Larry Melero (Incubus Guitar Tech)
Interview : 06.23.2003
Dave Lopez and Larry Melero (right) – photo provided by Larry!
MF: Who is Larry Melero and what are your musical influences?
Larry Melero: I’m in my mid-30’s and my birthday is September 2nd. I’ve been playing guitar since I was 10 years old. Yes, I’m and old classic rock guy – Van Halen, AC/DC, Kiss, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc. etc…..
MF: How did you become a guitar tech?
Larry Melero: OK. How did I become a guitar tech? I used to play in a band – don’t ask, I won’t tell you the name! My day job was working at an amp repair shop. Bands would bring their stuff to me for repair/maintenance all the time. The band I was in broke up and STATIC-X approached me to be their guitar tech. I said sure and here I am now quite a few years later.
MF: What is the coolest part of the job?
Larry Melero: I’ve been all over the world – Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand – most people never get to go to even one of these places! In my case, its part of my job! I count my blessings often and I know that I’m very lucky!
MF: The most difficult thing is?
Larry Melero: When something breaks or goes wrong on stage during the show. Trust me, it’s not fun. You have whoever you’re working for looking at you and pointing. It’s your job to get it fixed – QUICK!!!
MF: Besides travel, what’s the most time consuming?
Larry Melero: Travel is probably the most time consuming thing about being a tech on the road. The only other thing that comes to mind is when you’re done with your daily maintenance, and the band you work for has a few hours until they play. You find yourself quite bored at times. Loud music in the back lounge of the bus usually cures that…
MF: Describe the worst on stage situation you’ve had to rectify on stage?
Larry Melero: I had one of Mikey’s amps go out in Europe. Europe is NOT replacement parts friendly! It took me two days, but I fixed it! Another situation was in Lisbon, Portugal. Mikey’s amps run on 117 volts, NOT the 220 volt European standard power. Did you know that if you plug American amps into 220 volt power they smoke??? It was an error with the people that provide power on stage for us. We almost got out the marshmallows! Yes, the amps were used on stage that night and they still work fine to this day!
MF: Share a few of your all-time favorite Mike Einziger and Incubus moments?
Larry Melero: Quite honestly, watching Mikey play on stage every night is great. He is one of the very few guitarists nowadays that actually catches my ear. From day one, when I started working for Incubus, he has always been receptive to my suggestions and ideas. Just don’t tell him that I think I’ve made changes to his gear he still doesn’t know about! (laughs)
MF: When you were in Chicago recently, we fed you plenty of shots, but we still couldn’t get an ounce of “dirt” out of you regarding the Dirk Lance departure from Incubus. You explained that you were “like this” with Mike and would never do anything that could endanger your close relationship with him. Please describe how your relationship with Mike formed and progressed?
Larry Melero: As far as Dirk no longer being in the band, that’s their business. I have a great deal of respect for Mikey as a person and as a guitarist/songwriter. We’ve always gotten along really well. Yeah, when shit goes wrong, I’ll get “THE LOOK”, but then it gets fixed and it’s over. But that’s my job! As far as my drinking abilities, feel free to try and get me drunk again, as I always appreciate free booze! As you found out, I can drink quite a bit!
MF: Tell us the whole story about the instrument you rigged up for Mike for “Aqueous Transmission”, that must have been a unique endeavor?
Larry Melero: Mikey acquired the “PIPA” from Steve Vai. I had the task of providing a pickup for it (that would work well). Seymour Duncan was kind enough to help me with that endeavor! Thanks, Kellie, you rock! We ended up using a violin pickup on it and it worked fine.
MF: What do you like to do off-stage? Both on the road and at home?
Larry Melero: On days off I’ll catch up on sleep during the day or go out and explore the city we’re in. Depending on the mood, it can be a really good dinner. Or a strip club! Or both! At home…..hmmm, home life, private, mostly catching up with family and friends.
MF: You recently played bass with Cold when Jeremy Marshall fractured his wrist. How was that experience? Might we one day see a Larry Melero tour?
Larry Melero: Playing bass for Cold was great! They found themselves in a situation where they were going to hire a temporary bassist. Then, Terry Balsamo made a half joking comment of “Larry, why don’t you play bass?” That turned into, “No really Larry.” Cold canceled two shows, we went into a rehearsal space in Buffalo, NY. I played my 1st show in Buffalo, NY. It has been fun! I would do it again for them or any other band I work for, but you won’t see me out there with my own band. I’ve been there, done that. No more. Forward movement is more fun.
MF: What should people know about Larry Melero that they don’t know?
Larry Melero: I like Mexican food, there’s a big surprise (Editors note: Larry is Mexican!). I’ve been told people think I’m hard to approach. They think that I’m a big, mean guy, I guess because of my physical size. Actually, I’m quite nice. Come talk to me and find out. JUST DON’T PISS ME OFF!!!! (laughs)