Norman was attending the London Guitar Show alongside the Blockheads for a typically flawless performance which saw the entire band become Trace Elliot converts. “The whole band were going “Woah! What’s that? “” laughs Norman. Not that anyone should be surprised at Norman’s enthusiasm.
“I started using Trace back in 1980,” he explains. “I was at the Bass Centre one day and they introduced me to it. I bought a GP11 Preamp. That was in my set up for a long time with the Blockheads. I loved it from day one. Having the graphic was pretty new in those days. The amount of tonal quality you had at your hands was incredible.” Later in his career Norman opted for a Trace AH300 head. “I’ve had it since sometime in the 1990s and I’m still using it now.” If that sounds like an impressive lifespan, Norman has a surprise in store: “I’ve also still got that original GP11!” he exclaims. “It’s all still intact — it’s brilliant.”
So how did the new Trace Elliot range match up to that classic Blockheads sound? According to Norman, it was an improvement. “It was a fantastic sound. I was very impressed,” he says. Norman took to the stage using an AH1000-12 (2 x 500W) amplifier head with a 12 Band preamp, two 1028H 400W compact cabinets plus a 1528 cabinet with two 15” drivers and an 1818 cabinet with an 18” driver to offer Norman extended low end.
“It just seemed a lot brighter, a lot bassier, a lot more responsive,” Norman enthuses. “All around it was just uplifting. It was a lovely sound.”
Blockheads fans can catch the band touring the UK later this year.