I really didn’t start playing guitar until I went to college at WMU. As I was about to venture off, my parents got me an acoustic and I signed up for a guitar class. That was really the only formal training I ever took part in. During my college years I dabbled in a few bands, but none of them ever took off or even got around to playing any shows. It wasn’t until I graduated college that I really started to seeing the guitar as more than a casual hobby. My first serious band after graduating was a 2 person industrial band with myself playing guitar/singing and a buddy playing keys. Again, we never played a show. Soon after that we formed Mustard Plug and 25 years later it’s still going strong. In that time I’ve had a few other projects where I’ve played guitar. Most recently being another 2 person, sorta industrial band, called The War Between. Funny how that worked out, right?
Ace Frehley from KISS. Without a doubt he was the single reason I started playing. Well, he and my dad. But if it wasn’t for Ace I don’t think I would’ve ever wanted to be in a band. It wasn’t necessarily his individual playing either. It likely had more to do with KISS as a whole but Ace was easily my favorite.
My first electric guitar that I remember was a semi-hollowbody Epiphone Sheraton. That was the guitar I was using when Mustard Plug formed. I had something before that with the industrial band but I don’t know what it was. It was black. That’s all I remember.
SNFU - And No One Else Wanted to Play
KISS - Alive II
Descendents - Milo Goes to College
NOMEANSNO - Wrong
The Cure - Head On the Door
I’m not sure of a particular moment, but I’d have to say that whenever we get to travel to other countries to play, those are my proudest moments. It’s pretty mind boggling - even to this day - that I’ve been given the opportunity to do that.
Actually, I think Bucket from The Toasters was the first person to turn me on to Reverend guitars. We were doing a run of shows with them and he kept saying how happy he was with his new guitars and that I should check them out. So I did!
I’ve got a Sensei RA and a Charger HB. The Charger has the stock pickups swapped out for Railhammer Chisels to match the Sensei.
I love everything about these guitars! From the feel, to the look, to the sound to the overall construction! I’m really amazed at how much I’ve enjoyed playing them! Feels so natural. It really didn’t take any adjustment at all on my part coming from my old guitars. It feels like I’ve been playing them my whole life!! Love em! And their cases are beautiful. Haha.
I currently am using an Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII Head and an Orange 2x12 closed back cab. I’ll sometimes swap the head to for an Orange Dual Terror depending on the gig. Lately, I’ve been stocking up on a small collection of TC Pedals too. I’ve never been a big pedal user but with my new project, The War Between, having some guitar effects on hand is a big plus. I really like the TC stuff. The tone print function is great for someone like me who doesn’t like to fiddle non-stop with settings. Just download a preset, tweak a little and done! I also have a Timmy overdrive that is pretty amazing.
The most notable is probably my DJ career. I’ve been DJ’n for just over 25 years as well and continue to do so. I have a weekly night here in Grand Rapids and it’s good fun. It definitely helps keep me interested in upcoming music and different genres and what not. I’m also into mountain biking although pretty casually at this point. I can’t afford to hurt myself, so I take it pretty easy.
The age old advice is to get a tuner and use it. I couldn’t live without mine. I’ve heard far too many bands that are out of tune and there’s nothing worse. Other than that, just have fun. The music biz is probably the worst and best career you could get involved in. Don’t get bogged down in the negative side of it. Just have fun and make the music you want.
Currently Mustard Plug is gearing up to play a slew of shows! We’re hitting a bunch of midwest dates and doing a short run up to Pouzza Fest in Montreal. Should be blast!! My other band, The War Between, also has a few shows in the works. Lots of playing in my near future! Make sure to check out www.mustardplug.com and www.thewarbetween.com for upcoming shows!!