Chicago’s infamous American Heritage are set to release their latest piece of murderous metal, Prolapse, on November 24th via Solar Flare Records. The band’s sixth full-length is whiplash-inducing and loaded with thundering tracks all ripe with guitarist Scott Shellhamer’s mad riffage, meticulously crafted and played with specific pieces of gear. Check out what Shellhammer had to say about his amps, pedals, and… farts?
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Shellhamer: There really isn’t just one piece of gear. When we record I use multiple amps and a wide array of pedals to get a different tone on each song. I played a Marshall JCM 2000 Triple Super Lead 100, An Orange Thunderverb 200, and a custom 50 watt head, that I had made for me, named The Kentish Steed. Its guts are based on an Orange Graphic with a modded EQ and gain stage.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Shellhamer: Each amp has it’s own distinct tone. The Marshall is really crisp and has a tighter gain. The Orange has a rounder EQ and sounds better on its own but doesn’t have the same bite. The Kentish Steed has a natural gain break-up when you push it all the way out that is really cool and unique.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Shellhamer: I used an A-B of two of the amps or just one at a time depending on the song. We had some issues A-Bing a couple of those days and couldn’t figure out where the problem was. Haven’t been able to replicate the problem since. I used the Marshall the most. I know some of your readers are cringing right now, but it’s been a good amp for me and has been my primary amp for ages.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Shellhamer: It depends. For a while I would A-B the Marshall and the Kentish Steed on stage. But due to vehicle size restrictions we started just playing half stacks. So I would just play through the Marshall. We can’t ever truly get the same tones live as we did on the records. We used a lot of our own pedals on the record, but also used a lot of Sanford’s stuff. He’s got a nice collection of hard-to-find pedals that sound pretty wicked.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Shellhamer: I’ve had the Marshall for almost 15 years. The Orange is my wife’s that she’s been kind enough to let me use. Both she and the amp have been in my life for the past 4 years. The Kentish Steed was built for me about 6 years ago. Sure… I’d change my set up. I’m not particularly married to any piece of gear other than my guitar.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Shellhamer: Hmmm… I’ve had a few doozies. The last big one with American Heritage was ages ago. We were on tour with Art of Burning Water and Foe in the UK. The tour ended with a show in London. We were headlining that night and were sharing a backline with the other bands. Foe blew up one of the Hiwatt’s we were using, which was a drag but we had two more… that Art of Burning Water quickly blew up. Turns out the cab had some blown speakers in it and was running the wrong resistance and was frying the heads. We were forced to play our guitars DI through the monitors. That was a major drag.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Shellhamer: Farts are funny and poop comes from butts.
Check out the song “Mask of Lies”