Aaron Tap – Interview


What was your first guitar?

“My first electric guitar was a Memphis.  Shaped like a Strat,  but colored like a… I dunno what.  The thing was pretty ugly.  But I banged away on it for a good couple of years before upgrading.” 

Is there any guitar that you sold back in the day and wish you still had?

“Just one.  I haven’t been a big buyer of guitars over my many years of playing.  I’ve always tried to be deliberate about it and therefore tend to hang on to the ones I do get.  My Gibson SG is the same one I bought in high school.  That said, I have minor regrets about selling my paisley Stratocaster.  It was a good, solid guitar.  But not irreplaceable.  Ask me about guitars I regret not having bought when I saw them, though, and you’ll get a much longer answer!” 

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Which is your go-to guitar for writing?

“I almost always write on my Martin D-1.  Sometimes on my beloved Epiphone Sorrento.  And lately I’ve been loving my beat-up 1950s Silvertone parlor guitar for writing.  Different guitars push you in different directions. And that’s pretty cool.” 

Which is your go-to guitar for playing live?

“I definitely like to mix it up but for the past 10 years my most reliable live guitar has been my Fender Telecaster Thinline.  It’s a Japanese model from the early 90s to which I added a Bigsby. The thing is a seriously reliable beast.  Always a joy to play.  A couple summers ago it fell off a stage in Minneapolis, about a 30-foot drop, passing steel girders all along the way.  Yet when I walked down to retrieve it, I picked it up and the little SOB was still in tune!  now, THAT’s a guitar.” 

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How long have you been playing as Matt’s guitarist?

“I’ve been touring and making records with Matt since 2005.  However, I also recorded one of his first demos in the attic of my parents’ house back before recorded history AND was slated to be involved in the recording of, uh, I think it was Still Waiting For Spring, but I only got as far as pre-production before I had to return to Boston unexpectedly.” 

Was I correct in seeing a POG on your pedalboard?

“Yes!  The POG2 to be precise. Electro-Harmonix makes some great (and some terrible) pedals and the POG2 is among their finest creations.  I love the sounds I can get out of it, from subtle octaves to full-on organ sounds.  It’s an ingenious piece of engineering.” 

What is your favorite pedal?

“Tough call.  I love messing about with pedals to create sounds but at the end of the day a little crunch and a bit of slapback delay is really all I require to get my kicks.  So I don’t think I have a favorite pedal, really.” 

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What is your best advice to those looking to pursue a career in the music business?

“Love what you do. I mean, really love it. This business isn’t getting any richer so it’s only those of us who live and breathe music who will be able to stomach it.  And from my experience, it’s all about doing as much as you can.  Work with as many people as you can, be open to unusual experiences, while still retaining your identity and eventually you find your niche.” 

How did you and Matt get connected?

“Matt & I met in the town in which we grew up: Lexington, MA.  I had vaguely known his brother but when Matt & I met and started talking about metal, we quickly became inseparable.” 

What are some top moments of your professional career?

“That’s a tough one. For me, the whole thing is an arc of moments big and small, and seemingly momentous ones don’t necessarily hold more import than seemingly trivial ones…”

– playing on Letterman

– my first West Coast solo show at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach a couple years ago

– a tour of France with The Paula Kelley Orchestra
– Australian tour with Matt
– seeing my guitar parts transcribed in the Some Mad Hope guitar book

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