(Note: this article and playlist originally appeared on the Earthquaker Devices site, Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends proudly use EQD pedals regularly.)
Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends is a rock band featuring Conan Neutron, Tony Ash and Dale Crover of the Melvins, here is a list of guitar sounds/songs (and a few for bass!) that they find particularly evocative, interesting, or noteworthy.
Stooges – TV Eye: https://open.spotify.com/track/5z79Fpw4FEEkSzt8Lbwr46
Lardo – Pedagogue: https://open.spotify.com/track/7BKU46S8nk4utuk0bqf4ad
Wire – Practice Makes Perfect https://open.spotify.com/track/2vYcX70M5Vx8YMohXFwshw
Wipers – Youth of America https://open.spotify.com/track/2Dj59k8Rar55hTbzwCt2bK
Shellac – My Black Ass https://open.spotify.com/track/0teei1yQyDihoiOGYsr9rp
Thin Lizzy – Emerald https://open.spotify.com/track/6oe6yYpgZWPYUwxKzG3HIL
Drive Like Jehu – Luau https://open.spotify.com/track/0rcBONdvQcvSHARoEVbfSO
The Birthday Party – The Friend Catcher https://open.spotify.com/track/0x1VbnNyHrLeWzQZIPVHqK
DEVO – Mongoloid https://open.spotify.com/track/6sx36Cz7YmbzZzzu1MeRfl
Chavez – The Guard Attacks https://open.spotify.com/track/0SHANxbTIia878Z12YRZM0
Rye Coalition – Snow Job: https://open.spotify.com/track/1Hu8AK6NnFL2QXUjU182Ra
Hellacopters – No Angel to Lay Me Away https://open.spotify.com/track/59wU0g8lhWShmq9SjJhrYu
Cheap Trick – Big Eyes https://open.spotify.com/track/55y1iWRf5JBZQIbb69Vr7m
Davie Allan and the Arrows – Blues Theme https://open.spotify.com/track/12hAeEyERydkkb1Wow1xdA
Flipper – Learn to Live https://open.spotify.com/track/2sZ1XkTMc72quA60rLLPXV
The Stranglers – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself). https://open.spotify.com/track/2jrmiji7m0zTG6lmtIlSpo
The Birthday Party – Nick the Stripper https://open.spotify.com/track/5cxs0xQJp5W4V8wMFYpCY7
The Stooges – Gimme Danger https://open.spotify.com/track/74CcP6fDBFdH8Xjo2F6Nb4
Jawbox – Motorist https://open.spotify.com/track/1eaKv3H9d9OJ7ffEoTOM6X
AC/DC – What’s Next to the Moon? https://open.spotify.com/track/2wr9GtUc8xPMhTVZTc191u
1. The Stooges – TV Eye
Ron Asheton. Full stop. One of my very favorite guitar players. One of the best guitar riffs of all time. Marshall, fuzz face pedal. Nothing too crazy. He used a strat for fun house, so I love hearing about how strats are exclusively the terrain of blues lawyers. I love chiming open notes in riffs, that’s me paying homage to Ron Asheton, who was getting it from Mahavishnu Orchestra or whatever!
There is debate amongst rock nerds over whether Funhouse or Raw Power is better. Asheton Or Williamson on guitar. Both rule, we have a foot in either camp between Tony and I. I’m team Funhouse, and I vote.
2. Lardo – Pedagogue
Bit commander! Brian Pennington makes his guitar sounds like a broken computer and all is right with the world. Put that crazy guitar over the insane rhythm section and concise and sharp song writing and you have a hell of a band I which more people Listened to. There aren’t many bands that have added anything new to this kind of genre, Lardo has done it. Respect.
3. Wire – Practice Makes Perfect
Rocks like hell but doesn’t roll at all. Kraftwerk style robotics melded with staccato and harsh guitars. Pink flag is swell and all, but chairs missing is the one for me. When I started listening to Wire it really broke down what the ideas of what a song could and should be. Colin Newman plays a Roland JC-120 I think. And unless I’m mistaken, at the time was a music man HD-130? One of my favorite amps ever. A thing I love about Wire is that they are not gear purists. They use Pods, they change gear all the time. Best or weirdest sound wins, and they still come up with super cool stuff. There’s a lesson there.
4. Wipers – Youth of America
Greg Sage recorded the first classic three records on a 1965 Ampeg Gemini, Low Tremolo with heavy reverb. An MXR distortion plus and an Echoplex rounded it out. Especially on this one! Then again, Greg also built his own preamps. So, who knows? The Wipers are a band of mystery.
This is the first song that made me appreciate delay, echo and that punk rock could also be psych. A stellar composition, every song on those first three records is a classic, but this one… wow! It’s a journey. You can do this kind of stuff with an Avalanche Run or a Catalinbread Belle Epoch now. Which is amazing.
5. Shellac – My Black Ass
There’s a whole industry of gear people trying to reproduce Steve’s sound. Boxidizer, karma sutra, that pedal that does what an IVP does. Tons of people get really hung up on the harmonic percolator. It’s cool, but it isn’t a ticket to Albini town. He uses it sparingly. It’s basically a fender Bassman and an Intersound IVP and he plays through larger full range speakers when possible, I believe.
There is also a great video (https://youtu.be/nahPA-RKEfQ…
Conan answered some questions from Shiny Grey Monotone.
Here it is: Secret Friends are discussed, as well as Replicator, Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates all with candor and honesty.
Dale Crover, David Yow, Industrial guest appearances Radio NOPE and damn near everything else.
Also includes a weighty “awesome band” list is that would be a worthy homework assignment for any discerning rocker. I can already think of at least a half dozen bands I forgot to include. Damn!
you may recognize the name.
and even if you don’t you’ll still find yourself saying “that’s a pretty kick-ass name. why couldn’t my parents name me conan neutron. i hate my parents!” and then running into your room and slamming the door behind you and then cranking up the stereo. and this is the point where’d you’d forgotten that you hadn’t taken out that BEST OF ABBA cd and now everyone knows your dirty little secret.
and before all of this begins i need to clear something up: conan is in no way shape or form related to jimmy. don’t bring it up. the last time that happened it wasn’t so nice. you may have heard about it on the news.
also: never mention that pointer sisters song either. just don’t.
some of you may have heard of some bands with names like:
victory and associates
you may have even seen them around here on SGM island.
and if you haven’t you’ve just been voted off.
nowadays he’s fronting/playing guitar in a band with some of his secret friends.
and no i’m not going to tell you who they are.
that’s his job.
Q: seeing as how you and your secret friends league have just been brought up…tell us all about that.
A: Sure, this is like my weirdo rock version of the Avengers, or something. Every player is a superstar totally capable of badass acts of heroism and power on their own, but coming together for a greater purpose. I suppose that would make me Captain America. I guess Tony Ash is Iron Man and Dale Crover is the Hulk? Wait, no Thor. Toshi Kasai is… uh… Nick Fury?
Wait… this is dumb.
Another way to look at it, is this is my version of the the Bad Seeds or something. The players sometimes change and cycle in, but the basic core remains the same and the songs come from me originally before being twisted, contorted and shaped into whatever dark forces come together at the end. It’s my version of rock ‘n roll. And that includes a world where Melvins, Bon Scott era AC/DC, DEVO, Unwound, The Jesus Lizard and Thin Lizzy all should be lauded equally. You get me? It’s rock, but with the no bullshit or excuses attitude that can only come from people that live and breathe punk rock/noise rock or whatever the hell you want to call it.
From my standpoint, it’s a little bit of every band I’ve ever been in, and a little bit something entirely different, I’m writing the kind of music I’d like to hear and trying to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to make that a really cool thing. I’m surrounded by great and brilliant people and one of the best rhythm sections a guitarist could hope for. Pretty cool.
Q: dale crover. does he still like to stand around the water cooler and wait for folks to walk by so he can tell some of his grunge stories?
A: oh, constantly! He’s always like: “Man, this one time Tad and I pants-ed Krist Noviselic and he…” and we’re like: “OK! COOL DUDE, WE GET IT.”
No, in all seriousness Dale is one of the sweetest dudes in the world, and all of us have tour stories or crazy back in the day stories. It just so happens that some of his involve people that are incredibly, incredibly famous. It’s easy to forget because he’s such a nice fella.
Although he is always shouting: “ok boys, I really want you to GRUNGE OUT on this next one.”
Don’t know what all that is about.
hi everybody, long time no talk?
(in this format anyway)
Alright so in celebration of Bandcamp’s day of action for Trans Rights, we’d like to present you with “Conversion” a NeutronFriends song sung by our friend Ashley Altadonna from The Glacial Speed Conan Neutron-Guitar, Tony Ash-Bass, Dale Crover-Drums, Sean Kirkpatrick of Nervous Curtains-Piano, Moog, Synth.
A powerful song sung about the horrifying “conversion therapy” process.
This was released in conjunction with bandcamps day of action for trans rights, 100% of the proceeds for this song go to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable. Please enjoy, consider purchasing a copy and remember to support equal rights for all.
(Oh yeah, there are a couple of other tunes on there as well, and you can buy the whole Secret Friends digital discography for under $6 this weekend. Also going to the Transgender Law Center
Also, a bunch of new Secret Friends stuff coming up soon. )…