Queens, NY-based hardcore/metal quintet Sworn Enemy are going to be releasing their brand new album, Living on Borrowed Time, on May 13th, 2014. Once again loaded with their signature blend of provocative hardcore and metal the band are going to blow away fans, both old and new, with this recording. We managed to grab some time with guitarist Jeff Cummings who told us about his Krank Krankenstein 100 Watt guitar head.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Cummings: My Krank Krankenstein 100 Watt Guitar Head.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Cummings: I bought it back in 2007 because the way it sounded was exactly what I was looking for in this style of music. I always used the Peavey 5150 II live and in the studio and wanted to add to my gear collection. It just turned out that this head became my main go-to once I got the sound dialed in over the years; it has as much gain as you can handle and still maintains note clarity and great tone. Unfortunately the company closed it’s doors last year which sucks because I was endorsed with them and they really took care of their artists. I still use the head on the road and in the studio though.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Cummings: I used the Krankenstein along with the 5150 II to blend and make an overall great sound for my rhythm tracks along with some great Maxon and TC Electronic pedals that I use as well.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Cummings: There are some differences in sounds between the studio and live shows. Mainly volume and some EQ changes due to different rooms that we play in, but my sound is pretty straight forward and for the most part just balls out heavy. I try and get a happy medium on the stage where I’m not blowing everyone’s head off or making the sound engineers job a living hell. The amp really starts to sound killer the harder you push it though so Krank wasn’t just a clever name it was definitely how you should play it – cranked up!
What are the major pros and cons?
Cummings: Pros: It’s lightweight for a tube amp, sounds great, and it’s a workhorse and has been a go-to for years. Cons: It’s a tube amp so there are more things that can go wrong, especially on the road you have to have the parts to fix on the go. It’s big to bring if you have fly dates so you have to rent or borrow other gear.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Cummings: I have my Peavey 5150 II that comes out with me so I have a backup or if I feel like switching it up for the night just have to adjust some stuff on my pedals and it’s good to go.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Cummings: I have spent years working on the sound I have gotten with this amp and I will continue to use it, but if I come across something I like and sounds good I am open to switch it up. Tony Krank, Jeromy Graves and Pat Flanagan from Krank Amplification started a new company called Revolution Amplification and I haven’t played any of these amps yet, but if they are like the old Krank circuits I would start using those for sure.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Cummings: A while after I had been using the amp I had it re-tubed and biased for the new, different brand tubes. It was working great for a couple practices but when I took it out on the road shortly after, I had problems with tubes arcing and the amp wasn’t functioning properly. It doesn’t have a fixed bias and tube set like a Mesa Boogie does where you can go to most music stores and find new tubes to put in and fix the problem. I found out once I got in touch with a head amp tech at Krank he told me that they did extensive R&D on tubes for their amplifiers. He told me the amp I have was specifically voiced for the Sovtek 5881 tubes and it pretty much ate all other tubes up and couldn’t take the abuse from the amp. The amp couldn’t be used the entire run but once I got the Sovteks back in and rebiased it has been running strong ever since with no problems.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Cummings: A lot of people go for what gear other people use whether it be from a band they see or friends they know. I went through a bunch of amps trying to find something that sounded good to my ear and I think that’s the best way to find out what works for you. You never know what other equipment people are using behind or in front of their setup to make it sound the way they do, also a lot of the sound comes from they way you play your instrument!
Check out the song “A Place Of Solace”