In a recent interview with Motörhead’s legendary guitarist, Phil Campbell, he shared that “you don’t need expensive gear to make great music.” He further explained that “if you know what you’re doing, and you string it up right, you can make a great racket on a $30 guitar as long as you’ve got the insight and direction.”
As a musician myself, I completely agree with this statement. I always say that it is not about that equipment you use, it is about the person using it. Just as Campbell said, with the right intuition you can take a cheap piece of equipment and make it sound professional.
I think back to some of my favorite albums that have been recorded in crummy basements or with old 8-tracks that have went on to skyrocket artists’ careers. The first example that pops into mind is a record called “QUARTERBACKS” by QUARTERBACKS. QUARTERBACKS are a two-piece punk band from New Paltz, NY. Their guitarist uses an old, beat up Squier Telecaster with the top E string cut off. When I listen to the music, however, the recording quality does not even cross my mind. The message this band sends with their music and their ability to send that message with the equipment they have is truly mesmerizing.
Another record that comes to mind is “Songs From The Sunroom” by Field Medic. This one-piece from San Fransisco is fronted by guitarist Kevin Patrick who self-recorded these songs in his sunroom with an old acoustic guitar. The success of these songs has led him to a record deal with a label out of Boston called Run For Cover Records.
One final example would be any Mac DeMarco release. DeMarco is a musician who writes and records all of his own music in his Brooklyn apartment on an old tape machine (which is totally out of style. Nowadays, it is far easier to record digitally on your laptop). In his documentary, “Pepperoni Playboy”, DeMarco says good pop music is made out of “pure human feeling” and not all of the fancy, expensive equipment you use to make it with.
Each of these artists remind me that I have the power to make something magical as long as I try hard enough. I can list plenty of examples of musicians who had real expensive equipment and didn’t know how to properly use it, but The Triple Scoop is not about bashing people, it is about celebrating the things we cherish.
- Beckner, J. (2018, February 1). Motorhead’s Phil Campbell: You Don’t Need Expensive Gear to Make Great Music. Retrieved February 1, 2018, from https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/interviews/motorheads_phil_campbell_you_dont_need_expensive_gear_to_make_great_music.html
- P. (2014, May 12). Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JStLz_vkEm8