over. We’ve figured out what we wanna do;
now we’re just gonna make this time a mil-lion…” that’s when I walk out the door.
I’m pretty lucky ’cause I’ve met a lot of people
who have reinforced that feeling, you know,
that I’m on the right track. I’ve always had the
support of my friends and my family and all
that, but I’ve also had some pretty good influences. There was a book I read once called Zen
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance…
a brand over a long time, that there’s something associated with that brand and that it’s a
cardinal sin to dispose of that or to veer away
from that model—although, in the nineties
internet companies were doing it all the time. It
was the M.O… so you saw a lot of rebranding
going on then. It was the way to go.
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instead of using a pseudonym. It’s going back
to this thing being a conversation.
What can we expect from you
guys going forward? I know you’re
working on the Memphis.
Sure, I remember that book.
That was something that always stuck with
me, because that book dealt with the duality
of the rational side of doing a thing versus
the romantic side of a particular pursuit.
Of course, the whole idea of the book was
that those two things coexist. I went on a
motorcycle trip and read that book during
that time, so that really stuck with me. I was
fortunate to have a good ear, and to be able
to play different instruments, and have music
come to me pretty easily, and to really love
music. When you really love something and
there’s a bunch of other people that all love
the same thing, then you’re part of a community. If your life revolves around being part of
that, you can’t help but pick up good information and get inspiration, and maybe even
get challenged, which is always a great thing.
The Evolution of Guitar Performance.
The other part of it is the people who are our
family, our loyal players. Long-time users have
an attachment to that, and they felt maybe
that it was kind of ripped from them without
a proper explanation. I’m sympathetic to that
point of view too, but the bottom line is, this
name change represented a huge opportunity
for us to grow and do a lot of things that we
had been constrained from doing for a long
time because of our size. So, as unusual as that
concept is (and shocking to some people), sell-
ing our trademark to another company who’s
going to put it on an entirely different product
that doesn’t have any association with our
products has worked out really well on a finan-
cial level and on a creative level for us. I made
the conscious decision to get out from behind
the amp and take my place on the front,
Right. Memphis is going to be a series, start-
ing with combos. We’re working really hard on
that. For a long time we’ve sort of been in awe
about the demand for our big gear. Recently,
the emphasis on combos has been more
noticeable than in past years—the dull roar of
“When are your combos coming back?” has
turned into a little bit more of an aggressive
roar in the last couple of years. We’re replac-
ing our former Pittbull series combos with the
Memphis Series—new features, some refine-
ments, and innovative cosmetics. A combo
is a specific kind of a thing. There’s a set of
expectations, and manufacturers have to live
up to those expectations—those challenges
to address, maybe meet, but also try to open
people’s eyes and show them maybe another
little twist on that. That’s the innovative part
that you’ve got to keep your eye on.
With us, there’s an underlying philosophy
that everything we do, whether it’s a product, or a feature, or a function, it has to have
a reason to exist, it has to be consistent with
what we consider the qualities of our product and sound, and it has to make sense.
Usually, if it meets those criteria, then the
rest of it sort of takes care of itself.
There is some confusion out there about
what’s going on with the VHT name, and
the changeover to Fryette. You’re going to
continue to put out your amps—the Sig:X,
Deliverance, Ultra-Lead, and the rest—under
the new name, correct?
There’s a little angst out there about it, but the
bottom line is that we are the same company
that we’ve always been—we just have a new
name. We had an association with another
company that lead ultimately to the sale of the
VHT trademark, and it was a good deal for us
and a good deal for them. It might be difficult
for people to understand, because it’s such
an unusual and seemingly drastic move in an
industry where people feel that when you build
84 PREMIER GUITAR AUGUST 2009
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