Hanging out with Killers’ bass player, Jake Blanton
The Killers are one of the biggest rock bands to have emerged in the past 20 years with hits such as Mr Brightside, Somebody Told Me, When You Were Young, and Human gracing the top of the charts all over the world. As well as working with the likes of Beck and Sia, Jake Blanton has been a touring musician of The Killers for years, acting as “utility” guy for keys, guitar, and backing vocals. When original bass player, Mark Stoermer, had to take a break from touring for health reasons, Jake stepped into his shoes and invited us down to a soundcheck at their September 2017 London show.
We arrived just as Jake and bass-tech, Aaron, were setting up and got to witness Jake’s impressive collection of gear: sure enough, our Cali76 Compact Bass was sat pride of place on Jake’s pedalboard which also featured pedals from MXR, Electro Harmonix, Lehle, and Boss.
Aaron told us how the Cali76 helped him achieve a certain tone from their latest single, ‘The Man’:
“The band has been trying very hard to re-create the sounds on the new album, & of course, a lot of them were made in big studios with the best rack/plugin gear around. Having a studio-quality compressor in a pedal is a huge help. We spent a lot of time tinkering with the bass sound for the single ‘The Man’- if you listen around 1:07 & again at 1:49, there’s a short, synthy-sounding 1-bar bass riff. We had to contact the producer to find the formula of FX they used & ended up with a 5-pedal chain to re-create it! First in line: Cali76.”
Jake and Aaron have a really pro touring rig which includes an A Designs REDDI V2 tube D.I., Ampeg and HiWatt amps and an Aguilar Tone Hammer for backup.
It was an absolute pleasure to watch Brandon, Jake and the band soundcheck and witness a world-class band and crew do their thing. When soundcheck was over we headed to a pub around the corner and joined the band for a few pints before the show began. It’s always fun to chat about gear and Jake had plenty to say!