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Review Zoo chat with Slayer, Saxon and Judas Priest Guitar Tech, Robb Philpotts!

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Hi Robb, welcome to Review Zoo Which country do you call home? I’m currently living in the UK, just outside Sheffield to be precise. What got you into Guitar Teching? I became a guitar tech after starting out in the industry as a drum tech and a natural progression just kind of happened. I’ve played guitar for many years, so it was an easy adjustment. How long have you been a Guitar Tech for? I’ll be coming up on 15 years this year since my first guitar tech job.

What does your average day look like as a Guitar Tech? It really depends on the band/venue size etc but using my gig with Judas Priest as an example, the backline will typically load in at 10am and be onstage by midday. I’ll usually do my daily string changes and other jobs prior to soundcheck which usually takes place at around 15:30. Once soundcheck is done then I’ll have the rest of the afternoon until changeover to either do any other jobs or have the time for myself. Once changeover time arrives, which typically is around 20:15, it’s all hands on deck until show close and load out. I’m usually loaded out, truck packed, showered and on the bus by around midnight. Which bands have you looked after Guitars for? To date I’ve taken care of Judas Priest, Slayer, Saxon, Katatonia, UFO, Hawkwind, My Dying Bride, Rose Tattoo, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Venom and the house band for Michael Ball and Alfie Boe. What do you enjoy most about being a Guitar Tech? I personally enjoy getting to work alongside some of the best techs in the industry and expanding my skill set as a result. Seeing the world and free food would be a close second hahah. As a Guitar Tech, do you have input on equipment the artist might use in the future? If I’ve been with the artist for a while then I might get asked my opinion on certain things but nine times out of ten, the equipment Is either already in place or they’ll have a set idea of what they want their sound to be. What does accommodation look like when you’re on tour? Is a tour bus your home for the tour or do you stay in hotels, and how is tour life? Typically we travel between shows on a nightliner with a hotel room on days off but it’s entirely dependent on tour budget. For instance, I recently did a tour which only provided shower rooms on days off/travel days and we stayed exclusively on the bus. Tour life really is one of the most unique ways to see the world and I would recommend it to anyone. Do you get to see much of the countries you visit while touring? Occasionally yes, I’ll be lucky enough to explore various cities and places of interest on my days off. Which I always try to do no matter what. Where do you look forward to visiting for the cuisine? Italy, hands down. What do meal times look like when you’re out on tour? Do you have catering? Yes, thankfully catering is almost always the norm these days. It still varies from tour to tour with some tours providing cash for a food buy out instead but for the most part we get catered for. What hobbies do you enjoy doing in your spare time? What is this ’spare time’ you speak of hahaha When I’m not on the road I can usually be found visiting family, on an archery range, in the gym or in a record store. Do you have any of your own bands/projects you’d like to mention? My days in bands are long gone but I will happily plug friend’s bands that I recommend highly, 2 of which are SOM and Gods of Hellfire. Check them out. Please can you tell us about the Guitars and Amps you own personally? I’m not a huge collector of either but I do have a few Charvel models from the 80s which i adore (Charvel are my favourite guitar brand of all time) as well as a few guitars that were gifts from my parents for various birthdays down the years. I also much prefer to collect pedals instead of amplifiers. Not very exciting I know but there you have it. Favourite Guitar you’ve played? I’ve been lucky to have had my hands on a few but my all time favourite is a Hamer GT signature model belonging to Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest. It’s basically the guitar he wrote ‘Painkiller’ on so that would be the favourite. Doesn’t get much more metal than that! Favourite amp you’ve played through? A modded Marshall JCM 800 belonging to Andy Sneap which was modded by UK amp guru Dan Gower. It’s the most insane sounding 800 I’ve ever heard. Any funny tour stories you can share with us? Nothing too outrageous or interesting unfortunately. Boring I know! What are you currently listening to? As I type this, I’m listening to ‘Funhouse’ by The Stooges. What’s your favorite album of all time? ‘A Night At The Opera’ by Queen and ‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath. What do you look forward to most when you get back from tour? (a good old cup of tea? lol) A decent brew and my own bed are certainly top of the list! Is there anything you’d like to mention? I’ve got nothing to plug or sell so I’ll just say thanks for the interview and take care everyone. Cheers. Thanks for spending the time to take part Robb, it's really appreciated!


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