Their new album titled Barefoot and Pregnant is out now via Arrested Youth Records and the alternative rock/punk duo of Kelly Ogden (vox, bass) and Luis Cabezas (guitar, vox) couldn’t be happier. Based in Los Angeles, CA, this band has been at it for quite some time and Barefoot and Pregnant is their fifth studio release and eagrly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s Self-Titled effort. So as to learn more about the intricacies of the band’s sound and recording of the new album, we asked guitarist Luis Cabezas about some of his go-to gear.
Cabezas: I run a couple of Gibsons through an 80’s Marshall half-stack. My main live guitar is Les Paul Junior double-cutaway TV Model, and if I happen to bash it up or break a string I’ve got a white Joan Jett Signature Melody Maker ready to go. The amp itself is usually one of two JCM 800s, both circa 1984. One is 50 watts and usually sits in our recording space; the other is a 100 watter and goes with us on the road – minus 2 of the output tubes, effectively making it 50 watts. So in a roundabout way, it’s a all about a Les Paul thru a vintage Marshall amp, the one piece being the Les Paul.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Cabezas: All of my gear is really HEAVY. I use a heavy guitar with heavy gauge strings through an amp built like a tank. So I know the vibrations coming off my fingers are getting amplified to the max. It kinda hurts but it’s supposed to.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Cabezas: I’ve got a solid layer of this rig ringing throughout Barefoot and Pregnant… it’s where most of the ambient, fuzzy, and chaotic tones come from. For most of the more precise stuff I stuck with another guitar though.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Cabezas: We usually approach it the other way around. We try and capture the way we sound live during recording, so when it’s time to play it live it isn’t too hard to recreate. It’s pretty simple… big guitars, big vocals, lots of harmonies, and atomic-clock solid drums.
What are the major pros and cons?
Cabezas: By limiting our recording palette to sounds that are mostly re-creatable live we may be limiting ourselves in terms of some songwriting avenues or sonic textures. But we want our records to be accurate representations of what you get when you come see us live, and that’s The Dollyrots. Kelly and I have thought about starting a side-project to indulge those other ideas.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Cabezas: Backups for everything! We usually bring twins of every single piece of gear on tour. You go backstage and you’re seeing double.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Cabezas: I’ll use my main Gibson forever because it’s rock solid, plays in tune even after getting beat up, and has its own vibe after so much sweat ending up on it. There’s no other guitar in the World like it. I’d only change it if I wanted to do something non-rock n’ roll or just plain acoustic.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Cabezas: That story doesn’t belong to me… Kelly owns the “gear goes wrong” story. When she went through 3 basses on stage in the UK due to broken string after broken string, doing a comedy routine in between the whole fiasco, and getting the kids whipped up into a mosh pit while Jaret from Bowling For Soup frantically restrung her main bass. Only to hand it back in standard tuning. And we don’t play in standard tuning! Sometimes you’ve gotta get by on personality.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Cabezas: I think it’s just about knowing your gear, loving it, and making the most of it. There’s so much good gear out there these days… it’s all just tools you can use for evil or for good. Find something that speaks to you and make it your own.
Check out the song “First World Anarchist”