Tuesday 12 November 2013

Interview with Bob Balch & Scott Reeder (Sun & Sail Club)


My delightful chat with Bob Balch and Scott Reeder of the Sun and Sail Club.

First of all, the band should not be Sun and Sail Club; it should be named Larry, Daryl and Daryl. How many times do you have two guys named Scott Reeder in your band? Also, throw in one of the best guitarist out there and you have the line up for Sun and Sail Club.

For those of you who are new to this venture, it is guitarist Bob Balch and drummer Scott Reeder from Fu Manchu and Scott Reeder, engineer of Sanctuary studio and bass player of The Obsessed and Kyuss.

These three musicians  alone,  have set the fuzz pedal world on fire, made drumming a thing of groove and pure ass whooping, bass tones that engulf you like the monster from Beast Master, and made the desert not just a place for Spaghetti Westerns to take be shot in.

To begin, these three gentlemen are crucial to many musicians like me that enjoy this wonderful genre of music. These three are musical icons in their own right, and yet are humble and grounded as if they were just three guys playing cover tunes in Frankie and the Snakelovers. This was a pure privilege to chat with Bob and Scott. Bob is indeed one of my favorite players and I told Scott that for me chatting with him was like speaking to Berry Oakely.

So sit back and relax and I hope you enjoy my interview with these two influential monsters of rock.


Gaff - Bob, how did this project come about?

Balch, “I had been writing riffs, sent Reeder from fu Manchu riffs and tried to confuse him with riffs, asked him what he would play on certain things and it came out rad. Reeder (fu manchu) and I recorded basic tracks, went to Sanctuary and Scott (Engineer, ex Kyuss) said, “I’ll give it a stab” and I was totally psyched that he wanted to do it. So Scott would send me the tunes and he sang on one. So I was totally psyched to have the bass player from Kyuss not only engineering but playing on it.

Scott (Kyuss), “I heard the stuff and my jaw hit the floor, but obviously, I was very cool about it. I was so psyched to play bass on it. We would work on it and it was done in 4-5 months.  I was psyched because I think Bob is one of the best guitarists out there.” I basically worked out the tunes, some tones I wanted droning, some low and flopping. From start to finish it was a very laid back and a great process to be involved in. When Bob bought in the Vocoder, I loved it, he ran his clean guitar through the Vocoder and we filtered the voice. Bob was doing some really intricate harmonies. For overdubs, Balch was just sitting on my couch in the control room, ripping. He was playing some amazing stuff and he was so relaxed while doing it.”

Gaff  - Riff wise, guitar wise and gear wise, did you guys switch it up from your regular gear,

Balch, “I kept a fuzz tone but didn’t want riffs to be buried because some of the riffs are faster with a lot of notes.  I used a JMP with creepy fingers fuzz and an 800 with a tube screamer, used that to keep definition to stay on top of the fuzz.

For the solos, I used a Buzz Around and I used a wah in a set position. Was playing reverend guitars on the rhythm tracks, tuning was standard and drop a. A lot was in drop a and the rest were in fu Manchu tuning, for the drop a I used used rev, for the fu, used an Armstrong, one particular rev, daredevil, was used a lot, it’s the red one. This one you hit a note and it blooms, it goes wahhhh.”

Gaff - Scott, what gear were you using on this session?

Scott “I was using my Hartke cabs and my Sky Valley, 1970 SVT.”

Gaff - Did you use the SVT on the Dave Grohl project?

Scott “yeah, I brought it in and Butch Vig was like, that is the one we are using.”

Gaff - Bob, who did the singing? 

Balch - “not really singing, playing guitar through a Vocoder, a lot of the shit that’s on there, is complex harmonies, I am putting jazz chords on top of heavy riffs, Reeder(engineer) sings on one song.”

Gaff - Scott, how did you go about singing on the album?

Scott “I just wanted something that I could stick with and sounded good. Kept it clean and it worked out well.”

Gaff- I asked Bob if he was aiming for Wes Montgomery meets Slayer.

Balch - “That is exactly what I was going for. Bob, you ever listen to Soulive, “those guys are fucking rad, totally dig those guys.”

Gaff - How many songs are on the album?

Balch “11 but 3 are solo jazz guitar pieces, I didn’t plan on doing it but Reeder has a Chandler preamp that was used on a lot of Floyd stuff, plugged directly into it and it fucking sounded so amazing, 20 minutes of me fucking around, just one take, didn’t even know what I was doing, thought it would be cool to mix up the album with the jazz stuff”

Gaff - Scott, can you talk to me about this wonderful pre-amp?

Scott - “It is a limited edition, re-issue Chandler, matches the one that was used on Dark Side and a lot of the Abbey Road recordings.

Gaff - Did J Robbins mix the album?

Balch,” I love that album Mother Teacher Destroyer, that was J. He worked with Clutch also... I texted Tim from Clutch and asked how it was working with J and he said I am sitting next to him right now. “I loved the last Sword album and the Clutch album, J mixed our album in 8 days, came out rad.”
Gaff - Who mastered the album?

Balch - “Dan Coutant, he has worked with J Robbins, and he was way into the album. It was mastered in 3 days and we all loved it.”

“The stuff you are hearing is basically the second time we played it. Reeder (Fu Manchu) and I have played with each other so often that we know what to expect from each other.”

Gaff- How did you meet Scott Reeder (Kyuss)?

Balch “ I went out to Sanctuary to interview him for PlayThisRiff.com, 3 years ago, he showed me how to play a couple Kyuss riffs, thought it would be cool to come out here and have him one day play on some stuff.”

Gaff - How did you like his bass tone, the first time you heard it?

Balch “I never heard him play in front of me.  “It came out fucking awesome, his bass tone is awesome.”

Gaff - Are you guys going to perform live or just a studio thing?

Balch - “Just a studio thing right now, would need to find a guitarist to do the rhythm thing. We will probably do it later as we are writing for the new fu album

Scott - “I would love to get a chance to do this live. It was such a great project and everything felt so right, live would be definitely something in the future.

Gaff - When does Mannequin come out?

Balch - “ November 19th, Really excited for it to be out.”

Scott “excited for the album to come out. Was a great album to engineer and be a part of musically?”

So get yourself this album on November 19th. It will be a great stocking stuffer or an album that will make you wish your chops were like Bobs. I believe the pussy cat dolls heard the album and re-wrote their hit song to, “Don’t cha wish your boyfriend had fucking chops like Bob, fucking don’tcha, what’s that pistol dick, fucking don’tcha.”
Eat a peach,

Marc Gaffney from Gozu

Goes without saying a massive thank you to the legends that are Bob Balch and Scott Reeder for talking to us here at The Sludgelord.  Sincere thanks guys.  Also Marc Gaffney, you’re bad motherfucker.  Cheers hombre. 

You can preorder their debut album here and it is available to buy November 19th 2013 on CD and Vinyl.  You can listen to it in full below

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