Hey Shredder

7 questions for guitarists

The Mother Hips

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Calling an instrument an extension of a musician’s body is the kind of critic-speak that’s lost any real meaning because it’s so overused. But, sometimes there’s such fluidity between thought, electrical impulses and action that a man-machine merger seems not only plausible but also strangely organic. So it is with Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono of The Mother Hips.


Calling an instrument an extension of a musician’s body is the kind of critic-speak that’s lost any real meaning because it’s so overused. But, sometimes there’s such fluidity between thought, electrical impulses and action that a man-machine merger seems not only plausible but also strangely organic. So it is with Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono of The Mother Hips. The pair has been weaving in & out of each other’s strings since 1990, and that 20 year creative relationship has produced a partnership as potently striking as Duane Allman & Dickey Betts, AC/DC’s Young brothers and Mick Taylor & Keith Richards.

Like these forebears, Loiacono and Bluhm utilize highly individual approaches that would stand out in any band, yet somehow their differences dovetail beautifully in the Hips. Few guitar frontlines are more musical, melodic or graceful, yet never sacrificing the barbs and jagged bits that make rock so appealing. The Hips’ latest album, Pacific Dust (2009), is abundant empirical evidence to support all the praise, and there’s one of rock’s finest catalogs in the past two decades waiting behind it if one needs further convincing. The Impound is pleased to present some insights into the pair’s guitar chemistry.

Favorite effects pedal? Why?
Greg: I liked my Morley Power Wah Boost. It’s broken now. It acted as a wah pedal, weird fuzz boost and a wah — super fucked up.
Tim: Ernie Ball Volume Pedal. It’s the only one I really need.
Tastiest guitarist — i.e. not just soloing but also overall playing — currently working six-strings?
Greg: Ry Cooder
Tim: JJ Cale
A guitar solo I never get tired of listening to is…
Greg: Page. “Ten Years Gone”
Tim: Jesse Ed Davis on “Strength of Strings” by Gene Clark [off the stunning No Other album]
Preferred brand of axe? Why?
Greg: Telecaster. Feels good, sounds good , looks good.
Tim: Gibson. Best of acoustic and electric.
AC/DC, The Beatles, Radiohead or The Byrds – which one gives you the biggest guitar boner? What makes them SO sweet?
Greg: Don’t know much about Radiohead but all the rest bonerize me in different ways. AC/DC: Angus and his macho SG. The Beatles: Best guitar tones ever, and awesome melodic ideas. The Byrds: Everything from righteous 12-string jangle to Clarence and his masterful Tele.
Tim: The Beatles. Best tones and most restrained guitar parts.
One lesser known guitarist folks should check out is…
Greg: Paul Hoaglin
Tim: Rusty Miller of Jackpot
What aspect of being a guitarist always makes you happy?
Greg: Knowing that when all else fails playing guitar is probably gonna help.
Tim: Buying a new guitar