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 #12:
GEEZER’s Pat Harrington
New York’s GEEZER has had a nonstop progression since its start in 2012. The steadily increasing discography starts with their debut full-length ‘Electrically Recorded Handmade Heavy Blues‘ (2013), then ‘Gage‘ (2014), a split release to start off the Ripple Music series ‘Second Coming Of Heavy: Chapter One‘ (2015), their self-titled ‘Geezer‘ (2016), ‘Psychoriffadelia‘ (2017), live release ‘A Flagrant Disregard for Happiness‘ (2017), last year’s ‘Spiral Fires‘ EP (2019), and now their just-released, brilliantly bluesy fuzzed, full-length ‘Groovy‘ (2020).
GEEZER guitarist and vocalist Pat Harrington also has had a long-running podcast – Electric Beard Of Doom – which I’ve had the honor (and innate fear) of appearing on a few times. Mr. Harrington is a busy dood, but we’ll find out what else Pat is up to in 2020, as he’s here to be our twelfth piece in the Gear Assembly! Dig…
Riff Relevant /Leanne: What instrument(s) do you play?
Riff Relevant /Leanne: Give us a rundown of your current live gear set-up.
I rotate between a few guitars, both live and in the studio. My main guitar for Geezer is a Tom Cat by Pure Salem Guitars with Kent Armstrong P-90‘s. It’s an older model with a stop tail piece. All the newer models have a Bigsby Tremelo Bridge.
I also use a Gibson “Tribute Series” Gold Top Les Paul, which has a set of humbucker shaped P-90’s, as well as Dirty Penny, my SG Faded Special, which I’ve had for 16 years or so.
For about 5 years now, my amp is an Orange AD30. I usually run it through Orange 1×12 and a 2×12 cabinets. A smaller set up than most, the lower wattage amp gives me the ability to really crank up the volume and get the tubes burning. For many years, I used a Marshall 50w JCM 800 which was brilliant, but I got frustrated with not being able to get the volume much past 2, even on bigger stages.
The pedal board is ever changing, but it’s main components are a Strymon Capistan Delay, various mod pedals by Earthquaker Devices and 2 fuzz pedals. The fuzz pedals I’m running right now are a Frost Giant Electronics Massif (Orange Sparkle) and the StoneFly Effects Grizzly Fuzz. The Grizzly fuzz has been the cornerstone of my board for about 5 years now.
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
Prince. Let’s Go Crazy. I saw the video and when it got to the solo at the end. I know that is what I wanted to do.
Once I started playing, Zeppelin led to AC/DC, led to Sabbath, led to Iron Maiden, led to Metallica, led to Slayer, led to C.O.C., led to The Misfits… the list goes on and on.
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
Ugh. that’s a tough one.
One example would be “Dirty Penny” off of ‘Psychoriffadelia‘. It’s got a lot going on there. A heavy riff, catchy hook, melodic solos, and some serious jamming!
Warts and all, that song really captures a lot of what I like about music.
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
I pretty much use the same set up for both. Sometimes I’ll break out a weird guitar or amp to do overdub stuff, but when we record, I try and capture as much of our live sound as possible.
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm up rituals?
Not officially. As I get older, I need to be mindful about a few more things and sometimes my hands don’t cooperate. Generally speaking, I just try and stay positive mentally and stay loose physically. Just not too loose…
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
We never play the same set. Even if we play the same songs, there are always jams or other things that happen to keep things fun and interesting.
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
On Geezer‘s first few albums, I was messing around with a lot of things, different guitars, different tunings, different amps, etc… By the time we got around to writing songs for the self-titled album, I made the decision to simplify things.
We decided that we would stick to pretty much the same tuning (Drop C/D standard), I also figured out the set up that became the “Geezer sound”. That included the Tom Cat (P-90’s), the Grizzly Fuzz, and the Orange AD30. When those three things came together, I knew that was the sound I was looking for.
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
Guitar wise, I’ve always been a Gibson guy, mainly Les Pauls and SGs. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve started to mix that up a bit. In addition, I love Orange amps. There is just something about that tone, mixed with a fuzz pedal. I just can’t get enough of it.
I really dig the smaller pedal guys, too. I’ve mentioned Frost Giant and StoneFly already. They are killer dudes making killer gear and I always keep an eye on what they’re doing. I also have become a big fan of EarthQuaker Devices. They make gloriously weird pedals. There is so much cool shit going on with pedals these days, it’s pretty rad.
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
Once again, a guitar with P-90’s, a fuzz pedal and an Orange amp. That is the Stoney Trinity.
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 wouldn’t call it a hobby, but I have two young sons. Between the band, work, the wife and kids. Ain’t much room for anything else. Surprisingly, I find that being a parent has contributed to my music in ways that I never thought possible. It has only been a positive experience.
I guess I should also mention that for almost two years, I have been working for Spector USA. Their shop is up here in the Hudson Valley and I have been learning how to build basses. Up until now, I haven’t had any experience in this, so it’s been pretty rad.
I’m basically learning the entire process from sourcing the wood, building all the components, to staining and sending it off for finishing. It’s amazing how much work goes in to building just one guitar. I have a whole new appreciation for the craft. I also now love guitars even more, which I didn’t think was possible.
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands who are currently influencing you (or you just enjoy)? If yes, how so?
Ahh man… Big fan of All Them Witches, King Buffalo, Black Rainbows, Elephant Tree, Gorilla, Rifflord… I really dig the last Saint Karloff record.
They aren’t a new band, but I’ve been on this long running Bongzilla kick.
I also just got hip to Death Valley Girls, love everything about what they are doing.
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming musician, what would it be?
Be yourself, play the blues, stay cool.
Riff Relevant: How has the virus pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
We had to cancel our trip to Austin. It would have been our first time in Texas and we are really bummed it didn’t get to happen.
As of now, we’re all just laying low and hoping for the best. Hoping the best for everyone as well.
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal set up?
More of everything please!
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