Damon Marks

Sonic Stomp

Boosta Grande

Kings, Queens & BBE:
Bassist Chris Zukas and his BBE pedals
join Geoff Tate.

Geoff Tate, the acclaimed voice of Queensryche, is set to release his second solo album, Kings & Thieves, and will soon be touring in support of it. Even better, bassist Chris Zukas used his BBE sound setup in studio for the album and will be bringing his BBE pedals along for the tour.

We were able to catch up to Chris to talk to him about his journey as a musician, his gear, and what this tour means to him:

When did you start playing professionally?

I started playing professionally this January when I began the Geoff Tate 2012 Tour. I have played many gigs, charities, and benefits with Geoff over the past couple of years, but this is my first professional tour.

How did you come to play with Geoff?

I met Geoff while working for Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton with Queensryche several years ago. I was playing local gigs at the time and Geoff came out to one of my shows and liked the way I played. Geoff asked me to play one of his Insania Wine events in Walla Walla during the holiday barrel tasting, then several one-off events after that.

What do you feel landed you this great gig?

I feel that my ability to play the right part, whether its arranging parts to make the song work for the event and with the instruments we have, or learning how to play a new instrument like the acoustic upright bass in just a short time really landed me this gig. I have a very broad musical background from classical orchestra to traditional highland music to swing and rockabilly to modern rock and roll. I draw on all of my influences for writing and playing music.

What BBE gear are you using?

My favorite BBE sound gear right now is the Sonic Stomp™. It fits on my DI'ed fly rig so I can still get great sound and deep, punchy low end anywhere we go on tour. Several years ago, I used a BBE 362 Sonic Maximizer® run in stereo into my Mesa Bass 400, which really opened up the full potential of both my bass and the both differently voiced tube channels.

I love the durability of BBE products. I know that I can tour the world and my pedals will stand up to the rigors of the road and always perform. BBE pedals help me get the tone I dream of without worrying about bringing vintage gear on the road.

I have been using BBE products since 2003, the 362 Sonic Maximizer instantly made me a fan of BBE. I use the Boosta Grande™ for lead sounds with my Les Pauls and always get compliments on the transparent yet ballsy tone. I always have a Sonic Stomp on me when I head into the studio.

What's coming up for GTB?

The Geoff Tate Band will be embarking on a world tour supporting the world wide release of Geoff Tate's second album, "Kings & Thieves", which I played bass on. Tour begins in October, starting with the US and joining Alice Cooper in Canada. We then get on ShipRocked 2012 for a tropical Rock and Roll cruise through the Bahamas and the Florida Keys with Godsmack, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, P.O.D., Sevendust, and many more great bands. After we get our fill of sun, we will begin touring Europe through the spring.

We finished recording the album recently. It was a lot of fun to record as it is a new direction for the Geoff Tate Band and one of Geoff's best albums to date. The record label loves it just as much as we do and cant wait to release it. Now we are working on getting our material down, gear ready, and our tour bus set to go.

You also play guitar, what other projects are you working on?

Currently, I am working on a rockabilly project that will be a unique, all-in-one show with burlesque performers, go-go dancers, and original and classic songs to provide an evening of entertainment at a sit down venue that offers dinner and drinks. I cant share all the details yet, but are currently writing songs and mapping out the show. We will debut this in Seattle and start touring once the show is established.

Any tips to give up-and-coming players?

Find the right tone and the inspiration will come. I can play for hours on end if it sounds right. Listen to a wide variety of music and genres and broaden your playing to develop your own unique style.