Interview: Brad Clifford – The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me!
POSTED 26.06.15 IN NEWS
Riffs, punk rock and world tours with the ex-Poison The Well man.
I’m Brad Clifford, raised in Chicago and currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US. I played guitar in Poison the Well and a few other bands and toured for a decade playing before I started teching. In 2010 I made the switch to being a guitar tech, working for The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me!, Taking Back Sunday, and Circa Survive.
When was the first time you worked with a Marshall set up and which band was it?
The FIRST Marshall I worked with was my very own, my first amp ever was a Marshall 8100 Valvestate head with a 1960B. It was loud and crushing and I loved it just as much as my parents hated hearing it blasting from the basement!
What is the loudest rig you have worked on?
A wall of Marshalls cranked will rip your head off in the best way possible, but as far as a single-head / single cab setup, a ’72 Major through a ’73 Marshall 8×10. When I pushed it hard, I just kept laughing my ass off and everyone in earshot stood with their mouths open, squinting their eyes. Massive.
Best and worst gigs you have worked?
Best gig may be the PNC Arts Center in New Jersey with the Gaslight Anthem. The largest home town show they’ve ever played, in a place where most of them grew up seeing their idols perform. Everything went smoothly and sounded great, and it was a true pleasure to be a part of.
The worst gig… I try to not talk shit… BUT one of the worst shows I’ve done is probably one in Idaho where I had to personally go into the crowd and grab someone by the throat and drag them outside to explain that they’re being an asshole and making the gig miserable for the band and crowd alike… and then a few songs later all of the power in the building went out. Drums still sounded great. HA!
Anything unique about the Marshall rig you are working on now?
Aside from the very minor volume mods on a couple heads, I’m a nerd for old basket weave cabs and odd production colours. I have a fawn coloured ’78 2204 JMP that’s pretty unique and sounds terrific, and a couple other little Marshall gems I’ve picked up over time.
Favourite Marshall head?
Such a difficult task to pick just one, but it’d probably have to be the ’78 JMP. A close second might be the 2061x head. Simple, perfect tone for any rock guitar.
Coolest person you have worked with or hung around with?
This job has afforded me the chance to be around a few people I’ve really admired from a young age and had posters of on my wall as a kid, and almost every time I’m struck by how NOT weird it is at all to be around them. James Hetfield, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, etc. All just guys who are as easily approachable as a stagehand. Just dudes being dudes.
Apart from the current Artist you have worked with who’s your favourite guitarist/band?
I’ve always admired Slash. It’s rare for guitarists to have such a trademark voice to their playing and their tone, and he’s one of those guys that you KNOW it’s him, whether it’s on any of his bands records, or a guest solo on someone elses. He has a style and the sound that’s unmistakably his own, and that’s a huge achievement for any musician I think.
JCM or Plexi?
So tough, I’ve played some incredible 800s and Plexis that I’ve fallen in love with. Overall I’ll have to say Plexi simply for the fact that I have one in particular that I’ll keep to my dying day.
Which modern day Marshalls do you like?
So many incredible amps coming off the lines, but my absolute favourite current production Marshall has to be the 1974x combo. 18 watts, handwired, plenty loud enough for any setting, and simple controls that it’s impossible to get a bad sound out of.
Anything in your rig modded?
Aside from swapping out speakers in some of the combos, the only modded Marshalls are the ’72 Major with a master volume added, and an ’76 JMP with a push-pull 10db boost on the master volume to push it a bit harder.
What’s the secret Marshall weapon in your setup?
The 1974x is the secret weapon for sure. For whatever reason, most don’t expect to see it in there, or expect such richness, volume and clarity to come out of a 1×12 combo. Really low maintenance, and always sounds great.
Lastly any funny standout Marshall stories?
I had some friends over to hang out, middle of the evening one of them picks up a guitar and heads over to a Marshall I had in the room. Flips the thing on but the indicator light doesn’t glow. He turns to me and says “Hey man this thing isn’t working!” All of us stare at him and then started laughing uncontrollably. I walked over and opened the lid, grabbed a cold can of Coke out of it and said “Works perfectly.” Best refrigerator ever.
Thanks for chatting with us, Brad! Catch The Gaslight Anthem on tour this year, and at major festivals this summer.