Reverb Soundcheck: Ride

Ride emerged from Oxford, England in the late ‘80s and played an integral role in the development of the shoegaze scene in the early ‘90s, though they don’t necessarily label themselves a shoegaze band any longer.

As the genre and Ride’s music have evolved so tremendously over the years, Ride has developed a sound that defies any definitive label. “Our performances, and those of many shoegaze bands, were and certainly have become an explosion — and far more energetic than the genre would suggest!”

Though the band broke up officially in ’96, they have gotten back together a few times over the years, most recently for their tour of Europe and North America over the past few months. We were excited when we got the opportunity to interview the band about what it’s like being back together and on tour, how their gear lends itself to their signature sound, and how their sound and performance have changed over the years.

Singer and guitarist Mark Gardener told us about some of the gear he’s been using on the reunion tour. He upgraded from the Fender Jaguar he bought with his student grant money for the Nowhere album to his Lake Placid Blue ’65 Jaguar, purchased in L.A. specifically for these reunion dates. Other favorites include the Gibson Hummingbird for acoustic performances, as well as his Divided By 13 heads, combined with Vox cabs. To get their classic spacey sound, Gardener says, it’s all about delay pedals, though there’s always room for reverb. He loves the Strymon Deco, the Big Sky, and the Eventide Space setting “Black Hole.”

Andy Bell, who plays guitar and also sings, mentioned his Gibson Trini Lopez, which he picked up in ’04 while playing bass with Oasis. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bell says, he used a Hi-Watt head with a Marshall cab, though he’s now more partial to his small Marshall JMP 20-watt. In terms of effects, Bell has quite a few, including the Wattson Classic Electronics SuperFuzz, the Fulltone Octafuzz and his mainstay Ibanez CP-9. The CP-9 is an imperative part of his sound, Bell says, and as such is always on.

Bassist Steve Queralt told us of his love of the Music Man StingRay, which he decided he had to have after playing with the band House of Love in 1990 and seeing their bassist rock one through a twin Trace Elliot stack; he’s used the StingRay ever since. Though Queralt’s pedalboard may be smaller than his guitar-wielding bandmates, it’s no less important. He would “never be without a decent overdrive,” he says, and is finding the Boss ODB-3 hard to beat, “due to the way it maintains a good deal of sub bass.” Though he’s still on the lookout for the perfect distortion pedal, he currently likes the Wampler Low Blow.

Drummer Loz Colbert has been a DW man since 1999. “Although I’ve played many kits over the years, I’ve had little reason to want to change to anything else as yet,” he explains. He currently uses the resonant DW Birch set, including the 22” bass drum and the 13” snare for a timbale effect. His cymbals are Zildjian A Custom-heavy. Though he’s been wringing the most out of his 13” A Custom hi-hats for years, he recently added more from the line, including the 18” A Custom crash for bigger sonic moments and the 20” A Custom Projection ride.

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