Riff rockers Crobot have been promoting their first album, Something Supernatural, with a live show offering full-bombast rock, contagious funk, and science fiction. The band’s success is owed in part to the sonic interludes of guitarist Chris Bishop, who has discovered the missing link between crashing power chords, funky riffs, and hallucinogenic guitar effects,
Your sound has hints of Clutch and Queens Of The Stone Age. How did you discover your own “voice?”
It wasn’t one of those things we had to develop much. We just started jamming. When the tap tempo broke on my Vox delay pedal, I started trying to manipulate delay times with my foot while we were playing, and it started making these crazy sounds. Sometimes, I’d accidently smack the wrong knob, and I’d use the sound to ramp songs and parts into each other. Once I started doing that, I knew I wanted to utilize low-octave effects and abrasive delay. “Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer,” was the first song where we said, “That’s our sound.”
Your playing has a Southern funkiness.
Skynyrd. I’m from Tennessee, and I remember playing guitar with my dad and his cousins. They would literally sit around and drink beer and play every Lynyrd Skynyrd song all night. So, I would learn all these songs. Having that funkiness is important. Really, I’m just trying to fill frequencies within the band. One of my favorite guitar players is Audley Freed, and his playing is similar to mine because I remember learning Cry of Love songs when I was 10 or 11. It really stuck with me. Even with all the effects, you still get an organic guitar tone, and that’s important, especially if you want a raw feel. If you want to sound like Nickelback, you use a big wall of sound. That’s great, but I like people to hear the character in my playing. I’m somewhat of a sloppy player. I want people to be able to hear the string noise and not just hear a big wall of distortion.
Which amp are you using?
I’ve played Orange amps for years. I use the Dual Terror and I have the Tiny Terror for a backup or to play a small room. If it’s a decent-size room where I can crank it up a little bit, I’ll use the Dual Terror. They’re both awesome, and it’s vital that I have that because the way I run the crazy delay stuff, I need a bit of head room so I’m not working with straight feedback. The Duals are pretty good for that. I don’t have to run it too hot, but I still have a good, solid tube sound.
What’s on your pedalboard?
I’ve got a Morley Bad Horsie Wah, which is one of the first they ever made. I use it more as a filter effect. I also have a Way Huge Swollen Pickle and a Z-Vex Fuzz Factory. Then I have an Electro-Harmonix Micro POG and a POG 2. The Micro POG is set for one octave down, while the POG 2 I use strictly for my octave up. I stack them. That’s the holy grail of kick-you-in-your-face tone. When I want to get heavy and knock someone’s balls off, I put that Fuzz Factory on with that sub-octave from my POG.
I also have a Vox Time Machine Delay that was modded. That’s my abrasive, super-crazy delay. My other delay is an Ibanez Echo Shifter. It has a really big knob in the middle that you can use with your foot to move up and down. That’s how I get that whirly psychedelic sound.
What’s your main guitar?
For years, I’ve been playing a Fender ’72 FSR Telecaster. It’s sunburnt orange and has a Bare Knuckle P90. It’s got a standard Tele neck, so it feels nice. I recorded the whole album with it. I use the low-octave pedal on a lot of my single-note riffs to compensate for the Tele sound, which is very high-end and piercing, sometimes. The low octave gives a huge, unique sound. You still get the attack and the metallic-ness of the strings, but you get all that low-end. It’s really awesome.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March 2015 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.