The name is Shawn Maxx, Micheal Shawn (Maxx) Landers and I play lead guitar in Torn Away.
2. Who made you want to pick up the guitar?
There's quite a few legends that have greatly inspired me throughout the years but I would have to say, that at the top of that list is David Gilmour.
3. Are you self taught, or did you take lessons?
When I was in grade school I had a music teacher Mrs. Brenner who taught us all how to play classical guitar and still to this day, green sleeves remains to be one of my favorite classics along with the works of Beethoven, Mozart and Richard Wagner. I will have to be honest though, that outside of the few classes I had in high school, I'm completely self taught and prefer it that way.
4. Can you read music, can you read tab?
I used to be able to read sheet music. Pretty sure some place in my subconscious I still do but as for tabs, most certainly-
5. Do you feel like you have your own sound/tone?
Yes. I'm pretty sure I'm safe in saying that the, "ever elusive search for tone", is never over when it comes to musicians, guitarists mostly, but yeah; throughout the years, many pedals, amps, guitars and learning the ins and outs of everything I've come to hone in my own signature sound.
6. Tell us about your guitar, (brand, model, year, color).
Well right now I'm bouncing back and forth between 3 different guitars, 4 if you count my acoustic. My 3 main guitars I use are a: Schecter Hellraiser 6 string, neck through, made in the early 2000's. It's the cherry red, with abalone trim and quilted maple top. It has locking tuners and push pull volume and tone pots. Loaded with two EMG active pickups and Elixer strings. My next guitar is a early 2000's B.C. Rich, 6 string Warbeast. Sporting a dark billiard green with silver metallic flake, it also boasts a full tremolo system with string locks. It's also loaded with RockField pickups that let those Elixers shine. Last but not least, my late 90's customized jet black, Jackson Kelly. It has a mix between gold and silver hardware, Jackson Floyd Rose tremelo system, custom witches hat knobs that are black and gold with a custom modded out tone/volume circuit that let's me dial down distortion into clean tones, if I so choose. This guitar is also outfitted with Elixer strings-
7. What about your pickups, passive or active, tell us about them.
Well, my Schecter Hellraiser comes stock with active, EMG 85 and 81 pickups. I actually really like the tone that these have. My B.C. Rick Warbeast has stock Rockfield pickups in it at the moment but I would like to load it up with some Bareknuckle Nailbombs at some point. The only modded one i have is the Jackson, it has a gold Gibson 57' in the neck and a gold Lace Alumintone Deathbucker in the bridge. You may have never heard of the Deathbucker but it's actually a very badass pickup. It's not wired the same as a traditional pickup which allows it to be passive, yet have the sound of a active. This pickup has tons of natural clarity and pure grit when driven through distortion.
8. Lets get into amplification, Same drill brand , model , speakers etc.
Right now, I'm playing through a Bugera Tri-rec Infinium. I Used to have a Marshall DSL 100H but it just didn't stand up to the Bugera so I sold it. Since then, I've modded out my Bugera with two, JJ EL34s and two regular Bugera EL34's in the power stage and a mix between TungSol ECC83S and JJ 12AX7's in the preamp stage. I also swapped out the Triple Retifier tube fuses along with the regular and preamp fuses on the chip board from; (ceramic 1.6A, to ceramic 2.0A), fuses. Which drastically improved the tone and grit I now get from this amp. As far as cabs go, I have two different cabs; my main and backup. My main is a 4x12 plywood cab made by Carvin, its loaded with two, 120w Eminence, Man O' Wars on the top and two, 75w Eminence Govenors on the bottom. This combination makes for one Hell of a monster tone. My other cab is a B52, 4x12 that fitted with four 75w, Celestion G12T75's. Together they build a wall of defiance, even the strongest kings would have a hard time humbling to.
9. Pedals, Pedals, Pedals and more pedals...
I used to have a, damn near, 15 something pedal-board. I actually had to custom make a board for all the pedals because there isnt one that big.. it all started because of a pedal, that I have yet to buy, (the Mel9), by EHX. Anyways, the plan was to have to separate channels I could control individually with a volume and expression pedal hooked up to a ABY switch. One channel would feed one half stack, (Distortion/Dirty channel) and the other would be, (Clean/FX) channel. On my clean I was going to have the Mel9, with the EHX Super Ego+ that would allow me to freeze chords and play them through the Mel9's strings effect, making it sound like faux keyboards, looping it, while I play distortion/lead through the other amp, (to keep it simple). Although it was fun, that board was heavy as shit. So in the long run I went rackmount and now play through a Line 6, POD Xt Pro/Behringer Sonic Ultramizer/Behringer Dual 32band EQ with an ABY switch hooked up to toggle between EQs for different guitars.
10. Now tell us about your dream rig in detail.
I really dig on the Engl powerballs', Engl Invaders', Diezel Herbert's MKIII, Fortin Natas and Egnater Armageddon. If I had to go with just one though, it'd be a hard toss up between Fortin Natas and the Diezel Herbert MKIII becuase of the raw power and grit these amps dish out, (sorry, I'm at an impasse as to choosing just one.) As for an ideal cabinet, I really like the cabs that Ola Englund plays on, which are the Hesu Demons, those cabs just have some insane quality and superb sound to them. As far as guitars go..... oh jeez, there's too many to pick from lol. I've always been a fan of higher end B.C. Richs' because the quality, workmanship and components they use in their guitars are pretty damned good but I'm also talking $1,500-$3,000 guitars too not their cheap models. So with that being said, probably a modded out, exotic wood grain (red, green blue or clear coat) with abalone trim, neck through Mocking Bird, with Bare Knuckle Nailbomb pickups, full tremolo system, push pull tone pots, locking nut, string locks, Schaller strap locks, gold hardware, abalone witches hat tone/volume pot knobs and just about any other crazy mod that didnt get mentioned. When it comes to effects, the amp I chose would have some good ones but that still doesn't make up for stomp boxes so here we go; everything strymon, all Electro Harmonix boutique - Mel9, C9, B9and Key9 pedals and a really good looper pedal. I don't think there's much else to say here unless I put in some rack effects and if I did it would just be a sonic ultramizer and a 32 band eq rack for more tonal control, maybe a noise gate too if the amp didn't have it.
11. What guitarist can you not stand?
Oh boy, going to get some shit for this one but there's two different ones and I'll explain. First and foremost, sorry Angus Young; while I was younger in my teens I liked AC/DC but over the years, every damned song sounds the same, there needs to be some diversity. The second which is kind of in a tie with Angus, is classically trained guitarists'. Why I say this, is just about every single one of them I've ever met, can widdly wah all up and down the neck, shredding solos and scales from here to infinity but as soon as you ask them to play something from the heart, they look at you like a dear in headlights. Theres no soul, no feeling, just a bunch of technical flash crap that gets old after a while. Show me some heart, some soul, something that shows you put a lot of thought into it instead of just riding scales all the time.
12. Is tone more important or technique?
Well, these two go hand in hand and it depends on what you're doing. There's a lot to be said by experimenting with tone and what not, look at all the crazy shit Mike Patton has done over the years.. so, I mean, I could go pick up a Walmart guitar for like $50 and if I have good technique I could make that thing sing but at the same time if you're trying to be respected in the metal world and musical world in general you not only need to have good solid, ORIGINAL, technique but a great tone too, (nobody wants their eyes and ears bleeding from insanely cranked highs coming through your amp), that is unless your just a masochistic demagogue.
13. Name you top 5 guitarists'David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)
Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer)
Mille Petrozza (Kreator)
Michael Ammot (Arch Enemy)
John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
14. Who is the most overrated guitarist?
15. Who would you most like to get a lesson from?
Syd Barrett (Creator of Pink Floyd)