our ole buddy Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers fame finally tossed us
some big, bold samples with his AST. I was tempted to don my vintage
Diving Bell helmet with dedicated air supply, good for 300ft, this
before powering my EICO up for blast-off. Alas, it was not needed,
these relatively tame for Leary fare. But damn, ole Paul did do
some BIG BONED samples here, seven short but sweet nuggets. I'll
let my news blurb from way back when introduce the beasts. I asked
Paul for specifics but got a "?". Ole Paul.
If anyone saw Paul
Leary and the Butthole Surfers in the heyday of indie innocent, before
THE BIG FALL, aka pre-NEVERMIND, they probably came away with
a renewed understanding of sonic dementia, Über beauty noise, and
wall of sideways sound akin to an ape having a seizure while holding
a jackhammer within a corrugated tin pipe. OF course, Paul has toned
down a bit since then, but he still gets big ass tone.
Paul called for a duo of custom covered , red & silver sparkle ASTs
that he plays via a stereo pedal for full effect. Needless to
say, Leary is often looking for the "difference" in gear.
Paul sent the follow comments on his AST pair:
been playing electric guitar for forty-two years now, and the
Atomic Space Tone is absolutely the finest amp I've ever played
through. It will be a long time before I plug into anything else.
I've been playing through these amps about 6 hours a day since
I got them! There is no other amp in the world that I'd
rather be playing through now.
You have delivered
me the tone that I have been looking for all my life. I am totally
blown away by the sound, the look, and by how small and light
My hopes and expectations
have been greatly exceeded. Your design is a masterpiece.
it never went above "2", it would be an amazing amp.
But when I cranked it all the way up, it just went into orbit.
It sounds like
the Beatles on Volume 1 through 2. Like stoned Beatles on 3 through
5. Like The Undertones on 10. For the hell of it, I tried it all
the way down to zero, and it still sounded great - like a nicely
blown huge amp in the distance. Every volume and tone level combination
is sweet. Low volume has chime and sustain, loud volume has growl
These amps have
brought me so much joy in so little time. They sounded so good
with no pedals, I was worried how it would react to them. Everything
in my pedal board sounds better now, especially my old 808 Tube
Screamer. Do you have a Hughes Kettner RotoSphere? You might
want to try one out with two ASTs. Lately, I've been playing my
ASTs with the volumes set on "1". There isn't anything
I can't do at that setting. And have you ever tried the volume
set to zero and the reverb turned all the way up? I'm telling
you, its cool."
- Paul Leary
reading that classic "volume at zero, reverb all the way up"
line, I got curious and hit my own AST. Damn if ole Leary wasn't
right! And it sounded just like a tone he might be after, too.
I was banging my Reverend Jetstream like a gong when my poor wife came
down, wondering if I had tapped into the box wine spigot...
a number of interesting projects, including the amazing Daniel Johnson,
Meat Puppets, Sublime, and others. Leary now plays with Carny,
still hitting his personal studio daily, loving his duo of Swart ASTs.
Be sure to check
him out on the road with Gibby and co. I saw a clip from the show
and it's almost as beautiful as days of old.
kh - Swart