ToneQuest Report: November 2022 – Vol. 24, No. 1


In our November issue of The ToneQuest Report, we interview R.J. Ronquillo, talk Fuzz pedals, Twisted Sister tales, and more!

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What's Inside This Issue:

R.J. Ronquillo Interview – R.J. Ronquillo embodies what the new creative modus operandi looks like—It is one of beautiful diversity that includes sharing of gear knowledge, musical insights and opportunities that go beyond writing, recording, and touring. Not to say that during his earlier years R.J. didn’t follow a typical musician’s journey, touring with Stevie Wonder, Ricky Martin and credited for sessions on albums by Carlos Santana, and 2Pac, he hasn’t been on a plane in over a year. His YouTube program, R.J.’s Saturday Morning Coffee Q&A has followers from all over the planet with discussions revolving around new instruments, the nitty gritty feel and preference of 21 versus 22 fret guitars, and why Boz Scaggs’ Other Roads is significant if you’re into tracking ‘80s LA studio musicians. With over one hundred fifty thousand subscribers and twelve plus million views, R.J. is definitely a present-day player, who is on a well-deserved freight train of a roll. We simply refer to him as a badass.

Fuzzy Feelings and Good Vibes for All – As much as we are absolute believers in having unreal and massive sparkling clean tones from our amps, which is the reason we love vintage wound pickups, once those fat warm cleans are achieved and set as the platform, anything we do from there on out with pedals is far magical. We are fuzz aficionados, certified freaks, and seekers of that hairy goodness day in and day out, for when done right it can be captivating and beyond inspiring. We review a few of our favorites and we figured we might as well throw in some Univibe goodness and wisdom just so you have plenty to ponder and explore for your own waking dreams.

Brisbane Bop – A Cult of Steel Guitar Players – If you’re on the hunt, better yet, the quest for your next favorite album, you may want to check out Brisbane Bop, a collection of live recordings by Jimmie Rivers and the Cherokees from the notorious 23 Club in Brisbane California. It’s something of a cult classic among steel guitar players and fans of Western Swing. And as an added bonus, the great music comes with a great story. As Western Swing, at one time the most popular genre in the country, began to decline in popularity, musicians like Jimmie found themselves hunting for work in unusual and somewhat less than desirable places, like the 23 Club, of which it was said, “the music starts at 9, and the fights start at 10.”

Jay Jay’s Tales from The Twisted Sister Road Part One – The Twisted Sister story begins with their first existential crisis during the band’s official beginning as a “glitter band” in early 1973. Aside from the usual problems and challenges that go into trying to create a working band, creative and personality issues, things happen that you never could have never expected that throws a monkey wrench into your best plans, and if you have any ability to see the bigger picture, forces you to solve it and prepares you for a future crisis. In Part One Jay Jay French manager, founder, and Twisted Sister guitarist shares the band’s road tales while playing their first gigs and his personal reflections on lessons learned.

A Listening Diary – I Am the Moon – We get some special people in our ToneQuest pages, this is rare air indeed, and finally getting Rick Moody to grace us with his words is quite the treat. He has a mind like no other, a true savant. We’ve known him for years and have spent time sharing meals and playing music together in a quiet upstate New York studio space where he has written many big-time books—our favorite was, “On Celestial Music.” Rick lets loose on the Tedeschi-Trucks’ latest album offering and it’s not to be missed. Here’s to Susan and Derek and the band, and to all that lies ahead sonically.

Peden Shines A Light – There’s not much more fun than a late fall adventure into the city. New York’s hustle and bustle has always amused us, but when we get to catch up with John Peden for lunch and stories, cranking up amazing vintage guitar amps, too… Well yes, count us in. It has been a while, and that particular visit we brought along some incorrigible ruffian of a fellow from a band called Twisted Sister to join in the shenanigans. Jay Jay French agrees that any time with John Peden is time well spent. We ask JP to tells us a few personal stories of his path into the vintage guitar world and his recollection of photo and video sessions with musicians including Roy Buchanan and “Nancy”, a private mini concert with Buddy Guy with his new cool Japanese guitar with polka dots, and Keith Richard plugged in on the set, playing lick for lick original songs from the Stone’s first three albums.