INTERVIEW WITH STATION GUITARIST CHRIS LANE
Date: May 13, 2019
Interviewer: Tyson Briden
FOR THE MOST PART WHEN I’M PREPARING FOR AN INTERVIEW, I HAVE A TON OF QUESTIONS READY TO BE ASKED. SOMETIMES, THEY ALL GET ASKED AND OTHER TIMES THE CONVERSATION GOES SO WELL THAT YOU HARDLY TOUCH ON ANYTHING YOU WANTED TO ASK. WITH THIS LATEST INTERVIEW, I PREPARED NOTHING. NOW THAT COULD BE JOURNALISTIC SUICIDE OR IT COULD BE THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE. SO THE QUESTION IS WHEN I INTERVIEWED STATION GUITARIST CHRIS LANE, HOW DID IT GO? I HAVE TO SAY, THAT ON MY PART, IT WAS THE BEST WAY I COULD HAVE WENT ABOUT DOING THE INTERVIEW.
SO, WITH THAT SAID, IF YOU WANT THE DIRT ON ALL THINGS STATION, THIS MAY NOT BE THE INTERVIEW FOR YOU. WE DO TALK ABOUT WHAT THE BAND IS CURRENTLY UP TO, BUT AS CHRIS AND I WENT ON, IT BECAME MORE ABOUT AN ARTICLE THAT MAY HAVE APPEARED IN GUITAR FOR THE PRACTICING MUSICIAN IN 1989. EGO MAY HAVE DICTATED THIS INTERVIEW IN SOME WAYS, BUT FOR ME IT WAS FINDING OUT ABOUT HOW CHRIS LANE GOES ABOUT THE BUISNESS OF RECORDING. IT WAS ALSO DIGGING DEEP INTO THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF CHRIS LANE, THE GUITAR PLAYER. FOR ME, IT WAS TRULY A PLEASURE. THIS HERE IS AN IN DEPTH CONVERSATION ON MANY THINGS GUITAR RELATED. PLEASE ENJOY.
Sleaze Roxx: Hey Chris, great to talk to you. I understand you guys, as in Station are working on new material.
Chris Lane: Yeah, so you know I had reached out to Olivier [Sleazeroxx] because something that I didn’t realize, happened — that was kind of cool! It was the fact that we have virtually no shows announced for the summer. That is unusual because we usually play a lot all year. We’ve had a lot of people asking us, kind of, what’s wrong? I always say, “Nothing’s wrong!” I wanted to get it out that, specifically to you guys at Sleaze Roxx, was to talk about the fact that we are in going to be making another record and that’s what we’re working on now.
Sleaze Roxx: Okay! That’s awesome. So when do you think that will be out?
Chris Lane: We’re going to basically devote the entire summer to recording. We’ve already started pre-production. We’ve already started getting everything together. So I would say that you’re probably going to hear new music by the end of the year
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! Will it be the same direction or will you change it up a little bit? Hopefully, not too much, to the point where it’s a totally different genre stylistically. Would you say it will be any different? Or it’s pretty much in that same vein?
Chris Lane: You know, that’s a tough question to answer because I’m so close to it. A lot of what we kind of do — we never make a conscious decision to doing anything. Musically anyway! We kind of say, “Oh, this is an area I’d like to explore or this is something I’m interested in doing.” But because we’re the ones involved, it always still sounds like us! It’s the kind of thing where we haven’t actually had a conversation about a free-form jazz odyssey, but we are constantly growing as both people and musicians with different experiences and talking about through our music. The third record will reflect very much what the second record did not because there has been time between it.
Sleaze Roxx: That is a great way of putting it! I reviewed the last album. Sometimes, it’s a really hard thing reviewing an album. You review it, then move onto the next thing and forget about the last one. Please don’t take that as an insult. I should have actually went and bought the album from your site after the review.
Chris Lane: I absolutely understand that. One of the things that we as a band talk about a lot when people see us at shows in New York, is that we, ourselves don’t go out to a lot of shows. A lot of people always ask us, “You’re musicians who play live. Wouldn’t you want to be out all the time?” I’m like, “Yeah, I like live music. I love going to see bands that I’m excited about and that mean something to me. Absolutely!” It’s also part of the job. It’s just not something that I casually do anymore because I play a lot of my own shows, so if you’re listening to music day in and day out reviewing it, it’s very hard to probably separate the fact that your brain is in review mode or your brain is just in casual, listen pleasure mode.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s weird because I get a lot of stuff from Frontiers Records and if I really like it, it’s accessible on Amazon. I think right now they may be the biggest proponent of hard rock and heavy metal. There are other labels, but the promo for Frontiers is just unbelievable. It’s one band after the other. Then at the same time, it can get overwhelming because you think, “Oh another one? Then another one? I just got familiar with this one and then you threw this at me!” I guess it’s a double edged sword!
Chris Lane: Yeah, I hear you! The other thing too is that for us, we’re in a very different world in how we release stuff. We’re not a world famous band. We’re not at the point where we’re doing an arena tour, but we are very, very lucky that we have such a dedicated fan base that supports us! When we release material and we talk about things — when we do anything really. The kind of business that we’re talking about doing is kind of like a craft business. It’s a small run, specific thing. We’re always expanding. We’re always looking to expand further and further, but it’s kind of a sign because you have to look for us a little bit. The people that actually end up looking for us, that find us, we make a really good connection with because happily they feel like they found something they like and we found someone who is dedicated enough to want to find us. It’s a two way street with us a lot of times.
Sleaze Roxx: You guys primarily play in the Long Island, New York area? You’re based in that area, but you did get down to the pre party for the M3. That’s a good thing.
Chris Lane: We live in New York, but we play the majority of our shows in the mid-west actually. We maybe only do two or three shows in New York a year. We travel most of the time. It’s actually kind of interesting because you’d think that the local bands play local, but we do not. We own a bus and we travel a lot to different cities. I don’t know if it’s us, I don’t know if it’s the city or just a combination of everything, but there are a lot of places that we go to that are very different than New York and we go there more often.
Sleaze Roxx: Wow! That’s surprising, but cool though!
Chris Lane: We have fan bases in places like Baltimore [Maryland], Ohio and Illinois. It’s makes it slightly more difficult that we’re not playing shows an hour away.
Sleaze Roxx: Danger Danger is from Long Island somewhat [Steve West] as well.
Chris Lane: Are they? I didn’t know that.
Sleaze Roxx: Oh no? Well, Steve West I believe, still lives in Long Island.
Chris Lane: Oh that’s cool. Okay.
Sleaze Roxx: I saw him last weekend at the M3 and we were actually talking about that. There’s another guy named Mike Pont who was in a band called Hotshot with Al Pitrelli, he’s from Long Island as well. Mike’s a photographer now. He took all the L.A. Guns [feat. Steve Riley and Kelly Nickels] photos at M3. I was asking him and he mentioned he was still there as well.
Chris Lane: Oh, that’s cool.
Sleaze Roxx: I believe Danger Danger is doing a benefit show in Long Island somewhere very soon. It’s not just Danger Danger. There’s also Valentine — I don’t know if you’re familiar with them?
Chris Lane: Valentine — wasn’t it “No Way” [laughs]?
Sleaze Roxx: So they’re playing that show and a bunch of other bands that are escaping me. I asked one of Steve or Bruno [Ravel]. He said they’re only playing about 20 minutes. I’m not sure where exactly it was on Long Island and I would assume Station is not on that bill.
Chris Lane: No, I actually haven’t even heard of it. I want to attend that show for sure.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ll send you the link for it!
Chris Lane: Cool man. Thank you!
Sleaze Roxx: So this will be album #3 that you’re about to begin.
Chris Lane: Yes, this will be album #3, but it’s the fourth release because we had an EP before the first album. It’s not just going to be an album because it’s going to be a lot of music all at once. So, there’s a lot of stuff coming.
Sleaze Roxx: Good for you guys! You’re staying busy, which is good to see. In a perfect world, ideally, I would be happy if this music would make a huge commercial comeback and we heard all this music on the radio again especially from the new bands that are out there.
Chris Lane: You know what? This is kind of the unfortunate part of all of this, is the music’s not gone. If you look at the M3 Festival alone — yeah, it’s a targeted audience, but if you play happy, classic kind of rock to a ten year old, they like it. It’s not something that is so divisive that people can’t understand anymore. It’s just simply not being presented in a way that it used to. The big challenge for bands like Station is that how do you make so that if very few people have the ability to help you get out there? How do you make it so you can continue to do what you do? For us, we learned that we love creating music. We love playing music. If we’ve got to do it ourselves, we’re going to do it ourselves. So one of the big things we’ve done is we’ve really made a concerted effort to really figure out how to record quality recordings on our own. We’ve built our own studio to do so, so that we have a really, really easy way of getting music out there. We have a much more intimate relationship with our fans. So we no longer have to wait for two years to go by. We can say, “You know what? I’ve got an idea! Here comes the single!” In the world we live in now because of the internet and because of things like Spotify, I can reach my fans. I don’t need to worry about the press machine and all that! Of course that is something that is a very important component of any part of the industry, but we have much more direct access now because of technology and we intend to use it!
Sleaze Roxx: Just in the simple fact that Station has its own studio and you can just go in and do your music, I think that is fantastic.
Chris Lane: It also makes things a lot more comfortable.
Sleaze Roxx: Oh, no doubt and you can work on your timeline right?
Chris Lane: Exactly. If I want to record a guitar solo wearing fuzzy slippers, means I’ve won!
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] You don’t have to get all dressed up and look like you’re in a band. You can just do your thing.
Chris Lane: The only problem with it, is that you then start taking liberties that you wouldn’t normally because you’re not under the gun with the clock. The joke that we keep making is that we’re going to record the album and we want a goat noise. So we’re going to spend months looking for the perfect goat because we’re not burning studio time. That’s the only thing I don’t want to have happen.
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] That’s so funny.
Chris Lane: I couldn’t find the perfect goat.
Sleaze Roxx: Let’s talk about the recording process a little bit. I loved your guitar playing on the last album.
Chris Lane: Thank you!
Sleaze Roxx: I am a guitar player myself, so I kind of lean towards that guitar playing aspect. I’ve played in bands and what not. So in terms of yourself recording, what is your process? Do you double a lot of your solos? What do you feel comfortable with? Also your rhythm tracks as well.
Chris Lane: I like to not have one method. The band in general, our mentality is always ‘serve the song’! Especially on my playing. I try to go for a little bit more of a melodic, sing along vibe rather than just a blistering of notes vibe. Both are good, but it’s just my personal thing. Because of that and because I really enjoy really getting into the effects world, I like kind of creating a wash behind my guitars while I play, so it’s conducive to approaching each piece of music differently. For instance, on the last record, I actually recorded a lot of guitar parts. There’s a song called “Losing You”, a lot of those guitar parts are actually recorded directly into the board. We just added my delay units. I’m a big collector of rack units. We just basically added our delay in it while tracking without the amp. It’s not like the thing I like or don’t like to do, it just really made sense for that song. A song like “Still The One”, that is the sound of my Bogner going full out. In that mentality, I have to make sure I have options. So, I’m a huge proponent of the wet/dry/wet kind of playing and sound. That’s a tremendous challenge when working in the studio because you either have three amps with three cabinets, double miked in isolation or you’ve got to get real creative. So we kind of create these big textures of guitar based on the technology available to us. Same thing on the new recordings you’re going to hear some of that stuff and you’re going to hear some stuff that I’m maybe playing through amp modulation or even cabinet simulation that just adds a completely different texture then what would normally be available.
Sleaze Roxx: You mentioned you’re a big fan of rack effects? I have a Marshall JMP-1 which I am sure you are familiar with that unit. It dates back to the late ’90s.
Chris Lane: Yeah, absolutely!
Sleaze Roxx: I absolutely love it. I have a rig with my Marshall with my JMP-1 run with the TC Electronics G-Major processor. Then I have another rig with the Richie Kotzen Tech 21 Fly Rig that runs through my Fender Deville amp. I always seem to gravitate back to my rack effects especially for the ’80s stuff. I’m just not really big on pedals. I think there is so much more you can do with the rack effects.
Chris Lane: You know, it’s all just different textures. Something that really shapes my playing is my mentality of flow. My bassist and I joke about this all the time — we have a very, very big problem using multi effects units because we kind of mentally freak out on them. It becomes almost like a science experiment. I like being able to see and if you ever look at my pedal board, it’s the exact same. Everything does one thing and I want it to do that one thing incredibly well. So with effects, I like being able to visually see the order that I’ve got everything in. For instance I use a Fulltone Nedy’s Chorus on a lot of stuff on that last record. I love it, but it does one thing unbelievably well and that’s when I use it. I stack my delays and I use my delay from parallel to a bunch of different configurations. At any given time, I have three delays running. I have a pair of D2’s that I love working in tandem. I use that with a G-Major. Then at the same time, maybe going on a pedal route using something like a Cavastane or a Timeline from Strymon that will give it a completely different vibe or texture to everything. They’re all different colors. I like reverb a lot so I like the sound of a really old Alesis Miniverb’s. On the last record, we used a Miniverb a for some stuff because it has such a unique sound. It’s not better or worse. If you want it to sound like that, you’ve got to use it. I kind of always compare it to paint. If you want to get a certain color paint, you mix things together. If you want to get a brand’s version of a certain color you need to buy that brand’s paint. You can’t just artificially recreate it and that’s two completely mentalities. Neither is good nor bad, it’s just a difference of what you’re trying to achieve.
Sleaze Roxx: I love what you’re saying. A lot of what changed in music was that there wasn’t that texture in guitar anymore. For me, the ’80s guitar players, they were so big on texture. I was just listening to Extreme ‘III Sides to Every Story’, Nuno Bettencourt on that album, he really textured his guitar on that album. I remember listening to that album when it came out thinking, “I’m not sure about this!” Now, all these years later when I listen to it I think, “Okay, I totally get it now!” With that album, they were evolving as musicians.
Chris Lane: I look to someone like David Gilmour. He is absolutely my favorite guitar player. His sense of when to do what and why, I think is really what makes him my favorite guitar player. Don’t get me wrong, everything he plays is magical, so that’s a whole level that I’m never going to be able to touch. The thing that I find so interesting about David Gilmour is that if you look at the progression of his use of — it’s really technology, but he’s thinking of why to use technology. It’s completely serving of what his needs are. You go to recording in Abbey Road which is a studio with so much history, so much room and so much available to you, to then recording on a house boat and creating, not better, not worse, but different things. There’s a song called “Sorrow”, it’s played through like a Stadium’s P.A. speakers. I don’t know if that was the right move or the wrong move, but for some reason he thought that was a good idea. They did that to capture a unique sound. That kind of spirit is really what drives me. If he woke up one day and said, “You know what? This needs to be played through an arena’s sound system, God Bless him!” That’s what being artistic and creative is all about in my opinion.
Sleaze Roxx: I have a buddy who has a studio in his house. He says, “Hey, c’mon over and do some recording. You don’t need to bring any gear! We’ll use what is built into the program. You can just plug into the computer!” I kind of looked at him in bewilderment as I prefer much more than that.
Chris Lane: You know, I don’t think you can ever replace the human kind of touch on a guitar. I think the more important part of the technology is what the technology leads the player to do. One thing I am not a fan of and I am very arguably against, for me personally, is performing on a recording dry, then re-amping with the intended sound later. I’m okay with re-amping to change around textures and to build things that you can’t do in one take. That’s no problem. There are so many players that I know, that will actually just record a DI signal and re-run through later effects. It’s a fun technique and it speaks to the player that can do that with the intention of what they’re ultimately going to build, but for me it’s just totally uninspiring. I feel naked and I feel very much cutoff from what I’m actually trying to do when I don’t have the ability to say it the way I want while I’m playing.
Sleaze Roxx: As you say that, I think of a guitarist like George Lynch. If George Lynch had done it like that those little nuances of his playing may not be there. Even in his rhythm tracks. Lynch has that certain style of bending notes within the rhythm track. I think a lot of the ’80s guys were like that, so I couldn’t image — you’d lose all that style, which I think in terms of guitar is beautiful in terms of recording music and your identity as a player.
Chris Lane: It would certainly change the character especially if you were doing something like the delay right? You put so much delay on something that you’re all of a sudden getting this cloud of notes. Sure if that’s what you want, no problem, but it’s certainly going to affect how you play the next note because if you’re going for clarity, what you want to wash behind it, you’re not going to play 16th notes, you’re maybe going to play slightly slower to get it so that each note rings out. I feel that we don’t have that artistic ability when you’re just recording completely bone dry because it’s kind of a guessing game at that point.
Sleaze Roxx: To me, it’s almost just like you’re just playing the guitar and it’s not you stylistically. For me, part of it is my sound. That sound is what I hear and what I want to sound like. If I’m just playing through an amp that is clean and the effects are added later, I’m not going to have that same intensity or that same feeling that I would normally.
Chris Lane: Yeah, it’s all about vibe.
Sleaze Roxx: I agree. It’s totally about vibe. It was funny, I was talking to a band at the M3. They had played at the hotel the night before. The singer says to me, “Yeah our guitar player wasn’t big on the amp!” I looked at him and said, “I totally get it!” It just throws your whole vibe off. If that’s not your sound, your performance isn’t going to be what it would usually be.
Chris Lane: That’s one of the things that technology, luckily has changed for a touring musician. Back in the day, one’s sound would be comprised of giant cabinets of units that you need to cart around with you in order to do it. Good or bad, at this point you can have a multi-effects pedal that you just put in the suitcase, fly wherever. If you have a drive pedal that sounds like your amp. The sounds that you love. It’s your sound in a box. Is it ever the exact same? No, but margins of error and the ability to have the sense that “I can bring this anywhere!” It does play a factor. Touring and cartage is expensive, so all those things combined, all of a sudden it allows you to do these things more comfortably.
Sleaze Roxx: I agree. That is why I bought the Richie Kotzen Tech 21 Fly Rig. I had done some fly outs a few years back, got there and realized what we had asked for was not what I would be using. I brought a few pedals with me thank goodness. They said, “Here’s the amp you’re using!” I was astounded. It was an old piece of shit. I had to work with it. Luckily, we were able to work it through the PA, but it was far from acceptable for me. Anyways, before I let you go, is there anything else you want to add?
Chris Lane: I just want to thank everyone for continuing to follow us. Like I said, we’re going to have a lot more music coming out soon. On our Facebook page and our Instagram page, everything Station. We’re going to be doing some recording diaries. We’re going to be keeping everyone up to date on what we’re doing. I’m really excited about it because this is a really a kind of exciting chapter for the band because we have so much more control over everything we’re doing. It’s going to very much speak to our intentions of why we want to make this record and what we actually want to be.
Sleaze Roxx: Thanks Chris. Fantastic. Cheers!
Chris Lane: Thank you!
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Click here to download on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/never-enough-single/id1294281167?mc_cid=4de1ca0b59&mc_eid=1dd2197f12 Vocals – Patrick Kearney Guitar – Chris Lane Bass – Emi Asta Drums – Tony Baptist Directed by Igor Katrach Music Video by STATION performing Never Enough © 2017 Station Music LLC