Dallas Guitar Show, 2009- Pt. 1
It's hard to know where to start on this show report. Lee and I crammed more into six days than we usually do in a month. We ran the gamut, from getting another heavy bout of Texas' finest food poisoning to spending an afternoon with one of my all- time favorite bass players, Rex Brown from Pantera and Down. We hung out with Derek St. Holmes and the Nelson twins and chased a crazed, drunk driver through 30 miles of Louisiana highway at 11:30 on Sunday night (to our knowledge, the cops never did catch the guy, although Lee was giving 911 a blow- by- blow description of the happening as I drove 90 mph, trying to keep up). It was a long, glorious week and through the good and the bad, makes what we do a never- boring labor of love. Now, enough of the drivel, let's get on to the show report!
Photo 1. This is an overview of the show from the rear upper balcony of the building- it was the only place where one could go to escape the din. You have to believe that after four straight days of guitars and amps going, we were hearing Stevie Ray licks in our sleep. That and a couple of thonkity- thonk bass licks.
Photos 2 and 3. The day before the show started, some jokester put a sign on the front of the hall that read, "Free Texas Driver's License Renewals and Beer". It's funny how you can draw a crowd when you advertise the two things that men truly want.....
Photo 4. We weren't sure if the the raffle was for the girl or the bike, so Lee and I both registered and got neither. But, somebody must have filled out the winning entry and went home smiling either way, wouldn't you agree?
Photo 5. Please meet Texas' own rising star, Glitter Rose. Her music mixes Southern Rock with Old Time Country and she has her own series of guitars made by John Kammerer guitars. Cute girl, cool guitar and big guns- makes us want to catch every show within 100 miles of Dallas.
Photo 6. This is Norm and his pal, Paul. One makes guitars and one has them on the wall. Both Norm and Paul are tall. I doubt either one of them escorts their wives to the mall and twice a year, when Norms gets that Dallas call, he shows up with a boatload of cash and takes home a haul.
Photo 7. We've been thinking about doing a special run of GrinningElk Relic Series guitars and were taking applications at the show. This gentleman showed up at our booth and filled one out, but only listed his name as "Tom". I grilled him pretty hard on his qualifications, because we can't have just any rookie with a paint can and pocketknife working on our 'Elk Les Pauls, we need a seasoned pro. After about a half- hour of him answering our questions, we felt pretty good about this guy and his abilities, so right at the point when we told him, "Hang tight and we'll call you", I asked him his last name. "Murphy" he said as he walked out of the booth.....
Photo 8. These three hot cats, Paul, Ken Poland and Ricky Lee make up the band Xes Whiskey, one of the finest Van Halen tribute bands we've ever seen. Paul absolutely shreds when it comes to laying down those Van Halen licks we all love and Ricky and Ken are a monstrous rhythm section, no doubt about it. Please go over to www.reallygotme.com and check these boys out- if you love Van Halen, you'll see that these guys are the real deal!
Photo 9.In a sighting that's rarer than Elvis in the last 20 years or Kiss without their makeup, Lee took his life into his own hands and managed to capture this shot of the ever- elusive Mysterious Mr. E. Excitement was abuzz and everyone knew something big was up when a black Bell Helicopter with tinted windows landed in the Market Hall parking lot. A Presidential- sized entourage emerged from the chopper and then, as quickly as it had landed, the chopper was off. Nobody saw anyone exit the craft and moments later, there was a gathering in the Rumbleseat Music booth. Lee grabbed his camera, turned to me and said, "If I don't make it back alive, you can have everything I own" and took off. I was genuinely concerned for my tall partner's safety as he ducked and dodged his way towards the small group that stood around one open case on a table. I wrung my hands in worry as I saw him snap two quick pictures and then take off, followed by a pack of suit and sunglasses- wearing, defensive end- sized gorillas. He ran past the booth, tossed his camera to me, (which I quickly hid) and bolted out the front door at top speed. Here are three things that are true: 1. No matter how much you are being paid to be an overdressed security guard, you cannot catch a 6' 4" Georgia boy who is running for his life at full- stride. 2. This is the only known photo of the Mysterious Mr. E. and is priceless- we are now accepting offers from the National Enquirer, American Outlaw and Home and Gardens magazines for its purchase. 3. The guitar that was on the table was the very one which penned that famous dance song, "Hey Macarana" and has been dubbed the "Macarana Burst". The last thing any of us saw was the Mysterious Mr. E. getting back into the chopper with a paisley Les Paul case in his hand, surrounded by a gaggle of out- of -breath security goons and Lee showed up the next day, well- rested and carrying a take- out order of barbecue ribs for me. Brought tears to my eyes.....
Photo 11.In this photo Janine and Jim of Route 66 Vintage guitars mug for the camera's eye. They are real sweethearts and
I admire not only their love for instruments, but their love for
one another.If I wasn't in the business, I would defiantly shop with these salt of the earth folks.
Photo 12. The Guitar Center Corporation recently issued a new training manual, "How to Identify Hardware and Finishes on Norlin- Era Les Pauls" to all of its employees. It's good to see that change truly does start at the top.....
Photo 13. Rick Derringer at the Warrior booth- always an accommodating gentleman and one hell- of- a guitar player and showman. We're convinced that this guy played on nearly every rock album released in the 70's and if you ask him, he'll tell you so.
Photo 14. At GrinningElk, we check 'em so you don't have to....
Photo 15. This is Gil Hembree. Word on the street is he's published a book or two and we should know- we've got a shelf full of them. A true class act and pillar in the guitar community.
Photo 16. We all have been led to believe that Jimmy Wallace and Mark Pollack have put on the Dallas Guitar show for the last 32 years, but you are looking at the man behind the curtain. He's so mysterious, we don't even know his name, but his all- access pass was a different color than anyone else's and we suspect he was the guy counting the money when the show was over and everyone had gone home. We gotta give him this- we've never seen him without a smile on his face and a kind word to offer. Seems like many of us could take a lesson from him and our gatherings would be all the better for it!