NHC MUSIC - In The Head Of The Artists Vol 5 - Big John Duncan - Part 2

This very special episode of In the Head of the Artists is with a living legend, the one and only Big John Duncan! Nhc's resident guitar geek Martin McCann gets the lowdown on Johns set up in what we consider his classic bands (Exploited, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, Blood Uncles) and find out what he plays presently.

(Just wondering ... Exploited, Blood Uncles then GBMM... timeline... timeline... timeline... J.)

WARNING - this article may be steeped in guitar geekiness, proceed with caution. 

(and fuckloads of swear words ... ya cunt ... J.)

THIS IS PART TWO - FOR PART ONE GO TO THIS LINK AND READ IT FIRST!

BGUN and Gretsch2

BGUN and Gretsch2

Bits and pieces - when on tour or playing local is there anything specific you can't do without? From picks to strings, cables and capos - the little things can mean a lot. Any pro tricks you've pick up along the way you'd like to share with us?

ell having guitar strings is quite handy, especially if you’re a guitar player ... I like Dean Markley 10 - 52, they call them light top Heavy bottom, but my Ibanez RG 550 ha lighter 9 - 46 gauge strings, as it has a Floyd Rose and it likes the lighter strings ...

With the MacKenzies when playing live I had 5 different main guitars at hand, all with DiMarzio "Fred" Bright green pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo, all ready to go as my first go to instrument, The black washburn and the Ibanez RG550 then being my No 1's, as I was pretty heavy handed and would pull them out of tune swinging the guitars about by the whammy bar or breaking strings all the time as I hit them so hard, and on top of these 5 guitars, I had some other ones for different tones and sounds as well ...  

I’m a bit of a stickler for picks though, I only use Herco flex 75 picks, they got this rough bit to hold onto but I like to use that on the strings ... I’ve tried all different things but the Hercos are my favs ...

AS for guitar straps, every guitar I have has its own strap, which I have made specifically just for that guitar ... Got into making my own straps a long long time ago, as store bought straps were generally too small to cope with my girth ... I collect all sorts of things, bits of leather and belts etc, and find stuff on the street like bits of metal or whatever, specifically just for making straps, I have all the tools and stuff, and have made a few for friends over the years ...

And do your thing, find your sound, I never wanted to sound like anybody else, basically because they already sound like that, I wanted to discover things for myself, try things and find what works for me, I love Hendrix, but Strats are just not for me, I got a Tokai Strat that’s amazing, I also got that fitted up with a midi pickup so I can control synth with it, I got that set up to use for the Kamikaze Freak Show, the musician I replaced was an accordion player, also midi, so I copied some of his tunes and done other stuff from myself, it was very off the wall and spontaneous, I would just stand at the side of the stage and supply music and noises to go along with explosions, sword swallowing, nails through various body parts, genital weights, a dwarf called Wee Danny, Body piercing and lots of blood sometimes, and angle grinding and fireworks up the butt, and ... well I guess you get the general idea ... My stage name was Bulk Haulage, in one song I would attach my guitar to my nipple rings and play for one song, but just one song was enough though, or my tits would be hitting off my knees by now ... 

A mate of mine has an old mint green Strat that’s just beautiful, and there’s a few more, but I just don't feel at home with a Strat, not the first guitar of my choice ... 

Also some people buy the same guitars and Amps as their heroes, and the chances of getting their sound is very small I think, because the one thing you can't buy is the hands and heart that actually are in contact with the instrument, you could pick up Brian Mays guitar plugged into all his gear and I'll guarantee you'll sound fuck all like Brian May ... 

And to all those budding musicians out there, I’d like to part with them this valuable piece of advice, when you’re playing live, never ever ever EVER leave your wallet in the dressing room

GBMM and 1990 Les Paul Standard

GBMM and 1990 Les Paul Standard

And finally, which guitarist Has caught your ear recently.  What inspires you to keep playing and who was your first guitar hero ?

ot so much a single Guitarist has caught my attention, but it's generally the actual band that draws me, I don't just like guitar music, I like all sorts of music in general, Good music is Good music, you got to admit that ... 

But now that I think of it, there’s not any relatively new guitarists I can think of ... Matt Bellamy from Muse, is a great innovative guitarist, love what he does and the sounds he gets, I’m a big Fan of Rob Zombie and John 5, both his Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie contributions, Richard Z Kruspe rom Rammstein has a great sound, The latest Jeff Beck album is awesome, what a sound he makes, I love the Sauza Kings, also such cool guitar sounds, and still a big fan of Bill Nelson from Be Bop Deluxe, still to this day he produces the most amazing amount of product, I also like Devin Townshend, and I love the guitar sound from PRO-PAIN, totally in your face loud ass fuck Rock, also like bands like SUMAC and SWITCHBLADE, POWER SOLO, UNEARTH THE KINGS, HEADCOUNT, IMPALERS, CELLDWELLER, ALGORITHM, YOB, still love ZZTOP and MOTORHEAD and ELVIS and KLF and CLUTCH and GOATSNAKE and JIM FOETUS and YELLO and the DWARVES and the DAMNED and STATIC-X and BOWIE and QUEEN and PRODIGY and BRIAN SETZER and the CRAMPS and the SENSATIONAL ALEX HARVEY BAND and COSMIC PSYCHOS and PRONG and and and and, And Oh yeah nearly forgot, I just have to mention Status Quo at this point, they too were definitely among my early heroes, seen them over 60 times and just really loved them to death, still listen to the earlier stuff till this day ... I could be here all bloody night ... I just love good music, but it's mainly the band that gets my attention ... when I was in USA in 1982 with the Exploited, I bought Grand Master Flash the Message, also 1999 by PRINCE, thinking WOW ... But by the time I got back to the UK, they were already released ... To me PuNk was about looking forward and exploring and being diverse and creating things ... I’d heard all the punk bands and they weren't experimenting enough ... I laugh when I see Punks today with their Leather Studded Jacket and mohawk and think, Fuck, that was me nearly 40 years ago ... So to me that’s not really punk anymore ... 

And just the pleasure of music itself and not ever being able to even scratch the surface of what’s do-able, it's endless sounds and noises, and just being overwhelmed by noise where it takes over your body and soul ... that’s my inspiration ... being free to create ...

My first guitar hero was probably Noddy Holder from Slade, seriously ... That’s what first really made me want to take up guitar seriously ... But then when I could actually play a bit, and was getting more accomplished at actually playing guitar, my first heroes and influence would have been Chuck Berry, Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter, Brian May, Mick Ronson and definitely Bill Nelson ... there we have it ... 

When I started to make music, and perform I was too busy just playing guitar, I tried to create my own thing and my own sound, since then I have never really looked towards other guitarists the same way I would my early heroes ...

There’s so many amazingly talented guitarists at the moment, like unbelievable musicians, that’s it's impossible to mention even a few ... 

OK, Fuckin hell, think I’m done, been over this quite a few times this last week, and keep on thinking of things and remembering other things, sure there’s probably shit loads of stuff I forgot, but that will be in part 3, or prat 3 as the case may be ...

Cheers John, that was epic and we would certainly love to have you back at some point for round 3! We tried to get as many pictures on here as possible as they were fantastic and there was no way we weren't letting the readers see them, so enjoy the gallery below and see how many different bands you can spot;