Get Yer Pedals Out #13: Starring Oli Walker (Mississippi Witch)

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.

I do so love the menfolk that can make a whole heck of a lot of noise. Mister Oli Walker, of transplanted swamp ruckus voodoo rock and rolling Mississippi Witch, makes a heck of a lot of noise. He also shares my crush on pedals. If you've yet to join the dark side that is Mississippi Witch fandom, fear not. There will be plenty of talk of them in the future. For now, please read on to see what gets Mister Walker his pedal kicks, and why you should know what The Jesus Knuckle is.

Fuzzy Logic: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?
Oli Walker: My favourite pedal is really a combination of two pedals, well three, but the main thing to remember when dealing with ones' favourite pedal is to stamp on his head so hard that he recants his post-Witch sins, now, once the pedal has been cleansed of Zapata's blood we can operate him as a child would a clown whistle.

My favourite pedal/combination is a early Roger Mayer Octavia with a Zvex Super Duper (which is two triode drivers in one) sitting behind it, I turn all the knobs on full, and if I happen to be standing in the right spot I will see that dude with the twig in his nose from Death Rides a Horse standing slightly to my left mumbling something along the lines of "that's the sweet spot". I would also like to stipulate that both of these pedals must MUST be powered by batteries, and ones that are middle-aged in order to generate maximum glow/glow worm syndrome. 

But yes, Roger Mayer Octavia and a Zvex Super Duper amalgam.

FL: Favorite chord?
OW: This a very simple answer for me to answer for me…..eeeer…and others, there can only be one chord, and he bees the E, the open E, my reasoning on this goes back to the first time a monkey realised that he could wrap his fingers into a hammer shaped fist type configuration in order to correct another monkey's point of stance, the E, also known as "The Fist" or "The Jesus Knuckle" will procure ones right to be king chimp in relation to the goods i.e. the Bananas, or in modern day terminology - The 1964 and a half Mustang convertible (Black with white seats).

FL: Who's your guitarist icon?
OW: I would like to list a few, firstly, the french gypsy Django Reinhardt, a man who's crippled hand allowed my crippled hand to not only recover from from its injuries, but to become far more violent an instrument than its predecessor, the Django claw can only be seen as a blueprint for the damage and pulchritude that became a mainstay in rock and roll.

The Jimi's! One who gave the world Machine Gun, and one that gave us Black Mountain side, both genius players with no competition to their abilities. Hendrix taught the people of Monterrey about the killing floor, and Page taught the people of England that actually they were shit on the guitar and should get back to work so people like he and I could not.
Robbie Krieger and Keith Richard.

FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?
OW: It's very simple, most are clones and vanish under the stress and strain of my amps, some sound ok if you sit in a bin with a magnet sellotaped to your head and your amp on 2, but none can compete with the originals, apart from Zvex.

I do occasionally go on a lawless pedal horde, buying some piece of plastic bollocks from god knows when, but I do have a system, if it's good enough to play at Witch volume, it gets painted black with gate paint and put in the wooden box, if it's good for the studio but not good enough for the wooden box, it gets put in a 1960's American Airlines bag and set to the side behind the Ampeg VT22's (and at some point will be sold to the Portuguese for a profit).

The pedal world is a strange place where people search for a tin box to make their playing sound better, although I love to stamp on the pedals head I'm still happiest when the amp is just pissing fireballs of tube heat at people as the run for the side door, no pedal needed.

FL: What's your dream pedal?
OW: My dream pedal is the Roger Mayer Octavia, I stamped on his head for over ten years, I stamped his knobs off, I dripped gate paint into his circuit board, then burnt it off with a candle, and so on and so forth with the wax and the scrapping with the knife and the devil liquor baths, still works, no problems, will never die.

Again, it MUST be the early one with the battery only laws, do not plug this pedal into the mains.

m4a: Albuquerque, New Mexico (Mississippi Witch from Black Gamble)

[photo by Oli Walker]

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