SLIPKNOT Mick Thomson guitarist discussed the arsenal of gear he’s been using these days, telling Music Radar about the Mesa/Boogie JP-2C Limited Edition Mark IIC+ John Petrucci amp:
“The new Petrucci signature head that’s based on the Mark IIC+ – which had that classic Dream Theater and early Metallica sound – it’s probably the best amp I’ve ever played and I’ve been using it over the last year of touring on the ‘Gray Chapter’ cycle.
“We’ve actually been able to play with Dream Theater at European festivals a few times over the years, but I don’t really get to see them. It’ll be for a minute or two in Spain or somewhere! Seeing ‘Images and Words’ in its entirety would be a religious experience… I have to catch that tour.
“I was listening to Metallica’s ‘Garage Days’ back when I was in junior high. I always loved the guitar sound, because it sounded so raw, you know? It was real, not ultra-compressed… plus the band were playing kickass.
“I would listen to it on my home stereo so loud it could rattle the teeth in your head, and I’d just go wild. The start of ‘Breadfan‘… god damn I wish I had that kinda tone.
“I was wondering what the f*ck they were using, because it wasn’t Marshalls early on. I jumped down that rabbithole and found out it was a Mark IIC+ running into a Marshall power amp, because the C+s were wired in triode and didn’t have the balls. But the preamp sounded amazing, so they ran it like that from everything I’ve read.
“Most of it will probably be horsesh*t, because I read stuff about me and it’s like, ‘That’s not right, that’s not right, that’s not right and I don’t know where the f*ck they got that!’ The internet will be like that for all time, I think: misconception and misinformation will rule the day!
“I was searching for the sound and looked for older C+s to see what I could find. I talked to some of our people and they asked if I had played a Boogie Mark V and I hadn’t.
“I don’t really head into guitar shops much. When I was younger, you couldn’t really buy them – you had to go to Chicago to check them out which was a five-hour drive each way! So I never really had much access to them, other than some old 50 Calibers.
“I wasn’t really into the whole Rectifier thing – where everyone and their brother wouldn’t know sh*t about gear, they’d just plug in a Recto and that’s their sound. I didn’t really like that sound, so I never pursued Boogie. Then I learned some of my favorite tones had come from a Boogie; the cleans are just amazing on pretty much any amp I’ve plugged into.
“This amp wasn’t even announced when I started talking to them about it. I was using Mark Vs and I was impressed – that EQ is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened in music, at least for guitar players!
“I even bought their EQ pedals so I could fix the sound of other amps I didn’t like… suddenly everything would sound great. Right before NAMM, they told me about this new signature, basically a Mark IIC+ with MIDI switching and two of those EQ controllers. I was like, ‘Dude!’ and they sent me one.
“Petrucci’s rig is probably very complicated, with different routings for different effects. So having the MIDI switching system is a perfect solution in one unit, and you can get so many sounds out of it from that super-juicy early-mid Metallica and Dream Theater tones in one box. It’s outstanding.
“Despite the fact I have my own signature amp, I’ve just started using this one. I’ll still plug in my Riveras on different stuff – they’re great amps in their own right – but I’ve never been so impressed by one amp.
“I actually have one of the signature ones with John and Randall from Boogie’s signatures by the serial number – a little card with a plaque on the inside. I have the standard ones, too, but this one’s my baby and will always stay with me at home.
“This is set up more like Petrucci, but my live rig is a bit different – some of pedals need to run through a clean channel for that digital distortion, which means I need to set my cleans a certain way. Like the tapped part on ‘Surfacing’ with pitch-shifter and auto-wah: that’s digital distortion coming from a Boss rackmount unit. ‘Spit It Out’ is the same.”