Ottawa, ON southern metal hardcore band Hunter City Madness have done what many small musicians see as impossible. They’ve shared the stage with Baptized In Blood, Every Time I Die, Bat Sabbath etc., have played some Canadian festivals (KOI Music Festival, Canadian Music Week) and released their See You In Hell EP (which you can buy on iTunes. Sadly though the band has recently announced their breakup, guitarist Kyle Johnson gave us one last interview in order to talk about the Marshall JCM800 50-Watt Head he’ll be using on stage for the last HCM show.
What one piece of equipment do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Kyle: It’s really hard to just attribute the sound to just one source, but I think that my Marshall JCM800 50-watt head is the best part of my rig. It was built in 1983, and has a bass frequency boost switch modified into the circuitry. For some reason, running it through an Orange PPC412 cabinet, it is the best tone I’ve ever heard! Plenty of throaty midrange, balls, and high-end sizzle!
What about it makes it so important to you?
Kyle: This amp is very important to me, because it gives a supreme tone, and they’re becoming increasingly hard to find. This particular model was the last year they hand-wired the circuitry. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
What are the major pros and cons?
Kyle: Pros for the head: throwing an Ibanez TS-9 in front of the head creates the best all-around tone I have ever heard. Cons: the Marshall only has one channel, so I have to throw an MXR Micro Amp pedal for extra saturation, and I’m not able to use a clean channel… which is not a huge deal for our music. [laughs]
How long have you used this piece of equipment and would you ever change it?
Kyle: I bought this head in a boutique shop about 6 months ago, and have been using it ever since. I don’t think I will EVER change this head; it’s already grown on me that much! I’ve tried a lot of heads out there, and this head seemed to be the only I could get “that” tone right out of the gate. I have about 4 pedals I use, and it handles them very well.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Kyle: Anybody out there, whether you play rock, southern rock, blues, metal, hardcore, jazz, or whatever, if you find this head at a reasonable price, BUY it! Most major recording studios out there usually have 1 or all of these three amps: Marshall Plexi, Marshall JCM800, and Marshall JMP.
Check out the song: “Bad Venom”