Article By: Leanne Ridgeway
The Gear Assembly interview series is especially for the music gear addicts, or simply the curious like myself.
Each article in the Gear Assembly series features a different musician answering the same questions, highlighting both their varying preference in music gear, as well as their own music that results from using that gear. Hopefully, it brings some awareness to both the artists and their gear makers. You’re reading, so we’ve got at least one more. Find new music, learn about who’s making it and what they use to create it…
GEAR ASSEMBLY Series #2:
CONCLAVE’s Chris Giguere
Western Massachusetts is a veritable citadel of heavy music acts. It’s like there’s a county arsenal for them. I’ve stumbled upon at least 36 of them in only the last several years. There are more than a few that stand out due to not only their music but some of the personalities belonging to the band members. CONCLAVE is one of those bands and Chris Giguere is most assuredly one of those personalities. Larger than life (probably intimidating to some), confident, yet surprisingly reserved, and more humble than one might suspect. Plus the all-important sense of humor. Oh, and he plays guitar, too.
Welcome to the second piece in the Gear Assembly! Rock on…
Riff Relevant /Leanne: What instrument(s) do you play?
Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drums / Percussion.
Riff Relevant /Leanne: Give us a rundown of your current live gear set-up.
Pedal Board: Korg PitchBlack Tuner | Electro Harmonix Metal Muff | DOD 250 Overdrive / Preamp | DOD 401 Phasor | Earthquaker Devices SWISS THINGS | Dunlop Crybaby from Hell / Various wah pedals | Boss NS2 Noise Suppressor | Boss PS2 Phase Shifter | Electro Harmonix Cathedral Stereo Reverb | Seymour Duncan Dark Sun Reverb / Relay
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
When I first was able to get a guitar in 1989; my influences when I started playing were Ace Frehley, James Hetfield, Jeff Hanneman, and Spike Cassidy (D.R.I).
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
I’ve gone through a lot of changes over the years and been in many bands…
I guess, right now, is a song I / we wrote in CONCLAVE that will be out on a yet to be titled new full length, to be recorded in early May. The song is titled “Dawn of Days“, which the premise is about the beginning of the end, and incidentally, that’s the state of the world right now.
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
I use pretty much the same as my live setup. Obviously, effects and guitars may change, it depends on what works in the studio better and what sound I’m trying to achieve.
Live is easier, you just want to crank up and blast, but in the studio when you’re looking for a rich, thick tone, that doesn’t always work.
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm-up rituals?
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
I’m very much an improv player when it comes to leads/etc. So, why not come out and see?
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
Well, I have a broad range of influences and my record collection is rather eclectic. My guitar tone is earth-shattering and I have a tight right hand for rhythm. My leads tend to be melodic and have hooks (think Adrian Smith and James Hetfield).
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
I pretty much play mainly Gibson. I always have, they just feel right.
Also, I pretty much only play Marshall amps. I have some of the best amps ever made and have played a lot of others, and I always prefer Marshall. I think of the guitar tones of the people I’m influenced by and it’s all Marshall.
I don’t have any sponsorships, though I think I should, because I’m great.
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
My amp, it’s a fire-breathing monster. It literally vibrates stages. It just has it, I can’t explain it, every time I play through it, it brings a smile to my face.
Riff Relevant: What do you enjoy doing outside of music, that you feel ultimately contributes to your musicality? (For example, a hobby that you turn to in order to stimulate your creativity.)
I obviously work on guitars.
I also design and build guitar effects pedals under the name BLACK LODGE AUDIO. I’ve made pedals for my bandmate Jerry (also of Warhorse) and my other bandmate Jeremy (Conclave, Desolate). I’ve also built a pedal for Terry Savastano (Warhorse, Come To Grief).
I’m a factory-trained Harley Davidson Master Technician. I’m also huge into motocross, Harleys, Hot Rods, and anything CHEVROLET.
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands that are currently influencing you? If yes, how so?
I can’t think of any emerging artists that influence me. There are bands I dig, but they don’t influence me or my playing.
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming musician, what would it be?
Practice and have fun. Fun should come first, but if you want to get good, you need to practice.
Riff Relevant: How has the pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
Well, I socially distance myself from people normally, so that’s nothing new, but even more so now. I’m staying away from people even more, which I didn’t think was possible.
Our shows have been cancelled and work has been exceptionally slow.
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal setup?
A wall of Marshalls and all the Gibson Les Paul guitars I can get my hands on. I’d also like an ’84 Explorer like the one Hetfield played in the ’80s. Gold Tops, a ’78 Les Paul custom silverburst, and a silverburst Flying V.
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