Minor Malpractice: Sovtek Big Muff Pi

My parental units are the best. We have Christmas every year with the whole family. Not a winter solstice, for we are not trying to refind our pagan roots, we celebrate Christmas with all the enthusiasm a bunch of atheists, agnostics, buddists, and lapsed Catholics can muster. This past year, my parental units asked what I wanted, and I wall wanted for Christmas was a Russian Big Muff. Sure, that sounds bad, but I meant the Russian Sovtek Big Muff Pi Version 7 fuzz pedal in the big green tank box with the tall logo. And they delivered, in damn fine condition. Fucking A. Thanks, eBay Santa.

Sovtek Big Muff Pi Fuzz

I’ve wanted one of these ever since Ludicra was playing Car Fest, and the bass player of Lullabye Arkestra fired up her’s, and I ran across the room saying, “What the FUCK was that beautiful noise?” Turned out to be this pedal. This particular model is coveted by bass players. It’s the same as any Big Muff, a classic fuzz on it’s own, but the capacitor values in the various fuzz stages differ enough from other models so that this is the one that can output the brown notes to hapless victims causing uncontrollable bowel movements. Plus, this version has that bad ass big green tank box, and that’s just cool. Yup, fashion beats function 28 days of month, as my friend Jamie puts it.

For more info on all Big Muffs, there’s an excellent resource here: http://www.kitrae.net/music/music_big_muff.html

The whole history of Mike Matthews, and Elektro Harmonix, and Sovtek is a fascinating novel in and of itself, and a topic for another day. I had other fish to fry inside this rooskie.

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Ghoul School

It was a strange weekend in the Bay Area. It had been so nice, but all of a sudden it was stormy out, lightening was crashing, and the smell of boiled beets was in the air. Obviously, splatterthrashers Ghoul were in town.

The original hooded menaces in Ghoul have often journied to Oakland in the past. I think there must be some kind of special travel deal or a direct flight from their homeland of Creepsylvania to Oakland. I shudder to think of what their passport photos must look like. This time, they were in town to record their long-awaited follow up album to 2006’s Splatterthrash. I guess Mr. Fang’s wax cylinder recording device must’ve been in the shop, because I found the Ghouls at Oakland’s vaunted Earhammer Studios, a place well known to record some of the best doom, crust and punk coming out of the Bay Area. I’m sure they felt right at home in the depressed neighborhood with people pushing their entire belongings about in shopping carts, not unlike the wheelbarrows of their European homeland. Just less donkey shit everywhere.

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