Special agents from the FCC, assisted by the FBI, and Department of Homeland Security raided the offices of the Marshall Amp Company today. A spokesman for the FCC said that Marshall is under investigation for violations under the Amp Neutrality Act.
The Amp Neutrality Act was passed in 2011 is a set of regulations published by the FCC which supports the principle that amp manufacturers and governments should treat all amp knobs the same, not discriminating or manufacturing differentially by user, band, front man, type of attached equipment, or Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status. The regulations state clearly that all volume knobs must go no higher than ten.
Marshall is alleged to have made special amps for big name stars that go all the way to eleven. FCC special Agent Nigel Tufnel showed reporters a suspect amp and explained the issues, “Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?” He continued, “Nowhere. Exactly. What the big name stars with one of these black market amps do is, if they need that extra push over the cliff, you know they do? Eleven. Exactly. One louder.”
When pressed by a reporter why the manufacturer wouldn’t just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? He replied, “These go to eleven.”
The spokesman for Marshall Amp Company was not available for comment as he was attending the funeral of the CEO of the drum division, who had spontaneously combusted early in the week.