Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 22

you wonder, "How the hell did we write this
thing?" It's always fun to go back and do that.
Playing-wise, it's been a blast.
What can fans expect from the forthcoming CoC studio album?

It's a tall order, because the last record I did
with CoC was In the Arms of God, which in
my opinion is about as good as I could do it.
That was us at the top of our game. So, our
standards are very high and we don't take
this opportunity lightly, so we're putting a lot
of energy and time into making the correct
record for where we're at right now, but going
backward a little bit, too. We're not scared to
do that. I know which parts work - and how
- for us. We just want to make what's in our
head - a killer classic CoC record. And with
John Custer working with us, who produced
all those records. He's super-excited, too.
How would you say your guitar playing differs from when you play with CoC
compared to Down?

Down is a little more ham-fisted, if that
makes any sense. The CoC thing, obviously,
I'm singing. It's just two different animals.
The Down stuff, I'm more focused on ripping
guitar stuff because I don't have to sing. And
the CoC stuff is really more song-oriented.
Which guitars, effects, and amplifiers
do you use?

PEPPER KEENAN
Down with CoC

t's difficult enough to be a member of
one metal band, let alone two. But Pepper
Keenan is pulling double-duty as a member
of both Corrosion of Conformity (as singer/
guitarist) and Down (as guitarist). The former's reunion certainly makes sense, as the
Keenan-fronted lineup enjoyed the biggest
commercial success.
We spoke with him about how CoC is going
about picking up where it left off in 2006.
How did the idea come up to reunite
with CoC?

Just being on tour and hearing a lot of people
asking, "When are you going to get back together?" That kind of thing. It had been a long
time since I'd spoken to Reed [Mullin, drums]

What does the thickness add to the
instrument?

and then they started doing the three-piece
thing. People just kind of kept the band alive
and were really curious about the possibility of
us playing again. We talked about it. We said,
"Let's just go to Europe, play some shows, and
feel it out." It was like riding a bike. It was really
fun. And the songs really do stand the test of
time. It was awesome to play them - some we
hadn't played in 20 years. It went great, so it
just started rolling from there, and everybody
seemed to dig what we were doing.

It's just sturdier, and I really wanted to put
the jack upside-down on the side of the guitar,
so it came up by the strap. I had them use a
Strat-style input jack, so it goes up and over
the strap. On some of the Gibsons, it comes
out the front, and I break them all the time.
I played SGs so long and thought, "How can
I make it better for me?" We also moved the
pickup selector out of the way and put the
Volume knob in a different spot - closer to
the strings, like a Stratocaster.

We've all matured a bit. We're not necessarily
better (laughs), but we're playing better. It's
just really fun. It's bizarre when you go back
and play songs you wrote a long time ago, and

It would be two of them. In the Arms of God,
guitar-playing-wise, is pretty damn epic. And
the Down stuff... Down II has some pretty
crazy guitar s**t on it. - Greg Prato

How is it playing in the band now compared to the first time around?

VINTAGE GUITAR

22

December 2016

Which album of your entire career is your
favorite from a guitar-playing standpoint?

Pepper Keenan: Steven J. Messina.

I

Right now, live, I am using two Orange
Thunderverb 50-watt heads, Orange cabinets,
and minimal pedals. I got your wah, delay, a
Phase 90, and an overdrive, and I can pretty
much get anywhere I need to go with that small
setup. And then I've got two ESP custom-made
guitars that are like SGs. I've used them forever,
they're bulletproof and beat to s**t, but still
play great. They're based on one of my favorite
Gibson SGs, just made thicker - as thick as a
Telecaster. There are only two of them.


http://youtu.be/BiBMmmyH7_Y?list=PL1293D4CB8DBFF1B9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 2
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 6
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Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 9
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