Famous Users of Pro Co Rat Distortion Pedal

famous pro co rat users

If we were to look through the history of rock music, it wouldn’t take long for us to realize the importance of particular amps, pedals, or guitar models that made an impact on the genre.

What’s more, one particular piece of gear along with a random accidental decision can be responsible for a total revolution in a genre.

Such an example can be seen with the Rolling Stones and Keith Richard’s use of Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone on the legendary hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

And this wasn’t the only example of a simple compact pedal completely changing the genre.

There are a few great examples, like Boss DS-1, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi, and Ibanez Tube Screamer, just to name a few.

But the one that we’re interested in here is the legendary Pro Co Rat.

Many guitar players like to side with one of the clans – overdrive, classic distortion, and fuzz.

Each of these distortion types has its own distinctive clipping process, which results in a different type of tone.

However, Pro Co Rat sits somewhere close to the distortion, but still not that far from the fuzz territory.

We could say that it offers both brightness and chaos of the fuzz effect, while still keeping tightness we can hear with classic distortions.

Offering that unique-sounding heavy tone, it eventually became so widespread that guitarists of many different genres began using it.

But the pedal’s simple controls and special kind of tone mostly won the hearts of hard rock and heavy metal legends.

This is why we decided to take a closer look at the pedal’s history and see who used it over the past few decades or so.


pro co logo

History of the ProCo Rat

But before we begin, let’s find out more about how this pedal came to be and its different versions over the years.

The story begins in the late 1970s, right around the time when rock music was seeing some significant changes. Obviously, this was the perfect time for a new pedal to emerge.

Scott Burnham (pictured below, right), one of the employees in Pro Co, which was then a cable manufacturing company, always enjoyed modifying different distortion pedals.

craig vestal and scott burnham

After a while, he made a decision to try and create his original circuitry. This was a pretty lucrative idea at the time, as distortion pedals as we know them today weren’t that easy to find.

Interestingly enough, this peculiar circuitry came as a result of an accident – Scott added a wrong type of a resistor in there.

Luckily, the resulting tone was more powerful than anything he’d ever heard at that point. After playing around with this new circuitry, he finally came up with the name – the Rat.

Starting its production in 1978, the pedal saw a huge breakthrough in the 1980s.

There were a few different iterations of this original version, but the real change came in 1988 with the release of Rat 2.

About a year later, the company also released Turbo Rat, with a noticeably fuzzier tone.

Years went by and we got more and more different versions of the Rat. These pedals include Fat Rat, You Dirty Rat, Deucetone Rat, Solo Rat, and others.

Needless to say, its peculiar tone made it really popular among the famous guitar players in the 1980s, 1990s, and even in the 21st century.

But the most surprising thing about Rat is that it’s not expensive at all, making it a great choice for beginners or any other guitarists on a budget.

So let’s see – who are these famous guitar legends who used the Rat over the years?


jeff beck playing guitar

Jeff Beck

Ever since the 1960s, Jeff Beck remains up there as one of the most influential guitar players of all time.

But the secret behind his huge yet incredibly subtle tone is not due to some elaborate rig. No – Jeff just uses a Pro Co Rat pedal. Well, at least he did for a significant portion of his career.

Combined with some legendary amps that he uses, like Fender Bassman, Vox AC30, or any of the Marshalls he loves, it produces a really powerful tone.

After all, what else would you expect from such a pedal when it’s paired up with these tube-driven monsters?

Visit Jeff Beck’s official website


David-Gilmour playing guitar

David Gilmour

If you were to hear David Gilmour’s guitar tone for the first time in your life, you’d never assume that he would use a high gain distortion pedal.

However, he has quite a history of using some pretty heavy stuff, like Big Muff Pi, or even Boss’ HM-2 Heavy Metal that’s mostly known for its use in those more extreme genres.

Another one of these examples is Pro Co Rat.

To be more precise, Gilmour used the famous Rat 2 version. You could see this particular pedal model in his live rig, most notably for the legendary “Pulse” live album.

Knowing that his tone still retains some of the more refined and softer traits, this proves that Pro Co Rat is actually a very versatile pedal.

Which is really a surprise for a device that only has three basic controls. When put in the right rig, it can add that much-needed sustain and attack without ruining the warmth of the tone.

Visit the official David Gilmour website


robert fripp playing guitar

Robert Fripp

King Crimson’s creative force, Mr. Robert Fripp, is one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th century.

Although he’s a guitar player, it’s really hard to just look at him as a regular 6-string rock star.

In fact, he even reinvented the approach to the instrument with his technique, theoretical knowledge, and the practical implementation of both.

Interestingly enough, Fripp is a Pro Co Rat user.

But he’s also known for using EHX Big Muff Pi, so the accent on the overall sustain and “thicker” tones are something he’s very fond of.

And these are just some of the reasons why he inspired so many guitar players in metal music.

Visit Robert Fripp’s website here


john scofield playing guitar

John Scoffield

Looking more into the “old school” side of guitar-based music, we also have Mr. John Scoffield on this list. And this is yet another of these “unexpected” mentions.

Nonetheless, this, once again, proves how Pro Co Rat can be versatile. In many cases, this depends on the other pieces of gear, but Rat is capable of creating very unique tones in almost any setting. And having such flexibility is what makes one pedal so great.

So whenever you hear John Scoffield play with distortion on, there’s a high chance he’s using the almighty Rat.

And if you still haven’t gotten the chance to listen to Scoffield’s music, then you’re missing out a lot.

Visit John Scoffield’s website here


joe perry playing guitar

Joe Perry

Now going over to the classic rock and hard rock territory, we have Aerosmith’s main axeman and one of the Hollywood Undead members, Joe Perry.

Joe is pretty well-known for his extensive collection of many different guitars, amps, and other gear.

Some very valuable pieces can be found in his collection. But even with such a vast and impressive arsenal, he still often used a Pro Co Rat pedal in his signal chain.

This is one of those guitarists that that’s more expected to stumble upon on such a list.

After all, Perry is one of the guys who developed and defined hard rock and heavy metal music.

Therefore, Rat was an obvious choice for a distortion pedal back in the day.

Visit Joe Perry’s website here


james hetfield kirk hammett playing guitar

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett

And there’s no surprise to see Metallica frontman James Hetfield and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett in here.

Pro Co Rat was an indicator that the music was changing. At the same time, Metallica were one of those bands who were actually changing the music with their unique approach to songwriting.

With the birth of a faster and heavier movement in metal music, a pedal like Rat is an expected choice.

After somewhat of a turbulent start, the band finally got the chance to enter the studio and record their debut album “Kill ‘Em All.”

In order to get that dirty tone that still retains all the tightness, James and Kirt used the Rat. And the results are more than impressive, we must say.

To this day, the album is praised for its innovativeness and especially its raw and powerful guitar tone.

Visit Metallica’s website here


kurt cobain guitar dress crown

Kurt Cobain

The late 1980s and the early 1990s saw another significant change in the world of rock music.

Slowly, but surely, the stereotypical songs about sex, partying, and other superficial issues were replaced with more serious topics reflecting on the society and an individual’s place in it.

And with such a different artistic approach also came the change in the guitar tone as well. It became darker, grittier, and more in the vein of early heavy metal from the 1970s.

However, both glam metal and grunge guitarists used the Rat, which just further proves that this pedal was extremely potent and versatile.

That’s exactly why a grunge legend and an impeccable songwriter like Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain decided to use one of these.

Visit Nirvana’s website here


dave-grohl-guitar

Dave Grohl

Although first getting the spotlight as a drummer, Dave Grohl also became known as a great guitar player, singer, and songwriter.

And knowing he was in Nirvana with Kurt Cobain, it’s only obvious that he’ll use the same distortion pedal.

The somewhat fuzzy distorted tone of the heavy rhythm guitars you can hear on some of the Foo Fighters’ songs is actually due to Pro Co Rat.

As Dave himself explained, he uses this pedal when he’s layering rhythm guitar tracks in the studio. Knowing what Grohl’s music is like, this pedal is a perfect choice for it.

Visit the Foo Fighters website


nuno bettencourt playing guitar

Nuno Bettencourt

Emerging around the same time when the grunge movement started shaking up the world of rock music, Extreme kicked off their career as well.

Although doing something that’s a bit different compared to grunge, they too relied a lot on some heavier tones.

This is exactly why their lead guitarist Nuno Bettencourt opted to use the Rat back in the band’s early days.

And even years later, Nuno still uses this legendary pedal. As he explains, he can’t go without a Rat when playing through any of his Marshall amps.

Just thinking of how awesome this particular combination is, we completely understand Nuno’s decision.

Visit Extreme’s website here


graham coxon guitar

Graham Coxon

Blur is one of those bands that blew up in the late 1990s thanks to just one hit song.

In their case, it was the legendary “Song #2,” featuring that easily recognizable riff by Graham Coxon.

Being their creative and sonic force, Coxon was really conscious of his guitar tone. In fact, he’s one of the biggest pedal freaks of all time.

And in his signal chain, he often uses the Rat as his main dirt box.

And if a pedal maniac such as Coxon loves this pedal so much, that just speaks about how great it is.

Visit Blur’s website here


peter buck playing guitar

Peter Buck

It’s a little weird to see R.E.M. and their guitar player Peter Buck on this list. While most of the guys in here are known for heavier tones one way or another, one wouldn’t think that about Buck.

Nonetheless, the famous musician really loves the tone of Pro Co Rat. One of the most famous examples is R.E.M.’s entire “Monster” album.

Released back in 1994, there’s a whole lot of song parts where Buck recorded through the Rat.

Again – another example of how this pedal finds use in almost any subgenre of rock music.

Visit R.E.M.’s website here


Thanks for reading our list of the most famous Pro Co Rat guitar pedals users.  Did we forget anyone?  Let us know in the comments!

Visit the Rat Distortion website here

Also check out…

David Gilmour Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

Kirk Hammett Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

James Hetfield Guitar Setup And Rig Rundown

Graham Coxon Guitar Setup and Rig Rundown

Our Favorite Albums That Use Proco RAT Distortion Pedals

Ruin Your Vision With The Only The Best Illegible Black Metal Band Logos

illegible black doom metal band logos

If you are a fan of black metal, or any of its related genres, you must have a special ability to be able to read practically illegible text, because that’s what you have to do in order to read the logos of many of these black / doom metal bands.

Let’s start with this…

wolves in the throne room

Would you believe it says, Wolves in the Throne Room?  Well, it does.  Now, what kind of band makes a logo that looks like this?

Not these guys…

the monkees

Come to think of it, that “Monkees” logo isn’t exactly too legible is it?  Rather, we’re talking about these guys pictured below.

Wolves-In-The-Throne-Room-©Christina-Wenig-15

Maybe the fact that the logo looks more like a cult symbol makes a bit more sense now, coming from these guys.  Nothing against these guys, or cults…heheeee anyway…

So the topic of this article is to look at various bands with illegible logos and try to figure out just what the fuck is going on.

For instance, would you have guessed that the logo below is for a band called “Nokturnal Mortum”?

best illegible black metal logos Nokturnal Mortum

This logo is literally not readable for normal human eyes whatsoever.

But, if you look at it long enough, you can start to make out the words…? kinda…. but compared to some band logos we’ll be examining, this is practically block capital letters.

**heavy metal band logo generator which includes black metal-ish options>**

In terms of sheer graphical prowess, when it comes to many of these these black metal band logos, there is certainly some sort of font-morphing sorcery at play.

Let’s be real: normal fonts are to black metal logo designers are like the Teletubbies showing up when you’re trying to saw of a sheep’s head with a rusty cleaver.  It just ruins the vibe!

Indeed, the best and most effectively un-transcribable black metal band logos have the ability to put a hex on you, while you stand there trying to figure out what you’re looking at…until you finally realize that life is not only meaningless, but all life is meaningless and you may as well just jump off the nearest cliff right now, because if you don’t, demons are going to sodomize your skull as soon as you fall asleep.

Ehe…Check this one out.

sink shower band logo

Guess who?

Sink Shower, of course!  You know, the ones who brought you such upbeat tracks as Impaling the Impaled.

And to think that logo above is a more restrained version of the same logo that seems to have been redesigned to look like this:

sink shower logo

As a fan of black metal, I guess you kind of get used to these bramble-ridden logos, and eventually come to expect it…and finally, DEMAND it, ready to inflict unending pain upon any band or artist that hasn’t put that much time into making their logo quite evil-looking enough.

Pretty soon, you just know that when you see a series of illegible white shapes that look like knives, thorns, or webs on a crisp black background, this usually signifies that you are about to be sonically pummelled by a very intense kind of music with an unwavering sense of hatred for you and all mankind.

Take it away, Burzum…

I suppose that came out before someone discovered blast beats, not sure.

If you are a “normal” music listener, you might expect that any band with an illegible black metal logo would probably have music that could be described in some of the following ways: fast, aggressive, angry, often with baffling time signatures, and 7-stringed basses in drop C.  And of course, blast beats.  Except for Burzum, not sure what their problem is.

Add to that indecipherable, demonic screams or low growling, and then top it off with hate-filled, nihilistic, blasphemous lyrics.

Take this sampling of lyrics by Dimmu Borgir, from their song Progenies of the Great Apocalypse:


The battle raged on and on
Fuelled by the venom of hatred for man
Consistently, without the eyes to see
By those who revel in sewer equally
We, the prosperity of the future seal
Cloaked by the thunders of the north wind
Born to capture the essence of
The trails of our kind
Zero tolerance must be issued forth
Behind the enemy’s line
So it shall be written
And so it shall be done

Who do you think wrote that?  That’s right, *these guys*…

dimmu borgir

And their logo looks like what…?

dimmu borgir logo

That’s right.  You might expect some ear-distressing, devil-summoning tri-tones to be in this music, or at least maybe you should.  Although, sometimes you may get a sort of early Metallica-esque speed metal riff played, which isn’t entirely unwelcome in some circles, depending on your level of doom and gloom.

The vocals, you will find, may also be slightly animalistic.  Not so much James Hetfield as it is James Hetfield’s corpse if someone were to dig it up 100 years after he dies and sticks a microphone up his bony butt, then adds vocal fry.

So we’re back to A Loathing Requiem again.  I think this one is slightly newer than the earlier one I shared.  To me it says: A Cranial Request.  A Clothing Required?  This one has a bit of a futuristic twist to it, as if the Four Horsemen just landed on Jupiter.

a loathing requiem

And how about their music…is it as misanthropic as the font?

Yeah, pretty much.

Black metal music itself being one thing, I must once again assert that black metal band logos are illegible and impossible to make out.  If you show up at a black metal show, good luck figuring out who’s on the bill, unless you’re a real fan of the genre.  If your gothed out girlfriend takes you to a show, best to just go with it, and try not to act like you’re not a fan.

Speaking of fans, these logos are really more like tests of your fandom.  Can’t read the logo?  Must not be a true fan.  Read it or die trying.  Can’t read it.  We said die, already!  DIEEEEEE!

Take the following logo belonging to this extreme metal band, called Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, who are from Portugal.

Filii Nigrantium Infernalium black metal band logo

They are known for such happy go lucky albums as…oh.

hostia

Well that’s not nice, is it?

You have to admit, unless you already know the band, you probably wouldn’t be able decipher much of that logo if you saw it on a poster or cd.

You would probably be safe in assuming that the music was some really dark stuff, however.  Maybe if you lived in the land of Lord of the Rings, their band logo might be the sign you’d see as you walked into an orc village, just before you were savagely gang-banged by a pack of Uruk Hai.

In case you haven’t heard of the band Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, here’s what they sound like, with their song “Cadafalso”.

Your average non-goat head worshipping person might wonder, why do these black metal artists deliberately make these black metal logos so hard to read?

Are they just trying to one-up each other to see who can make the most insane logo possible to go along with the most insane music possible?

That’s not really a bad guess, I think, since a lot of this type of music often focuses on death, destruction, and quite frequently even the annihilation of the human race itself.

Don’t believe us, just ask Prosanctus Inferi (logo below) what they think of the human race.

Prosanctus Inferi

The above logo, we must say, gets about a 3.1 out of 10 on the legibility scale, but perhaps a 10 out of 10 on the evil-looking band logo scale, with bonus points for the fact that it appears that someone may have actually hand-drawn it.

Part of the illegibility may stem from the fact that even if you can make out the words, what the words mean is another thing entirely.  In my poor brain, neither “prosanctus” or “inferi” actually bring anything to mind except perhaps the feeling of demonic possession.

Although this logo seems to look more like it has the black plague, rather than the blades and thorns type of logo.

I was interested in knowing more about the Prosanctus Inferi logo, so logically it made sense just to say those two words repeatedly like 50 x in the hopes that I could commune with the band.  Luckily, a vortex appeared near to my person, and it was actually one of the guys in the band, asking me what the hell I wanted.

It looked kinda like this…

Upon asking about the band logo, the voice / band member said: “When I drew it (the logo), I wanted it to convey the feeling of the band / music more so than be legible.  Our music is a mess, so I wanted the logo to be similar. I also wanted parts of the logo to actually be legible, so if you look at it, you can actually make out some letters.”

As I was about to say thanks, the vortex slammed closed with a mighty sonic boom, partially blinding and deafening me for 2 days.

Once I got my hearing back I checked out their song “Red Streams Of Flesh”…

To those who are just getting acquainted with the genre, you’d think there certainly must be a correlation between using illegible spiky white text on a black background with having extremely evil-to-the-core music.

So, is it the more indecipherable the text, the more fucked up the band? It could be, it could be…

Take a look at the logo of this next band, called Forgotten Land…

forgotten land ambient black metal

Once again, it is truly difficult to make out the name of this band just by looking at the logo here. The word “Land” seems somewhat legible, but honestly, it is not easy to read any of it.

Artistically, there is something going on here with trees and long, twisted roots, and …hey, there’s even a moon in there!

But just because a band logo is pretty much impossible to read, that doesn’t mean the music necessarily is going to be impossible to listen to.  What kind of demonic music are we about to hear with Forgotten Land?  Let’s see.  Ooooh, Gollum’s Cave!

Yes, that certainly sounds like what it might be like in Gollum’s cave.

Oh, and I also managed to track down the guy who is the sole artistic force behind the band.  Did not get his name, but tracked him down one night in the forest by my house, oddly enough.  He was trying to climb back in his hellhole when I grabbed his ragged pantleg and he jumped up before me.  This is the photo I took of him.

forgotten land

This he told me this:

“Forgotten Land was heavily inspired by nature. I felt the need to update the original logo as it had more of a fantasy vibe, and at the time I was trying to go a bit darker with the songwriting style. So I wanted a logo to reflect that. Not many bands at the time were doing the ridiculous illegible logos and I really wanted it to be very “out there” in that respect. The trees reflected my love for nature in the music, and the logo just sort of went from there.”

Forgotten Land is part of the Dungeons Deep record label.

Sometimes, curiously, the band’s illegible logo, which has fully infected the band’s logo, somehow doesn’t affect the album title, which is the case with Black Abyss’s album, Funeral Christ.black abyss funeral christ

It’s interesting that the album title can still be legible.  What is going on?  Does this mean the band is less evil, if it’s the album name is not illegible scrawls?  Let’s see… (goes and listens to it) (comes back) Nope.  Still sounds pretty wretched!

I decided to use a ouija board to see if I could call up Black Abyss and get their take on their logo.  I lit some candles, drank some ram’s blood from a saucer, and sat there.  Soon enough, the ouija board arrow thingy began to move.  This is, verbatim, what it spelled out:

“logo crafted by the band member himself. Logo shows the number of 666, pentagram and hands of evil to relate with the BLACK ABYSS. BLACK ABYSS means Hell..none other” … silence.  Then the entity signed off, “Impaler Goat-winged”.

“Cool, seeya”, I messaged back, and then the ouija board burst into flame and turned to ash in seconds.  “Well”, my girlfriend, naked and smeared with various oils and wearing a hawk’s head as a hat, said “that was freaky!”

Next, we spoke to a band morbidly named Deadly Remains, which has a cool, semi-readable logo for something called Severing Humanity.

deadly remains

I’m always a bit leery in approaching these bands, as I never know what kind of demonic message I’ll be getting in return.  A curse, perhaps, put upon me?  Ah, well, turns out the guy was pretty coherent, although Deadly Remains is not currently playing shows.  He reports on the logo and the band:

“The band started in 2006 as a thrash metal band, and turned into a brutal death metal band over time. We have no ties with black metal bands, but when we changed our sound to brutal death metal, we wanted a new logo, and our friend Steve Crow from the band Condemned drew us a new one. We didn’t ask for anything specific and that’s just what he came up with. To be honest if you know what the bands name is – Deadly Remains – it’s pretty easy to read.”

Fair enough, but it isn’t *that* illegible.  I doubt my mom could read it.  Apparently the band is going to make a comeback sometime with an even more illegible logo.  Thank God!  I mean, Thank you Satan!

waking the cadaver

Here is another band called Waking The Cadaver, which is a band out of New Jersey that describes their own music as “Slamming Gore Groove”.  Sounds like a Gwar album title, to me. I thought Gwar had the rights to all “gore” in music, but I guess not.

Also, this band name makes me think jeez, I wasn’t even considering waking any cadavers today, but now it’s sounding like if I do, I better be ready for trouble.

Anyway, this logo is almost legible, but not quite.  At least you can tell it’s letters, in this case.  Definitely cool looking, and definitely a good use of thorny spikes.  In fact, it’s spikier than the above picture, so I guess its getting spikier over time?  Not sure which if it’s thornier or less thorny now or before…or what??!

waking the cadaver

Here is a sampling of Wake The Cadaver’s music, with a song called “Life Lesson”.  Friendly!

Honestly, I could share illegible black metal band logos with you folks all day.  There are black death metal bands numbering in the thousands now, whereas 20 years ago there may have been, like, 3 or 4.

And you know what that means.  It just means that we’re getting ever closer to that day when humanity sees its final defeat at the hands of demon hoards.

Some will resist, while others will welcome the humanity’s final days.  And with that, we’ll leave you with one more logo for you to ponder, and we won’t even tell you who it is.  🙂

nucular war now

Also, check this out…it’s the all the black metal bands you want and need that are on Spotify now, featuring some of the artists in this article.

Best Black Metal Bands With Female Singers