Matt Pike - High On Fire / Sleep
Lace Equipment: Matt Pike's Dirty Heshers
As the guitarist for stoner-metal giants High On Fire and Sleep, Matt Pike has spent the last 22 years creating some of the heaviest music on the planet. Upon forming Sleep in Northern California in 1990 with bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Chris Hakius, Pike was playing ultra-slow, de-tuned Sabbathian riffage at time when thrash metal's need for speed was becoming increasingly insistent. After releasing their debut, Volume One (the title itself an homage to Black Sabbath's Volume 4) in 1991, Sleep hooked up with UK underground tastemakers Earache Records for 1993's Sleep's Holy Mountain. Two songs from the record would famously resurface on the soundtrack for director Harmony Korine's 1997 debut, Gummo. In '95, Sleep signed with major label London Records and proceeded to record what would become their swansong, Dopesmoker (a.k.a. Jerusalem), a single-song hour-long grass epic that would get them dropped by London and delay the album's eventual release for another four years. By then, the members of Sleep had gone their separate ways, leaving a highly influential back catalog and a wispy trail of smoke for their red-eyed legions to follow.
In '98, Pike cranked up his riff tempos considerably and resurfaced with High On Fire, a band initially inspired by the likes of Motorhead, Slayer and Celtic Frost that has since forged its own singular identity in the world of heavy music. Taking the name from an ELO song (1975's "Fire On High"), Pike joined forces with drummer Des Kensel and bassist George Rice for 2000's The Art Of Self-Defense, which was released by the legendary but short-lived Man's Ruin Records. Several more albums-and bass players-would follow, culminating in High On Fire's latest and possibly greatest, De Vermiis Mysteriis. Along the way, Pike has been recognized as one of the finest heavy guitarists of his generation.
In 2011, Pike teamed up with Lace to create his own signature pickup set, Dirty Heshers, which capture all the crunch and mid-range fury of his unmistakable tone. Or as Pike himself puts it, Dirty Heshers are "the voice of a metal genre captured!"