Vintage Guitar - July 2018 - open - 28
days. There's a Flying V and an Explorer, and
I've got a Charvel with a whammy bar. I hadn't
been touching that too much, but I wanted to
go there on this record a little bit.
You took a unique approach to laying
down the guitars.
Yeah, I did all the demos with a Line 6 Pod.
I've been using a lot of echo and reverb with
it, and it sounds really washy and crazy. So I
put a little of that on the record. I'm running
a Holbrook TS50 head and Holbrook cabinet
with four Celestion Vintage 30s, then the Pod
straight to the board. I run the amp clean with
whatever amp modeler and effects I like on
the Pod, then blend it in with the raw straight
track from the amp.
How did your Holbrook signature amp
I've got this '70s Marshall 2104 I've used for
most of my career - 2x12 combo based on a
JMP 50-watt. The gain section was modified
and it sounds killer. I thought, "If I can get
someone to copy that, it would be diamonds."
And Holbrook did it. Out of the box, it sounded
basically exactly like my Marshall. It's got two
gain stages and I like to crank them up - go for
it and get nuts. It's actually a lot more versatile
than that; I can get JMP sounds, plexi sounds,
and all kinds of different sounds.
I love 50-watt heads. To me, they have a
lot more compression and I like the way they
sound better than 100-watt heads, in general.
Rock and Roll Forever
ommy Skeoch is revered for delivering
guitar tone with equal parts attitude
and guttural conviction. Since his departure
from Tesla in 2006, he has kept busy teaching
and recorded two metal solo albums, 2007's
Freak Bucket, and Brand of Metal, from '12.
He has recently experienced a revitalized
energy thanks to the self-titled debut by his
new project, Skinsuit.
"The last two records, I did my own thing,
just yelling and screaming over everything; I
didn't spend a lot of time on drums, songwriting or anything, I just did it and had fun. This
time, I'm taking it a bit more seriously. I've got
a drummer and a singer, and it's more a band
effort," he said, setting up our recent discussion.
Is Skinsuit a reminder of rock's better
What I wanted to do more than anything
is kind of a throwback - stuff that people
aren't doing anymore. The songs have a
late-'80s/early-'90s rock feel - real dynamic,
real melodic, and the singer just gets it on.
I also put a lot more guitar on this, so there
are solos everywhere. The playing is from the
gut; that's my whole thing and it's all over
this record. It's hard to get away from that,
it's just who I am.
Which guitars did you use most?
I'm all about Gibson Custom Shop Historic
Les Pauls and Fender Custom Shop relic Teles
and Strats. That's pretty much all I use these
I always use a Boss Super Chorus for cleaner
stuff; I like turning the guitar Volume down
and letting it clean up a bit. I don't necessarily
like getting a real chimey, clean sound out of
the amp; that's too clean for me. I like a little
bit of sizzle.
I also use an MXR Phase 90 and a Way
Huge Supa Puss. On the intro to "Other
Worlds" I'm using an EarthQuaker Devices
Afterneath, and it's trippy. You can do all
kinds of crazy stuff with it, so I use it with
the Supa Puss and it's just wild. Because of
that pedal, I came up with the part for the
intro, so I can be really inspired by pedals
sometimes. They're so expressive and it's fun
to color it up with pedals. I'm a straight-rock
guy, but I like a bit of craziness every now
And this isn't the first album on which
you've played bass, is it?
No, I enjoy playing bass. It's really fun to
dig in with the kick drum. I'm using a Fender
reissue Precision through Kustom Amps' version of an SVT cab with eight 10s. It's loud and
sounds great; for recording, I always use an
amp. You have to move some air. That's a big
part of the sound. - Johnny Zapp
Tommy Skeoch: Jennifer Howes.
Which pedals do you rely on most?