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Guitarists Artie Rincon and John Curry of Goneblind won the musical lottery when they got picked to be in Scott Stapp's new band. While Goneblind had earned a record deal and a fan base through a decade of dedicated touring, the chance to record and play with a bona fide multi-platinum rock star in front of thousands of adoring fans was beyond tempting. They and their band mates Marc Archer (drums) and Mitch Burman (bass) are living the dream. While they were out on tour playing some of the old Creed hits and supporting The Great Divide, the album they recorded with Scott last year, Musician.com called them to see what life in the fast lane was like.
Musician.com: How did you hook up with Scott Stapp?
Artie Rincon: Through Scott's manager Kiki Gutierrez. He was really good friends with the guys in Creed, and he was the guy who got Goneblind a deal with Roadrunner Records. He also hooked Goneblind up with the guys from Creed and we went on tour with them. After Creed broke up Kiki started working as Scott's manager and thought it would be a great idea to bring in a band that had already been together for a while instead of trying to piece together a bunch of musicians that didn't have any chemistry. He wanted to bring the band down to see if it would click, and Scott was for it, and man, it did! It all jelled.
M.com: What's it like working with Scott and covering some of the old Creed tunes?
John Curry: It's really nice showing up to a gig and knowing there are going to be people there! [general laughter] The thing about Scott is that he has a huge following. Creed sold millions and millions of records and his fans want to hear those songs and I have no problem playing them because those songs are a part of him.
Artie: All the songs we did on the new record The Great Divide, we were there going through it with him. The Creed songs he chose for this tour, he shared with us what they meant to him back then and how he feels about them now and it has made it easier for us to interpret them.
M.com: So you guys contributed to the writing process for The Great Divide?
Artie: Yeah, it was pretty much just getting everyone together and jamming and the tunes developed from there.
M.com: Is that the main difference between playing as Goneblind and playing with Scott?
John: Yeah. With Goneblind, it was always about the struggle and overcoming. And with Scott, it's been pretty much the same approach. We've always been about taking what life throws at us—the obstacles, the struggles—and channeling that into our song writing and stage performances.
M.com: This project sounds heavier than the Creed records. Is that Goneblind's influence?
Artie: In Goneblind we had to keep it heavy 'cause the fans expected us to be heavy. What was cool about Creed is they had songs that were soft as a lullaby and songs as heavy as bullets. Playing Creed's music challenges us in different ways and shows a side of us we couldn't really show with Goneblind.
M.com: Where did you guys record The Great Divide?
Artie: In Miami.
John: Some of it was done at a house Scott rented out and some of it was done at the Hit Factory.
M.com: What was it like working with John Kurzweg [producer]?
John: He was a really nice guy.
Artie: John was into experimenting with different sounds in the studio and different guitar tones and effects. We put down some parts that didn't make any sense at first. He would say, "Trust me, we'll put it in somewhere later on. We're just making some noise." You can hear what he did in the Creed records with all those sounds in the background and you can see how it influenced this record.
M.com: What amps and guitars did you record on that record?
Artie: Well, we experimented with some Boogies and brought in some Marshalls and Fenders.
John: And a Rivera too.
Artie: Then we were introduced to the Budda gear.
John: And things have never been the same!
M.com: What was different about the Budda?
John: Balls, baby, balls! I have never heard an amp effectively produce all the different tones I want to hear in my playing. Everybody plays different; Artie and I have different styles and the amps...
Artie: You can hear the guitar player instead of the amp.
M.com: Which amps are you using?
Artie: Well, in the studio John used a Budda Superdrive 45 combo for his clean tone and a Superdrive II 80W Head through a Budda 4x12 cab for his distortion parts. I used a Superdrive II 80W head with a 4x12 cab for both my clean tones and for distortion.
John: I think the 2x12 45 combos are the perfect mixture between a Fender Twin and a Vox AC30. It really depends upon the attack of your right hand. You can make it sound heavenly and angelic, or attack it a bit more and you get that grit of an AC30. Artie and I play different styles and even though we're using a lot of the same gear, our tones are still different. It's cool to have the amps reproduce the guitar player and not a sound.
M.com: How are you running the rigs live?
John: We are running them LOUD! [laughs]
Artie: I'm using an 80W head for my drive sound, a 45W 2x12 for midrange punch, and an 80W head for clean tones.
John: I am using the 80W heads for distortion and two 45W combos for my clean.
M.com: Do the two of you share rhythm and lead guitar duties or keep them separated?
Artie: The Creed stuff doesn't really have a lot of lead parts in it. It's more about the intros with those songs and John and I pretty much ended up just sharing those. For the new songs, we kept it like that as well.
M.com: Which guitars are you using on this tour?
John: We're playing PRS.
M.com: Which models?
Artie: John's into the single cutaways and I have a Custom 22, Custom 24, and a few McCartys, all with a mix of Tremonti and Dragon pickups.
M.com: What about effects?
John: I have a long delay, a short delay, and a chorus, but I run my distortion channel dry. I use a trem pedal every once in a while or a phaser.
Artie: We got to experiment with a lot of sounds. I have four different delays, a chorus, tremolo, and an overdrive pedal.
M.com: How's the tour been going so far? A lot of new and old fans showing up?
John: Both. I look at the crowd and I see a lot of people singing every word to every song whether it be a Creed song or a song off the new record. It's been really cool and it's really affected Scott, too. He didn't realize how much he really missed touring and being up on stage until this club run. The people have been great.
Artie: I think that's why Scott wanted to do this small run. He wanted to give the fans a chance to see him up close. In the middle of the set, we come back out and sit down on the stage and do an acoustic thing. That's stuff he really didn't get to do with Creed. We didn't know how the fans were going to treat us, because Creed fans were die-hard fans that loved Scott and everyone in that band. The response has been great. They've welcomed us. Scott makes us feel like we're his band. From the moment you step off the bus he makes you feel like it's not just a Scott Stapp project band.
M.com: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists when it comes to touring and getting picked up to play behind one of the most successful artists of the last decade?
John: Get out while you can! Stay at home with Mom and Dad. [laughs]
Artie: Tour. Tour your ass off.
John: A lot of bands in our hometown [Houston] are content to be a big fish in a small town. We were kind of shunned in our hometown because we were always touring. We realized that the president of Sony Records is not going to walk into Joe Shmoe's pub, see a band, and say, "Man, you guys rock." It's about creating the opportunities for yourself. Figure out what you want to do, make a plan of action, and follow through with it. Be real persistent and keep bugging the crap out of people until they give you a chance to prove yourself. Whatever you decide to do, just do it with all of your heart and hopefully things will work out.
Artie: To me, it's like John said, touring. You have to get out there and put yourself in a place where people can do something for you. Playing in key industry cities where you have the opportunity to meet somebody who can do something for the band and networking is what did it for us. We would all work and save enough money to hit the road and make new contacts that lead to touring and opening up for some great acts. That is what landed us this great opportunity to work with Scott.
M.com: What's up for you guys after this tour as far as Goneblind is concerned?
Artie: We had a lot of fun making the record with Scott and the next record we'll be able to stretch out and experiment with heavier stuff even more. We would like to put out another Goneblind record if we get a chance. We have a lot of tunes that we want people to check out.
M.com: Guys, good luck on the tour and in your careers.
Artie/John: Thanks, bye!