Swart Amps Featured Artist
Paul Leary's BIG BOLD AST MP3s

Well, 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.

 Jazzmaster Graveyard                  :34

 Jazzmaster Delay                          :24
 Jazzmaster TS808                            :26

 Tele  Leary 1                                   :15
 Tele  Leary 2                                    :14
 Tele  Leary 3                                     :10

 Tele  Leary 4                                     :13     

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:

"I've 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 they are.

My hopes and expectations have been greatly exceeded. Your design is a masterpiece.

If 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 without issues.

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

After 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...

Paul's produced 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 Online

The one and only
Paul Leary with his twin ASTs, pedal board, & bevy of vintage classics lined up.

All photos on this page click to full versions ~ Photos by the captivating, Formica Iglesia.

see full Paul Leary Formica Portrait(ed)

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