Brett McCarron
(lead guitar and keyboards)

Brett - 1996

Hey, dudes and dudettes! I'm Brett McCarron, and I've been in a few Seattle and Puget Sound area bands, prior to joining up with the current cast and crew of "THE BLAME." Yep, that's me in the photos above. At left I'm all decked out to see "The Phantom of the Opera" with my leading lady, Margaret. At right I'm a fun-loving young teen with dreams of playing in a band.)

As a kid growing up in Seattle, I was fortunate that my older sister, Laurie (now Laurie Sebastian), was into rock 'n roll. I remember her playing the early Beatles albums and I'd marvel over the sound of what I later learned was George's Rickenbacker 12 string electric guitar. I also liked the fuzzy sound of the lead guitar in the Stones' Satisfaction and a few years later, the raunchy lead tone in Aqualung, and a couple years after that, LaGrange (ZZ Top).

Some time around 1973, Laurie's boyfriend at the time sold me a cheap Alamo Fiesta electric guitar for $10. I wasted no time in hooking it up to my tape recorder as a preamp, then into my parent's tube-powered Fisher hi-fi. When I cranked that baby up and heard that "natural tube distortion" and the thundering bass, I was hooked. It was all electric for me after that. My guitar styling influences would have to include the stuff I was listening to back then, so here they are:

  • The Beatles
  • Led Zeppelin
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • ZZ Top
  • The Raspberries
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Aerosmith
  • Grand Funk Railroad
  • Joe Walsh
  • Robin Trower

I use PRS guitars

The Gear

I use Paul Reed Smith, Fender, and Charvel guitars and Marshall amplification. Keyboard-wise, I use a Roland XP-10 and a Peavey DPM4 workstation through a Peavey KB300 keyboard amp..

My current setup (as of 11/30/96) is:


Guitars:
  • Paul Reed Smith CE-24 (whale blue -- my second PRS, and probably my favorite all-around axe)
  • Paul Reed Smith CE-24 (wine red w/very nice tiger striping. It's almost identical, except for the finish, to my other one. It has a great, Texas-style nasty sound)
  • Fender '91 USA Stratocaster (red, extremely flat radius maple neck -- swapped a mint condition Ibanez Artist 335 for it)
  • 80's USA Charvel Model 6 (blue pearl, neck thru, bound 24 fret neck, active electronics - beautiful! This was my main axe in the early days of The Blame. It's logged a lot of miles!)

Amplification:


Effects:

  • Mesa/Boogie Quad Preamp
  • DigiTech RP-5
  • Alesis Midiverb II
  • DigiTech DSP128 Rack FX
  • Boss CE-3 Stereo Chorus
  • Ibanez Super Metal
  • Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 Linear Power Booster

Keyboards:


I use PRS guitars

My Musical History (so far):

In 1992 I was a founding member of The Blame, along with Chris Simmons, Dan Ashe, and Dan Srsen. We've done lots of gigging and have ended up with a nice local following and national label interest. Thanks to everyone for believing in us along the way.

Dan Ashe and Dan Srsen left THE BLAME two years ago to start the rival band Random Axis. I'm glad to say that the Axis dudes are still around and playing, although there are no longer any Blame alumni in their current lineup. Michael Swanson and Jeff Parkhurst, respectively, were recruited to fill the shoes of Dan and Dan in THE BLAME.

Here's what I drove to gigs when The Blame were starting out. The half stack would just fit inside that Mitsubishi 3000GT! Sadly, the car, the guitar, and even that particular amp have all been sold. I still have the "ROKNRLR" license plate, though! A trio of rock 'n rollers


Prior to THE BLAME, Chris, Michael Swanson, Dan Srsen, and I were in "FishLips." We did mostly classic rock and played a few clubs before the band kind of melded into The Blame. A few years before that, Chris Miller, Rory Sims, Bill Hawk and I were part of "The Shades", making some pretty good music. Prior to that I was in "Local Hero" which was a 6-nights-a-week top 40 rock band that also included Rick Dousette (2nd lead guitar and vocals), Eric Turnbow (bass), Dave Knoblock (lead vocals), and Chuck Smid (drums), later replaced by 'Teen Martinez.

A couple of years before "Local Hero", Rick Dousette, myself, and bassist Chuck Lohr were in one of several variants of "Steamer." Drummer-wise we had Dave Morrison, Cheryl Strange, Chuck Smid, John Lang (who ran a hot tub company), and a couple of others I've forgotten after all these years. We'd practice at John's bachelor pad over by the The Evergreen State College or in a mini storage unit across the street from where the old Lacey Co-Ply plywood mill used to be. I was at that very mini storage unit when Mt. St. Helens blew her top and spread ash all over the place. I had gone over to make some noise on my Fender Rhodes piano, then peeked out when I heard cars racing down the street every so often. There was all this fine, flaky stuff coming down that looked like snow. It was really weird seeing the ash swirl and dance around as cars stirred it up. It was kinda like something out of that Charles Heston movie The Omega Man. Was this what the end of the world would be like?

The band STEAMER circa 1979 at The Evergreen State College

Here's a shot of the equipment setup for "Steamer" when we were on the Main Stage at the very first Super Saturday at The Evergreen State College in June of 1979. Dave Columbus (bass and keyboards) is on the left, while Dave Morrison (drums) looks on.

In 1979 I briefly moved up to Seattle, then a few months later I moved back to the Olympia area. There I hooked up with bassist/keyboardist Dave Columbus, drummer Dave Morrison, and vocalist Jeff Zuber to form "Steamer", which was originally called "Traveller". We played a variety of gigs around the Seattle/Puget Sound area. That's also when I reaquainted myself with my future wife, Margaret, who I hadn't seen since high school. She was (and still is) worth moving back from Seattle for!

Brett, circa 1978Here's a shot of me, circa 1978. The guitar I'm using is a Gibson SG Pro, which I first repainted black, then white, then had the hardware electroplated in gold, then added a pair of DiMarzio pickups to. We called it The Log, since it had a fat neck with lots of wood in it. I actually used this guitar to audition with Tommy Denton and the Kentuckians to score my first Union gig (see below). The guitar is long gone, but I still have that cool, green metalflake guitar strap! (Thanks to my buddy, Jerry Swatsky, for finding it after all these years.)


In late 1978, I auditioned for, and got, the lead guitarist slot in the 50's-tribute group "Manhattan Tower". I didn't dig the music, but I needed the dough to buy new gear. It was led by a former pro wrestler named Ray, who had a smooth voice that was perfect for 50's material. As usual, I hadn't heard a few of the songs before, and certainly hadn't played most of them. I joined the Musician's Union again, played the gigs, paid my dues, then that's when I left for Seattle (see above).

My gear at this time was a Music Man Stingray guitar (with active preamp, maple neck, and natural finish body) played through a Peavey Festival 110 watt tube head through a generic 2x12 cabinet with Utah speakers. I also had an SG amp with 6x10's in it that I used for live gigs. After a few shows, I'd heard that you could get a swirly sound and fill the room better if you played through an organ speaker, so I bought an empty Leslie 145 cabinet and threw a JBL D130 speaker in it. Nice tone. That's where I met Chuck Smid, who ended up being in two other bands with me later on. We were a union band, playing lounges. I couldn't wait to get out.

Before that I was in "Tommy Denton and the Kentuckians", backing a Nashville recording artist. Another union gig, and a real bore for yours truly. It got me into taverns when I was 18, but I had to stay on the bandstand or leave the place entirely during breaks. I didn't join up because I liked the music (I never did aquire a taste for country music), I just needed money to keep buying more guitar gear so I could start the band of my dreams.

Before that, my sister, Laurie, and I were in "Whitewater" for a short time. She played drums, I was on rhythm guitar, Bob "Mad Dog" Johnson was on bass, while Roland Morris handled lead guitar and vocals. It was a learning experience, but the band didn't set the world on fire.

And last but not least, there was "Medicine Creek": a high school band that usually had an eclectic assortment of equipment and far more nerve than ability. There were several versions of this band of gypsies. Some were jam bands and some actually played a few gigs. Some of the guilty parties included various drummers: my brother, Scott (sometimes on bass or guitar, too); Roger Rowe; Ken Donohue; Ken Grady; guitar players: life-long pal Jerry Swatsky; John Swanzy; bassists Andy Crowe, Dick Kosoff (doubled on guitar), Tim Jass, and bassist/roadie extraordinaire Bill Creighton. Vocal chores were handled by several, including my bro' Scott, Jennifer Lott (for a jam or two), and Robin Rossow.

That's enough about my musical history and some of the friends I've made over the years in various bands. Thanks for stopping by, and keep on rockin!


I use PRS guitars


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