The Grayces are a three-piece rock band from Nashville, Tennessee who, on October 14, 2014, released their latest full-length album titled, Westing. Featuring 12 gritty, Southern-tinged rock songs, the new recording demonstrates members Iz Stone (vocals, guitar), Patrick Ward (bass), and Chas Cantrell (drums), hitting their stride and laying down some memorable music. We recently chatted gear with the entire band, check it out!
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Patrick Ward: My amps get the loudness I need, my pedals give me the grit I want, but it all wouldn’t work without my bass. I hand-picked each piece of my bass guitars. I knew I wanted a Jazz neck profile, so I ordered all of my necks from All Parts asking for a few that were a little more deep than a typical J-Bass. The feel of those necks versus others fits perfectly in my hands. I highly believe my sound comes from my hands, but it is how I play that bass the makes the difference. For my blue bass I usually play, the pickups are from an older Japanese Geddy Lee, the body is a Fender Highway One series, and the bridge is a Badass 2. Each piece was selected to get the most powerful tone without having to go active. It is my baby.
Iz Stone: When it comes to obtaining The Grayces sound via my vocal, heavy reverb is my go-to. Whereas we can perform without the addition of saturated reverb on the vocal, I believe it is complementary to obtain our signature sound as it puts the vocal inside and surrounded by all aspects of the musical performance instead of just dryly highlighting the vocal on top of the other instrumentation. Finding the proper mix of all aspects of our instrumentation levels is of our utmost importance. As it comes to my guitar I seem to have an affinity for whammy bars and controlling any wave fluctuations manually with my wah pedal. Plus I love to play out of my killer 100 watt fender quad reverb with 4 twelve-inch speakers.
Chas Cantrell: My gear that I use is a 6 piece PDP all birch drum kit. Consisting of 10,12,14,16-inch toms and a 22×16-inch bass drum. The snare is actually a 13-inch Pearl Drums Joey Jordison signature snare. I use Zildjian A custom cymbals and hi-hats, and a 16-inch Zildjian Oriental China Trash. I use Evans drum heads except for my bass drum is an Aquarian Super Kick 2. This kit is by no means a high end drum kit or anything. I’ve had it since I was probably 17 or 18 years old. I mostly agree with Patrick in the sense of I feel my signature sound lies in my hands and feet and mind. My sound is a hodgepodge of different styles that I have been influenced by through the years.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Patrick Ward: How often do you get to put together your own instrument? I had a extra hand finishing both of my basses, but I got to really do all the dirty work to make it play as good as it does. Most people I know complain about how long they have to leave his/her instrument with a guitar tech/luthier to maintain their gear. I like digging in and getting it done myself. I do need some extra help from time to time, though.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Iz Stone: We made a point to record our album Westing as live as possible using the exact gear we do when we set up at a live show. Because we decided to do this, our recorded album is a good representation of how we sound at our live performances.
What are the major pros and cons?
Patrick Ward: Pros and cons of my gear? I wouldn’t trade my basses to anyone. My amp rig however is the bare minimum of what I really need to maintain on the road. I’ve blown up over three bass amps, and I had to go solid-state instead of tube. It wasn’t what I really wanted, but I’m waiting to hear if Mesa Boogie wants me on their crew or not. Then I won’t have any cons. Hint….
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Patrick Ward: My backup bass is a clone of my main Jazz bass with a few differences. The neck and bridge are the same, but the body is from my original Geddy Lee bass with Fender American Standard pickups instead of the Geddy pickups. My amp I keep stored away is a Fender Bassman 100 Head with a matching 2×15 slant cab. I’ve actually wanted to sell it in order to make way for a better rig, but haven’t found the right path for my next amp.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Chas Cantrell: I’ve had it for round about 10 years now. It’s been the kit that I’ve used in pretty much every band that I’ve been in. Pretty much every recording I’ve done has been with the drum kit I currently have. Would I ever change it? Damn right I would. Sponsorships?
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Chas Cantrell: I was playing a huge show at a packed venue. First note of the first song, I broke my beater on my bass pedal. I played the rest of the song with my left foot. Luckily a guy in one of the other bands had the exact same pedal as I did so he loaned me a beater.
Patrick Ward: Back in the day, I used a wireless system. As most of our fans know, I’m not just the kind of guy to stand around. I guess I was moving a little too quickly, and the system I used flew off my guitar into the crowd. I never saw it again. Fortunately, I was able to recover with a cable I had behind my amp. It taught me to move quickly when checking for issues in my rig rundown.
Check out the song “Lord and Gods of Alcohol”