This month the song and the guitar merge into one, in an ode to a simpler time when dreams of rock stardom could be had through the Sears and Roebuck holdiay catalog, otherwise known as the Wishbook.
The song is an homage and ode to a lot of things I loved as a kid and young adult. It takes considerable liberties with my personal experiences, but it gets the broad strokes mostly right.
For instance, I was a mere babe when the Model 1448 hit the annual Wishbook in 1962. It would be some years later (OK, Kindergarten, 1967, Durwood, Mark and I wanted to be the Monkees) that I would see guitars in the Wishbook catalogs and start thinking how cool it would be to have one.
Of course, it wasn't until college that I actually bought the guitar featured in this video, which I believe is a wholly original, 1962 version. The tubes even say Silvertone on them.
So why did I buy this thing?
Claude Pate had just started playing fairly regularly in 1985, and I felt I needed a back up guitar. In the early days, in fact in all the days of Claude Pate, I was VERY hard on strings. I was always breaking them. Heck, in Claude Pate even Mike broke strings...on bass for crying out loud. No one breaks bass strings...Anyway...I thought it would be good to have a second guitar, so that the show could go on. I went to Major Minor Music, THE guitar shop in Ames, Iowa at the time, and Terri showed me the very cool old Danelectro/Silvertone with the amplifier in the case and I was smitten. It was only $100!!!!
Of course, it is a 3/4 size guitar, never stays in tune, and is about as far away from my massive Les Paul centric sound of the time as you could get, but HEY IT LOOKED COOL AND DID I MENTION IT ONLY COST $100!
And yeah, yet again, it's another favorite of Jimmy Page, who appears to be just as big of a whacky guitar, wing nut as I am.
Needless to say, perhaps, I think I only used this Silvertone as a back up on one occasion, at the Razzbar, before deciding it was a pretty silly idea.
As most of you who might actually read this know, I never really had a back up guitar.
I just played with broken strings.
Musical jokes, trivia, etc
This song and the video of it are basically me trying to give back a little to my long term geeky fan base. I am pretty sure that there are a handful of my dear friends (at least three) who I hope will get all the little nods and tips-o-the hat I have embedded in the lyrics, licks, and video elements of this month's performance.
For those less hep to these sorts of things, I offer some cryptic crib notes:
Why does the video only feature a seemingly still shot of the amplifier and speaker (it aint still. watch for shadows every once in a while)? Because I am a "Bastard's of Young" kind of guy...just ask the Replacements
My family favored the JC Penney catalog, which I studied religously every holiday season. But I am pretty sure Steve Beck across the street had a Sears bass...Dad wouldn't let me buy a catalog guitar, said they were junk...
The pickups on the guitar are made using surplused lipstick cases that Dan of Danelectro bought cheap
The guitar body is famously made of masonite that is painted to look like a formica countertop. It might actually be formica...I can't quite figure it out for sure
That is the amplifier in the case you are seeing and hearing. A mighty 3 watt beast!!!
I never walked beans, though my cousin did. I bought my first electric guitar (Les Paul, thank you very much) with money made detassling corn (and $200 from mom and dad, thank you very much).
OF COURSE I WANTED TO BE PETE TOWNSEND.
MY FINGERS DID BLEED
BUT I NEVER WAS A HEARTBREAKER OR REFUGEE
SUBSTITUTE ME FOR HIM, ROUGH BOY, but PLEASE DON'T GET ALL BABA O'REALLY YOU THINK YOU'RE ELECTRIC NOW?
I got a PhD studying a manufacturing problem. So yes, I care about making stuff. There is nothing virtual about reality.
Thanks to PRAVDA I THOUGHT OF US AS A CHICAGO ACT AND IT WILL ALWAYS BE THE SEARS TOWER