While some may relish in the delights of fine wines or Cuban cigars, Crazy Joe and the Mad River Outlaws have a highly refined taste for musical equipment. As one guy put it, “I’ve never seen a bigger heap of pawnshop crap in all my life.”
“Crazy” Joe Tritschler has been using G&L guitars ever since he bought his first one, a used ’86 ASAT, shortly after his 14th birthday (with birthday money, no less). Since a ’54 Fender Telecaster is just a little out of his price range, he swears by his trusty ’97 G&L ASAT Classic, which is almost as good and a hell of a lot better than anything Fender is making at a reasonable price nowadays. Of note is that Joe replaced the original, very slim neck with a big honkin’ G&L George Fullerton-model maple neck, which he prefers for its nice V-shaped profile and small frets, similar to a ’50’s Fender. He also replaced the buzz-prone six-piece bridge saddles with a compensated three-barrel brass set, which reportedly made a dramatic improvement in tone. Joe uses a special pickup-selector switch in his ASAT Classic that results in a much less splattery tone in the twin-pickup (middle) position. Information about this special switch will be posted soon.
For amplifiers, Joe generally uses one of three different rigs, depending on the venue. The one most often seen in Dayton, OH-area clubs consists of two mid-60’s Gibson Minuteman GA-20RVT combos stacked on top of each other and driven by a special buffer mounted on his guitar strap. Joe started using this rig because he could fit it in the back of his ’71 Cadillac. Unlike every other piece of equipment he owns, these amplifiers are basically stock except that each combo now sports a grey-frame JBL D120F instead of the original CTS driver. The high efficiency of the JBL’s allows two 12-watt amplifiers to produce enough volume to drown out Punkin’ Pat, which is pretty remarkable if you think about it. With one notable exception (posted soon), Joe will not use anything but ’60’s-era AlNiCo-magnet JBL speakers, although he admits that E-V’s and Altecs are pretty good, too. Joe rewired the 6EU7 tube sockets on his Gibsons so he could use any nine-pin minature tube he wanted with a standard 12AX7-type pinout (the 6EU7 is simply a different-pinned 12AX7 with a low-hum filament). He relies on an undisclosed combination of preamp tubes, but will admit to using the same RCA 6BQ5 power tubes that originally came with the amps in ’65 or ’66.
Hep Cat Matt
To get “Hep Cat” Matt Duffey’s terrifying Slap ‘Em Up Bass sound, he
electrifies his 1970’s Karl Hauser upright bass with a K&K two-channel “Bass Master Rockabilly Plus” pickup system, which is a great-sounding rig with a lame-sounding name. His amplifier of choice is a circa-1972 Kustom K250-4 amplifer that Joe has modified for better low-frequency response. The matching “tuck’n’roll” pleated cabinet houses two 15″ woofers and an Altec 811B-lookalike horn. Like Joe, he swears by AlNiCo-magnet JBL speakers, and uses two grey-frame D140F’s in addition to the stock University Sound compression driver (also AlNiCo). When electric bass is called for, such as when the bass player from the Latvian Polka All-Stars borrows his rig for shows, Matt brings either his Butterscotch Blonde reissue ’51 Fender Precision Bass or a “Piano Black” ’58 Danelectro Longhorn reissue.
Punkin’ Pat Lee
Punkin” Pat Lee has been playing Pearl-brand drums and Paiste cymbals for years, mostly because Alex Van Halen used them in the early ’90’s. The sad part is not so much that Pat was influenced by Van Halen – after all, even Joe will agree that the first six Van Halen records kick ass – but that he liked that horrible “Van Hagar” cheese. Either way, Pat uses a four-piece Import-Series jazz kit with a 20-inch bass drum and…ahem…a double bass pedal, which Joe has tried to hide in his trunk before shows, but Pat usually refuses to play until he brings it back. Joe has also tried hiding Pat’s cymbals, and eventually had to resort to threatening Pat with death until he agreed to play with only a ride cymbal and hi-hats. Joe will not let Pat use anything bigger than a wooden-tip 7A drumstick, and reasons that if the need should arise for Joe to insert one in Pat’s left nostril, a 7A will likely cause the least amount of brain damage, although he suspects it’s too late to be worried about that.