HENRI CASH – Starcrawler

Posted: May 2, 2021 in MUSIC

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Starcrawler is an American rock band from Los Angeles, formed in 2015. The band consists of lead singer Arrow de Wilde, guitarist Henri Cash, bassist Tim Franco and drummer Seth Carolina. They have released two studio albums, Starcrawler (2018) and Devour You (2019). Starcrawler lead singer Arrow de Wilde and guitarist Henri Cash both attended Los Angeles’ Grand Arts High School. A sonic mashup of Iggy, Petty, and White (both Clarence and Jack) ring and rage thanks to a 3-string Parsons (and more) slathered in fuzz and octave.

In just five short years, two scorching albums, and hundreds of electrifying, shock-rock performances (think fake blood and straightjackets like Ozzy, Cooper, and Manson), Starcrawler has earned big-named fans like Elton John, Dave Grohl, Mike Campbell, and Ryan Adams. (The latter produced their 2018 self-titled debut featuring Beck’s daughter Tuesday on the cover. Both of them are fans, too.)

Much of Starcrawler’s glam-punk swagger is due to the peanut-butter-and-jelly relationship between singer Arrow de Wilde and guitarist Henri Cash. His prickly guitars and redlined Ramones rhythms flank her seething, sneering, sensual vocals making every second of Starcrawler’s 28 minutes a gas. And most of it was done on three strings.

“Having three strings allows me to just play,” admits Cash. “Half the strings, half the brain power… I’m so used to the 3-string setup that it feels natural and I don’t think about anything.”

2019’s follow-up “Devour You” maintained the daring Stooges’ snarl, but incorporated slower tempos and B-Bender moans for the Let It Bleed-esque “No More Pennies” and dream-pop swirler “Born Asleep.” The result is still an overall good-time ruckus, but the occasional change of pace makes the faster-paced uppercuts hit harder.

In between recording fresh material for Starcrawler and a new project, gear-gobbling guitarist Henri Cash virtually welcomed Chris Kies into his L.A.-based tone zone.

In this episode, the sharp-dressed man shows off his main custom builds from Randy Parsons (including a 3-string ripper), induces serious gear lust with his collection of Fenders, Gretsches, and Gibsons, and shows off the degrees of burn bustling on his board. Cash’s custom-made, 3-string “White Bat” built by esteemed luthier Randy Parsons who has delivered jaw-dropping instruments for Jack White, Jimmy Page, and Joe Perry.

About four years ago, Cash first encountered the Seattle-based builder’s work at a NAMM Show when his aunt—custom strapmaker Jodi Head—and Parsons were booth neighbours. Throughout the show, they bonded over music and unusual instruments. At the close, Randy offered to build Henri a custom White Bat model.

The key elements making it his dream machine (a cross of his beloved White Falcon and Randy’s original Bat) would be the single TV Jones Power’Tron Plus (Cash only uses the bridge pickup in any guitar), a built-in R2R Treble Booster (approximating the onboard 9V boost found in late 1960s Gretsch Rally models), and a Bigsby vibrato (huge Neil Young fan). For this one, he actually uses partial sets of Ernie Ball Baritone Slinkys (.026–.036–.046).

1980s Epiphone Les Paul is where all the 3-string raging started for Henri. His father is a musician and often plays in open tunings. He always tried to play his dad’s instruments but couldn’t quite grasp it until he broke the part of the Les Paul’s bridge and saddles. Instead of taking it to his dad to fix, he removed the strings and quickly realized with the remaining top three strings (tuned to D–A–D), he could cop chords and compelling sounds.

His dad encouraged the musical pursuit knowing his son was a fan of other “mutated” players in the B-52s, Morphine, and The Presidents of the United States of America, but he did warn that if he was going to continue playing just three strings, he should move them further down the neck to balance out the tension. After that (and adding a Stones-y G–D–G tuning to his repertoire), Cash was off and riffing.

When schoolmate Arrow de Wilde approached Cash about playing guitar, he had only played drums and bass in previous bands, but he was interested and most of the early Starcrawler jams were written on this 3-string Epiphone.

Most of Henri’s pedals fit into one of two categories: mayhem and movement. The wild bunch includes a trifecta of EarthQuaker Devices (Bit Commander, Hoof, Park Fuzz Sound), R2R Electric One Knob Treble Booster, and DigiTech Drop. And for the some subtle gruff, he’s got a Way Huge Red Llama. The modulation and time-based boxes are a MXR Carbon Copy, Strymon Flint, DOD FX60 Stereo Chorus, TC Electronic Shaker, and EQD Afterneath. A MXR Clone Looper is a practice tool, Strymon Qjai powers his pedals, a Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner keeps his guitars in check, and a Lehle Dual SGoS Amp Switcher controls the Fenders.

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