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Friday, October 29, 2004

A ROOM FULL OF GUITARS

My lifelong obsession; in Cheech and Chong's 'Nice Dreams', Tommy Chong declares his wish for a house with a guitar in every room, I always wanted a room full of guitars. They say if you want something bad enough you'll get it, and I have. I have a roomfull of guitars. They aren't all mine, but alot are. As a child in school I would draw them. I bought endless guitar magazines, learned the makes and models, and fantasized about playing them. My parents bought me my first guitar when I was twelve, in 1978. It was out of the Sears catalog, and cost eighty dollars. Glee is the only word that describes how I felt holding that (sorry Mom and Dad, I mean no offense, thank you a thousand times) peice of crap. On that peice of crap I learned the rudiments; 'Smoke On The Water', 'Cat Scratch Fever', 'Iron Man', and of course 'I Wanna Be Sedated'. That guitar was destined to be smashed Paul Stanley style on my parents brick patio in our back yard at West Point, but not until after I had replaced it with an Ibanez Iceman in 1983. I wish I still had that Iceman, it was charcoal grey, the action needed work, but I could easily fix that today, alas I sold it after I bought my next guitar. Tony Alva and I both got our Telecasters the same year, 1986. Since Tony is left handed, it was a bit more of an effort for him to get his. One day at the U of M, Tony got a call from Pat 'Mr. L Smart' Wilson who was at Manny's on 48th in Manhattan saying that Elliott Easton was there trying out left handed Tele's and there were six of them. Tony mangaed to get on the horn with Manny's and secured his before Elliott got done dicking around, and recieved his left handed tobaccoburst Fender Telecaster a few days later. I got mine in cherry red, off the rack at whatever guitaralopolis was on Georgia avenue above the beltway back in '86. That year the Stones released 'Dirty Work' and in the video for "One Hit To The Body' Keith was playing a cherry red Tele, and I had to have me mine. Tony and I were very pleased with ouselves, we couldn't put them down for fear it was all a dream. I love my red Tele. It got me through alot of years. It's been beat up, taken apart, reassembled, and beat up some more, yet it stays in tune and plays wonderfully to this day. Around the time that I moved from Maryland to Connecticut I somehow became the owner of the Gagliano, or the Gagleeano, or the Gagmewithaspoono. A cheap acoustic that had been owned by a man called D.T., and not because those were his initials, was passed around our crew and I ended up with it. It had neck issues, bent tuning pegs, but had this magical quality when you put a mic on it, it opened up, became another entity. Over the years, due to it's proximity to the sticker obsessed Pat Wilson, it had gained a host of stickers, most notably some Flintsones stickers from a cereal box, and a few 'Take With Food', and 'May Cause Drowsiness' stickers for good measure. In 1994 it got one last sticker from Rob Kendall. Rob, back in his communist days, used to hang with the radical student crowd. One day after attending a militant lesbian rally, Rob came home with two stickers that declared: "I Fuck To Come, Not To Concieve". One went on the Gagleeano, and one went on the 'Peace Chicken' (don't ask). Also, just prior to moving to Connecticut, I obtained for one hundred dollars (in goods, not cash) a Harmony Rocket, which I really need to get fixed up, it's up-keep has been quite lacking, to my shame. Those three guitar got me through until 1997, when my band Sex Circus Star started gigging around NYC. When your set is forty-five minutes, and that includes set up and break down, you need a few inexpensive guitars that you don't have to worry about in the mad rush. I also used to jump aroud alot and bash my guitars about, so when Epiphone issued a Les Paul Jr. for $169.00, I bough two. One dark red single cutaway, one black double cut away. The red one is by far the beter of the two, and next to my Tele, it's my favorite. I use the black one these days for the Keith 5-string tuning. Also around that same time I inherited a Fender Stratocaster from my friend Jason. Jason, you can't have it back now, it's been seven years, it's mine dammit! I might add that it stays in tune and plays wonderfully as well, thanks Leo! In recent years I have purchased two more guitars. My experience with the Epiphone Jr.'s was so good that I decided to buy a couple more of their Gibson copies. I bough a Firebird, which I have found to be very Tele-esque, and an Explorer, so I could finally have the double humbucking action. The Explorer is a fine guitar, it gets used often by both myself and clients at our studio. The Firebird is at home in Nyack, ostensibly so I'll play more, hanging out with Andy Rock's Les Paul and Stratocasters.

Comments:
Guitar buying addictions can only be truely understood by those who suffer from it cronically. To this day, when some dream of winning the lottery or annual bonus time rolls around, the first thought that comes to mind is what guitar(s) could be purchased with that sum. Closely behind that is "What piece of gear could the studio use next?" I love seven of the eight of my guitars, the holdout being the knockoff tele that resides at S&M. Need to give it some love soon. Perhaps upon my next visit to NYC we can head on down to guitar street (wouldn't Tommy Chong be happy to know of a whole street of guitars) and find a suitable neck and machine heads for this neglected axe.

Looking forward to hosting you guys this weekend...
 
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