates – Parts 1 & 2

Will Kelly, monthly Repair Columnist for Vintage Guitar Magazine, builds a very special guitar for John Oates. Designed by John, this one of a kind hand built guitar is made using rare, 50,000 year old Kauri wood from New Zealand. From raw wood to being played live in concert, this guitar’s story is fascinating and mesmerizing!

 

 

To view Will Kelly’s YouTube Channel,  Click Here

Just Nick: EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run Stereo Delay and Reverb

Just like the legendary Dispatch Master only a million times deeper and cooler. Unlimited control in an intuitive, extremely musical package. Lots of cool features and sounds but all easily accessed. Awesome.

EarthQuaker Devices:  http://earthquakerdevices.com/

“Just Nick” Jaffe is a musician, recording engineer, teacher and editor.   In addition to being a member of several bands and sharing stages with some well known names in the industry, he’s also made a name for himself with his incredible video gear demos and lessons.  Nick was based for many years in Chicago and is now based in Saint Paul, MN.

You can find JustNick’s gear demos and unique play-along lesson videos at youtube.com/justnickmusic. You can support his lessons (so he can make lots more) at patreon.com/justnick

Chelle Rose to release new album, “Blue Ridge Blood”

PRESS RELEASE:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2016

BRB

DARK CHAPTERS, SWEET MEMORIES
COURSE THROUGH CHELLE ROSE’S BLUE RIDGE BLOOD,
RELEASING AUGUST 5

Nashville royal Buddy Miller contributes harmonies to title track
on George Reiff-produced follow-up to 2012’s Ghost of Browder Holler

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If great art comes from adversity, Nashville singer-CR Guitarsongwriter Chelle Rose figured she was ready to paint her masterpiece when she recorded Blue Ridge Blood, releasing August 5, 2016 on her own Lil’ Damsel Records.

She thought she’d weathered some serious storms before making her last one, 2012’s lauded Ghost of Browder Holler. But it turned out there was still some cleaning up to do, some history that had to be reckoned with if she was ever going to fix the damage permanently.

In these 11 tracks, Rose saws away at a branch or two of her family tree, revealing the most serious sinner and lamenting the self-destructive streaks others can’t escape. But despite the darkness in these songs, some of which could fit right in the next night-stalking supernatural-creature feature, Rose is, in fact, pretty darned upbeat.
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Greer Amps Releases the Super Hornet

Greer Amps has a BRAND NEW Fuzz pedal called “The Super Hornet” and it’s ready to hit the streets!

hornet

The Super Hornet has been a long time in the making…at least in Nick Greer’s mind. Based on one very special FOXX Tone Machine in Nick’s collection, this pedal is a shop favorite when it comes to fuzz and anything octave. We took the basic building blocks of the vintage circuit, tweaked it, put a little bit of special sauce in the design by using NOS BC-107B transistors, and threw an added feature in the mix. You’ll notice that there is an octave toggle, like on the vintage units that these pedals are styled after…but, that’s not just a straight-forward on/off toggle. When the toggle is in STINGER mode, the momentary STINGER switch becomes active. You can simply stand on the momentary switch, to engage the OCTAVE for a lead run, then come off of the STINGER switch to return to normal fuzz, or even tap the switch, to flutter the octave on and off. This feature is absolutely awesome. When the toggle is in OCTAVE mode, the fuzz is permanently an OCTAVE fuzz, and the STINGER switch is NOT ACTIVE. The fuzz control goes from light fuzz with some clean, to raging wall of fuzz tones. The tone control is a wide sweep tone control. All in all, this pedal is a perfect addition to any guitar or BASS player’s tone arsenal. The OCTAVE even works in low fuzz settings!

  • NOS BC-107B transistors!
  • Based on a classic rock machine!
  • Light fuzz to aggressive, wall of fuzz tones!
  • STINGER switch that allows for momentary octave when the fuzz is engaged!
  • True Bypass
  • Uses a standard neg. center, 2.1mm power supply only!
  • Lifetime Warranty to the original owner

The new Greer Super Hornet pedal is available now at their dealers or the Greer website with a MAP of $225.99. 

Be sure to head over to Greer Amps for more info.

Just Nick: SolidGoldFx Funk Lite Envelope Filter

A compact version of the Funkzilla, this is a highly user-friendly envelope filter for funk or any style. The control ranges preclude a harsh or overly spiky top end and the Attack control allows easy adjustment for a wide range of pickups.

SolidGoldFX:  http://www.solidgoldfx.com/

“Just Nick” Jaffe is a musician, recording engineer, teacher and editor.   In addition to being a member of several bands and sharing stages with some well known names in the industry, he’s also made a name for himself with his incredible video gear demos and lessons.  Nick was based for many years in Chicago and is now based in Saint Paul, MN.

You can find JustNick’s gear demos and unique play-along lesson videos at youtube.com/justnickmusic. You can support his lessons (so he can make lots more) at patreon.com/justnick

 

How to Stack Dirt Pedals on a Guitar Pedal Board

In this video we’ll look at two different ways to arrange and combine a fuzz, distortion and overdrive to get tones that work well independently and together in live and studio mixes.

Like these lessons? You can support by…downloading the backing tracks at justnickguitar.bandcamp.com….PayPal donation at http://.paypal.me/justnickjaffe…pledge support at http://Patreon.com/justnick …Or download original music at http://nickjaffe.bandcamp.com

“Just Nick” Jaffe is a musician, recording engineer, teacher and editor.   In addition to being a member of several bands and sharing stages with some well known names in the industry, he’s also made a name for himself with his incredible video gear demos and lessons.  Nick was based for many years in Chicago and is now based in Saint Paul, MN.

You can find JustNick’s gear demos and unique play-along lesson videos at youtube.com/justnickmusic. You can support his lessons (so he can make lots more) at patreon.com/justnick

Lead Guitar Workout: Mixing Pentatonic Minor and Dorian

Like these lessons? You can support by…downloading the backing tracks at justnickguitar.bandcamp.com….PayPal donation athttp://paypal.me/justnickjaffe Pledge support at http://Patreon.com/justnick …Or download original music at http://nickjaffe.bandcamp.com. THANK YOU!!!

In this vid we’ll work on three things at once: expanding our lead lines beyond pentatonic scales; moving smoothly between lead and chords; and breaking out of box patterns on the neck. Even if you are a beginner you can play along by just playing a few notes or the chord.

“Just Nick” Jaffe is a musician, recording engineer, teacher and editor.   In addition to being a member of several bands and sharing stages with some well known names in the industry, he’s also made a name for himself with his incredible video gear demos and lessons.  Nick was based for many years in Chicago and is now based in Saint Paul, MN.

You can find JustNick’s gear demos and unique play-along lesson videos at youtube.com/justnickmusic. You can support his lessons (so he can make lots more) at patreon.com/justnick

 

Remembering Nic Harris of Catalinbread


“Nicholas Harris and all his collaborators at Catalinbread Effects have had a HUGE impact on the world of guitar pedals and, more importantly, guitar music. They certainly have shaped my sound and have been hugely supportive of me personally. I didn’t know Nic well but I did have the pleasure of sharing a meal with him and Stefanie Castillo a couple years ago in Chicago. Nic semed to me exactly as he is described by his close friends: driven, highly creative, restless, sometimes contentious and always very real. He and his collaborators have always struck me as “my kind of people,” which is to say inspiring. I wish them much love and warmest condolences and I know they will continue to do great things for music. It must be terribly hard to lose a friend and partner in crime like Nic.”   – Nick Jaffe

There’s been a GoFundMe page set up in Nic’s memory.  The funds will go to funeral expenses, legal fees, and to help the family Nicholas has left behind.

https://www.gofundme.com/26tpr2ak

 

“Just Nick” Jaffe is a musician, recording engineer, teacher and editor.   In addition to being a member of several bands and sharing stages with some well known names in the industry, he’s also made a name for himself with his incredible video gear demos and lessons.  Nick was based for many years in Chicago and is now based in Saint Paul, MN.

You can find JustNick’s gear demos and unique play-along lesson videos at youtube.com/justnickmusic.