25 de dezembro de 2016

JF EFFECTS INTERVIEWS: DAVE LEE (GUITAR TECH)

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Dave Lee during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in England, march 2003.


John Frusciante effects had the privilege of interviewing Dave Lee, John Frusciante's guitar tech. Dave started working with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the time of the album One Hot Minute - as Dave Navarro's guitar tech - and with John Frusciante's return, he stayed with the band until the 2007 hiatus. In addition, he accompanied Frusciante beyond the band - participating in the recording of his solo albuns and performances. If there is someone of fundamental importance and with the knowledge to speak about this subject - besides Frusciante himself - 'that's Dave Lee, guy of John'. Today, Dave works with Adam Levine from Maroon 5, but still maintains a huge respect and good memories of his old partner. This interview reflects the talent and generosity of the man - a great professional that, despite the time passed, colaborated with his best and with willingness to this accomplishment.

Dave, first of all, we are very thankful for this opportunity and we want to congratulate you for all your work. After more than 10 years following John Frusciante, what was it like, to work and live with him? Was he more like a boss or more like a friend?
"Ok. First off. Thank you. John is a very kind person with a very big heart. Having said that, at times he could be 'difficult'. He gets frustrated easily and becomes overwhelmed sometimes. He's very emotional. And his mood can be switched by the slightest thing. So I would say, as much as I love him as a person, I  found it best to try to keep our relationship more a 'working' relationship rather than a friendship."


Chili Peppers crew in 2006.
What was touring with the Chili Peppers like? What was the routine, what happened in a work day?
"The Chili Peppers are a good organization to work for. The crew is well cared for and made as comfortable as is reasonable (nice hotels and travel arrangements).
Aside from that it's pretty much the same as touring with any band. Load in. Do a show. Load out. Go to the bus. The Chili Peppers crew are the nicest people I've ever worked with. Very fun pleasant atmosphere. "


Is there any John's song or album that you like better than the others?
"To be honest, John's solo music was recorded so close together, and quickly that it's all kind of a blur to me. I seem to remember liking the Ataxia stuff the best. Joe Lally is the nicest person in the world."


Dave during soundcheck with the '62 Strat, 2006.
In Guitarist Magazine, june 2003, you said you tried to convince John to play Fender's replicas of its old models, but he liked the "life" that his old instruments had. Besides the original tuning pegs (replaced by Klusons) and straplocks (replaced by Schallers), is there any other modification that you made in the guitars? He said in a interview that he replaced his '62 Strat pickups for Seymour Duncans SSL-1 (like in his '55 Strat). Is there anything else besides that? When did that occured?
"I remember reading that and realizing John was wrong in that interview (I never told him). We were experimenting with a number of different pickups at the time. And he must've gotten confused. The actual pickups we settled on (and John never knew this) were stock, brand new, Fender Strat pickups. The same ones Fender was putting in their brand new American Fender Strats at the time (I'll bet you weren't expecting that)."


You once said that you had taken a few photographs of the '62 Stratocaster for a guy named Jake, who would order a guitar exactly the same at Fender Custom Shop. Do you still have those photos? Would you make them available for the public?
"Sorry. I have no Idea what became of those pics. And the Fender Custom Shop never did get around to producing the 'John Strat Replica'."


Fender Stratocaster '59.
In 2004 he obtained two '61 Strats, a Fiesta Red and an Olympic White, both used on Stadium Arcadium's tour. At the beginning of the tour (AOL - march 2006 and La Cigale - april 2006) he was seen playing a sunburst Strat, apparently from 1959. There are rumors that, as requested by Frusciante, you asked Ned Evett to replace its original neck for a fretless neck with glass covering, but in the photos taken by Vintage Guitar in 2009, that guitar is not shown. Is that true? If so, what did you think of the modification? Did Frusciante kept it?
"That is true. The one that was modified was a hardtail (I don't remember him using it on tour). Ned thought we were crazy to modify an old Strat like that. But we sent him the guitar and as it turned out, Ned couldn't modify that neck anyway due to where the truss rod was built into the original neck. So Ned put a neck of his own construction (with the glass fingerboard) on that body. As far as I know, John still has it."


In a lot of internet forums, the order in which John Frusciante used his pedals on Stadium Arcadium tour is debated. With a little research and discussion, we tried to elaborate that order, knowing that all the pedals were used in series [and all at the same period, like: the Big Muff replacements - English Muff'n, Metal Muff, Foxx Fuzz Wah; the Electro-Harmonix POG (used only at the beginning of the tour); and the Digitech Whammy (used from april to july 2007)]. First of all, were they really used in series (all together)? And second, is this order elaborated by our page correct? What are the corrections?
"The page looks pretty accurate as far as I can remember. He did sometimes turn them all on."




Another key point is: the signal was turned to stereo through the Boss CE-1 (as said in your interview for Guitarist Magazine in 2003), presumably between a Marshall Silver Jubilee and a Major. However, there was another Silver Jubilee. When were it used? Was the Gretsch White Falcon and the Les Paul plugged into it? Were there any pedals on that possible separated channel?
"The Boss CE-1 was split to a Marshall Major and a Marshall Silver Jubilee. The second Silver Jubilee was a stand alone amp. Usually with no effects. And set to an overdriven tone. Almost always played with the black Les Paul. We called that the 'Slash Rig'. I remember during a show in LA, John playing that rig, and Slash standing right in front of him in the audience watching. I remember thinking 'I wonder if Slash realizes he inspired that rig?' Ironic."


Besides the noticeable equipment, was there any sound treatment rack used?
"No. Just a wireless rack."


John Frusciante and Dave Lee in 2004.
From the By The Way tour, John Frusciante started using Shure's wireless system in his guitars. As we can see on concerts videos, each guitar had a transmitter. How the signal reception worked, each guitar with a transmitter and a single receiver? Did you controlled the signal reception, muting it during guitar changes and selecting the frequency of each guitar being used?
"I prefer to have them all set to one channel. And turn on and off the transmitter during the guitar hand off. I still do it that way."


What was used when John used his acoustic guitar live? The signal was sent to which amp?
"Neither. We had a stereo acoustic pickup system installed in his acoustic guitars by Bill Asher. Which went to the DI boxes. It was an Amulet pickup system. Sounded amazing."


In some interviews, John calls the recording process of the album Shadows Collide With People "frustrating", due to his tiring search for perfection. Do you agree with him? Were the recording sessions tiring or something like that?
"Honestly, we recorded so many of his solo albuns in such a short time, I can't differentiate one of those sessions from another."


Dave preparing the equipment for the show.

Do you prefer working in studio or in live concerts? What are the differences?
"I can't stand working in the studio. It drives me crazy. Too much sitting around, feeling like I'm in the way. I much, much prefer live shows."


On the album recorded live at Hyde Park, the guitar is a little more saturated than the tone Frusciante was using. Was it him who wanted that tone, and how did he get it? Or it happened during the recording process?
"I never noticed that it sounded more saturated. Those Hyde Park shows were really fun though. I got to meet a number of my musical heroes over those few days."



At Rock in Rio 2001, John’s guitar is also quite saturated. Do you remember how they achieved that tone? Was it intentional?
"Ok. There's a story behind that one. At the soundcheck the day before the show, somebody backstage flipped a switch on the power and fried every amp on the stage, and the monitor desk. The promoters had to beg, borrow and steal rental amps for us. It was a mess."


John Frusciante using his WH-10 in 2007.
A lot of guitarists are on an endless search for John's guitar tone. In 2010, Ibanez made a WH-10's reissue, "the wah tone of the Chili Peppers". However, that V2 version had a lot of problems for some of its users. Frusciante used the first issue of the pedal [the gray V1, made between 1987 and 1993, and the black one (that I call V1/2) made between 1993 and 1996]. Did he have any problems with the pedal besides the plastic body? Is there any big difference between these two versions that he used?
"Those WH-10's were my biggest problem there. The main problem was that the plastic would always break. He just didn't like the sound of the new one with the metal case."


The Empyrean is always a favourite among John's fans, and considered a studio master piece. What was it like recording that album?
"Honestly, I don't remember the recording of that one being any different. My favorite of his solo stuff was always the acoustic stuff."


Do you still work with John? Or keep in touch?
"I don't work with John anymore. For the last 6 years I've been working for Adam Levine with Maroon 5. I love him. He's a great guy. I had pretty much lost touch with John. But a couple of years ago, Adam was going to be playing a Queen song on The Voice. I knew John had a Brian May guitar which we wanted to get that Queen sound. I called John to see if we could borrow the guitar. We had such a great talk. I've never heard him sound so happy. We talked for about an hour. He was glad to let us use the guitar. And Adam was excited to be playing one of John's guitars. It went great."


Blake Shelton with Adam Levine using John Frusciante's guitar on The Voice, june 2011.

Have you been listening to his electronic work? What do you think of it?
"I've got to be honest. I'm not a big fan of electronic music. I'm glad it makes him happy. But I just don't get it. Lol."


___________________________________________________________________________________
Once again, JFeffects would like to thank Dave Lee - soon there'll be more!
Interview by:
- Raphael Romanelli A. de Oliveira
- Pedro Tavares

www.jfeffects.com.br

3 comentários:

  1. Next questions:
    -Ds2 settings
    -Guitar action (precisely)
    -Amp settings and volume levels between the two (basically what is the trick to grt that tone)
    -pickup action

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  2. Respostas
    1. John used D'Addario XL .10 strings (replacing the high E for a .11) in his Stratocasters, Telecasters and Jaguar.

      http://www.jfeffects.com.br/2017/01/dave-mail-2-questions-about-strings.html

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