Judge Unger

Big Trouble

  • Artist

  • Location

  • Title

  • Released

  • Genre

  • UPC barcode

  • Bassist

  • 12-string bass

  • Songs including the 12

  • Judge Unger

  • Suisun, California, USA

  • Big Trouble

  • 2007

  • Alternative Rock

  • 837101349628

  • Odell “Inspector 12” Robinson, Jr

  • Hamer CH-12

  • All Except ‘Far East’ which was recorded with a Carlo Robelli 8-string bass

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Odell “Inspector 12” Robinson of Judge Unger and his Hamer CH-12 12-string bass.

Bassist Odell Robinson, Jr. played his Hamer CH-12 on every song on this album except one, on which he played an 8-string bass. Odell’s current 12-string bass arsenal also includes a Hamer B12M which he dubbed the “Dreamsicle” as well as a custom Klingon Bird of Prey 12 built by Mike’s Custom Guitars.

The band came up with their name after noticing all of the campaign signs reading, “Vote for Judge Unger” everywhere in town. Judge Cynda Unger, one of only a handful of judges in the world to have a rock band named after her, was elected to the Solano County, California Superior Court in 2000. She showed up at one of the band’s concerts to make sure her namesakes weren’t doing anything weird or crazy, then liked the band so much that she even introduced them at some of their shows. Editor’s note: Judge Cynda Unger retired in 2018.

The September/October 2001 edition of California Highway Patrol includes a two-page feature on the band. It includes a photo of Odell and his Hamer 12-string bass which includes the caption, “Robinson showcases the unique sounds of his 12-string guitar for the audience”.

The band changed their name to Super Mega Everything and continues to create great music, as well as now incorporating music videos into their extensive original music catalog.

Review of Big Trouble

by Surf

The band Judge Unger hails from central California and features Star Cannon "The Kosmic Diva" on vocals, "Frank 7" Garay on guitar and 12-string bassist Odell "Inspector 12" Robinson. Odell also does some of the backing vocal work. Matt Evans is on the drums.

Odell on stage at The Mutiny in Antioch, California with his Hamer B12M “Dreamsicle” 12-string bass.

There are twelve songs on this CD, almost an hour of music. Eleven of the songs were recorded with a Hamer CH-12 12-string bass, while the song "Far East" was recorded with a Carlo Robelli 8-string bass.

Big Trouble was six years in the making so there is a mix of older and newer material here. On the songs "Memories Fade, "Today" and "Smackdown" there is a scratch 12-string bass track underneath more recent tracks. Full sound? You bet! Odell ran all the highs on his 12 through a Wasabi chorus pedal. Between this and using a variety of different DI / mics / mixing techniques, every song has a different 12-string sound. A 5-string bass was also used on the song "Smackdown" for extra low-end power.

While everyone in the band delivers solid performances, it's Star Cannon's powerhouse vocals that really reach out and initially grab you. Here are my favorite tunes:

"Guilty" - This song has me imagining Rush jamming with Biff Naked. Very Alex Lifeson-esque guitar work and interesting vocals.

Odie and Surf

"Memories Fade" - Heavy and powerful. What more needs to be said?

"Smackdown" - Interesting syncopated groove. I actually wasn't that impressed with this song when I first heard it but it's been steadily growing on me. It has a haunting quality to it.

"Imitation" - Cool bass tone that's perfect for this song!

Big Trouble is a solid effort. Powerful vocals, good bass tones and interesting guitar work. And thanks to Odell for name checking this site in the liner notes!

Editor’s note: I have heard Odell play at a live gig as well as in a music video shoot and his 12-string bass tone is one of the best I have ever heard. Despite the claims of Cheap Trick fanatics that Tom Petersson’s 12 tone is the best, every time I have heard Tom play his tone has been muddy and overly distorted. Odell’s tone is clear and robust with just enough effects to make it interesting without the effects calling attention to themselves. His playing style adds tons of power and drive to the music. If you ever get the chance to hear Odell play, DO NOT miss the opportunity - you’ll have a new favorite 12-string bassist on your list!