PETER FARNAN (BOOM CRASH OPERA) – GUITAR
What was your first guitar?
A Kasuga acoustic – still got it. Extremely narrow neck. Big body. I was 10 and couldn’t get my arm around it. I saw Johnny Chester play one on Uptight or Happening 70 or whatever the show was. An electric followed a year or two later – a Magnetone Rickenbarker copy – I believe that Magnetone was Maton’s budget brand.. There was a brand called Magnatone started by an ex-Rickenbarker employee – different beast. Mine was made in Surrey Hills – 1971. Like many Matons it had an absolutely fantastic neck. Terrible pickups though. Bigsby style vibrato arm. I wish I still had it.
What’s your main guitar now?
Fender Tele – with EMGs. I regret the EMGs now but I’m so used to it that I’m scared to change a thing. If I want a fatter tone I turn to my Epiphone. The Tele suits me to a T. I can pull a variety of tones out of it and feel in complete control. If I want to lose control I switch to my Hofner Clubman (ser #415. Made the year I was born).
Through what amp and why?
VOX AC 30. They bark and roar. I prefer them to the tone of Fenders – too much unusable low end and a glassy top end, although Bassmans are fantastic. I had a fantastic 50 watt JMP head but I’m not really a Marshall guy. It’s the 1960s power pop beast within that is satisfied by a Vox
Which pedals are your standards?
For practical purposes (and because they sound great) I use a Line 6 Pod. I’ve enjoyed their products for many years. My favourite pedals are the old faithful Boss CE-2 on maximum warble. I cannot sing the praises enough of the Fulltone Fat Boost FB 2. This humble pedal enables an AC 30 to sound fantastic at low volume. I really like Fulltone pedals. I also have a Full-Drive. I’ve got several Rat pedals – basic work horses. I’ve got a vintage Big Muff and a Guild Foxy Lady that I bought in the ‘70s. Both produce enormous goofy fuzz tones.
What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
I recently produced and played on the soundtrack and soundtrack album for the feature film The Boy Castaways. This film featured performances of 10 pop songs (plus some original underscore). The singers were Paul Capsis, Megan Washington and Tim Rogers. All were fabulous to work with. The core band was Xani Kolac (violin), Tony Floyd (drums), Cam McKenzie (guitar) and John Favaro (bass) plus others according to the genre of the song. We performed a concert version of the soundtrack for the Melbourne Festival at the Forum.
What gigs have you been playing lately?
Songs of Wreck and Ruin at the Forum (with Paul, Tim and Megan), solo gigs with Andy White (Irish singer-songwriter) plus Boom Crash Opera shows throughout the Summer Festival period.
Most memorable gig?
The Old Lion in Adelaide, or maybe a festival in Robe that was washed out. BCO played a blinder of a gig with nothing more than a few acoustic guitars and two guitar amps
Worst stage nightmare?
Hordern Pavilion 1989. Every amp and lead onstage stopped working. 4000 people plus US manager and Warners execs flown in from the US in the house. The stage tech had my guitar in pieces. At one stage I found myself playing a bass and noticing that I usually play guitar in that song.
A guitar tip for the kids?
Know chordal relationships within keys: I – IV – V7 etc. Easy to do on the guitar because of bar chords and the replication of patterns up the neck. Know the pentatonic scale. Train your ear.