Tech Interview – Roger DeSouza – Motorhead

POSTED 19.06.15 IN NEWS

Tech Interview – Roger DeSouza – Motorhead

Talking amps, gigs and standout Marshall stories with the man who keeps Motorhead loud.

Bio

Rogerio Pereira de Souza (Roger DeSouza), 49 years old (Oct 4th 1965), Born and raised In Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil. Started in the music business in 1996, guitar teched for the first time in 2000. Lives in Sao Paulo, teched for Motörhead for the last 15 years. Also teched for Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Doug and Paul (Saxon), Craig Goldy (Dio), Troy (Iced Earth), Reb Beach, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, etc.

When was the first time you worked with a Marshall set up and which band was it?

I was Motörhead’s interpreter in South America, or local tour manager as some people call it. Taking the band to and from airports, arranging transportation, organizing interviews, etc. Then after a couple of gigs Phil Campbell asked me if I could tech for him in the US for 6 weeks. I had never changed strings, didn’t know the difference between speaker and instrument leads, didn’t know a guitar had a truss rod. At that first US tour Phil had a JCM2000 and a JCM900, those were the amps I had to learn at first. They both ended up in a riot after a gig in Buenos Aires.

What is the loudest rig you have worked on?

Ha, next question?

Best and worst gigs you have worked?

It’s weird that after a while you only remember the really bad gigs and kinda ignore the good ones.

Worst gigs:

  • A festival in Greece on a beach in Athens. The audience destroyed the fences and forced their way in – the promoter was losing his shit and the crowd was very rowdy. They started throwing rocks on stage and I got hit in the head. But as soon as Motörhead started playing that was it. It was an amazing concert. After the gig the crowd destroyed both the promoter’s house and his office!
  • Then there was this aforementioned gig in Buenos Aires that the crowd rioted in an oversold venue with padlocked emergency exits – the band played fine, but some people just wanted to destroy things and I tell you, they did… cabinets, drums, monitor wedges, everything was a wreck after they took the flag (a Snaggletooth backdrop)

Best gig, there are many to mention:

  • The 25th anniversary, one of my first gigs where Brian May showed up to jam – I was a huge Queen fan as a kid
  • Opening up for Foo Fighters in Hyde Park, a sold out, 85,000-capacity
  • Rock in Rio – a homecoming victory!
  • And any and every gig we brought the Bomber to – it still gives me the chills

Favourite Marshall Head?

JVM410H – I learned to make it sound like any other head in the world, and, most important, it sounds as good as any other Marshall head I ever heard.

Anything unique about the Marshall rig you are working on now?

It’s unbelievable! On this day and age of digital rigs and dummy speakers, I have 5 tube heads running nine cabinets… Motörhead can be loud and sound good at the same time. Did I say good? I meant MASSIVE!

Coolest person you have worked with or hung around with?

I got to know a lot of people during my career – you learn from both the good and the bad. You get to know what to do and what NOT to.

My mentor is Tim Butcher, Lemmy’s tech. He’s very talented and street smart, funny as f*ck, but very, hmm, not there at times.

Apart from the current Artist you have worked with who’s your favourite guitarist/band?

Music in the 80’s, when I was growing up,  was very diverse – MTV had a huge impact in the business then. They made some bands successful, they destroyed the ones without a certain image. But I’ll never forget watching Van Halen live on the Diver Down tour – that was an eargasm. He’s still one of the best, but at that time Eddie had more fire and less wit, I guess. Brian May, Warren DeMartini, Adrian Smith, Rik Emmett, Jake E Lee are some of my heroes but I listen to music all the time! Listening to Gov’t Mule right now as I type: Warren Haynes is one of the most underrated guitar players I know! And so is Phil Campbell, who’s an amazing guitar player, especially live!

Biggest let down? I’ve never seen Jeff Beck playing live.

JCM or Plexi?

JVM! But I don’t like those ‘Beatles or Stones’ questions – you can enjoy both!

Which modern day Marshalls do you like?

I heard the new 2555X the other day – killer! And I remember listening to Nick Bowcott playing the 1959RR for me at a NAMM a couple of years ago. I went and got Phil 2 of those right after that. I also have a 1W JCM800 – I wish I had one of each.

And Lemmy’s signature head – I have to thank Danny Thomas and Paul Marshall for that one – it’s our baby!

Anything in your rig modded?

Not really – they have all been modded by the late great Jim Marshall!

What’s the secret Marshall weapon in your set up?

It’s no secret – 2 JVMs, 2 JCMs, 1 1959RR. There’s a gadget I love in it as well: the Radial JD7 – they are amazing in getting all the heads working keeping the hum down low!

Lastly any funny standout Marshall stories?

Opening Jim’s book and seeing my hand write in there: such a pleasure and an honour! And my first two factory trips – it’s that kid in a candy store sensation.

I was teching for Reb Beach the other day when he came down to Brazil with Winger – Reb has this complicated rig when he plays with Whitesnake, but on this trip he brought 2 delays, a tuner and a boutique distortion that acted as his boost. So after the gig a guitar-playing friend of mine came up to me and asked: How does Reb get that sound? It was a one-word reply: Marshall!

We’d like to thank Roger for taking the time to chat with us, find out more about Phil Campbell and Lemmy’s Marshall rigs over on their artist pages, and catch Motorhead on tour all this Summer.

#liveformusic