Why You Should Know Him
In 1980, a New Wave band ascended from the UK to make their emergence into the American music scene. The band was driven by tightly compressed guitar licks that were embedded in shimmering bright choruses and delays. The catchy and instantly recognizable guitar parts earned the band an addicted following. Audiences were fixated on The Fixx, and Jamie West-Oram was the six-string mastermind behind it all.
From 1981 to 1991 the band released seven albums and a plethora of well-known hits such as “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” “Stand or Fall,” “Saved by Zero,” “Sign of Fire,” “Are We Ourselves?,” “Secret Separation,” “Driven Out,” “How Much Is Enough?,” and “Deeper and Deeper.” Many of these songs reached the charts and the band biggest hit, “One Thing Leads to Another,” climbed all the way to #4 on the Billboard Top 100.
Besides his work with The Fixx, West-Oram also collaborated with many great artists and producers such as Cyndi Lauper, Brian Eno, Rupert Hine, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Bob Geldof, Kirsty MacColl, Laurie Anderson, Depeche Mode, Darryl Hall, Jane Siberry, and Benjamin Zephaniah.
West-Oram is said to be rather secretive about his guitar rig and seems to change his setup on every tour, but we have been able to gather information on the central gear that was paramount to the influential guitarist’s tone.
His guitars of choice are a Schecter custom Strat (G Nash model) with pau ferro fingerboard, a swamp ash Koa body with an oil finish and aged brass pickguard, EMG SA active single coil pickups, and Floyd Rose tremolo. This axe is known more simply as “Woody” and was made by John Suhr (prior to launching his Suhr Guitars company). He also uses a Music Man Axis Super Sport and PRS 513, predominantly as backups.
As for amps, he has used a combination of Marshall JCM 800 half stacks, Fender Hot Rod DeVille 4x10 combos, and Roland JC-120 combos for his shimmering and hyper-clean tones.
In the ever so important effects department, West-Oram has used a combination of both pedalboards and rack units over the years. Despite the large mass of various effects, you could always count on choruses and delays being present in the mix.
Some of West-Oram’s pedals include the MXR Yellow Stereo Chorus, DOD Digital Delay DFX9, Line 6 DL-4 delay, MXR Dyna Comp, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss Chorus Ensemble, TC Electronic Classic Sustain Parametric EQ, TC Electronic Corona Chorus, SansAmp GT-2, and ProCo Rat.
As for the rack units, he uses two ProCo RAT distortion units (the R2DU), a Yamaha SPX-90, Dyna-Mite compressors, and a Korg SDD-3000 delay.
Where Is He Now?
Jamie West-Oram and The Fixx are still active today. In June of 2011, they released a new song called “Moving Mountains” to help benefit the Love Hope Strength Foundation. The song was recorded after West-Oram and The Fixx’s vocalist, Cy Cumin, trekked up Mount Everest with members of the LHS. The Fixx went on to release their 10th studio album, Beautiful Friction, in 2012, with their original lineup completely intact.
They continue to tour regularly to this day, even appearing on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Broadway World.
Visit www.thefixx.com for the latest info.