The band’s sophomore album, Strange Trails, has been praised by Paste Magazine for its “return to…music and its ability to transport audiences somewhere else—like any good tale should,” and here at Guild HQ, we have to concur; we’ve been listening to this album non-stop since its April 6th debut.
Originally a solo project of Ben Schneider’s, collaborators now include Mark Barry (percussion, vocals), Miguel Briseno (bass, percussion) and Tom Renaud (guitar, vocals). Tom is an avid Guild player, frequently playing them on tour and in the studio. We asked Tom a few questions about his history with Guild and Lord Huron. Enjoy!
GG: How did you get involved with Lord Huron?
TR: I’ve known the guys in the band for most of my life. Three of the primary band members – our drummer Mark Barry, frontman/songwriter Ben Schneider and myself grew up playing music together in Michigan. We started playing together in 7th grade and had various bands over the years. Our bassist Miguel grew up a couple towns over and was in the mix shortly thereafter. Over the years we’d gone our separate ways, each staying involved in music to varying degrees, but when Ben got the ball rolling on this thing a few years back and needed a band to play live, he called us up. Miguel and Mark moved out to LA first, and a year or so and a couple weird twists of fate later, I was out here too.
GG: What was your first experience with Guild? How/when did you purchase (or inherit) your first Guild?
TR: I had a college roommate who had a battered old mahogany Guild acoustic, probably a hand-me-down from his dad, that was always sitting around our apartment. It was a total workhorse and sounded great.
The first Guild I actually bought for myself is my 1967 Starfire V. My buddy Brett Farkas, a great session player here in LA who was the first guitarist in Lord Huron, had a jade-green 60’s Starfire that always sounded incredible. With his blessing I sought one out and picked mine up at Truetone in Santa Monica.
GG: Can you give us some background on your vintage Starfire V and M-65 Freshman? Do you use one over the other when you record or tour?
TR: I use the ’67 Starfire for everything, because it sounds awesome and is so versatile. It’s on nearly every song on our new record, and I use it live for all but a few songs. When we record, I have a whole rack of guitars, but that’s the one I reach for more often than not. There’s something about old Guild humbuckers that you can’t get anywhere else. It feels good, too…it’s nice and worn in, like an old ball glove.
The Freshman is a weirder bird, more of a utility player. It’s a 50’s student guitar that’s 3/4 scale. It’s hollowbody, and I use flatwound strings on it, and it’s got this crazy woody, plunky tone. If I pick up by the bridge, it’s almost like a pizzicato violin, or a Japanese koto. Very vibey. A lot of the time we’d just mic it straight, no amp, because its acoustic tone is so strange and unique. It’s great for textural stuff.
GG:Any favorite moments from the road?
TR: Too many to get into, but we did just get back from a European tour that was especially memorable. Particularly Ireland. They like to party.