Spotlight: Sam Sheumack of Fangz

(Image credit: Fangz)


SOUNDS LIKE: Rip-roaring punk with hooks for days
LATEST DROP: "Prove Me Wrong" (single out now independently)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
It’d have to be a tie between my white Duesenberg Starplayer TV and my Duesenberg Caribou. The Starplayer sustains for days, plays amazingly, oozes sex appeal, and looks great no matter what colour Adidas Tracksuit I wear on stage. The story behind the Caribou is a funny one. Jameel [Majam, bass] and I were driving to play a show in Adelaide, and if you’ve never done the drive before, there’s some enormous canola fields along the way. 

I decided to strip off naked with the Starplayer and get a photo rocking out in the field. The photo went somewhat viral, and shortly after I was in contact with Duesenberg’s A&R rep. I’ve been endorsing their guitars since. The Caribou has been my go-to recording guitar since the conception of Fangz. I swapped the pickups out with Lollar P90’s early on and never looked back.

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
I was about 13, in year eight at high school. I was also heavily into cricket and skateboarding at the time, but realised soon after that it’s a lot harder to break bones playing guitar, so the guitar became my main focus. My first guitar was an Ashton AG140 electric bought from River Music in Windsor. I’ve still got it somewhere. It was a heavy-as-hell, natural finished Strat-style guitar, and served me well through my early years of trying to play Metallica and System Of A Down songs terribly!

What inspires you as a player?
Guitarists like Tony Iommi, Dean Richardson, Josh Homme and Pat Davern have probably been the biggest influences on my sound. Early on in our career as Fangz, somebody reviewed one of our shows and described it as “a punk band trying to play Black Sabbath.” I think that’s an accurate depiction. Another huge influence that inspires me more than anything is going out and seeing some local bands at a pub nearby. Australia has so much great punk and heavy music coming out right now. 

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I definitely used to be a lot more of a gear nerd. These days if we were to leave the house for a recording session, I’d make sure I’m walking out the door with my Klon KTR Overdrive, Deep Trip Hellbender fuzz, 1965 Fender Bassman head, and one of my Eventide H9s.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I’d absolutely love to get my hands on another vintage Fender Bassman – ideally a blonde 1962 with matching cab, or a 1959 tweed combo. While we’re there, let’s grab an original Klon Centaur. How dad rock am I right now?

What would your signature model look like?
I love the look of the new Duesenberg Falken, they’re kind of like a dapper, modern Gibson Firebird. I love the Duesenberg trem, so that must be there. It’d have to be vintage white or black, I’d have some Lollar P90s in it, and I guess three stripes somewhere as a subtle Adidas reference.

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
Frank Zappa for sure. He’s one of those unique artists who still is ahead of his time, even having died almost three decades ago. I grew up listening to my parents’ Zappa records, and I’ve always been amazed by his approach to composition – and completely whacked phrasing. Furthermore, he was always one of the most spontaneous and exciting guitarists whilst improvising. I’d love to jam with him on his tune “Zoot Allures”.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…