Five Questions with Guitar Tech Brad Clifford

I first met Brad when Polar Bear Club was on tour with Taking Back Sunday. He was out with them Drum Teching at the time, which was a new endeavor for him as he normally sticks with Four and Six Stringed instruments. Needless to say we bonded from day one over our love for guitars and gear. In the back of my head I knew that PBC was coming to an end at some point, and I really had no idea what I would do after that.I didn’t want to stop touring, but I knew that I wanted to try something different from playing in an already pre-established band.  So, I turned my attention towards pursing a guitar tech gig. I had some experience working on my own guitars, but really had no idea what I was doing. Brad was a big help in me trying to figure that all out. I asked him endless amounts of questions when I got my first gig teching a few months later (and still do to this day). I’ve learned a lot from him, not just about the job, but with how to tour and have fun doing it while keeping a positive and open mind to any and all situations that come my way.

Brad was kind enough to answer these five questions while on tour in Australia with Cohered & Cambria. He has worked with a lot of bands from The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me!, and Circa Survive, to his current gig now with At The Drive-In (cool, brad). He loves tasty treats, Les Paul Customs, Leather Jackets, and skulls of once living and breathing creatures that live on this earth. Hopefully someday soon our schedules will collide and we can sit down for a conversation on the podcast. I’m looking forward to that day. Anyways, enjoy!

What got you into playing guitar and when/how did the gear obsession start?

I grew up using my mom’s tennis racket to mimic a guitar, and as long as I can remember it’s what I wanted to do. I got my first guitar when I was 14 and never looked back. I always liked gear but it definitely grows more discerning with time, as I learn more I suppose. Now I’m just a full blown nerd and talk about gear as often as I possibly can. It’s a huge world, the conversation and the learning are never done.

How did you get started working as a guitar tech for bands?

I toured pretty heavily playing in my own bands for about a decade and always loved it. When my last band stopped playing, I wasn’t sure what to do but didn’t want to do a band that’d inevitably be “ex-members of” or anything like that. I’m obsessed with guitars, and teching seemed like a great way to become more involved in another facet of that world and learn more about the maintenance and repair of equipment. I put together a “resume” which was just a list of bands I’d played in, sent it to a few friends, and Circa Survive called me a week later. I learned on the fly, never said no to anything I was asked to do, and just figured out whatever I could.

Craziest “war story” from the road that you have experienced? 

One Against Me! show in Nashville was particularly wild and there was a barricade… with no security guards in it. Crowd surfers started flying headfirst over it and crashing on the floor below, so I ended up spending the night running between prepping and changing guitars, and in the barricade catching people’s faces. I love it though. The crazier it is, usually the better the show is.

I stole this question from you the other day. But anyway. If you could have one guitar for the rest of your life what would it be? (Any guitar ever…)

I’ve been almost strictly a mid-70s Les Paul Custom guy since I was 16, but lately I’ve been playing my center block double cutaway Gretsch Silver Falcon more than anything. It has everything I love in a guitar – ebony neck, bigsby, fully bound, built solid as a rock, feels and sounds amazing. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d likely pick that! Neil Young’s Old Black may be a close second. What a beast.

What is your dream gig? If you could work for anyone past or present?

I’ve been really lucky to work for people that I’m proud of and have a good time with, but dream gig would probably be Metallica because it was my shit growing up and they still reign supreme. Queens of the Stone Age stays on my mind too, one current band that I think is deserving of legacy status. They’re a great band and great players with a lot of interesting gear to look after.

He should sell me this 810, right? I know…

Posted in

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s