Multi-talented Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and gifted guitarist, Ron Pope is set to return to Australia to promote his new single, Lick My Wounds (available now) and new album, Calling Off The Dogs, set for release on June 6. AM profiles Ron here.
What was your first guitar?
The first guitar I ever owned was an Olympia acoustic. The intonation was always off, it refused to stay in tune, and the action was a foot high, but I loved that thing like it was a ’57 Strat. Growing up, I always played my stepdad Jerry’s guitars. The first guitar I played on was his black early 90’s Mexican Strat; I put Texas Special pickups in there in college and still play it to this day sometimes!
What’s your main guitar now?
In terms of electric guitars, three of mine stay in constant rotation on stage and in the studio. I have a black 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom, a sunburst 1976 Fender Telecaster Deluxe, and a natural finish ’74 Tele Deluxe. Depending on how they’re playing on a given night, any one of those three could be my #1. On my last album, “Calling Off The Dogs” I played the ’76 Deluxe a lot. My main acoustic guitar is a 1955 Gibson LG-2.
Through what amp and why?
My main amp at the moment is an Orange Rockerverb 50 MKII 1×12 combo. I’m only using guitars with two humuckers in them, looking for a great big, fat tone. I find that in spades with the Orange. I’m usually playing on the dirty channel.
Which pedals are your standards?
I just stripped down from the biggest Pedaltrain board to a smaller, brief case sized board for the road, because my board was too heavy to check when I fly. What ends up in my chain varies from tour to tour. Some of my favourite pedals at the moment are the Empress Superdelay Vintage Modified, the Ibanez AD-9 analog delay pedal that the folks from Robert Keeley modded for me, the TS-808 with a Keeley mod, and the Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere.
What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
My most recent album is “Calling Off The Dogs.” I’ll probably be back in the studio some time next year; we’ll see! I’m not in a rush; I’m having a blast promoting this new record.
What gigs have you been playing lately?
2014 is one long tour for me. I started the year in New York for my album release, two nights at Bowery Ballroom, then went to Europe for about twenty shows all over the place. After Europe, we did a US run. Now I have a few more US dates, then Australia, then Europe for the rest of the summer, followed by more US dates, so we’re all over! It’s been a whirlwind.
Most memorable gig?
Last summer, at the Bråvalla festival in Sweden, we stepped out on stage and there were thousands upon thousands of people singing along to every single song. That was a trip, to say the very least.
Worst stage nightmare?
Just before I went on stage for a sold out show in February, one side of my in-ears stopped working. I was supposed to walk on at that instant, so I was pretty panic stricken. Luckily, we worked it out!
Album that changed your life?
“Axis: Bold As Love” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience blew my mind the first time I heard it and every time thereafter. As a guitar player, there’s Jimi, and then there’s everybody else.
What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
I’ve got shows all over! I have west coast US gigs, then a few Australian gigs, then Europe. I’ve been having a great time on the road playing both new songs and older material this year.
A guitar tip for the kids?
Don’t get discouraged; you’re going to reach plateaus time and time again. Trust the process, stay in the woodshed, keep on practicing and you’ll keep getting better. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help; other guitar players want to help you. I’ve had countless teachers and friends help me over the years.