It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Houston quintet Rome Hero Foxes. The indie rock group has a new album titled 18 Summers due on July 27th and, as you probably guessed from the title, this is a real summery-sounding album, equipped with driving melodies and beach-worthy guitar riffs. These guys are barely out of high school, having just graduated in 2016 shortly before they were discovered by Dance Gavin Dance’s Kurt Travis. You can pre-order 18 Summers via the band’s official website. Learn more about this emerging band and their lead guitarist Michael Fox, no, not that Michael Fox, as he tells us about his favourite, and classic guitar!
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Michael Fox: I primarily play a 1964 Fender Jaguar on pretty much every song of ours! It’s been modified quite a bit over the years, however much of it is original. Notable modifications include a Bare Knuckle Black Dog Humbucker in the bridge position, and a mastery bridge. The neck pickup is original from 1964 and blends really well with the humbucker. I do have the original bridge single coil but it’s a bit too bright for our sound.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Fox: I’ve always wanted a real vintage guitar! The more beat up, the better. There’s just something about old guitars that feels different. Originally I wanted a vintage Stratocaster, but that’s pretty much impossible without spending $15-30k. I found that vintage Fender offsets are way cheaper, and I found a great deal on this one. It also just so happens to be one of the most comfortable guitars I’ve ever played, and has one of the most unique tones I’ve ever heard.
Remember to grab the new album 18 Summers when it’s released on July 27th!
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Fox: We used several different guitars on the record, however, my Jag was used specifically for the more “vintage” style tones and it blends very nicely into our new record.
How do you recreate your album (guitar) tones in your live set?
Fox: I use the Jaguar through a Friedman Dirty Shirley amplifier. Those two combined with my Strymon reverb and delays produce a very big sound. Recreating the tones from the record isn’t hard at all because of how unique this Jaguar sounds. Most of my sound comes from the guitar regardless of what rig I’m playing through.
What are the major pros and cons?
Fox: There are pros and cons with any guitar. I’ve found that out over the years that no guitar can do everything. Major pros are that it sounds and feels incredible. I also think it looks really cool! The only cons of this guitar, and most vintage guitars is that you don’t get the improvements to the design that they’ve made over the years. I always feel like I’m “fighting” with this guitar in a way because it’ll never play perfectly like a brand new expensive guitar from the custom shop, but that’s fine with me. It suits me perfectly.
Check out these shots of Michael’s Jaguar and pedals!
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Fox: I have several backups including a Stratocaster, Telecaster and Les Paul. I generally bring either the Strat or Tele as a backup, but rarely need them.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Fox: I bought this guitar in the summer of 2016. I primarily use it for lead guitar, and some rhythm. I would not change anything about it!
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Fox: I don’t really have a specific “gear goes wrong” story but I always seem to break a string at the worst possible time.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Fox: This isn’t the kind of guitar that I would’ve seen myself playing in the past, but it turned out to be the best guitar I’ve ever owned. I’d really just tell people, especially beginners, to get out there and really try everything. All of my guitar heroes play Stratocasters and Les Pauls, but it turns out those weren’t really for me. It took me years to figure out that I’ll probably play a Jaguar for the rest of my life!
View the group’s “18 Summers” lyric video here!