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Old 11-16-2017, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default Billy Corgan's MCIS rig and guitar tech stories

This is some information that was shared with me in an email conversation with somebody who has had acquaintance or correspondence with some of Billy's former crew, and who also owns one of Billy's old Mesa Triaxis preamps, with Billy's presets still on it.

I figure some people here would really enjoy this stuff, like I do, and so I asked for permission to share some of what they shared with me, and they said it's fine, so long as I give them personal privacy.


The Triaxis they own is said to be the one shown in this photo, behind James' head.



BTW, I had no idea that the Mesa Boogie Strategy 500 rig was present during the Siamese Dream sessions before seeing this picture, and also that tidbit from Billy's Reverb shop about using the JMP-1 on Silverfuck.



----------------





It’s from a guitar tech who was Jeff Tweedy at the time and featured in Guitar Shop magazine in 1995. It’s appears to be a serial signal flow and mono with all effects running after the preamps and going in and out of the noise gate.

What’s a bit confusing is there’s only one out from the switcher into the Strategy 500 then going stereo or split mono into two speaker cabs. Maybe I’m wrong but doesn’t the Strategy 500 need two inputs for 2 outputs unless a Y-cable was used and that would be surprising as my understanding is that would degrade the signal.

I spoke with Mike Rubano and exchanged a few emails regarding equipment details after visiting Chicago. He was Billy’s original amp tech and was in charge of inventory of the entire warehouse (Xanadu) at one point. His memory was a little foggy but I gained some info I can pass onto you in later emails...

He wasn’t using any pedals live during the time of Siamese and Mellon Collie. Mike said he used an old Yamaha REX-50 live during the early years possibly before or around Gish: "Shortly after acquiring the JCM, Billy bought a Yamaha REX-50 "multi effector.” It was used at nearly every gig in the early days. I built a simple foot switch so he could scroll up and down through the voices. He set up a group of presets based on the set list and quickly switched in the effects as the show progressed. If he decided to switch the order, it was a simple matter to step up or down to the right tone. It was the source of his tone in the early days. I found it while going through "Xanadu." After I repaired it, I found another”…

Mike said Billy has every pedal ever made as well as hundreds of guitars, even a few muscle cars were on the inventory.

He may have used pedals for a few early shows at the start of the Siamese tour but I’m pretty sure he was using only the rack soon afterwards.

I’m not sure of the firmware of my DHP-55. I’d have to check. I’m almost positive it’s an early to mid 90’s unit.

Everything went in and out of the Drawmer. There may have been pedals in the backline operated by stage engineers but I’m pretty sure the noise gate was for everything in the rack or possibly just the preamps as there’s a second switcher in the rig. The 3630 noise gate probably wasn’t used due to the Drawmer although on it’s own works pretty well when tweaked properly. It works great in my smaller rack.. full sustain doesn’t choke my signal out towards the end.

The Datadisk is a great idea. You can back up all your programs on each unit and save them to hard disk. Believe it or not I haven’t backed up the Triaxis yet and probably should before the battery in that thing dies so I don’t lose all those programs Billy made. To be honest they’re nothing too special soundwise but I should definitley save them for nostalgia and historic purposes. Lol..

Having Vegas wire my rack was cool ... His name isn’t really Vegas… It’s Mike something european sounding… [though] he’s from the prairies
I have a hunch that Billy fired him during the tour as he mentioned he was Guitar tech # 40 something hinting that Billy isn’t the easiest person to work with either. In fact he told me a story of the time Billy broke a string and ran backstage throwing a hissy fit accusing him of sabotaging his guitar saying “Your fucking with me aren’t you…” just because the ball end of the string broke off. Mike (Vegas) said to Billy “Go ahead take a swing at me, you go first… go ahead”… antagonizing Billy to start the fight so he would have the right of self defence to fight back. (Mike’s a pretty big dude and looks like he would’ve destroyed Billy in fight) Billy just stared back at him panting in a rage and stormed off into another room before going back on stage. When I asked Mike what it was like working with Billy he would tell me things like Billy would bark “I want 25 on 32 do it”… and Mike was like what the fuck does that suppose to mean commenting that Billy spoke in some other language only he understands. When asked what language would that be? He replied “Ummm ASSHOLE???”

He also shared some brief stories from other tours he worked including The Cult stating “That’s another Billy that turned into a nightmare to work with”… the guitarist from Rammstein apparently was insecure about playing in front of him for some reason which is kinda funny… and the time he walked into Lemmy’s dressing room and found the girlfriend of the Rammstein guitarist blowing Lemmy on a leather reclining chair...

So there you have it… some inside scoop behind the scenes nobody else will ever know.

I did ask Mike how Billy's amps were set and he just said they we’re dimed. Other than that, he didn’t really offer much more info regarding Billy’s gear. He did state the eventide’s were only used for delay’s. I’m pretty sure the Crate amp was used in the studio for some of the distortion sounds on Machina. I have that amp and it has a speaker out so it could have been connected to a 4x12 cab or some other cabinet live. I think they also plugged into the headphone jack for some fucked up feedback/noises haven’t tried that yet…

Last edited by he/she/it : 11-16-2017 at 09:41 PM.

 
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:36 PM   #2
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great post. i wish i knew what most of this meant

 
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:11 PM   #3
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and the time he walked into Lemmy’s dressing room and found the girlfriend of the Rammstein guitarist blowing Lemmy on a leather reclining chair...


BORN TO LOSE

LIVED TO WIN

 
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:34 PM   #4
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love is suicide

 
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:51 PM   #5
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that is definitely not a motorhead lyric

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:14 AM   #6
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Honey I shit the hot tub

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:48 AM   #7
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I want 25 on 32 do it

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:49 AM   #8
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cash rewards

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butt Pope View Post
Honey I shit the hot tub
*canned laughter*

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:26 AM   #10
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:03 PM   #11
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No joke. He loves his gain dimed...
Look at his setting marks.


 
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by he/she/it View Post
a guitar tech who was Jeff Tweedy at the time
Wait a sec, he was Jeff Tweedy at the time bit isn't now? Did he change his name? Identity crisis? Full body transplant?

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:44 PM   #13
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as a sign of maturity he's recently decided to go by Jeffery Christopher Tweedy now, or "JCT" for short

expect a series of articles and board threads on how he is in fact going by "Jeff" again in the coming weeks

 
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:53 PM   #14
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itt shallowed tries to call out a spelling error but includes his own spelling error and looks real real dumb as a result.

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:05 AM   #15
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I didn't call out a spelling error tho


 
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:41 PM   #16
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Grammar/spelling/writing


Don't split hairs. It was obviously a typo.

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:50 PM   #17
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I was just making a joke

Not calling anything out as such

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:50 PM   #18
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THAT'S RIGHT I'M CALLING YOU OUT

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:50 PM   #19
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But really I'm not

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:52 PM   #20
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Interesting post, by the way, he/she/it

I'm sorry if you felt I was too harsh

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:37 PM   #21
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did we even really get any good info here? cause all i'm seeing is "billy used to use some primitive yamaha multieffect in the gish days" and "apparently he's a huge dick to work with". WELL render me shocked!

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:24 PM   #22
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Damn I wish I took (mustafa!) a pic of Takeshi's pedals. I counted 17. The look on the roadie's face as he struggled to put it all together was priceless.

 
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:12 PM   #23
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:52 AM   #24
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I want 25 on 32 do it

 
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:14 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spguitar0 View Post
No joke. He loves his gain dimed...
Look at his setting marks.

[picture]
That's awesome. Do you know which channel he would use in which situation - like, especially, which one is his lead setup? My guess would be channel 4, that has the treble a bit higher than the mids and bass.


Quote:
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Interesting post, by the way, he/she/it

I'm sorry if you felt I was too harsh
Thanks. I think I'm beginning to recover.

 
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:13 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by he/she/it View Post
That's awesome. Do you know which channel he would use in which situation - like, especially, which one is his lead setup? My guess would be channel 4, that has the treble a bit higher than the mids and bass.




Thanks. I think I'm beginning to recover.

I know channel 2 was I Of The Mourning live tone then he'd kick it on 4 for leads. Everlasting Gaze live was CH3. Channel 4 with those settings almost gets out of control.

 
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:59 PM   #27
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"I want 25 on 32 do it"

could easily mean I'm switching around the setlist and I want preset 25 at preset 32 position...
or it could be just quality billy asshole talk. lol

I like the story, I will repeat it.

 
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:28 AM   #28
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to this day, no one has put 25 on 32

 
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:33 AM   #29
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we may have been in an entirely different world right now, had they done it

 
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