Royal Thunder's Josh Weaver on New Record and Pedal Addiction

(Image credit: Jimmy Hubbard)

Royal Thunder guitarist/founder Josh Weaver has just cleared soundcheck at Richmond, Virginia’s Strange Matter venue when Guitar World gets him on the phone to talk about the dark, heavy and heady mix of blues-based rock that makes up his band’s new album, WICK.

But the Atlanta-based six-stringer—and self-professed gear junkie—is already on the move, looking to score some new tonal treasures at a music store just down the street.

Weaver admits that while he’s tried to curb his three-pedal-a-week spending habit, when he’s out on the road the musician just can’t seem to resist acquiring more effects for his growing stash.

“I’m always looking for textures; that’s why I have such a huge pedalboard,” says Weaver. “Tones are sources of inspiration for me. Even if I turn on a pedal for five seconds, if it adds to the song and makes it more dramatic it’s always worth it.”

WICK, Royal Thunder’s third full-length, features Weaver and co-guitarist Will Fiore conjuring an appropriately wide spectrum of sounds over which bassist/singer Mlny Parsons delivers her powerful bluesy crooning.

“April Showers,” for instance, plunges the guitarists into the boggiest depths of introspective sludge pop, while a hickory-charred boogie swings through the smokin’ “Tied.” Elsewhere, Phrygian minor scale work sets up the hypnotic album opener “Burning Tree,” and Weaver’s lifelong love of Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction is on display in his bend-heavy, Cry Baby–soaked solo on “The Sinking Chair.”

“I hear the influence of Slash with some of the wah,” he says. “I was a skater punk and totally listened to that album, [but back then] I didn’t know I was going to play guitar. It’s funny that it’s so deeply rooted within me.”

But at the moment Weaver is keen to indulge another deep-seated desire: exploring new gear at the music store, an activity he approaches with a Zen-like mentality.

“Sometimes you hit some jackpots and get some scores, sometimes not,” he says. “That’s how it goes…but it’s always interesting.”

GUITARS (Weaver) Custom Yamaha SBG1802, Custom Yamaha Revstar RS720B, FV Custom Guitars T style guitar, Gibson 1957 Historic Black Beauty Custom; (Fiore) Gibson 1957 Les Paul Gold Top reissue, Gibson Custom Les Paul

AMPS (Weaver) Custom handwired 50-watt Acorn Amp head with Marshall replica 8x10 cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 10s, 1997 Marshall anniversary 1987X head modded with Hoffman handwired Plexi 50 board and open-back 2x12 cab loaded with Celestion G12h 30s; (Fiore) Fender Twin Reverb, Fender Bassman with 2x12 cab

EFFECTS (Weaver) Dunlop CBM95 Cry Baby Mini Wah, Boss TU-3, Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive, Analogman King of Tone, Vintage 1986 ProCo Rat, EarthQuaker Hoof Fuzz, Little Lehle loop switcher, Fulltone Supa-Trem, Electro-Harmonix Micro POG, Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork, Electro-Harmonix Superego, Electro-Harmonix MEL9, Mr. Black GilaMondo, Foxrox Paradox TZF2, EarthQuaker Devices Levitation, Dunlop Echoplex Reissue, Empress Tape Delay; (Fiore) J Rockett Archer Ikon Overdrive, EarthQuaker Devices Dunes Overdrive, Barber Trifecta Fuzz, Fulltone Mini Dejávibe 3 MDV3, Dunlop MXR Carbon Copy, Boss DD-500 Delay, Mr. Black Dark Echo, Dunlop MXR M300 Reverb, Blackout Effectors Cadavernous Reverb

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.