Back in 2013 I heard Bob Mould was touring here again, and this time he was coming with a 3-piece band to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Copper Blue and tour his new album, Silver Age. We never got to see Husker Du in Australia and although I'd seen Bob a few times this was going to be my chance to (hopefully) see some of those songs in full flight.
Although my overwhelming influence for guitar playing and tone was Johnny Ramone, I had based my early live rig on Bob (and Ed Kuepper) using a Samick SG copy (actually a great guitar that I never gave full credit to) into an MXR Distortion + and into a loud solid-state amp. This gave me that cutting, piercing, buzzsaw that Bob used to such great effect in Husker Du.
When the tour was announced in late 2012 I thought, "wouldn't it be cool to make a homage pedal for Bob?" I already made the circuit in my TYMEXAR so it was just a matter of working out what would be an idea for a pedal that shaped my life for a guitarist who shaped my playing.
I had in fact made that circuit since the late 90's. The EMEXAR that I used live for many years was the second pedal I ever made, after my original FUZZrite. I made this pedal purely because Bob had used one to such great effect and I loved how it made nearly anything sound like a Marshall stack on full.
I came up with the idea of calling it the St Paul Distortion after the city that had spawned Husker Du and therefor my love of this pedal. I sent the idea to Tony who did all my artwork and he sent back a single colour (black) idea reminiscent of Husker Du. I loved it.
The story of the St Paul Distortion is here so I won't bore you with that again, but, that little interaction led to something I had never dreamed of experiencing. Bob LOVED the pedal and asked if I'd make more. And I made more.
The Beauty & Ruin was Bobs first signature pedal and I made artwork variations of it for future album releases like the Sky Patch and the Sunshine Rock pedals. In amongst these limited-edition album versions, I also made Bob special ones in original MXR sized Hammond enclosures, just for fun. I had also done this for Ed with the Tym Stranded pedal.
So, 10 years on it still blows my puny brain that someone I absolutely idolized and (barely adequately) imitated has had something I made on his pedalboard touring the world and recording albums. Thank you, Bob.
You can read about Bobs board here in a new Guitar World article.