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 #6:
SWITCHBLADE JESUS’ Chris Black
Thus far, my one opportunity to witness the Corpus Christi, Texas trio was at The Maryland Doom Fest 2018. On stage that evening, Chris Black – the SWITCHBLADE JESUS bassist – seemed like a dexterously whirling spurwheel from hell. Offstage, he appeared a bit more reserved. Although, it was one of their away games, so maybe they were on good behavior? Time will tell… either way, they sure are polite gents.
SWITCHBLADE JESUS has some new sounds coming down the pike, but until then we have some fun chat from Chris about his loud toys. Chris Black is our sixth piece in the Gear Assembly! Rock on…
Riff Relevant /Leanne: What instrument(s) do you play?
I also play guitar and drums, both poorly.
Riff Relevant /Leanne: Give us a rundown of your current live gear set-up.
Serek Lincoln (Just got it, so you’ll see it live soon. It’s pink! It rules so hard!) [Photo above.]
Fender American Professional Precision
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with Dunable Baphomets
All strung with stainless Rotos.
Ampeg 410 HLF
Effects currently on my board:
Damnation Audio MBD1
Frost Giant Electronics Bass Mountain prototype (Keep an eye out, this things gonna kill.)
Frost Giant Electronics Massif
Boss DD20 Delay
Mantic Beef Bag
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
I bought a beater bass one day in the mid nineties with some spare cash I had.
I was on probation and couldn’t stay out of trouble, so I thought this would help give me something else to focus my attention on, while I got right with the county, haha. I was like 19 or 20 at the time.
I had a few close friends that played guitar show me a few riffs and I played along with my punk rock records at the house. Stuff like Discharge, Dayglo Abortions, Black Flag, and the Exploited.
Watching a lot of local punk rock bands at the time I was like “Man, I can do this too!” I have always been a fan of thrash, death, and black metal, but punk rock put the bass in my hands and got me on stage.
Once I got proficient, I was in like three bands, haha. I love playing the bass.
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
The new SWITCHBLADE JESUS full length coming out will better answer that question.
I was a bit more involved in the writing process. Lot of bangers on that one, for sure.
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
I try to keep it as simple in the studio as I can. I’m kind of no nonsense when it come to that.
Currently, I’m just using my Precision direct into a Sansamp RPM rack. It’s got sweepable mids, so you can really shape a good, natural drive with that way.
You can really do anything at that point, with a good foundation like that.
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm up rituals?
Not really, hahaha. I try to keep things real chill before a show.
I may practice a little bit beforehand and have a beer or two, but as far as a “ritual” so to speak… nah.
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
Same as above. I just try an keep chill and relaxed as much as possible.
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
Low action, stainless rounds, a good drive, and a big amp.
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
Not really. I’m not a “have to have” kind of guy when it comes to gear. I like trying new stuff, too.
It’s good to be malleable I think. Can’t beat a good Precision, though.
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
My whole sound is the sum of its parts, so I don’t think I can single it down to one particular piece of equipment.
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.)
Husband, father of two, motorcycles, skateboards, and 20 year refinery rat.
These things help keep my schedule very full.
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands who are currently influencing you (or you just enjoy)? If yes, how so?
So many right now… Cleric, Fetid, IDLES, Ceremony, Pears, Lord Mantis, Bummer, Superstition, to name a few.
Lo-fi, too, when things get stuffy… Knowmadic, Sleepdealer, Eevee. Many others that I’m forgetting.
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming musician, what would it be?
Practice a lot and invest in good gear. Learn your fingerboard and some basic theory.
You don’t have to be a virtuoso – but you don’t have to strive to suck, either.
Riff Relevant: How has the virus pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
All our shows keep getting cancelled. Work and home have become priority until this mess clears up.
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal set up?
An affordable, left-handed, vintage ‘51 Precision – which pretty much does not exist, haha!
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