LOOKING BACK AT 2008
Ho! Ho! Ho! Headbangers, and welcome
to Premier Guitar’s year-end issue featuring our brand new end of year awards, the
Premier Gear Awards. What a year it has
been for gear and gearheads alike. 2008
will undoubtedly solidify its rightful place in
the Gearhead’s Historical Journal of Tone
Advancement, and will be long remembered
as a fast lane on the path to your relentless
pursuit of tone. Hope your journey has been
an exciting one—it certainly was for us.
12” Club Series tops. I busted out my Carvin RX1200 powered 12 channel mixer, two EV Force monitors, a collection of Beta 57 and 58 mics,
D112 for the kick, a couple 31-band DBX EQs and compressors, a Crown
CE 2000 power amp to power the tops, and threw up a couple trees
with Par 64s for lights. We were ready to rock. I walked them through a
sound check, dialed out some feedback in the monitors, and these kids
My personal best for 2008, amongst all the
incredible gear we’ve been lucky enough
to play, has actually been bearing witness to the growing passion in the
“Sanctuary of Soul” for guitar players of all ages. From old dudes’ rock
to the youthful rebellion, it seems like we are on the verge of a magical
movement, possibly a historical revolution to reserve more rooms in the
As I was getting ready to leave, they asked me if I could hang around for
the first few tunes, in case they were to encounter any sound problems.
I felt uncomfortably out of place as the rest of the kids started to shuffle
in, I could just hear the remarks—Oh great, who brought their dad? I sat
quietly at a stage left table, sipping on my lemonade and feeling like a
skunk at a picnic when my solitude soon received an attitude adjustment.
In the early eighties, I supported myself while attending college by giving guitar lessons in a local music store. Last weekend I received a call
from a former student of mine who now has a 14-year-old son. Her son
has formed his first band, and they were playing for a freshman school
dance. This former student, now a mother of three in her late forties
(and still playing guitar) asked if I would mind helping her son put
together the P.A. for the event. Since this was the band’s first official
show, they had not quite broached the P.A. issue yet. In fact, they had
been rehearsing by running a High Z mic through a Peavey Mace amp.
Man, do we all remember those days or what? I think that is where
feedback originated from!
As these cats hit the stage in their ripped-up jeans and skull and cross-bone tee shirts, rockin’ their Green Day and Weezer covers, I could not
believe the vibe. Sure they were a bit raw, a bit out of tune, but I felt
my life pass before me in a surreal moment of déjà vu. The screams
of the 13 and 14-year-old girls were deafening—literally the Beatles at
The Hollywood Bowl. The smiles on their faces and the sparkle in their
eyes was unbelievably rewarding for me; to momentarily live vicariously
through that youthful excitement and energy will undoubtedly add years
to my life. I guarantee these cats have the fever now.
I was more than happy to oblige, because I was in a similar precarious
position some 30 years ago. I remember all too well begging, borrowing
and at times begrudgingly renting enough gear to put a show together.
Piecing together old Altec “Voice of the Theatre” cabs that kept blowing
the horns until I was enlightened to a cool little device called a crossover!
Cerwin Vega Earthquake subs, remember those ball busters? Bridging
CS-800 Power Amps to get some thump out of the quakes. Homemade
monitors with Radio Shack 10” speakers and a piezo… sounded like
poop, but we thought it ruled. We didn’t have a clue what we were
doing and, in retrospect, it was just plain loud. To top it all off, we hauled
it all around in my bandmate’s family’s horse trailer, hoping like hell it
didn’t rain. But we were always able to put a show together, and the
chicks dug it!
I have witnessed an exciting growing community of younger bands
starting up in my home town, and it is a growing trend I have not seen
in quite some time. Hopefully you see it in your home town, as well.
Support it, encourage it, invest in it—it is a wonderful thing, for somewhere in that generation is our next guitar hero that can hopefully fund
our Old Dudes Rock retirement home. The Sanctuary of Soul has room
for everyone, and does not discriminate. It’s about passion, fueled by
inspiration and perspiration. Old dudes rock and young cats roll, and the
chicks dig it. You gotta love it!
From all of us here at Premier Guitar, a very happy holidays to you and
yours. Remember, life is short, so live it up, drink it down, laugh it off,
avoid the bullshit, take chances and never have regrets. Hopefully everything you’ve done is everything you wanted.
I did not want these kids to experience similar obstructions that may just
leave them jaded forever. I have a smaller system that I have used for
acoustic shows with a couple of JBL 15” powered subs with two Yamaha
Trent Salter, Publisher