Interview with BLINDBOSS’ Max Histrionic

Max Histrionic - Blindboss

Blindboss is a project of multi-instrumentalist Max Histrionic who just put out an album titled ‘Our Tribe,’ a release that successfully blend together distinctive genres such as rock, punk and metal. Blindboss is a continuation of Max’ previous project Chameleon Technology. We asked Max questions about his musical upbringing, picking up guitar, his guitar rig, and more.

How would you describe your initial exposure to music?

My father is a musician and my mother was always listening to motown oldies and female pop starts in the car. I really don’t know when I got into rock, but it all happened quickly after achieving consciousness.

Were you in the music programs in school while you were growing up?

In junior high I played guitar, then trumpet, before ending up on baritone in the school band. Definitely can’t play the last two anymore. Some say I can’t really play guitar well either.

Max Histrionic (Photo: Justin McClenathan)

Max Histrionic (Photo: Justin McClenathan)

How did you get into playing guitar?

MTV. The 90s were a cruel mistress. I was 8.

Did you start to listen to music differently once you discovered guitar?

I was too young for that to have an impact in that way. Drums changed my musicality.

Who were some of your early guitar influences?

Jimi Hendrix, Billie Joe Armstrong, Chris Cheney, Nick Blinko.

Tell me about your guitar technique.

It needs work. I’m a rhythmic player, no problem. Lead lines I still have trouble with. Even if I wrote them.

What guitars are in your collection? What is the guitar that you trust the most?

I have a standard stratocaster with a Jackson J-90 and a Gretsch Electromatic with a Gibson P-90. I like the Fender’s tone the best, super high output, but the Gretsch is more reliable with brand new strings.

Max Histrionic (live)

With the advancement of the technology and amp/effect simulation, do you still use pedals?

I still use pedals. People swear by Kempers and all that simulated crap. If I had the will, I’d just rock a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe and call it, but I hate dealing with tubes. My live setup, with the Multimedia Experience is already too involved without heavy amps that take time to get hot.

In your opinion, what are the three skills that every guitarist must bring to perfection?

I don’t really know how to answer that. I’m a stronger drummer and singer so I could answer that question for those instruments. I really just use guitar as a vehicle for my songwriting.

How did you work on perfecting your rhythm and solo parts?

Practice. I have a pretty strong sense of rhythm. Lead requires repetition and dedication, I get really frustrated sometimes…

Back to music… You are about to launch your new studio album, and the first under the Blindboss name, entitled Our Tribe. Lead me through its creative process.

The album was written over a two year period. It got really intense when I moved to Dallas to make touring easier throughout 2017. For some reason all the movement and the meeting of new people catapulted me into a super focused writing mode. I wrote 7 of the 12 songs out of state, before moving back to Costa Mesa to record the album in July of 2017. The other songs were sitting in the song bank waiting to be paired up.

What evolution do you feel Our Tribe represents for you as a composer and guitarist?

It’s a step up in composition for sure. These songs feel more fluid and intuitive to me. The lyrics especially saw an evolution. It’s what convinced me I needed to leave Chameleon Technology behind. As a guitarist, I pushed myself to use new chords and put some fun leads in there. Used an octave pedal for some lines too.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as a guitarist when making Our Tribe?

Playing the damn thing after I wrote some of the riffs. They may not appear complicated to some players, or even listeners, but I’m not a gifted guitarist by any means. I could use a bootcamp in precision. I come at guitar with a drummers mentality -  hit hard.

How do you go about channeling inspiration into writing?

Sometimes I’ll know exactly what I’m doing, other times I’ll happen upon an idea and then try to expand on it. I’d like to be asked that question again 20 years from now.

Back to tech talk, tell me about your guitar rig you used for recording Our Tribe?

A quilter Aviator head, 100 watt. Carvin 2 x 12 cab and my pedal board is MXR Distortion Plus, Carbon Copy Delay and an Electro-Harmonix Nano POG. I used the two aforementioned guitars on the record.

Max Histrionic's pedalboard

What are your five favourite pieces of gear in 2017, and why?

I have no idea what is out there now. I try to be as minimal as I can to ensure maximized creativity. The delay and octave pedals helped me expand my sonic range though, as opposed to my old gain/reverb combinations of the past.

Now with the album out, what other dragons are you looking forward to slaying?

I’m already working on two new and separate releases. Videos are a big part of Blindboss now too. Expect more wacky shit, I’m just getting started.

Our Tribe is out now; order it from Bandcamp here. For more info visit, and follow Blindboss on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo: @rancho_cam