Confessions of a Gear Nerd: Russian Circles /Brian Cook
Six Questions with Brian Cook (Russian Circles)
What is your current set up? Guitars/ basses, pedals, strings, picks, & amps. (feel free to keep any secrets you deem necessary)
i primarily play a Gibson Grabber II. i also have a ‘77 Grabber that’s pretty thrashed at this point. and i have a First Act Delgada i used on the Geneva album. my amp is a Verellen Meatsmoke. i use an Ampeg 8x10 cabinet. i use Dean Markley strings. pedals are harder to pinpoint because i’m always trying out new things. i’ve got a Fulltone OCD in there, a Digitech Whammy, an Akai Headrush, an EHX little Big Muff, an EHX Memory Toy. and i just got a Fuzzrocious Rat Tail and a Tonebutcher Pocket Puss that i’ve been having a lot of fun with.
How long have you been playing?
just shy of twenty years.
Do you have any music training?
took a little piano as a kid. and took some saxophone lessons in the 9th grade. that’s about it. i’ve always hated the idea of lessons, but i’m starting to think i could use some a little formal training.
Who are your influences?
Mike Watt was a huge inspiration when i started playing, more for his general philosophy as a bassist than anything. i learned a lot of Minutemen and fIREHOSE stuff though. someone at some point said learning Minutemen songs on the bass was the best training you could do. i still think Watt is a bad ass, but i think my style owes a lot more to Rob Wright from Nomeansno. even though i liked them as a teenager, the bass playing on their records really hit me in my twenties. These Arms Are Snakes’ “Oxeneers” album borrows heavily from the Wright handbook. and i like a lot of the noisier distortion-loving bass players from the ’90s—Mike Kunka from Godheadsilo, the dudes from Man Is The Bastard, Joe Preston from Thrones, the dudes from Dog Faced Hermans and Steel Pole Bath Tub, etc…
What piece of your “rig” can you not live without?
my OCD pedal is on for about 95% of our set, so i’ll go with that.
Do you prefer recording or playing live?
live, for sure. recording stresses me out.