I began playing guitar when I was about 11 years old, right about the time I discovered MTV on the dial (back when TVs had dials, I'm old) and never looked back. The first time I hopped in a van with some dudes in a ska band, I was 15 and quickly realized that formal education was a waste of my time, so I graduated high school early and moved to Austin when I was barely 17 in 2000. After playing in various grindcore and metal bands, JD Cronise asked me if I wanted to form a more melodic kind of heavy metal act in 2003 and The Sword was born, I was 20. The next fifteen years were a flurry of seemingly endless tours and album releases, and I can look back on it all now with a lot of pride for all the hard work I did to get this far. Now for the next fifteen years!
In 1993 I discovered MTV, and when I saw Green Day's video for "Basket Case" I knew that I needed to start a band and get on that channel. When Kurt Loder narrated our MTV's You Hear It First piece in 2006, it was a bucket list moment for sure.
I had a 70's Silvetone with at least a dozen switches and buttons all over it. It was a tobacco burst Strat looking body with a metal pickguard. I ended up taking it apart to see how an electric guitar worked, but I couldn't put it back together.
Prince: Sign O' the Times
Electric Six: KILL
Ramones: Rocket To Russia
Wings: Band on the Run
Faith No More: The Real Thing
The first tour with Metallica that we did was a crazy stretch where every show was the biggest show we'd ever played. It started in Bergen, Norway where we played to 20,000 and ended in Istanbul, Turkey where we played for 65,000. The crowd looked like something from an 80's Monsters of Rock poster.
Chris Funk (Decemberists) invited me to play a benefit for the Children's Cancer Association where I was to have a guitar battle with a kid wearing a Bluetooth air guitar wristband. When the kid "won", I wanted to give her the guitar I was playing and Reverend was kind enough to provide me with a Flatroc. I loved how it played and after being introduced to Ken Haas over email, we ended up becoming friends and creating my signature guitar.
I use my own badass signature model, my favorite being the white version equipped with a piezo that I use for my heavy metal Pink Floyd tribute, Doom Side of the Moon. We dress in all white and play all white instruments so that our super psychedelic projection light show becomes the entire stage, it's really something special to witness.
I love my Reverend signature model because I got to design it with my friends Ken Haas and Joe Naylor and also because it plays better than guitars that cost twice as much. It's such a great guitar that I leave my Les Pauls at home now and play live with Reverend exclusively. I'm not just saying that because I'm trying to kiss their ass or because they paid me to, I truly love Reverend Guitars and you should too.
I'm still rocking my custom Big Crunch One Knob and Six Knob amps. They are made by a fine gentleman by the name of Brooks Harlan who happens to be in the sickest hardcore band, War On Women. Check out their new record, Capture the Flag, and fuck the patriarchy! My pedalboard consists of many different fuzzes and overdrives, lately a Palisades from Earthquaker Devices and a Fuzz Stang Mk II from Wright Sounds. I also use a Crybaby from Dunlop and an Afterneath and Levitation, also from Earthquaker. But I'm not afraid to throw and go if anyone out there wants me to try their pedals!
My wife and daughter recently got the hell out of dodge (Austin) by buying a truck and an Airstream and now we live on the road full time, so you never know where to find me, tax man, hahaha. We've been making a hobby of stopping at all the cool places that you never get to visit on tour like the Grand Canyon, Salvation Mountain, or just chilling on the beach in Oceanside or heading through the Valley of Fires in New Mexico. There's so much to see in this beautiful world, get off your ass and quit making excuses!
If you really want to play guitar for a living, it's a really tough road. The secret is to not have a Plan B. Brant Bjork had that advice to give and I think it's probably the best advice I've ever heard.
Since The Sword is on an extended hiatus, I'm gearing up to take over the world with my solo act! I made an album featuring me on every instrument, even vocals, and it will be arriving on my birthday, May 6 2019. It was a massive undertaking making an album that way, but many of my favorite artists have done it (Prince being my main influence) so I thought it was high time I joined their ranks. I also spearhead a heavy metal Pink Floyd tribute called Doom Side of the Moon that revs up once a year to have fun and pay homage to the greatest band to ever rock.