Blog Archive

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interview : Greg Koch

Interview : Greg Koch

MGS - Thanks for taking the time Greg to speak with us.
GK- Sorry it took so long. I've been pummeled by the forces of
domesticity and the world of low stakes rock!

MGS - Start us off with a history if you will. How did y
ou get started
in the biz?
GK - I started playing when I was twelve and I did my first gig 9
months later and never looked back. I've run various bands of my own,
played in everything from pit orchestras, to Elvis impersonators. I
went to college for music at a state school in Stevens Point Wi but
really majored in beer...unfortunately....kind of. I've been doing my
own band, doing sessions, clinics, books and/or whatever ever since!

MGS - Did you have a musical family?
GK -My Mom plays a mean piano but no one else plays. We are all quite
looney though.

MGS - You seem very diversified. Not a word us guitar folk use very
often. Lets see Author, solo artist, clinician,
comedian, whats left for Greg to conquer?
GK -All I can say is, ya ain't seen nothin' yet! If my band ever gets
to go on the road in front of some crowds it will be a whole new
chapter. Trying to get that to happen has been almost impossible
because, in part, of the diversity and the marketing hurdles it
creates. But, that is not going to stop me!

Also, I've been doing lots of comedy on a local morning radio show
and it has given me some great ideas for a potential TV show that I'm
fixin' to get started......

MGS - Ok man its time to spill the guts on the gear you are using.
Live and studio please. Dont spare any details, our readers are gear
freaks......or is it geeks?
GK - I use a bunch of different stuff. I use the Fender Cyber Twin SE
(and that is not a paid endorsement) for quite a bit of stuff.
Sessions, dvd shoots, pickup gigs etc. It is the bomb for that stuff
because of the versatility, convenience and the fact that it sounds
damn good. I also like a bare bones rig of a Fender Custom Vibrolux
and a '65 Reissue Super Reverb. I am most likely to use this rig when
gigging with my trio Greg Koch and the Tone Controls. With this rig I
use a overdrive pedal that a buddy of mine makes that he named using
my's called the Diabolical Gristle Tone Manipulator by TC
Jauernig's the best Tube Screamer there never was. I
also use an old Boss DD-3 delay and Fulltone Clyde Wah. I may augment
that pedal rig with a Fulltone Octave Fuzz and Deja Vibe if I'm in the
mood. Lately, I'll use the Vibrolux for smaller gigs and for the
bigger gigs I use the Super.....on Ten and use the volume on the
guitar to go between rhythm and lead and then hit the Gristle pedal
for the over-the-top tone. I recently bought a Dr. Z head for all my
class A needs. It kills for studio filth. I also use a Fender '65
Twin and occasionally a Carvin Legacy Hd that Steve Vai gave me (sorry
for the name dropping) in the studio for really distorted things.

My main axes as of late are a refin '63 Strat....a mutant blue green
that is a daphne blue gone wrong. It's been refretted but everything
else is original and it sounds BUTANE. It was once the property of
Jesse Johnson of The Time so it is funk approved. My Custom Shop
Strat that is the same color but with a maple neck has been my main ax
for over a decade but with the new acquisition, it has been in dry
dock. It's basically a hot rodded '56 with a huge neck with jumbo
frets and fat fifties pickups and currently sporting a Seymour Duncan
JB Jr. in the neck. I also use a two tone sunburst Fender American
Deluxe Series Strat with the new Bill Lawrence pickups for all my
traveling gigs and I use it a lot on the home front as well. A Custom
shop B-Bender Tele is often in the fold. It rocks. Another blue green,
ash body, maple neck having weapon of doom. A Fender American Series
Tele with a Humbucker in the Neck and wired like Albert Collins'
guitar is often used. I also have recently acquired a Gibson Custom
Shop '58 Historic Les Paul Standard that I use when needing my girth

MGS - Ive never been to one of your clinics. Do you use a DAT backing
track? How the do the Fender clinics work? Walk us thru a clinic day.
GK - I have been doing trio clinics for Fender lately with Roscoe Beck
on bass and my drummer John Calarco. For the Hal Leonard clinics I'll
use a c.d. to play along with. I typically do about six tunes in a
clinic supplemented by irreverent dialog and anecdotes about the gear
being used and the techniques being displayed. They usually last about
two hours total with questions and swag giveaways. I guarantee they
are different from any other clinic you are likely to see and/or hear.
Mainly because they're FUN!...if I may be so bold in saying it.

MGS -Please answer the following accordingly.

1. Strat or Les Paul? Strat always, Les Paul sometimes.

2. Funniest thing to happen performing?

A train going by at the exact right time next to a stage when I was doing the Folsom Prison Blues.

3. Britney or Christina? Gwen Stefani

4. Locking trem or standard? Standard!

5. Neopolation or Rocky Road? RR

6. Tubes or transistors? Tubes

7. Mac or PC? Mac

MGS - What are you currently working on?
GK - A new record that is a bluesy endeavor. I'm recording it down in
Alabama at Johnny Sandlin's studio. It will be my best effort to
date....or else.

MGS - If you could gig with anyone on the planet who would it be?
GK - Allman Bros.......Page/Plant........The Meters.......BB
King.........Jerry Reed

MGS - If you had to gig with Hanson would you die your hair blond?
GK -I'd shave it all off.

MGS - Ok being serious for a second what are you listening to and what
players do you look up to these days?
GK - I listen to old shit 90% of the time. Les Paul to Earl Hooker,
Django to Albert Collins, Grant Green to Chet Atkins, Hendrix to Mike
Bloomfield .Cream to Ravi Shankar. Beatles to Cornell Dupree.
Zeppelin, Zeppelin, Zeppelin. Albert King, BB King Freddie King etc.

My fave new guitar player is Derek Trucks...........he stretches but
never forgets blues.

MGS - Tell us about this new pedal you are using and selling on your
GK - Ah, I mentioned it earlier. Tim Jauernig is making some great
stuff and I had used his Luxury Drive and Twin Tremelo pedal but his
new overdrive pedal that he used my verbage to describe is all that
and more. I had been using a Maxon OD-808 which is my favorite tube
screamer but this thing is smoother at any volume and has more milky
gain. I love it and I champion this savage unit!

MGS - Own any guitars you have an emotional attachment and wont sell?
GK - My Custom shop Strat that I ordered back in '92 will never be
sold....nor will the Tele that matches it or, of course the '63.

MGS - What do you do in your down time?
GK - With four kids under the age of 10 and being the only money maker
in my home, I literally have no down time. I love to read history
books (I go in phases from the Civil War to the Napoleonic period
etc.) and I drink coffee in mass quantity as I gave up my chandelier
swinging partying years ago. I go to museums and battlefields when on
the road..........I listen to blues music more often than not.

MGS - Do you want to ask me anything?
GK - Are you still mad at me for taking so long to finish this?

MGS - Whats in your CD Player and DVD player right now. And please
dont lie.
GK -Mike Bloomfield collection and The Battle of Britain

MGS - Ok describe these players in 2 words max.

Eric Johnson - New Batteries

Ted Nugent - Latent Vegetarian

Tony Cole - Prying Savage

Eddie Van Halen - Stop Smoking

Tom Wopat - Where's Dixie?

John Tesh - Security!

The Edge - Delay Anyone?

Esteban - Please

MGS - OK Greg its plug time. Let er rip. Rememeber to thank the nice
GK - Thanks for reading my filth. Visit me on line at and
come see us live. We'll rock your brain.

MGS - Thanks for chatting Greg its been fun. See ya down the road.
GK -Thanks for having me!

4-17-05 Interview by Tony Cole all rights reserved MGS 2005
Greg Koch's virtuosity, sense of humor and ability to articulate his thoughts through music, has led to a successful career as leader of his own band, a studio musician (heard on dozens of national T.V. and radio advertisements), author, magazine contributor and artist/clinician for Fender Musical Instruments.