Having been up at the top, down at the bottom and everywhere in between, these days Lips has a seemingly endless smile on his face and a few things to chat about at the same time.
25th July 2020
Lips – Anvil
HS: Hiromi Sugou (UPP-tone Music + Host)
GW: Glenn Williams (Moderator)
GB: Mariko Kawahara (Interpreter)
We are also joined at the beginning by Chris Robertson (Anvil bassist) and Hampus Klang (Bullet).
GW: Ok let’s get the party started; who has got the first question for Lips?
Hiromi & Bob: Yeah Lips, how are your ears?
Lips: I’ve got hearing aids man!
We are also now joined by Graham Oliver (OD Saxon).
Lips: Hey Graham! How’s it going?
Lips: I don’t think we’ve ever met but of course I know all your buddies from Saxon.
GW Ok let’s have the next question.
Ibuki Yamaguchi: Is the DVD from last year’s Japan show coming out?
Lips: No there are no plans to put out a DVD. It’s probably a good idea bot nonetheless, we haven’t really recorded a proper production to put out a DVD. The closest thing that we have so far is what we did about two weeks ago in Quebec. It’s not in front of a live audience and it was ok but I’m not sure if it will be a DVD at some point – I don’t know.
Ibuki Yamaguchi: Yeah put out that show from Quebec!
Lips: Well we’ll see. It depends on whether we get clearance from the record labels and everything else and be allowed to do it. I don’t know yet.
GW: Next is Masashi…
Masashi: Now you are in a rehearsal studio right?
Masashi: Are you writing new songs?
Lips: Yeah we’ve got eight songs so far.
Chris Robertson: Eight songs when there’s nothing else going on! (laughs)
Lips: I’ve been compiling literally dozens and dozens of ideas and doing one song a week so we’ll see how far we are going to get. We could get twenty or thirty songs by the end of the year (laughs) and then we would have to make the decision which twelve we are going to record. As you know, there’s nothing to do but write because we can’t go out and play…just writing every day and working at it.
Jero from Abigail joins
GW: Jero-san, how are you?
Jero: I’m sleepy…and drunk. (laughs)
Jeff Dunn (Mantas) joins
JD: Can I ask a question Glenn?
GW: Of course you can!
JD: As a guitarist myself Lips, I was wondering what you use live and do you use anything different in the studio?
Lips: Guitars or amps?
Lips: Well generally I always use Fender Twins for live – two of them plugged in at once. For my European tours I use two Fender Twins and two Marshall 4x12 cabinets and they are wired so that when I use an echo, they ricochet back and forth in stereo. I use a Tokai distortion pedal (TDS-I) which is something I bought in Japan in 1983. It’s an amazing combination with the twin and I also use a Boss echo and a seven-band EQ just to boost the bottom end a bit. Not by much but just enough to give you a good chest bite. In the studio, it’s all Fender Twins apart from a second guitar track where I’ll use a Marshall and an SG (Gibson) which has heavier strings than I would normally use. In order to apply a second track, you need to physically change what you do in not only the amplifier but the guitar and the strings.
GO: Are the Fender Twins silver face or black face?
Lips: The ones I use here in Canada, I bought them used here in 1977 so they are probably 1973/74s. they are silver faced and have a Master Volume which I never really use and the Twins I have in the UK and Germany are black face re-issues. The ones in Canada have 12” JBL speakers and are those amps are indestructible, absolutely unbelievable.
GW: For those of us who don’t know, what’s the difference between the silver faced and black faced Fender Twins?
Lips: I think it’s the year of issue. To tell you the truth, I’ve never had much chance to check if there is a difference in tone, they sound the same to me so I don’t know (laughs). I know they all use 6L6 valves and are relatively the same no matter what year you buy them. They are very consistent and if you use a pedalboard, you are taking your sound wherever you go so it works well for me.
GO: I’d say the same of the Fender Champ. I have one of those here in my music room; I’ve had that since 1980. Some people convert the silver face to black face.
Lips: To me they are the same.
GO: I had Jimi Hendrix’s roadie for a year and he told me that in the studio Jimi used to use a Fender Twin.
Lips: Yeah and they are one of the loudest combos you will ever hear.
GW: Let’s move on to the next question from Ritti Danger
Ritti Danger: At the moment you are using an October guitar but in the eighties you used a Flying V. Do you still own it?
Lips; Oh yes. I very very rarely and never really sell guitars so everything I had I still have. I still have the original guitar that I played on the first couple of albums. I have so many guitars and I should begin to sell them because I never use them and if you collect guitars as an investment, if you never cash in, there’s no point in investment. I did buy a Chinese knock-off of a Gibson Birdland but you only hang it on your wall and use it for decoration because it can’t be played very well. (laughs) My Flying V’s are custom made by a company called October which doesn’t exist anymore. I have four of them, they are semi-hollow and have lightening bolt f-holes, ebony fretboards, block inlays, I love them and that’s what I use most of all. For studio, I have what is called a Gibson Vegas High Roller which is discontinued. It has a ¾ neck which is really easy to play and I use that for all my lead guitar overdubs. It’s also a semi-hollow flat top and believe it or not, has brass frets which is very unusual. It comes stock with Burstbuckers which is the higher grade of Gibson pickups.
GW: So you have all your original amps, all your original guitars…how’s your vibrator collection?
Lips (laughs) Well they break down a lot quicker and get stolen to. (laughs)
GW: Jero-san, what would like to ask?
Jero: Which pickup on your guitar has the high output; the one you sing into?
Lips: The thing is, I’ve been using the same distortion and pedalboard for over thirty-five years now and when you talk into the guitar, because it’s semi-hollow, it’s easier for the guitar to resonate and the sound to come through but aside from that, all guitars, if you yell into the pickup, you can hear it. The actual pickups I use, for a couple of my guitars are Burstbuckers but there is another company called Sigil I use. He’s a Canadian guy who winds his own pickups and he’s made me duplicates of Burstbuckers. They sound just the same but the difference is…I get them for free. (laughs)
Jero: Nice! I envy you as you can get them for free.
Lips: Well it takes you forty years to get stuff for free. (laughs)
GW: Lips, we have to wrap this up but two last questions, the first from Hiromi & Bob.
Hiromi & Bob: There’s supposed to be a tour starting in November (2020) so what’s happening next year?
Lips: Who knows? We call have big plans but it depends on what’s going on in the world. We have about thirty shows, sitting and waiting to go on in Europe but we just don’t know. It’s wait and see; that’s the only way.
Hampus Klang: Lips do you remember playing at the Muscle Rock Festival in Sweden?
Lips: Do I remember it? (laughs) I can usually remember stuff and some stuff way better than others.
Hampus Klang: We were having a party in the dressing room on the bus, it was an old bus from the 1960s and I was doing some pyros…
Lips: Oh yeah that sounds familiar! You were saying you could only set one off and asked me where I wanted it.
Hampus Klang: Yeah!
Lips: I remember you. I can’t believe I remember you but I do! (laughs)
GW: Lips, thanks very much for doing this and setting off pyros on a bus sounds like a good way to end. Thanks to everyone who joined including all those that didn’t ask questions and we’ll see you again soon hopefully Lips, next time in person.
Lips: Oh yeah! I had a great time and great to see everybody. Take care and thanks.
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