How Drain’s Cody Chavez made one of this year’s finest hardcore albums using an arsenal of Jackson Dinkys – and an LTD that got run over by a car

Cody Chavez
(Image credit: Gavin Reese Mortensen)

Back before Cody Chavez was expertly quaking through the micro-dives and cement-cracking hardcore riffage of his Drain outfit’s new Living Proof album, he was a teenage guitarist devouring Metallica tabs in Salinas, California. While he’s now squiggling out squeals galore on his arsenal of Jackson Dinkys, he was much more Hetfield than Hammett in his youth, going so far as to eschew lead aesthetics entirely.

“I would always make excuses like, ‘Oh, rhythm playing is better; Hetfield, all he does is riffs; I don’t need solos,’” Chavez says. “But as I got older [I realized] if I’m going to be a guitarist, I have to actually work the fretboard. I’m glad I made that decision when I was younger. Now that’s my favorite thing to do – to play leads.”

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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.