Night Moves. Nashville 2010
As I ride down I-24, I reflect upon yet another Nashville show. The familiar bass line in "Frampton's "Do you feel like I Do," echo's through out the van as the cold winter winds blows.
Commercial truck drivers zoom past me making the van sway from side to side as I'm quite sure they have their deadlines.
And as sure as a weight challenged man ( well, we do live in the PC world, you know) wearing a red suite delivers toys to boys and girls, there always seems to be a mini van adorned with bumper stickers and a luggage rack driving 45 in a 70.
Throughout the years I've become oblivious to this as I reach for the volume knob to hear the heavy bass section in the aforementioned song.
The Nashville show represents the last show of the year and the last time I will see the boy's ( my fellow guitar dealers) till next year. As I take yet another sip of that tart lemony lime refreshing nectar of the God's commonly known as sprite, I ponder. After all,we guitar dealers are an eclectic group and membership for the few is well earned. The Sicilians have a word for this; Cosa Nostra: Italian for "this thing of ours". This thing of ours compels us to drive thousands of miles in inclement weather,displaces us from love ones for days and sometimes weeks at a time never knowing if the show will be beneficial or a flop. To be one of the few that calls themselves a Dealer, you must posses the patients of Job and the steely eye's of a riverboat gambler. You must be able to look for opportunities and be able to greet the world with a smile ( even , if you just don't feel like it).You must have an innate ability to sense your making the right move, and you have to be an excellent student of human behavior and market trends. These are just a few things you have to master to be relevant in today's market place and for those brothers in arms that show up time in and time out. We salute you, because I know your troubles and I share your triumphs. A philosopher once wrote: Experience is the child of thought, and thought is the child of action. Times may be lean right now , not only for us but for this nation. Just think about it and be a man of action.
Photo 1: This is the Holiday Inn on Elm Hill Pike in Nashville. This is the place we call home while there, The 'elk lodge if you will.
Photo 2: Of course, this is the sign for the Nashville show. If you guy's ever find yourself in Nashville the first week of December. Please stop on in. You just never know who will be there.
Photo 3: This is an over all shot of the loading era and the fairgrounds. They have everything from car racing to gun shows on these hollowed grounds. In those white buildings,if it can be brokered, it does, from guitars to patio furniture, everything must go. When the good people there in Nashville get restless for a new woman, they even bring them in for shall I say, a little swapping. kinda like when you get tried of your tractor or live stock.
Goes down easier, with some Tennessee sipping whiskey, well that's what they tell me. Their wives sure have a funny look on there faces as the auctioneer's gavel goes down.
Photo 4: These are the fine folks that greet you at the show entrance. Well, times are tight, and they are not old enough to do the job for Walmart.
Photo 5: The last time we did a story on Dino Bradley was in the winter of 2009. The overwhelming response we received was startling. Many of you want to know if Dino will revise his role as Wild Bill Hickcock. I asked Dino this very question, Dino told me, to let all of his adoring fans know that, that role was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the memories of the award ceremonies was to painful to bear. (As you may recall, Dino got into a fight with Timothy Dalton over Debra Winger.) But, as a surprise to all, he told me in the strictest of confidence that Warner Brothers offered him a highly coveted role in the newest Dukes of Hazard installment. Intrigued I ask, who will you portray. Dino, with a sheepish grin exclaimed, Uncle Jessie of course. There you have it. Who needs Entertainment Tonight when you have the 'Elks boys to give you the scoop.
Photo 6: Many of you will recognize this man as the head Warrior at Warrior guitars. In this photo, J.D. explained to me the benefits of his latest entry to the Warrior line up, The Isabella. Ray and I believe, that his company is making the best guitars in all the land, and this one is no exception. These Isabella's are true 59 Les Paul spec's and man do they play well.
The craftsmanship is second to none. Check 'em out for yourself, and tell J.D. howdy from the boy's at the 'Elk.
Photo 7: When this couple walked into my booth, the man said that he was looking for a vintage Marshall JMP. I explained to him that we have them, but that there back at the office. As I chatted it up with Emily, that would be the lady in this photo, I asked her where they meet. She went on to tell me at a 3 Doors down concert of all places. Come to find out, the man on the left is the guitarist Chris Henderson of 3 Doors Down. Funny thing about being in Nashville, you just never know kids, who you will meet there.
Photo 8: This man needs no introduction. He is Mike Tepee, the owner of Acme guitars and the Nashville show promoter. But, some of you may know Tepee when he played in a little know band called the Stooges. You see it was back in 68 when Tepee joined the band and realised the hit single, "Now I Wanna Be Your Dog". Later they came out with Fun House, their sophomore album. Both albums, however, pale in comparison to their 1973 album "Raw Power" which had Ron Asheton on bass and Mike Tepee on guitar. Curious, I ask Mike why he gave up the glitzy lifestyle,the micro-phonic blenders and the angry crowds. He told me that he and James Newell Osterberg, AKA Iggy Pop had an altercation, that lead to a fist of cuff over writers credit, he went on to explain that the song "Now I wanna be your dog" was initially entitled, "Now go fetch my hog", a romantic song about farm living. Attorneys where called in and the feud continued for years. Finally when the band was inducted to the Hall of Fame this year, Iggy invited Mike to the ceremonies and all was forgiven, well according to the press. But, not so fast my friend. Mike told me, that he has filed an injunction to change the title of the song back to it's original form. He also went on to tell me that his new band will in fact headline Farm Aid in 2011 with this very song. See friends, all's well that ends well.
Now, go fetch my hog.
Photo 9: Do you remember the "Road To" series? You know, the ones with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope? The two men in this photo are the modern day Hope and Crosby. These two guys hardly need an introduction, but for the few who don't know, let me introduce to you Frankie Beatrice and John DeSilva. They are true road warriors and from Dallas,TX. to a quick trip in Des Moines, Iowa, if there is a guitar show sign in front, you will see them there. No one does more shows than these two and if you look in the Guinness Book of World Records under "most guitar shows attended in a 10 year period of time", their pictures will be right there. They are our boys and make life just a little more tolerable. Other dealers take note: We should never cry again. These boys are the epitome of determination.
Photo 10: Last, but not least, this dapper fellow is not a struggling musician that found himself in Nashville looking for country gold on Broad Street. He is however, Gary Burnett. Yep, that Gary Burnett, the head of Bee- 3 Vintage and connoisseur of all things acoustic. I took this live action shot to remind us all that even if you are ruggedly handsome and own all the pre-war, shaded tops in the world, there is nothing like doing a little manual labor to keep the soul at peace. Since the short 'Elk was fishing this weekend, I, too was reminded about the lost art of sweat equity. P.S. Hello Bonnie...