Ax Facts & Stats with Duran Duran’s Dom Brown

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Ax Facts & Stats with Duran Duran’s Dom Brown

By Dave B. Roberts (Photo courtesy/copyright Stuart Saunders.
to check out this interview in its entirety featured in the forthcoming Ax Facts & Stats Volume 2 book due for release in the Fall 2011, featuring Q&As not featured in the online interviews!

My name is:
Dom Brown.

My current job is:
Lead guitarist with Duran Duran.

My hometown:
London, England.

My current album or project is:
All You Need Is Now, Duran's new, Mark Ronson produced, album. I have co-written 13 of the 15 songs.

Former bands:
Mainly solo projects, also 18 months with the Sugababes.

My guitar influences growing up were:
Dave Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Angus Young, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck.

The guitars I use are:
Strats (mainly a Sunburst 1963), Tele's, Les Paul's and various acoustics inc. Gibson, Martin, Taylor.

The strings and tunings I use are:
Solo material I often drop to Eb and use 11 through to 53. For Duran standard tuning and 10 through to 52. Also use different open tunings for slide work.

My current rig setup consists of:
Solo set up I use Divided by 13, a 1962 AC30, Audio Kitchen Little Chopper. With Duran I use a Boogie Roadster and a Fender Twin Reverb. Use many different combinations of pedals for each project.

The greatest invention for guitars is:

My normal songwriting process consists of:
I don't have any specific way as it always depends on the project. For instance with my solo work I can start from a single guitar idea or one line of a lyric and use that to construct an entire song until finished. With Duran the process was very different as we started all the tracks from scratch together in the studio and built from there.

My favorite guitar solo from our band:
I love the extended live version of “Mediterranea” from the new album and also the solo I added to the live version of “Ordinary World.”

My favorite all-time guitar solo (from another guitarist):
That's a really hard one but “Comfortably Numb” is up there.

Favorite all-time song (any artist) is:
“Life On Mars”, Bowie.

Favorite song by our band:
At the moment it's “Girl Panic!” from the new album.

Favorite song to perform in front of a live audience:
”Voodoo Chile”

My Career highlight thus far is:
Playing at Wembley Stadium twice in a week with Duran for the Princess Diana Concert and Live Earth.

My most embarrassing moment on stage:
Recently we were sound checking for a show that David Lynch was directing for a special one off web broadcast. The sample sound to the intro of Planet Earth had some how transposed up a semi tone and no one realized until I played the first note of the riff. It was like the sound and moment in 127 Hours when he cuts through the nerve. It was the worst combination of notes, shocking and horrendous. We started again and the same thing happened. Of course everyone looked at me to blame. We rebooted the sampler and 3rd time lucky it was all fine. Gerard Way, the singer from My Chemical Romance, who was doing guest vocals on that track, said if that had happened to him he would have thrown up. That is kind of how I felt too!!

Other than my guitar and amps, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is:
My Wah Wah.

The first song I ever mastered on guitar:
”Smoke On The Water.”

My first guitar was:
A Kay SG copy... had an action of about 1" and was like playing a cheese grater.

The first time I ever heard our band on the radio was (when and where):
In the early 90's my band Slippery Thin had a very large French fan base and we were touring there and I heard it on the van radio.

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's:
Treat others as you would like to be treated.

The one ritual I always perform prior to going on stage is:
A shot of tequila.

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was:
When I heard “Welcome To The Machine” by Pink Floyd. I was 11 years old and my PE teacher, Mr Newell, played it whilst we stretched and limbered up... I was totally engrossed, transcended and it was like having an epiphany.

The one thing most fans don't know about me is:
My age.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists:
Practice, practice, practice!!

CD(s) I'm listening to right now:
Arcade Fire, Funeral. Howlin' Wolf, The London Sessions. Florence and the Machines, Lungs.

My 3 all-time favorite albums:
Dark Side Of The Moon, Led Zeppelin 4, Grace.

Best gig:
I was doing a blues gig at a Festival in Cardiff and this might sound corny but I had an out of body experience. I actually felt as though I was in the audience watching the show. It lasted about 10 minutes.

Favorite junk food:

My biggest pet peeve:
People smoking when I'm eating.

The word or catch phrase I say too much is:

The hardest part of my job:
All the traveling and being away from my family.

What I like to do in my "off" time (hobbies):
Watching movies, reading and listening to music.

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is:
Kiss my wife and kids and then order a curry.

Previous or first day job:
When I was about 14 I had a Saturday job in a butchers. It was the most disgusting experience in my life. One time one of the bosses was sick and sneezed over the meat... it wasn't until the next customer came in and we realized there was a giant snot in the mince we were about to serve.

Right after this interview I'm going to:
Ask the air hostess for a cup of tea.

I couldn't imagine being on the road without:
My laptop and Logic Pro setup.

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as:
As a butcher, no, I would love to work in film; Anything from directing to reviewing.

Favorite movie:
The Godfather or Twelve Angry Men.

My mission in life:
To achieve peace of mind and happiness.

My next goal is:
To write with as many great artists as possible.

The greatest contribution guitars/music have brought into my life is:
It gives me a voice and a way of expressing myself.

The one musician I would love to have worked with would have been:
John Bonham.

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