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CME Plugged In #2 - Western Automatic - Staring at the Sun
Chicago Music Exchange General Manager, Alex "100 Riffs" Chadwick, brings his band Western Automatic to the CME Warehouse to perform a Plugged In Session of "Staring at the Sun", a tune off of their new EP “The Dualist”. Singer, songwriter, journeyman, and poet laureate, Alex has spent the better part of his last fifteen years playing guitar, and his last ten putting the right ones in your hands here at Chicago Music Exchange. With a habit for making any guitar sound exemplary, Alex is our man for Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters . In an EPIC twist Alex surprises us by playing his gorgeous Gretsch Broadkaster through his trusty Carstens Black Flag
We asked Alex why he chose his Gretsch for the session, he said, "I use the Broadkaster specifically because it’s a little more aggressive than my Strats but more mellow and resonant than my Gibsons, plus it makes me look about ten times cooler when I play it!"
"I picked it up in the first place because I thought the pickguard looked cool over the white finish, and after about 30 seconds of playing I knew I had to buy it. As someone who constantly shuffles between Strats and LP’s this was such a perfect fit. It sits beautifully in between those two sonic textures but has a flavor that is completely unique. It’s the first Gretsch I’ve ever owned, I absolutely love the Fulltron pickups, and even though we use a ton of distortion and fuzz it holds up beautifully and allows me to create some excellent controlled feedback."
"The tone is fatter and more aggressive but I can still dial in a lot of the “classic” Gretsch vibe. I sold my 335 because it was too muddy for what we do, the Broadkaster has a little more cut and punch even in the neck position. I didn’t buy it to be my main guitar but it has absolutely become just that!"
Chadwick is not the only member of the Chicago Music Exchange family in Western Automatic! Jake Longardner, Customer Service Superhero is keeping the rhythm tight on the Franken-Bass (Fender Nate Mendel P-Bass Body/Geddy Lee Jazz Bass Neck) . He runs his pieced together machine through an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 and Ampeq SVT 4X10
Originally formed back in 2013 as a backing band for Chadwick’s solo material the collective quickly realized they were worth more than the sum of their parts and began collaborating on new material and Western Automatic was formed. They released their first EP back in 2014 quickly finding an audience with radio play and live shows in venues, all over Chicago. Chadwick's popularity from the viral video Chicago Music Exchange released, “100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N’ Roll)”, which has over 30 million views to date and helped Western Automatic land television appearances and festival gigs around Chicago. Western Automatic continues to grow their audience around the globe with their gritty & intimate alt-indie sound.