Get Yer Pedals Out: Starring Brian Miles (Ttotals)

I couldn't quite tell you why, but for the longest time I've been somewhat moderately obsessed with pedals. Since I'm no guitarist I don't really have a valid reason for this, other than the fact that they both make pretty noises and are rather nice to look at. Much, really, like the folks who use them. I've decided to turn my inexplicable pedal fancy into Fuzzy Logic fodder, and I do hope you'll enjoy my foray into the ins and outs of pedal worship.
Y'all know I'm a little bit of a sucker for those Southern boys, especially when they happen to make a ferocious racket that mixes industrial noise levels with good old scuzzy shoegaze. Or, as they like to call it, the "Outer Blues." Brian Miles is one half of the ramblin' wreck of serious sonic badassness from Nashville known to the world as Ttotals. He's the one who you'll hear performing his balancing act between clinical precision and off-the-rails madness with the guitar, and just about the same with his vocals. I've conned these dudes into coming back to DC, but more on that later. For now, Mr. Miles muses some very important pedally ponderings.

Fuzzy Logic: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?
Brian Miles: Probably the ProCo Rat distortion pedal. It's the simple black, square box in the middle of my pedal-board. It's one of my oldest pedals and I like it better than any other distortion I've tried or owned. Believe me I’ve tried a bunch and still have some at home in my closet of tricks.

FL: Favorite chord?
BM: C flat major. This is what my guitar is tuned to.

FL: Who's your guitarist icon?
BM: I can’t narrow it down to just one. There are several that I’ve tried to sneak things from in some way or another. They're in no particular order.

1. Lee Ranaldo – Sonic Youth

I really like what Lee does in the band. He is very forward thinking and the guitar is just an extension of him and his creative mind.

2. Johnny Marr – The Smiths

I love his clean tones like in “This Charming Man”. I absolutely love that song. I wish I would be open to playing more arpeggios. I can’t bring myself to play them.

3. Pete Kember – Spacemen 3

Sometimes simple and stripped down is just the way to go. Pete and the Spacemen had a huge impact on me. If you couldn’t tell already.

4. Brian Jones – The Rolling Stones

What can I say that has not been said about this Rolling Stone. The Stones were never the same after Brian died. In my opinion they wrote their best songs during this time. And some of those songs impacted me more than I can describe and I am just now kind of realizing how much they actually influenced me. I highly recommend the book “Who Killed Christopher Robin”. It’s a book about Brian’s life just leading up to and during the time he was a Rolling Stone.

FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?
BM: It just depends on your needs really. And what is really reliable and can take a little beating. I’m kind of rough on things, not so much now a-days, but I’ve broken a few pedals stomping on them. Sometimes you gotta be good with a soldering iron.

FL: What's your dream pedal?
BM: I would like to start building my own distortion pedals. I do have this crazy pedal built by Oliver Ackerman/Death By Audio. It’s called the Total Sonic Annihilation. The name describes it all. This is a crazy pedal and one I don’t use very often, but sometimes it's just called for. You’ll find it in that closet of tricks I talked about earlier.

[photo by Megan Petty]


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