Monday, August 10, 2015

The Gift of Music

Around a year ago, my sister, Jessica, gave me a fun guitar pick maker.  The idea is simple. You recycle old gift cards into guitar picks. I must admit, I didn’t even give it a try for a couple of weeks.  I mean, come on… would a professional guitarist really use something like this?  Well the short answer, it seems, is yes.  I found myself at a gig awhile back with a back up guitar that I do not generally use for live performances.  Normally, I keep everything stocked and accounted for in my live set up before heading off to a show.  However, in this case, I arrived at the gig to find that the only guitar pick I had on hand was the homemade one I had in my pants pocket (which I had brought along with me to show a friend). What I discovered was truly unexpected.  I actually liked the feel and performance of the pick better than the Jim Dunlop nylon picks I had been using for decades. Surprise, surprise. So, on that note, I began making my own personalized picks out of discarded or used Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, assorted restaurant, and club cards. What I have found especially fun, besides that I like the way they play better, is that I have been able to start giving used performance picks back to the people who gave me the gift cards in the first place! It has made immediate connection opportunities, and from what I have been told, lasting memories of performances and recordings to those of you who enjoy and support my music making. Thanks again Jessica, and thanks to all of you who still like to listen.
All the best,

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jackson / Charvel - My First Real Art Job

While surfing the web looking for an article on my friend and former co-worker Mike Shannon (legendary Jackson / Charvel guitars master builder), I ran across this image on a related Jackson / Charvel website. I had never seen it before.

I think it is the only time I've seen a picture of myself at the old San Dimas, California, shop. I vividly remember the day the photographer walked through the clear sanding room at the old facility. I was fresh out of high school working my first professional art job. Charlie Johnson was standing on the other side of the photographer doing the same thing I was.

It seems like a lifetime ago. The picture provided a great laugh for myself, Mike Shannon, Pat McGarry (another legendary Jackson / Charvel alumn), Jennifer, and my mother-in-law, Yvonne, as we all sat around the dinner table.

On a side note for anyone not in the know, I am improperly sanding this very expensive flame graphic star guitar. Notice that the sanding block is tipped up (which would create a divot in this high gloss finish instrument). Chalk it up to inexperience. I was 18 when this picture was taken.

In perspective, I caught a lucky break landing this full time graphic artist position right out of high school. My buddy, David Olivas, and I simply wanted to get summer woodshop jobs so that we could make ourselves a free guitar before starting off to college. It set the stage for a very filling lifetime in the arts (both as a guitar player and visual artist).

All the best,