JAMBASE: I wanted to ask you about the Wood Tour and about acoustic shows
general. It isn’t often we
get to hear you acoustic, especially within the context of Panic, but it seems like you
guys were happy doing that and
the audiences loved it. What was your experience?
JH: Well it was a first for me on a number of levels. Using in-ear
monitors is not
something I’d done before.
I need to feel the pant legs flapping around my ankles when I play, you know? In-ear
monitors won’t provide that. But
with the acoustic setup it seemed logical.
One of the reasons you don’t hear me play much acoustic is that when you plug in an
acoustic guitar, it’s just not
acoustic anymore. And I’m being a purist, yeah, fine. But it’s not my principal instrument
– people who know me and
how I play know that – and I wish there was a way we could use microphones on the guitars
instead of a pickup
system on the guitar plugged into a D.I. But that’s not easy to do because we’re pretty
loud. Even with acoustic
instruments, we have percussion and then the audience is pretty loud and that all bleeds
into the mics.
We tried to do it that way but it didn’t work, the mics were just picking up too much
other activity. So the next step is
to try to find the newest, coolest tech that can get a plugged-in acoustic to sound like a
real acoustic. My whole
purist attitude is that you can have a $20,000 acoustic guitar, a beautiful guitar, and if
it’s plugged into a pickup,
you’re not hearing the guitar, you’re hearing the pickup.
Having said that, there have been some amazing strides in the technology. But when I go to
hear Alison Krauss and
her band, I just sit there with my jaw dropping – that’s what those instruments are
supposed to sound like. I’ve seen
her band twice with my family at the Fox [in Atlanta] and it sounded like a CD playing,
man, it was devastating. I’d
love to know how they do that.
But getting back to your question, it’s all about getting the right sound so you can feel
free to play and not be
thinking about getting the sound different. The other guys may not feel that way, it’s
just me. But as far as it being a
fun time, it was.
What’s funny to me is that it was like walking around with leg weights on – you know
athletes do that when they’re
training, and playing acoustic – when you have nothing helping you or no overdrive sound
or anything – is physically
taxing. So after that, playing electric was like picking up a toy guitar! But when we do
it again I’m going to spend
some time and try and build up my stamina.
JAMBASE: So you guys will be doing more acoustic shows?
JH: We haven’t announced anything but [those shows] were stripped down
and real. It
was definitely fun.
And I think when it’s like that, it shows what types of players people really are.