LIFE ON TOUR
TALKING RIGS, TOURING AND DAY JOBS WITH FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES’ DEAN RICHARDSON
Posted: 3 August 2017
Posted: 3 August 2017
The Rattlesnakes are known for animated live performances, how do you keep the energy levels up whilst touring?
We have this hour long playlist on Spotify, which is kinda the starting gun to get into the right headspace before a show. It even has a rooster sound near the end warning us we have 10 minutes to go haha. But really there is no secret, from day one we’ve just hit every stage with the idea that we won’t accept a bad show – and we’ll do what it takes to transcend into that feeling you can only find at an amazing show.
Touring as much as we do, there has been a fair few times I’ve worried looking around at one of us being ill, or not been sure we’re heading into it right but as soon as the first chord drops, it’s smooth sailing.
How would you describe the sound of The Rattlesnakes to someone who’s never heard you guys before?
Take two guys who have played in hardcore bands, that love everything from blues to pop and want to start a rock band and you get The Rattlesnakes. Our agreement on day one when we started writing was we would do whatever we want, at every turn, and I think you can hear than in our music.
If you weren’t playing guitar, what would be your day job?
I have one already! I’ve worked for myself as a freelance creative artist since I was literally about 12, I just always enjoyed creating things and then when I realised people would pay me for it I never looked back.
It crosses over loads with music these days, I have designed basically everything for Rattlesnakes – from packaging, to adverts, even shooting the Lullaby video with Frank. But I also work for other artists, as varied as Jessie J through to Roger Waters. I’m doing a little less at the moment outside of Rattlesnakes while we tour so much, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop entirely – I like a challenge too much.
Tell us a bit about your rig and the Marshalls you’re currently using – what do you like about them?
I’m using two beautiful 1962 Bluesbreakers through 1982 cabinets. All custom designed using the Design Store in cream with gold trim. They look amazing but they sound even better. There is just unlimited head room, I have an ever changing pedal board, experimenting with everything from synth pedals to fuzz and octave pedals and at no point is it too much for the Bluesbreakers.
If I ever need to tweak anything, the controls actually make a difference. I don’t like using amps where you can turn a knob to 10 and not hear a change, with my Bluesbreakers every notch has an impact on the sound.
I play a Fender Telecaster, and as I said my pedalboard evolves and moves around – but my mainstays are the Way Huge Green Rhino and some form of Rat. Currently a ProCo Duecetone Rat.
How does your rig differ from being in the studio to being on the road?
The main difference is that live I try to keep things as simple as I can. I’m really interested in making sounds that push what a guitar can achieve, but live I need a solid setup that’s gonna survive touring.
In the studio, the limits are off and I will try anything to create the best sounds I can. Whilst recording I don’t worry about then playing it live, there’s always time to figure that out later!
If you could jam with any other guitarist, who would you choose?
I love blues, so i’d love to sit down and play with someone like Tab Benoit – I go through phases of listening to his album Medicine as soon as I come off stage. I guess there’s more legendary blues guitarists, but something about the way he plays works for me.
Any advice to young, aspiring guitarists reading this?
I think the most important thing to do is stay in your own lane. I was drawn to the guitar to write songs, so I just kept writing and playing and didn’t worry about learning ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Other people might get better, faster and be able to show off sooner than you can – but better is subjective, and right now I’m glad I searched for my own weird style of playing.
It’s not the fastest, it’s not the most complicated even, but it’s mine – something I think is becoming rarer these days.