In Pound For The Sound, New Times gets technical with local musicians about what gear they use to create their signature style.
Shovel guitarist Dusty Rose is a rocker through and through, always laying down heavy licks accompanied by appropriately crushing guitar tones. She goes hard.
Born in North Dakota, Rose and her family arrived in the Valley when she was 3 years old. So she's basically a native Phoenician. Her parents were always listening to music when she was growing up. Her dad loved rock 'n' roll, and her mom would dress up like Madonna and sing with her. She obviously chose rock 'n' roll.
A mostly self-taught player, Rose didn't pick up a guitar until she was 20. A late bloomer? Maybe. But you wouldn't know it by listening to her play now.
Rose is also a fan and avid supporter of the arts. She loves the connections between art and music, especially in the Phoenix scene.
Dusty, and her cohort Ward Reeder, will be performing as Shovel on Saturday, July 29, at The Lost Leaf as part of a special 2 Piece Combo night featuring only two-piece bands. It's going to rock hard. New Times talked with Rose about how she borrows Jags, her gear, and the upcoming show.
New Times: What's the secret weapon of your sound? And how did that help you find your "signature" tone?
Dusty Rose: I borrow friends' Jaguar guitars, for I like the full sound it can get against my natural distortion settings on my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I know I should hook my amp into another amp to even get that fuller, deeper, low-end tone I love, but it would be a headache to deal with all that if anything happens on stage.
As far as pedals, I use BOSS Distortion and Flanger pedals, and sometimes different booster pedals. I have a Phase Shifter, but I can't quite get it to sound right. One practice, it made my guitar sound like a robot, which was awesome, but I can’t replicate it. I probably should get a compressor or sustain pedal to expand my playability, but I usually keep things simple. If the sound is too thin or if there are ever any electronic issues, I cry inside, then pull out my strings in rage. Then I kiss my guitar to let it know I still love it. Just kidding. That would be gross.
What's your favorite piece of gear in your collection and why?
The pedal board my pal made for me from IKEA parts. I can't wait to find cool pedals to put on it. Just wish it had more room for more stickers to vomit all over it!
Any special pieces of gear acquired over the years? Any special story, or stories, behind your collection of tools?
I once met Fred Gretsch Jr. years ago at a luncheon, and he asked what I played. I said a Jag, and he goes, "We need to get you a Gretsch!" Before I knew it, I had a Gretsch on order for me! They said I could pick anything I wanted. I should have picked the White Falcon! [But] I was humble and thankful and picked something not so pricey. I am not big on having a lot of stuff around. I love stuff, but just not in my environment. I don't like clutter. So over the years I’ve smashed a lot of Jacksons [and] Squires, which is stupid. I don’t do that anymore. I didn't think I was cool doing it or anything. I suppose at the time I thought it was funny. I wish I owned the perfect Mustang or Jag. I’d love to play a Mustang with heavy-sounding Jag pickups. Recently, I like my gold sparkled Strat. It does neat experimental weird sounds with the tremelo arm.
We checked out your track “Pretty Girl.” Rocking stuff. I like how heavy everything is, and the fact that the vocals are front and center without being front and center. How did you go about recording both the guitar and vocals for this track?
Jalipaz from Audioconfusion recorded [and] mixed that track for us. I really dug how the vocals sounded slightly like I was in a cave or something. It's funny I always hate recordings of my own stuff and never want to hear it, where Ward loves to hear back anything and everything right away, which is probably why he is great at recording bands on the side when he is not drumming. Although, I do admit it is kind of cool to hear it loud on a PA or stereo randomly. When we played with The Mission Creeps, Deadbolt, Vooduo, and the Rebel Set down in Tombstone a while back, one of the burlesque firedancers at the show spun her rings around to "Pretty Girl" and I was like, "Hey, I kind of like this!"
Our new tunes, currently stored in a vault until we can release them on vinyl, were recorded by Matt Rendon [from the Resonars] down at Midtown Island Studios in Tucson. He really helped capture a fresh fuzz-fueled tone mixed with melodic eeriness. It was a great experience. We are heading back there to record a few more in August. Can't wait till you hear these suckers. Something fresh and different.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You had said during our conversation that you are starting a graphic design business for bands. Can you please expand upon your vision for this segment of your life?
Well, I wouldn't call it a business, ha ha. An interest. I have an interest in graphic arts. I love the idea of making poster art for bands I adore that come to town. I've always loved old punk flyers and contemporary modern art. I recently had the opportunity to see Raymond Pettibon’s exhibit in NYC and it was so cool. There is this graphic artist named Jamie Zuverza in Austin who I love that makes tons of poster art for popular venues there that are visually weird, interesting, and fantastic. It's like their go-to guy. It would be sweet to be a venue's go-to gal for poster art. It would be a dream to make a poster for the Melvins, Dinosaur Jr, Butthole Surfers, or any band that has a history of killer art. Right now, I am working on my portfolio. My first commissioned piece is due in August for a popular mainstream punk band. I'm hoping the company will love it and the band will love it as well. Crossing fingers! My website should be up soon, but for now you can just check my Instagram for updates.
Shovel is performing this Saturday, July 29, as part of the 2 Piece Combo show at The Lost Leaf. Any special words you wish to share with fans about the show?
Yes, we have a new quirky tune that we will probably debut! So you should definitely come out to see that. Also Lost Leaf is super fun to play as a two-piece because it's a smaller space, so it feels intimate and has good energy. Good energy equals good performances.
Shovel is performing on Saturday, July 29, as part of the 2 Piece Combo show at The Lost Leaf.