Leo Lydon

Beefy Tones
Leo Lydon
Leo Lydon: Ismael Quintanilla III.

The wildly named Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol doesn’t play the typical “doom metal” or “stoner metal” that has been hip for decades. Based in Austin, this power trio delivers its melodic, catchy, and often straight-up fun tunes on Doom Wop, combining the eight-string guitar of Leo Lydon, the bass of Aaron Metzdorf, and drummer Sean St. Germain. Through nine anthems, RBBP has created near-perfect driving music, good for commuting or headin’ out for a nice, juicy burger.

Throughout Doom Wop, we hear a combination of ’90s rock and Black Sabbath.
I would say there’s a loose connection to that, yes. Our songs are very sing-along and anthem-like – we try to make annoyingly catchy hooks that you can’t help but hum after the song is over. There’s not really a Black Sabbath connection, though I get the Ozzy and Jack White comparison a lot. I sing that high to cut through all the low-end content of the instruments.

Your eight-string and Aaron’s bass mesh without stepping on each other’s toes. It sounds huge. How do you keep RBBP’s music sonically uncluttered?
We both run dual-mono rigs. I run a vintage Sunn Model T for my highs and mids, and an Orange Terror Bass for my low-end, through an ABY switch. Aaron splits his bass tone in a similar fashion; we both use Worshiper cabinets, out of Austin; I use a 2×12 and 1×15 and he uses a 4×10 and a 3×12. We want to create a giant wall of sound, but also act as one unit without stepping on each other’s toes. Aaron plays a lot of chords on bass, while I play a lot of single notes on the eight-string. We’re reversing a lot of traditional guitar/bass roles.

On “Jesus Was An Alien,” the guitar and bass are fat, dry, and chunky. How did you track it?
All of the new record was tracked the same way – our amps were DI’d into a stereo tube preamp and straight into Pro Tools. Cody J. Simpson, our mixing and mastering engineer, had some real magic going on this track. He especially captured that ’90s vibe on that one. The chunk comes from certain parts where I’m running on my neck pickup – a Seymour Duncan Sentient with an Earthquaker Tentacle box to get it to sound really sluggish.

Who are your guitar influences?
Dimebag Darrell was my biggest inspiration growing up, as well as Mårten Hagström and Fredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah – if you want to guess where my eight-string influence comes from. More recently, I really love Chico Mann from Here Lies Man.

What is your eight-string and how do you tune it?
I use a Jackson DKA8M – the Dinky with a 28″ scale. I drop the low F# a whole step to E, and the rest is standard tuning; low to high, it’s E-B-E-A-D-G-B-E.

You wear the guitar high on your chest. Is that for comfort or technique?
A bit of both. I run around onstage, so having it up high allows me to tuck the body under my right elbow and still play accurately. With the scale length being three or four inches longer and the neck much wider than a standard six-string, having it up that high gives easier access to everything.

Which pedals do you use?
I run the Sunn through an Earthquaker Talons overdrive and Tentacle up-octave, with a noise gate and tape echo for solos. I run the Terror Bass head through a Sunn Life octave-distortion pedal; all that goes into a Bones ABY pedal.

Aaron also uses a lot of fuzz on his bass. Do you ever experiment with crunch tones to find the perfect balance between the two of you?
I’m not much of a gear nerd and have used the same setup for about three years. Aaron experiments with his setup much more than I do, but we always have the same goal in mind – to be as complementary as possible to the tonal structure.

It’s hard for any band to make a living these days. Are you all full-time musicians or do you have other jobs?
Myself and Aaron are pretty much full-time musicians with Burger Patrol. We pickup oddball jobs here and there when we need to. Our drummer, Sean, is a cook when we’re not on the road. It’s pretty amazing we’re able to pull it off, and we’re grateful for all our fans that make that possible!

This article originally appeared in VG’s February 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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