Vox Artist Focus: Foo Fighters, Chris Shiflett
Ron Blanco on Jun 2, 2011
Unquestionably one of the most successful rock bands on the planet, Foo Fighters effortlessly blend brilliant song writing with white hot guitar riffage to great effect. With a back catalogue packed with classics and modern day hits, plus the unwavering support of a dedicated global fan base, it seems the band can do no wrong. Their latest effort, the back-to-basics Butch Vig produced ‘Wasting Light’ topped the charts in the UK and the US and only served to reaffirm their pedigree as bona fide rock titans.
As the bands lead guitarist since 1999, Chris Shiflett knows a thing or two about rocking out, so it comes as no surprise that when choosing an amplifier only the best will do. For that crystal clear Foo Fighters guitar tone and famous balls out distortion, Chris relies on the iconic British brand Vox and their now legendary AC30 Hand-Wired amplifier.
Chris recently opened up about recording, life on tour and why the AC30 has become his go to amp.
So…Wasting Light came out April 12th and people are pumped. Are there any moments that stick out in your mind from the recording sessions?Recording was different this time around because we tracked and mixed the whole record up at Dave’s house in his garage. Butch Vig produced it and working with him was great. We’ve been doing a ton of little club shows lately and even playing in people’s garages so we’re ready for a long year of touring!How would you describe the recording process this time compared to past Foo albums?This was completely different. We did one song at a time which worked out to about a song a week. It’s a great way to do it if you have the time and the budget.You guys recently played SXSW and have done some small venue shows, including the garages you mentioned, before heading out for the full blown tour with arenas and stadiums… Do you prefer playing in small or big venues? Why?I enjoy both - they’re very different experiences. Everybody starts in little clubs and bars so that **** feels like home to me.You’re involved with other projects like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Viva Death, and Jackson United…Is there anything in the works from these projects? Are you able to write while on the road?I do like to write when I’m out on the road. It’s about the only time I have any peace and quiet these days! My plan is to write a new Dead Peasants record while Foos are touring and get that out when we’re done.Ok, let’s talk gear - You’ve been using Hand-Wired VOX AC30s lately…What drew you to them?The VOX AC30 is a classic amp and I used one a lot during the recording of my Dead Peasants record, and once I did some touring for that album, I started to see how that sound could apply to what I do in the Foos. I’m running two in stereo for my hot tone live and it’s pretty ripping. I’ve got those things pinned.Do you have any favorite features?I just like the distortion you get from driving an AC30 really hot. It’s nice and dirty but you can still hear the definition and notes.My Hand-Wired VOX AC30s are the tone that I’ve been looking for, for a long, long time. They give me all the fireworks, but all the subtlety as well!Can you share your recording techniques? Like your favorite settings, mic placement, etc?The best advice I could give any young guitar players is that you don’t have to have anywhere near as much gain in the studio as you might think. Just listen to Highway to Hell by ACDC. That **** ain’t that dirty! Less gain equals more power. Don’t layer too many tracks either…it just gets crowded and mushy.Is there anything else that you would like us to mention?Foo Fighters are gonna be touring our asses off for a long time so hopefully, we’ll see you out on the road somewhere!
(Interview originally published at voxamps.com)