Slipknot: The Futility of Hope
GW What tuning do you use?
ROOT I tune down to C#, and the lowest string is dropped to B. My strings are .011, .015, .020 plain, .036, .042 and .056. If I use standard A=440 tuning I’ll switch to .010s, but any lower then that and you’ve got to bump the gauges up a bit. A lot of bands use a wound third string and a .068-gauge low string, which is great when you’re just playing rhythm, but you need a little bit of slink for soloing.
GW Mick, what guitars did you use to record this album?
THOMSON My main guitars are my Ibanez MTM1 signature models with mahogany through-necks, mahogany bodies, ebony fingerboards, fixed bridges and a pair of active Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups. No two of my guitars sound the same. Every piece of wood sounds different, which is how I can justify owning as many guitars as I have. However, I love that basic formula, and those guitars provide the sound that I love when I’m drop tuned to A or B or even tuned up to E.
I recently had Ibanez do an artist shop version of the very first guitar I ever owned, which was a Hohner Telecaster copy that I got when I was maybe 10 and sold when I was 12 for $40 to some fucker who painted it and smashed it in the street. One night when I was browsing eBay while drunk, I found a guitar exactly like my first one and bought it. I would have given the guy I originally sold my guitar to a grand to get it back if he hadn’t painted it Day-Glo orange and destroyed it.
GW You also worked with Rivera to develop your KR7 signature amp head.
THOMSON My Rivera KR7 signature head has been used to make a few records. Joe Barresi used his on several records, like Tool’s 10,000 Days. The guys in Life of Agony have used it. I don’t want people to look at it like “the Slipknot amp.” It’s a Rivera amp that Paul Rivera and I spent a lot of time working on in the lab. He had it hooked up to a frequency analyzer so we could see what we were hearing, and I brought my guitar with my pickups and my string gauges so I had a familiar reference. It’s best to let your ears be your guide. When I was selecting speakers for my Rivera amp, I did a blind test. Usually I prefer Celestion G12T-75 speakers, which are amazing. I love the dark character of them, and they have warm, pronounced mids with bottom end that’s tight but not stiff. The top end is smooth and very present but not shrill. To me it’s the perfect speaker, but it can’t handle what my head can give it. Those speakers weren’t designed for amplifying guitars that are tuned down to B with that much gain. We tried some different 100-watt Celestion speakers, and in the end there was a clear winner: the G12K-100.
GW The song “Snuff” has acoustic guitars on it, but it’s still heavy.
THOMSON We’ve had fans bitch because we had acoustic guitars on our last record. So what? It’s just a piece of music. There is no agenda. Fans can get very narrow-minded and divide everything up into small pieces. It’s like American politics—divide and conquer, split everyone into two separate parties and let them fight. How about being an independent thinker? But all these dumb fuckers fall for it.
We have lots of songs that we’ve recorded but never released because they don’t necessarily fit our style. Ultimately, all of our music is for us; we don’t record things just because we think people will buy it. Even members of the band who aren’t guitarists have acoustic guitars that they use to write songs. Show me the heaviest band in the world, and if they have two guitarists there will be at least two acoustic guitars in the band if not more. It’s what you do with it.
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