Eat My Fat Sandwich - Exclusive Jeorge Tripps Interview
Dolphin Music on Aug 25, 2010
Dolphin Music chat to the man behind Way huge’s FX Pedals Swollen Pickle and the Fat Sandwich! The legendary Jeorge Tripps;
Dolphin Music - What was your inspiration for starting Way Huge?
Jeorge Tripps- Back in the eighties I made a few pedals for fun but I started building them more seriously in 1992 when I moved to Hollywood. The basic idea was to create pedals with my own unique sounds and tones that were reliable and road worthy. Initially, I built a few Fuzz Face clones I simply called “Fuzz Box” and decided to paint them and make them look nice. I used transfer lettering to do the Way Huge logo. A year later I was building pedals for Los Angeles session guitarists and artists (like Tom Petty). At that point I decided I should start building pedals full time. The first product was the Red Llama sometime in 1993. It was the first production pedal to have true-bypass with an LED and the first Way Huge pedal to use the custom anodized aluminium enclosure.
DM - How does it feel seeing your original creations see so much demand now, when the company originally folded?
JT - It makes me feel good that people appreciate and respect the work I did as a kid. You know, I didn’t make a lot of pedals overall, so they are pretty hard to find. I’m surprised their collectability happened so fast, the prices went crazy just a couple years after I closed down. I always thought that maybe in 15 or 20 years I’d look around in a magazine and go “Oh wow! Look, those old pedals I made are worth something now.
DM - What brought you back to the Way Huge line?
JT - Jimi Dunlop and I had been talking from the minute I closed it down… It only took him 7 years to convince me to bring it back… The way its set up is very much like when I did it alone out of my garage… I design and spec everything to my standards and Dunlop builds them. The way the pedals are made now is how I would have like to have made them back in ’97 but I didn’t have the engineering or financial resources that I do now.
DM - What’s set for Way Huge in the future?
JT - I can’t tell you what I’m working on now…top secret you know… But I can say that a reissue of the Green Rhino overdrive should be hitting the streets by the end of this year.
DM - How’ve your designs been affected by changing styles and technology?
JT - My goal is still the same as it was in the beginning… just now I think how other people might use the pedals instead of just myself. So, in the first trio of new Way Huge pedals I added a lot of extra controls that you wouldn’t find on the older Way Huge pedals. That was because I was in a more “tweaky” mood and decided to leave a lot of the controls from the prototypes feeling someone would find a magic tone in there…
DM - How did you come up with the names for your pedals?
JT - I don’t have any special method. The name either just comes to me or I work it out so that the name is representative of the sound that comes out of the box.
DM - What pedal are you most proud of?
JT - All of them (laughs)! They are all my children and I love them all! At the moment, I’m very proud of the Fat Sandwich.
DM - What makes it so special?
JT - The Fat Sandwich development started back in 1998. I pulled out the old concepts and proceeded to develop from that point using all the new ideas I had come up with over the course of ten years. I wanted that distortion tone you hear on Van Halen’s Fair Warning record…on “when push comes to shove” Ed starts his solo, plays a phrase and stops…right at that moment you can really hear how hairy and almost broken sounding the distortion is… it’s not tight… its like claws on cement… very brutal.
DM - What artists have inspired you throughout the years?
JT - The usual suspects… Hendrix, Van Halen, etc… but also guys like Mike Landau, Uli Roth, Julien Kasper, Jamie Kime, Tal Morris, Tom Ayres and Bill DeLap. Most are cats that are friends of mine. Go ahead and Google them…
DM - What’s your favourite piece of gear that you cannot live with out?
JT - My 1963 brown Princeton amp… I’ve tested everything through that amp since the beginning. As for pedals…I can’t live without a good Fuzz Face.
DM - What’s your desert island album?
JT - Well, that always changes… today… Stan Getz & Oscar Peterson Trio…. But for guitar… today it would be Jeff Beck Wired.
A big thank you to Jeorge for taking time out to talk to us. You can check out the full range of Way Huge pedals at Dolphin Music here:
Take a look at the Fat Sandwich in action.