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A Wildwood interview with the Grand Gristlemaster, Greg Koch.

 

Hello, Wildwoodians! My name is Trevor, and if you’ve read anything on our website in the last two-and-a-half years, I wrote it! As Wildwood’s resident Guitar Scribe, I am often delighted by the linguistic powers of the Grand Gristlemaster General, Sir Gregory Kochery. Since we’re all in need of some levity, I thought it would be fun to ask him some silly questions to see if I could catch a glimpse of what makes the Mansquatch tick.

 

Greg, you’re a fan of all kinds of guitars, but you seem to gravitate towards Tele-style axes like your signature Reverend. Since you’re someone who wrings grisly amounts of gristle out of Teles on a regular basis, can you tell me who your top five favorite Tele ticklers are and why?

The five Tele wielders that come to mind, in no particular order:

Roy Buchanan—the one that probably most utilized every aspect of the Tele to coax a wide range of uber-emotive outbursts.

Danny Gatton—took many pages from the Roy cookbook and added several more addendums of technical mayhem to offer up an unparalleled Tele Soufflé.

Albert Collins—a totally unique approach that I personally can never get enough of. Succulence in the extreme!

Steve Cropper—one could learn everything there is to know about tasteful rhythm guitar from this majestic gentleman.

James Burton—the one who really started the whole chicken’ pickin’, hot country guitar style.

Those are five but we can’t forget about Jimmy Bryant, Clarence White, Albert Lee, Ray Flacke, Brent Mason, Red Volkaert, Bill Kirchen and many, many more…

 

Speaking of your signature Reverend, it’s a blast watching you and Reverend owner Ken Haas trade licks and quips in our videos. If you had to team up with Ken to fight crime, what would your respective superhero names and powers be?

Ken would be “K’Pow” and fight evil using a Reverend guitar as a combination of Thor’s Hammer and Cupid’s Lyre. I would be “Dreophicles” a long-lost immortal from antiquity who has emerged in times of crisis to fight evil by confusing the perpetrators by singing extemporized songs utilizing their names just long enough to disarm and apprehend…what?

 

It must be pretty cool to have a signature instrument as Gristlicious as the Gristlemaster. What was the process of designing the guitar with the folks at Reverend like?

It was easy-peasy. I said, “This is what I’m thinking,” they said, “Cool, what if we did this too?” and I said “I can dig it.” I got the prototype and I said, “Our work here is done.” Then we all said, “We ride!”

 

What do you think the best Thin Lizzy song about the boys being back in town is?

All I know is that the first place I want to go when I get back in town is Dino’s.

 

Who are some up-and-coming players that inspire you?

There are a whole slew of young ax-slingers that can really wield with great aplomb. I really like that Mateus Asato…great melodic player with really cool chops.

 

What does your daily practice routine look like? I’m assuming that you start by drinking demon blood from the skull of one of your enemies to fuel up on electrolytes, but where do you go from there? Do you have any tried-and-true warm-ups or exercises, or do you just pick up the guitar and see where it takes you?

I have no set regimen other than the ingestion of the blood of the inane, but my practicing usually involves a combination of maintaining repertoire, expanding repertoire, writing songs, developing improvisatory ideas and chops, playing along with recordings for inspiration.

 

You’ve probably played a zillion guitars in your lifetime, but are there any that slipped through your fingers that you kick yourself for not snagging? Mine’s a refinished Travis Bean TB1000s that Wildwood sold right after I started working here. Tell me about The Ones That Got Away.

Well, certainly there have been vintage instruments that have come and gone that I wish I could have afforded at the time, but recently I got rid of a few Custom Shop Les Pauls so that I could afford to buy my ‘53 Tele. I now have a hankering to get a Wildwood Spec Tom Murphy-painted burst of some sort. I’ve played many great ones but every time I come back to Wildwood there are always more so I’ve been able to employ a “catch and release” policy during my visits to commune with these guitars, knowing that next month there will be another one waiting for me to defile.

 

If you’re the Gristlemaster, is there a Gristle Apprentice? If so, is it a Palpatine/Darth Vader-type relationship? What sort of challenges must prospective students complete to prove their worthiness?

Many are called, none are chosen. When they get too close to the Gristle Flame their Soul’s Eyebrows are singed and they spend the rest of their days branded and confused…what?

 

If you’re packing a lunch, what’s your go-to sandwich?

Papusa.

 

Metal Poppins was an all-time great moment in Wildwood history, so I have to ask: what’s your favorite metal band?

Air Supply.

 

A runaway train is approaching a station at 85 mph. Five people are tied to the main track, and they will surely die if the train is not diverted. You are close enough to the switching station that you can flip a lever a send the train down a different track where only one person is tied up. Do you flip the lever and sacrifice one life for five, or do nothing and allow the train to continue?

I jump to the next question.

 

Would you rather fight a hundred snake-sized worms or one (poisonous) worm-sized snake? Obviously, the snake-sized worms would be gross, but a worm-sized snake would be quite stealthy and therefore deadly.

I would convert them all to the Ways of Gristle and send them out into the world to spread the Ways of the Night.

 

Tag-team cage match against two professional wrestlers, winner gets a real ’59 Les Paul burst. What guitar player do you choose as your partner and why?

Jimmy Page…because they wouldn’t dare.