In the ’60s and ’70s, it was not uncommon to find an extra power outlet on the back of your amp. I assume this was because live rock music was in its infancy and most theaters didn’t have a milk crate full of quad boxes and power strips to bring power to your multiple amps, reverb units, and bulky-ass Morley wah pedals. The extra outlet disappeared in the ’80s, which is a shame, because they can be so damn useful. I know, because my Ampeg V-4B and SVT have ones which I use all the time to plug in my pedals.
This is Sean’s Peavey XXX amp with an outlet I added. I did it because he likes to place his wireless on top of the amp and Sennheiser, in their infinite wisdom, made the power adapter cord 3′ long. It’s a pain in the ass to run an extension cord for a single DC power adapter, so the outlet makes things easier. I detailed how I did it in a post about fixing that amp. Another option is to get an IEC plug splitter like the one I wrote about before, but that’s just something extra to lose. Sean’s now got a signature Satriani XXX and he wanted it, too, to have the extra outlet. What a time to make a post dedicated to adding this long-lost convenience.
I spoke about doing this in my post on fixing up a Peavey VTM 120, but I didn’t take pictures. Well, after the ground pin fell out on my Ampeg V4-B, it was time to replace another power cord. This time, I took some pictures for anyone interested in taking on such a task.
This actually happened to me while on my last tour with Exhumed. It didn’t stop me from playing. A ground pin isn’t essential to a functioning amp. It’s a safety device, in case there’s a short within the amplifier, so the amp doesn’t conduct voltage into the user through the chassis. I took my chances on the road, but once I was home it was time to replace this safety feature.
The Peavey VTM 120 is [looks around to see who is listening] a great fucking amp. Don’t tell your friends, because you can still get ’em relatively cheap. It’s essentially a JCM 800 clone with a set of DIP switches “to avoid any Imperial entanglements.” Sebastian Phillips, my bandmate in Exhumed, swears so much by his that he has one for each coast. He even got our other guitfiddler, Matt Harvey, to get one as a back-up for his 5150 (or 6505… I can’t keep track).
Of course, even a good amp has a bad day. This trooper made it through a marathon six-week tour, but upped and quit on us the very last day. It just stopped turning on. Luckily, Matt had that back-up, so Sebastian didn’t lose his groove. I took the amp after we unpacked our shit and did my doktor thing.
Since the gang was all flying back together from South America, Matt thought it would be a good idea to do a few more shows in the U.S. before Exhumed had to all head our separate ways. We didn’t have a new album, but we DID have a new hot sauce! So… let’s promote that!
From Hella Hot Hot Sauce, the same gang that brought the Ghoul hot sauce to life, comes Exhumed’s Forged In Fire Hot Sauce! It’s the gastronomical equivalent of our music, in that it’ll also make you shoot fire out your ass!
Roughly halfway through our tour, we flew over the Panama Canal and headed for the first time into South America. Only Mike had been here before, doing tech work for Exodus. For the rest of us, this was new ground. Half-way through my life, new ground is rare. We landed in Medellin, Colombia, and had one of the most beautiful drives through verdant mountains into one of the coolest looking cities I’ve ever seen.
And the drive was pretty much all I saw. We got to the club and prepared for our fucking four hour long sound check or whatever. Baz was especially uncomfortable, having been knocked down by the ‘rrhea earlier that day. Mike would follow. All of Beyond Creation was already suffering days before. Oddly, Matt, whose bowels are regularly known to be home of the devil, is the only one who came out of this Latin American tour unscathed by the demon bung water.
Last month, I headed out with Exhumed for a tour of Latin America. I’ve already played Mexico a bunch, but this would be the first tour for me, and Exhumed, to head even further South… right down to where the toilet water spins the other direction (lies… it doesn’t). We had just finished recording a new album, literally hours before we got on a plane at LAX to our first stop in Monterrey.
This was the first time I had a dude with a sign waiting to pick me (and the boys) up. It was momentous. It would get tiresome. So… many… flights. We also had some tigers show up to take photos of us. How did they know what flight we were on? Even the promoters couldn’t explain. This would become a frequent occurrence throughout Latin America.
The Varidrive by SIB! is a gnarly fully AC powered vacuum tube overdrive. It’s got a real analog growl, pushing that tube to the limits for real distortion.
For such a nicely engineered pedal, they forgot one thing: there’s zero indication when you’ve engaged the effect… I mean, other than screaming overdrive in your ears. But visually, ya got nothing, and during a hard core punk rock gig, it can sometimes be hard to tell. Luckily, SIB! already put an LED on their pedal to indicate it’s getting power. It’s not so hard to change that out for a bicolor LED to indicate power AND when the effect is engaged.
I bought a used Shure Beta 58 off of craigslist some time ago. The damn thing just stopped working one day. I tried to see about fixing it, but it was a ding dong mystery and the insides of that thing do not reveal secrets easily. Plus, a bunch of it is just glued in. I finally read about sending it in to Shure for “repair,” where they charge you half the cost of a new mic and you get… a new mic, in the box. No warranty or receipt required.
I can reveal, friends, it is true. Shure has a great product replacement system and sent me a brand new Beta 58A in the box with all the peripherals. All I had to do was fill out a form and provide CC payment info. I also sent in a GLXD1 wireless transmitter that’d gone wonky which they fixed for free! Again, no warranty! They just did it!