our ole buddy Paul Leary of Butthole Surfers fame finally tossed us
some big, bold samples with his AST. I was tempted to don my vintage
Diving Bell helmet with dedicated air supply, good for 300ft, this
before powering my EICO up for blast-off. Alas, it was not needed,
these relatively tame for Leary fare. But damn, ole Paul did do
some BIG BONED samples here, seven short but sweet nuggets. I'll
let my news blurb from way back when introduce the beasts. I asked
Paul for specifics but got a "?". Ole Paul.
anyone saw Paul Leary and the Butthole Surfers in the heyday of indie
innocent, before THE BIG FALL, aka pre-NEVERMIND, they probably
came away with a renewed understanding of sonic dementia, Über
beauty noise, and wall of sideways sound akin to an ape having a seizure
while holding a jackhammer within a corrugated tin pipe. OF course,
Paul has toned down a bit since then, but he still gets big ass tone.
Paul called for a duo of custom covered , red & silver sparkle ASTs
that he plays via a stereo pedal for full effect. Needless to
say, Leary is often looking for the "difference" in gear.
Paul sent the follow comments on his AST pair:
been playing electric guitar for forty-two years now, and the
Atomic Space Tone is absolutely the finest amp I've ever played
through. It will be a long time before I plug into anything else.
I've been playing through these amps about 6 hours a day since
I got them! There is no other amp in the world that I'd
rather be playing through now.
delivered me the tone that I have been looking for all my life.
I am totally blown away by the sound, the look, and by how small
and light they are.
and expectations have been greatly exceeded. Your design is a
it never went above "2", it would be an amazing amp.
But when I cranked it all the way up, it just went into orbit.
like the Beatles on Volume 1 through 2. Like stoned Beatles on
3 through 5. Like The Undertones on 10. For the hell of it, I
tried it all the way down to zero, and it still sounded great
- like a nicely blown huge amp in the distance. Every volume and
tone level combination is sweet. Low volume has chime and sustain,
loud volume has growl without issues.
amps have brought me so much joy in so little time. They sounded
so good with no pedals, I was worried how it would react to them.
Everything in my pedal board sounds better now, especially my
old 808 Tube Screamer. Do you have a Hughes
Kettner RotoSphere? You might want to try one out with two ASTs.
Lately, I've been playing my ASTs with the volumes set on "1".
There isn't anything I can't do at that setting. And have you
ever tried the volume set to zero and the reverb turned all the
way up? I'm telling you, its cool."
- Paul Leary
After reading that classic "volume at zero, reverb all the way
up" line, I got curious and hit my own AST. Damn if ole
Leary wasn't right! And it sounded just like a tone he might be
after, too. I was banging my Reverend Jetstream like a gong when
my poor wife came down, wondering if I had tapped into the box wine
produced a number of interesting projects, including the amazing Daniel
Johnson, Meat Puppets, Sublime, and others. Leary now plays with
Carny, still hitting his personal studio daily, loving his duo of Swart
sure to check him out on the road with Gibby and co. I saw a clip
from the show and it's almost as beautiful as days of old.
kh - Swart Online
one and only Paul Leary with his twin
ASTs, pedal board, & bevy of vintage classics lined up.
All photos on this page click to full versions ~ Photos by the captivating,