VIDEO: Joe Cirotti tears it up, barnstorming on the S2 guitar. Joe is frontman for Only Living Boy, haunting venues here in the Northeast with their original power trio invoking Zepplin, Sabbath, and Nirvana (below). Photos by Masi.
Joe arrived in the afternoon, enroute to a solo gig that evening. Bitter wind sunshine in late autumn, most of the leaves down, temperatures crystalizing skim ice on the pond. Pellet stove heater licking merry flames against the glass.
As he ducked his 6'5" frame through our doorway, I killed the heater. Too noisy. Microphones are sensitive machines.
Oh God. This is so good. I love the way the video reveals itself. It's very artistic and dramatic, which really nicely balances Joe's more informal approach to showcasing the guitar. I like how he seems to be playing off the cuff. It makes it seem more honest like that.
If the goal is to prove it's more than a metal guitar, then I definitely think the goal was achieved. I just bought one of these guitars for myself in my mind.
— Corie A.
With the heat off, and the cottage cooling, let the nervous sweat of performing provide warmth. Masi manned the video camera, me with cans at the board, and Joe plugged into the hotseat. It was so quiet, the mics were picking up a musical clinking from Joe's necklace.
I think what struck me most was an impression of...I don't know what the right word is really..."articulation"..?
Every note, even in the furious runs or complex arpeggios, sounded clean and clear and evenly present on every string. I find the quality hard to put my finger on.
It's probably unfair to compare different rigs and different players and recording conditions but listening to other performances on YouTube by various folks, it's simultaneously as if I'm hearing:
A) the S2 playing on all six strings (as per 'every note' remark) vs A.N.Other guitar playing, as it were, on a single string; but also,
B) the S2 playing on one long, smooth, perfectly tuned string vs A.N.Other guitar playing on a bunch of more-or-less unevenly in-tune strings.
So, I guess the conclusion is S2 = "articulation" + "integration".
PHOTOS: Simple signal chain. S2 guitar into 15 watt THD Univalve amp via stompboxes (Fulltone OCD & Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay). Guitar amp tone controls set flat, volume at 1/3. Shure SM57 against the speaker, plus AT4050 capturing room sound. Recorded through Mackie 1202-VLZ Pro by Sony PCM-D50. Real, raw, honest sound...keeping it all about Joe's playing.
Rick: absolutely love the twang. Can't believe the range of tones coming from this guitar. You need to hit the road to Nashville. They just might throw you the keys to the city when this is all over! I now know what my next purchase is.
There were frequent times where he would make a slight switch change and the tonal differences were drastic. Booming low end all the way up to sparkling cleans; everything was purposeful, clear, and enveloping. The crunch on the "swamp" section sounded pretty damn rocking too...
If I close my eyes, it's hard to believe it's all coming from one instrument!
— Brad Macchioni
That is awesome. You are correct in that I have not heard the S2 playing that style. You hear nothing but the notes.
— Bart Townsend
One of the first albums Masi ever played me reads 'Solo Joe' on her iPod. It's a six song collection of demos-in-progress from Joe's 2012 solo release. Those particular demo recordings have since become one of my favorite albums of all time.
Great videos. There's so much 'space' in the sound. The cleans are simultaneously clear but warm. Huge harmonics, it's like the guitar is singing! Distorted tones are super aggressive but remarkably maintain that clarity. No mushy-ness, just crunch.
Overall, regardless of where the tone knobs are, the instrument sounds so balanced and inviting. This might sound lame, but there's a sense of loss when the clip ends, like that invitation was rain-checked.
— Randy W.
I listen to a lot of technically skilled guitar players, as a result of my occupation. But I feel Joe's playing.
Wow. The second video blew me away. I love that brooding tenor dude shit...that video presents something very worthwhile...it makes the S2 more down to earth. It almost makes me look at the wood more than the eccentric design if that makes sense.
— Chris B.
VIDEO: Joe Cirotti performs 'Parked & Sleeping'. I love this song. Joe's voice is restrained power, yet achingly fragile. His lyric imagery evokes Dylan at his terse best: "...bits of hay/in the horse's mouth..."