You may have heard, “Guitarist are a dime a dozen”? There’s more than that and unfortunately the really talented ones never make it to the mainstream. Which I would image for most, that’s ok. Many talented musicians are making great money not being in the limelight.
I all my years attending NAMM, I’ve seen things I just can’t explain. It’s been the most humbling experience in my non-professional wishing I was
playing every weekend life.
Enter JP Cervoni. He’s probably someone you may not have heard of, but you need to. JP is the kind of player that makes you envious because he’s so
talented and can play anything. But I guess being a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music has it’s benefits. I recently had an opportunity to
interview JP and discuss his latest CD and gear. Grab a coke, sit down and relax….this is JP Cervoni.
Q: Which Xotic pedal is your favorite and why?
I have 2 favorite pedals, the BB Pre and the AC Booster. I like the BB Pre because it gives me a very organic overdrive sound. My amps are set up so they are half to 3 quarters distorting, this allows me to back up my guitar volume for cleaner sounds, go full up for Bluesy sounds, and then, when i engage the BB Pre, i get full overdrive/distortion. This is not the same as, let’s say, cranking the pre-amp full out ( for more gain ) with the amp at full, you do get more gain, but the sound it’s thinner, comparing to using a BB Pre in front of a amp set up for mid distortion. The BB Pre makes the note thicker and bit more compressed, and…that’s the sound of Classic Rock!!
The AC Booster is a different beast, i use it for two separate setting, one for very clean boost, and this pedal really shines for this, the other way is a serious boost into a overdriven amp. It differs from the BB Pre, what i get from the AC Booster is a very pure boost that pushes the amp into max everything. If i want a “modded” extra gain sound and feel, then this is the pedal i kick in, with my amp at 10. I’m getting the amp to react a certain way here, all “natural” distortion/compression, more of a pure tone ( ala early Van Halen ).
Q: What are those setting?
The settings for me are some what the same on both pedals. I start with treble and Bass at 12, and make small changes, depending on what amp i’m using and how much distortion from the amp i got set up, and it can go either way, adding or taking off some eq…my gold is to have a even sound when i engage the pedals, similar the the basic sound i already have. The Volume and Gain are where you have to be careful here, if you have a amp already in mid distortion, the more you use the Gain from the pedals, the more you “destroy” the natural sound…
I find myself cranking up the volume all the way up, and then adding a minimum of gain, or no gain at all. For me, this retain the most natural sound,while i’m hitting the front end with more output-equal-more distortion. In the case of clean setting, i get a clean bust this way as well.
Q: Have you heard about our new products from Raw Vintage?
Yes and…i use them!!
Q: What are you plans for touring this year? Will we see you on the east coast, Europe or Japan?
I usually go to Italy for Summer Blues Festivals. Here in the States, Clubs like La VeeLee, The Backed Potato, The House of Blues, The Key Club, all top Los Angeles venues are where i perform, i’m contacting booking agencies as we speak, for gigs outside California/Canada.
Q: Describe your live set up; amps, guitars and effects
Always a tube amp: Marshall Super Lead ( modded ), a Brunetti Mercury, a Fender SuperSonic, a SoulTone…Pedalboard: i just stopped using a bunch of pedals and simplified everything by using only a Roland GT5 ( for all my, delays, chorus, flanger, trem, etc ) and the BB Pre and AC Booster that’s it!!
Q: What pedal would you like to see from Xotic in the future?
A Delay pedal with instant multiple settings.
Q: As I’ve heard you have a new CD being released soon and you have some special guest? Give me the scoop on the style of the CD and who played on it?
My new cd ” JP Cervoni Blues and Beyond Band ”
features Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Henderson, Michael Thompson, Carl Verheyen, Kirk Covington, Simon Phillips, Arnold McCuller, Tony Brock, Buddy Miles.
It’s a mix of Modern and Classic Blues sounds, as well as some funky riffs and Hendrix inspired sounds.
Nice to have all these musicians that i respect, do me the favor to put their stamp on my songs.
Vinnie did the trax first take, he did not hear the song before, just asked me to write the arrangement on a piece of paper and he said…push record and let me give it a run, if i screw it up, then we’ll do it again. I still can’t believe that he played what he played as the song was playing in his headphones first time…!!!
Car Verheyen brought his favorite old Marshall head, sat in the mix room, he asked me what style approach i was looking for, i suggested a bit of Steeley Dan
would be nice…he did 3 takes, all nice, and we spliced a couple things together on the spot.
Kirk Covington was a power house! The engineer had a hard time keeping things under control, Kirk was having a good time and pounding the drums very loud! He’s a big boy and all the channels were clipping…!!
Michael Thompson did his solo at his Home Studio, me and Mike got together a few times, he knows what i like and did a beautiful solo that complimented what i played perfectly.
Getting Simon Phillips to play on one of my trax was…a con job! I was producing a Jazz CD in his Studio for a new artist, he was working the board, i told him…Simon, if you want to get payed for this project, you are going to play on one of my songs!!!
For Scott ( my favorite guitar player ), i specifically wrote a little Funky Riff, were i played the melody on the right, and Scott did his thing on the Left, plus he played the solo. What can i say… Scott Henderson!!
I’ve seen Arnold McCuller many times with Phil Collins and James Taylor, i love his voice, it was a pleasure having Arnold lay down a vocal trax , along side Carmen Grillo ( from Tower of Power ) lots of Class here…
Tony Brock is one of my favorite drummers, he co-produced this cd with me and played some beautiful drums.
Q: For this CD, give us a run down of the guitars, amps and effects you used?
I used a Mexican made Strat, with John Shur pu’s, a Marshall JCM 800 head, a 1×12 with a EV spk and the BB Pre and AC Booster that’s it, my guitar tone smokes!!!
Q: If you’re really Italian, do you know the saying “What do you call a bird in the top of the tree?”
I don’t know this saying, but i do know this one…” Ben, be careful ho-yu- tak-to me…i got cement shoes for you ready…!!!”
I will be making new video clips for Xotic, with my latest pedalboard, showing how easy it is to get pro sounds with minimal equipment, so, keep your eyes and ears open..!!