My gear is my family. I love every piece on its own, individually (well…until a better-sounding family member gets invented and I have to buy it), and every piece of gear loves me, too. How do they say it? With sweet tone.

But as I graft members into this little family, I do like to give them sort of an initiation hazing. I call this hazing ‘church.’ See, things happen at churches that just don’t happen elsewhere. Dramas are a good example, but I’m uh……well, let’s just leave it at that. Anyway, this weekend, we had all the mothers come up on stage so that our pastor could read them a poem. Kind of a cool idea. And yes, if you’re wondering, I did (just for a second) think about playing ‘Mothers of the Disappeared’ from PopMart as they stood up there. And it worked awesome on Saturday night, which is our smaller, more intimate venue. But on Sundays, we’re a decent-sized church; hence, there were more mothers than there was stage. It was still really sweet, though. Our pastor picked out a really good poem, and I fought back the urge to play U2′s ‘Mothers’ (man, that would’ve been awesome, though!) and just picked something softly. 

(hehe Couldn’t help myself. So powerful. Although, it was always difficult for U2 to do the powerful, heartfelt stuff during Pop, due to Bono’s light-up suit, and Edge’s muscle shirt.)

But in one of the services, all of a sudden, ‘Pop! Pop! Pop!’ from my brand new (well, for me) Divided by 13. Signal, no signal, signal, no signal, signal fading, no signal, signal fading back up. Great, my amp is dying! I mean, uh…Blast! I’m ruining the service. ;) And of course, every head of every mother on stage is now turned towards me. My head is turned towards…the ground. Well, signal fades back up, and I continue to play, in complete shock and horror. I just bought this amp not even a week ago, and now it has issues. But then I look at my pedalboard; all my midi screens are scrolling and the delays are all resetting. Power outage? Faulty extension cord? Oh. There’s so many people on stage, that some are like, almost on top of my pedalboard, and somehow my master power switch on the power conditioner is getting flicked on and off. I don’t know how, probably with a shoe; but there were so many people on stage, I could barely see my board.

So, welcome to church life, Divided by 13. Not a huge deal; and definitely worth it if it means showing love to other people…in this case, to moms. Still pretty funny, though. First weekend of action, and you’ve already had two of the worst things you can do to a tube amp happen to you…cutting power suddenly, and powering up suddenly……three times in a row. That’s the church hazing that you have no control over; but you know it’ll happen. Just gotta plan on it and try to get robust gear. And to it’s credit, the amp held up like a champ. Oh, and live, there’s not really a question. I have no idea how he got this amp to be so full and gutsy, but not barky. It’s smooth, with chime…and not trebly. Much better review of it to come. Sorry, beloved Holland, but they just invented a better family member to take your place. Or, again, maybe I’m just bored and will desperately want the Holland back in a month or so. And all the pedals I’m selling. Tone is a harsh mistress. If you had told me a month ago that I’d have a new amp and would be selling half my pedals, I would’ve laughed……well…but then I might’ve said, ‘Probably.’