Philadelphia, PA-based psych/stoner/surf rock band, The Bad Larrys, are set to release their stunning debut Hodads next month and we're pretty excited! In anticipation of the album's release, we connected with the guitarist Jaret Salvat-Rivera to get the lowdown on the new music's sound, and how it came to be. We scored some cool deets about his Fender Jaguar and other teachable tech....
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Jaret Salvat-Rivera: It has to be my Fender Jaguar. It gets us there with any of the vintage Fender amps we use. It gets the perfect bell-like clean tones and downright nasty with a DBA Fuzz War. I originally played our bassists’ Jazzmaster with flatwounds but got a bit turned off by the longer scale and the struggle of bending those flatwounds. That shit hurts, man.
What about it makes it so important to you? Salvat-Rivera: I traded my beloved Gibson SG for the Jaguar when I joined the band and realized that it wasn’t going to work for what we were playing and it didn’t let me down. I was able to mimic the tones that were used in the music that inspired and influenced us so it basically wrote the songs itself. Lots of music in that guitar.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album? Salvat-Rivera: We recorded every song live, in the same room, to tape, and in single takes with minimal overdubs. All in a day with about 5-7 takes of each song til we felt like we nailed it. The Jag was run through my 69’ Bandmaster Reverb with nothing but a DBA Fuzz War, a Boss Blues Driver, and a Boss DD20, if we weren’t using our Space Echo. All overdubs were done with the Jag through a ‘66 Dual Showman with 2x15 JBL’s and a ‘66 Fender Reverb Unit.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set? Salvat-Rivera: We use the same gear live. The vocals get run through a DBA Echo Master. The bass is always loud as fuck and I’ve recently swapped the underpowered speakers in my cab to Weber’s with much better power handling. I’m wondering how much mojo in the recordings came from the old speakers farting out when pushed.
What are the major pros and cons? Salvat-Rivera: Soooo many cons to using this old gear! Before I swapped those speakers out I would constantly have issues with them live. Super unreliable and they didn’t cut through the mix much at all. The Jazzmaster had some wiring issues and would come in and out of signal like it had a built in vibrato/trem. I use a ‘62 Hagstrom H-12 a lot nowthat has these microphonic pickups that get nuts anytime I’m as close to the amp as I usually am. It’s a constant battle with our gear but it when it’s on...it sounds fucking amazing.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what? Salvat-Rivera: I wish! We’d be screwed if any of it disappeared.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it? Salvat-Rivera: I’ve had the Jaguar for a bit over a year and the Bandmaster Reverb for a couple months longer. The Hagstrom is being used to write one of our next albums and a lot of the songs on this next release now get played with it. I wish I’d had it for the first album. My good friend lent me his mid-2000s Black Beauty so we have a whole new set of tones and colors to play with. I’d love a bigsby on the Black Beauty, working volume and tone pots on the Jaguar, and one more Hagstrom cause it’s so rad. I just try to play the songs that the guitar looks and sounds like they want to play. That makes sense, right?
Give us your best "gear goes wrong" story. Salvat-Rivera: Hmmmmm... every time we play live? It’s been a goal of ours to get this stuff road-ready by early 2018 and we’re almost there. Tubes like to fall out of our ‘69 Super Reverb mid-song. I once came home to the Bandmaster being left on Standby for three days. I almost cried because it was farting out a ton and we had a gig the next day but it somehow kept its shit together... thanks, baby.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear Salvat-Rivera: I don’t listen to or play too much surf stuff, but the tones are still prevalent in our music. It’s probably not ideal to use the gear we use but it sounds perfect. I like to shy away from that classic surf stuff because it’s better saved for when we retire and can be like, a house band at some beach bar. I’m excited to unveil the new tunes written on the 12 String and any dark, sludge muck from the Les Paul. The Jaguar is getting hung up a bit for these new writing sessions but I’m sure she’ll get salty and produce some more gems. My pedalboard has grown a few more fuzzes but we’ll always remain loyal to the jangly-crust tones laid down in our first album.
Watch the band's video for "Deep Space Radio” right here.