Toronto, Canada rockers, Public Animal, released their ripping new 11-track album, Palace Arms, on October 28, 2016 (but it here) and are currently gigging in support there of. Recently, we were afforded some interview time with guitarist/vocalist Ian Blurton who helped us to understand a key piece of his gear, why he uses it, and how they recorded the aforementioned new album.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Blurton: 1965 Left-handed SG Junior.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Blurton: It’s a really comfortable guitar, a couple of awesome friends helped find it/buy it and Tony Iommi uses a SG.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Blurton: It was pretty much the only guitar used on our latest record except for a few bits that required a Tele. It was used forward/backwards and sometimes treated thru a synth, but mostly just raw and kicking out of 2 amps (Marshall/Green).
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Blurton: By using the same amps live that we used in the studio.
What are the major pros and cons?
Blurton: The con is that our amps take a beating so it’s important to have someone who can keep them running and sounding great. Tim and Zach at Superfuzz Audio/Electric Standard in Toronto do a great job on that. The pro is that they always sound great, are a pleasure to play thru and are crushing.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Blurton: We always carry a spare head in case something blows on stage and it rotates between a Yellowhead Custom 50 and a Fender Bassman.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Blurton: I’ve had my SG for over 10 years and the way I use it is a combination of love and abuse. I try to use everything about the guitar and dig the simplicity of 1 pick-up/volume/tone. I doubt I would change it for live, but love playing different guitars because each one brings out something different in you. For example, I am currently loving a left-handed Eastwood RD that a buddy lent me.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Blurton: So many…. PAs falling over, headstocks breaking mid-performance, drums becoming dust but here’s one. I was in Italy, playing with Bionic and jamming econo i.e. I only brought one guitar on tour. It was the last show of said tour and we were actually playing inside a three-sided cage. The crowd was going bonkers and a beer bottle comes flying out of the audience and hits the headstock of my guitar and breaks off the tuning peg for the A string rendering the guitar pretty much useless and me with no back-up. The guitar tech for the headliner knew I didn’t have another guitar and did the only thing he could, he handed me a right handed guitar tuned to drop D so I could at least finish out the set playing one finger bar chords and Greg Ginn style leads.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Blurton: While I love vintage guitar amps and guitars I don’t seem them as the be-all. Every piece of gear, no matter how crappy, probably has something that it is good and worth exploring in it.
03/03 – Guelph, ON – Jimmy Jazz (free show)
03/04 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood w/ Pet Sun and Reverend Snow
04/01 – Ottawa, ON – The Dominion Tavern w/ Steve Adamyk Band
Check out the video for the song “20th Century Strategies”