We recently sat down with country legend Dwight Yoakam to discuss the making of his new CD “3 Pears” along with his new Epiphone Signature Guitar. In this light hearted interview, Dwight delivers his insights on what made him successful and gear he uses to create his music.
Your status as one of the iconic country musicians is well known. What do you attribute to your success and longevity?
With so much music in your discography, do you find that you have a favorite song to play live? If so, which one?
The good one and then sometimes...the really good one.
Some people might not know that you're also an accomplished actor in movies such as “Sling Blade”, “Panic Room”, and “Four Christmases”. Do you have any new acting roles on the schedule?
Who doesn't know? I want their names, and get my agent on the phone immediately!
You have a new album “3 Pears” is your first studio album in seven years. How was making this album different than previous albums?
Beck and I began recording the first two tracks together at his home studio. The process we used to arrive at creating the track "A Heart Like Mine" became the template for the album's recording process.
Your new album features a couple tracks co-produced by Beck. How did this collaboration come about?
Initially I reached out to Beck after hearing one of his tracks played...it made me think of him as a possible collaborator in producing my new album. As the schedules came together we ended up only doing the two songs, but again it was the process that evolved from those sessions that led to the template used for all of the other tracks.
Do you currently have a favorite guitar tone or effect? Is there a different way you go about achieving that tone on stage as apposed to in the studio?
Since my last album Blame The Vain, I had been using an Epiphone Casino Elitist model live on stage as an exploration of doing an updated version of "Ring of Fire" and "Long White Cadillac" that actually evolved in my wiring on the electric guitar in soundcheck and rehearsal and writing for the electric guitar once I got home, which led me on the journey that became 3 Pears. Gibson and I started talking about doing a hybrid version of the casino where we added a Firebird reverse headstock, not knowing beforehand how it would effect the tone, but being pleasantly surprised at the added resonance of the high and low ends. The P90 pickups are such a classic sound combination with the Vox and and Fender Super Reverb - they've been classics since John Lennon and Gerorge Harrison began using them on Revolver, just a classically dirty sound.
Your signature guitar falls into the higher end of the Epiphone line.
Michael, one of our Facebook fans, wanted to know if there was a reason you choose to go with Epiphone as opposed to Gibson with a similar model.
Gibson's attempt to copy the Casino never really achieved, in my opinion, success in not being a Gibson. The 330 I believe, is the model that was Gibson's version of the Casino, and nothing else in the world quite sounds like that hollow-bodied Casino with those P90 pickups.
Do you have a favorite amp that you use with your signature Epiphone?
Do you find yourself using effects or plugging in direct?
Early 90's vintage re-issue Vox AC30 and the current Fender Super Reverb blackface re-issue. I plug in direct only, I'm not good enough for effects.
When onstage, do you prefer floor wedge monitors, close range monitors, or in-ear monitors?
Floor wedge monitors! I need to hear the sound all around.
A lot of our readers are up and coming musicians. Do you have any advice on the dos and don'ts of creating the success you have enjoyed?
Develop the ability to ignore self-doubt.
Find your Epiphone Guitar at AMS