Inside The Shredder's Studio #6: Mark Thomas Baker of Orchid

Shredding in metal dates directly back to Tony Iommi, who is inexplicably still writing riffs and will be a big part of the new Black Sabbath album due next month. So, we figured it was a good time to invite a new generation of doom shredder into the studio this week. Mark Thomas Baker of San Francisco's Orchid shared some of his formative riffs with Decibel. As you might expect, it's heavy on the 70s and 80s. Orchid's new album The Mouths Of Madness is available from Nuclear Blast.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mark Thomas Baker to the shredder's studio!


Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train” - The first Ozzy album, Blizzard of Ozz, came out when I was 14. “Crazy Train” was definitely the song that made me start asking my parents for an electric guitar. Randy became somewhat of an obsession for me in those first few years of playing.

*** Black Sabbath – “Turn Up the Night” - I couldn't believe how heavy this song seemed at the time. That wah guitar sound just killed me. I had to buy my first wah pedal after hearing it.

*** Dio – “Stand Up and Shout” - I remember dropping the needle on this for the first time ever. I was blown away at how aggressive the leads sounded on this, really on fire.

*** Mötley Crüe – “Come On and Dance” - I bought this when I was 15 solely because I thought the guys on the back cover looked like aliens and I couldn't imagine what it might sound like. The rhythm guitar tone in just fucking insane on this album, so dirty and crushing.

*** UFO – “Lights Out” - Michael was a huge influence on me, as big as Rhoads in my early days of playing. This was one of the ones I'd play for my guitar teacher and ask him to teach me the parts.

*** Iron Maiden – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” - I loved the trade-off of leads in this. Dave and Adrian were huge influences on me. I always used to try to construct leads to sound like two different guys because of them.

*** Judas Priest – “Screaming for Vengeance” - Same as above, I fucking love Priest. Me and my high school buddy would argue about who was better, Downing or Tipton. I think probably Tipton, right?

*** Metallica – “The Four Horsemen” - When I heard this, I finally thought, "Hey, I can do that kind of stuff." Kirk's playing was fast and fluid, but it wasn't a million miles away from what I was able to do, so this is one that made me think I could play in a band too.

*** Deep Purple – “Wasted Sunsets” - The Perfect Strangers album came out after I'd been playing for a few years and I was just floored by Ritchie's tone and touch on this. Still one of my favorite leads ever.

*** Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown” - I borrowed this album from my friend's older brother when I was 15. I still remember the chills I got the first time I heard it. Page is the ultimate for me these days. A master composer of music and feelings.

So you can see, I'm a bit old and my influences reflect that.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Ahner.


Read previous installments of Inside The Shredder's Studio: #1: Elizabeth Schall of Dreaming Dead #2: Mike Hill of Tombs #3: Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy #4: Alex Bouks of Incantation #5 Kurt Ballou of Converge