STEAM Magazine South Texas Entertainment Art Music volume 3 issue 9 December 2014

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While attending the University of Washington in 1979, two college friends introduced me to three things that would have a profound impact on my life. Al Chang introduced me to the Ramones and punk rock music, and best of all my future wife, Sheila. The second friend, Curtis Lee, who actually takes claim for my relationship with my wife, introduced me to the Danelectro Long Horn. My fascination for everything Danelectro occurred at that time.


spent the next eight years or so buying every Danelectro I could find. I discovered a community of like minded maniacs, obsessed with Masonite, pinewood and liptstick pick-ups. Through my obsession, after amassing about 200, I decided I would weed and feed my collection by running an ad in the back of Guitar Player magazine, with the heading “Danelectro Mania!” Through that one monthly ad, that cost me $50, for about the next year, I received over 300 requests for my inventory list. Selling to and meeting some of the nicest people I will ever know. One of those letters came from New Rochelle New York resident Dominick Monturo. I disregarded his letter because he simply requested a “Silvertone Guitar”. I knew that Sears had many different models of their guitars, and his request seemed too vague, so I put the letter off to the side.

The Jimi Hendrix Left - Handed Coral Electric Sitar Words by Rick King | Photos by Joe Riggio

fornia, Jim Washburn, who in July 1983 interviewed Nat Daniel, Mr. Danelectro himself, for Guitar World magazine. Jim, being left handed, when the interview was over, asked Nat if he had A little while later he somehow tracked ever built any left-handed guitars. He said that they down my phone number. In a thick Like a 5 year old had indeed and that they had only made one left New York accent he asked if I had any handed guitar and that guitar was a Coral Sitar made Silvertone guitars. He was looking for at Christmas… for Jimi Hendrix. I had pretty much forgotten about the quintessential two pick-up “amp-inthat fact until an issue of Guitar World in April 1988 case” model. I had just what he was It’s real! showed a photo of Peter Frampton on stage, for a looking for. He would call back from David Bowie tour, playing a Coral Sitar that the artitime to time, requesting other DanelecIts’ real! cle said purportedly once belonged to Jimi himself. tro models and our relationship grew Vincent Bell, the designer of the instrument, reports into a great friendship. Dominick in the article that Hendrix had two right handed models that he would flip passed away last year and he is greatly missed. over and play lefty, as he would all his guitars. Bell then stated that he had About this same time, I met a man from southern Cali- made him a lefty sitar, but it’s current whereabouts weren’t known.

Forward a few years to 1991, where I had just spent weeks on the road

with a broken truck trying to get back from the Dallas guitar show. When I finally returned from the trip, I was unable to sleep the first night back, got up at 3:00 am and went downstairs. I looked at a stack of bills and magazines that had piled up, and grabbed that months 20th Century Guitar magazine. As I thumbed through, I saw that a music store, on the east coast, had listed a lefty Coral Sitar for sale. I remembered what Jim had said years ago and realized that I may have found my “Holy Grail”!

Since it was 3:00 in the morning west coast time, the store with the sitar was not open for another 5 hours. When they opened, I anxiously called and asked if they still had the Sitar. My heart pounded as he went and checked. Yes! They still had it! He proceeded to tell me that he would need to get $500 more for that lefty then he would for a right handed model, because “they” were so rare….. I sent the money overnight, but when I called them the next day to request overnight shipping, they unfortunately said they had already shipped it on the slow boat, and I had to wait for over a week to get it. When it arrived, I pulled it out of the box and jumped up and down like a 5 year old at Christmas, and chanted “It’s real!..... Its’ real!”.


called local Hendrix historian, Kevin Randall, to come down to my store. When he walked in I handed him the Sitar, snapped a quick Polaroid of him and he asked me if it was Jimi’s. It was time now to go about authenticating it. When I called the music store back to ask them where they bought it, I volunteered that I believed it was made for Jimi Hendrix. They hung up on me. I called them back, to state my case again. They hung up on me again. I then called Steve Soest, who



Continued Pg 20

DEC 2014




DEC 2014 VOL. 3 ISS. 9










ALTERNATIVE WEEKLY NETWORK STEAM Magazine is published monthly by STEAM Magazine South Texas Entertainment Art Music in Corpus Christi, TX. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Views expressed within are solely the authors and not of STEAM Magazine. Typographical, photographic, and printing errors are unintentional and subject to correction. Please direct all inquiries to:

we are all wizards J. Michael Dolan (:23) The young naïve King Arthur once asked the great wizard Merlin why he always wore robes with moons & stars on them. Merlin replied, “Why it’s because everywhere a wizard goes he is always at the center of the universe.” That said, as the wizard of your universe, stand in the very center of your crazy, independent, creative career and take a long, deep, honest, look. Hunt down the petty activates (and people) that distract you from doing your best work. Search and destroy anything that continues to slow your progress. Terminate anything that thwarts your growth or stalls your advancement. Discern weakness at the very core of your creative work, and insist on accuracy and precision in all those who work with or for you. That said, as the wizard of your universe, take an intelligent look at what’s currently wanted and needed, then simply provide it— without fanfare, without praise, and without applause. Not like “You may be destined to rule Camelot, but you magic, more like diligence. have a choice as to how you do it.” —Merlin



2nd fiddle J. Michael Dolan (:19) Do you rush through projects just to finally complete them— whether or not they are “up to par?” Do the personal dramas of DEC 2014 your bandmates, teammates, workmates or staff, pull your focus and thwart your intentions? Does the continuous barrage of “new tech,” which is designed to enhance your productivity, actually slow your productivity? I know how much you care and how hard you work. It’s a shame that the same working culture that offers you so many worthwhile opportunities, also works over time to divert you with so many petty distractions. Nevertheless, it’s unforgivable to allow your best work, and your biggest dreams play “second fiddle” to the paltry disorders, dismays and disruptions of today’s working culture. It’s unforgivable.

“Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one.” – Duke Ellington



DEC 2014 |




Rick J Bowen





Seattle is increasingly becoming a bastion of alt country Americana bands vying to be the next big thing toting the Ballard Avenue sound. Red Heart Alarm have coined one of the best terms for their sound calling what they do “Gruntry,” explaining that it marries their native city’s Grunge legacy with the melodic twang of classic Americana/Roots music. The band employed iconic producer Jack Endino to record their second self-released album Hammer Anvil Stirrup, and solidify the sonic philosophy. The result is a collection of raw edged, loose grooving tunes filled with shades of The Dead, Wilco, Steve Earl and The Band. The vocal, guitar playing and songwriting duo of Corey Alfred and Jared Monschein are at the heart of every track, with their easy talk sing vocal style setting the laid back tone. Thematically these fellas are presenting some low down blues, no

matter how much you dress it up with chiming guitars, a swinging rhythm section and lovely piano, these are some sad songs. Standouts among the collection are the delightfully dark anthem ‘Happy Funeral,’ and left handed love song ‘Looking For Trouble.’ The Beatles-esque lament ‘Winter,’ has some beautiful chords changes and has you quickly joining the morose sing along of “wooh is me, I am so lonely,’ and it has an honest to goodness guitar solo, how retro is that. The rambunctious drinking song ‘Receipt,’ is surely a favorite of the bands live show, and Jerry Garcia would surely approved of the loopy minor key shuffle ‘Puddles.’ WWW.READHEARTALARM.COM

to explore the depths of his guitar skills and push the boundaries of the blues.

RAFAEL TRANQUILINO BAND BLUE SLIDE ROAD (FLAT HAT PRODUCTIONS) Often and album is a musical snapshot, documenting an artist at specific place in time, or during a musical exploration. The new EP Blues Slide Road from The Rafael Tranquilino Band released in October of 2014 has that quick and dirty, blurry at the edges and full of flashpoint energy feel of a Polaroid. Bolstered by the mighty new rhythm section of Farko Dosumov on Bass and drummer Ivan Gunderson and lead vocalist Leah Tussing, Tranquilino who gained a reputation as a formidable guitar slinger as a member of The Randy Oxford Band is now free

The six tracks are delivered in a live without a net feel, showcasing what the group does during their clubs shows. From the opening swirl and rumble of the instrumental title track you realize this is a trip down a side road of the blues into the realm of the slide guitar, as Tranquilino displays the lyrical possibilities and variety of Sonics one can produced in open tuning. Tussing then joins in adding her soulful vocal to the scene for “Driving Blues,” a time shifting boogie with her melodic phrases doubled on guitar and bass with classic effect. The quartet then guides us down Highway 61 during the down and dirty hard luck tale “Delta Soul.” Tussing delivers a scathing rebuke while the band raves and revs up on the gritty “Son Of A Gun.” The Slim Harpo styled swamp blues “Come On,” showcases more slide guitar theatrics and the bands raw energy, before the album closes with the every trick in the book slow blues “Start From The Five.” WWW.RTRANQUILINO.COM


DECEMBER ALBUM RELEASES Monday, 1 December Take That


Tuesday, 2 December AC/DC Rock Or Bust Jozef Van Wissem Little Envy Mary J. Blige Owen Parkay Quarts She & Him Walk The Moon Wu-Tang Clan Yung Lean

It Is Time For You To ... Little Envy The London Sessions Other People's Songs Content Nausea Classics Talking Is Hard A Better Tomorrow Unknown Memory



The Pyramid Top Five Dying of the Light

STORYLINE: A baker and his wife are on a quest to break a witch’s curse in order to start a family. Along the way, they encounter several wellknown fairy tale characters and together they learn what happens after “happily ever after.”

Exodus: Gods and Kings Top Five Inherent Vice

RELEASE 12/25/14

Action Comedy Drama


Drama Comedy Drama




Friday, December 12

Friday, December 19 Night at the Museum: Secret of t... Annie

Thursday, December 25 Into the Woods Unbroken The Interview Big Eyes

Monday, 15 December Brian Chippendale & Greg Saunier Self Titled Nicki Minaj The Pinkprint

Action Remake


Fantasy Drama Comedy Drama

PG NR PG-13 PG-13

Charli XCX The City On Film



112 S Fulton Beach Rd, Fulton TX



DEC 2014

36 Seasons 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tha Carter V PRhyme Geocidal Monuments To An Elegy

Tuesday, 16 December

Wednesday, December 17 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Fi...

Ghostface Killah J. Cole Lil Wayne PRhyme tētēma The Smashing Pumpkins

(361) 790-9626

Sucker La Vella


JAMES WHITE’S AUSTIN HONKY TONK 50 YEARS AND COUNTING Words by Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine | Photos by STEAM Magazine

The story of the Broken Spoke honky-tonk in Austin is as long and fun-filled as it is dotted with stars and the fact that it has lasted for 50 years and is still going strong is a testament to the long hours and hard work put in by James and Annetta White; not to mention their daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren! The Broken Spoke opened November 10 1964 and after 50 years not much has changed. When you see the big oak tree, walk across the dirt parking lot, and open the door to the red, rustic, old building, you know exactly where you are – in a real honkytonk! STEAM When did you decide that a bar was your future? JW I was just getting out of the Army and I thought it would be kind of neat to open a bar like the ones may parents used to take me to. I remembered that they were fun and that we’d always have a good time. The honky-tonks and dancehalls we went to had games like shuffleboard and pool, served good food, and always had good entertainment besides beer and whatnot. Same day I got out of the Army I bought the bar. I envisioned a place like no other and when I got it built I named it the Broken Spoke and I’ve gotten to live out my dream. I figured if I treated people the way I wanted to be treated when I go somewhere then I’d have a success. This is what I have always done and l still have a good time doing it. STEAM You know I have met a lot of bar owners and I think you are the happiest one I have ever met. How do you keep such a positive outlook?

JW Well you know there are some people that have or may have had a hard time or two with their business or in their personal lives, but I try real hard to leave all that outside. When people come a bar they like to hear about your personal life, but they would rather tell you their own problems. So we’re good listeners at the Broken Spoke and we just make sure everyone who comes out has fun, because that’s what we’re all about. And I think that’s one reason I have lasted 50 years – if I wasn’t having fun I wouldn’t have lasted as a honky-tonk. STEAM I love the way you refer to it as a honky-tonk, because that is truly what you are. JW It’s definitely a honky-tonk; it’s a dancehall and a restaurant too. We have been voted The Best Honky-Tonk in Texas, The Best Chicken Fried Steak, The Best Country Dancehall in the Nation, and we’ve won The Best Venue trophy at the Ameripolitan Awards for helping support the roots of country, swing, rockabilly and honky-tonk music across the US. STEAM I really like that you have stuck to the traditional style of country music. JW Naw, we don’t want any poppy, phony-baloney type of country music and we don’t want a lot of hard rock and pop music. We’ve been country music through all the other styles and sometimes we might not have as much attendance as other times, but then it always bounces back. I think it’s because country music tells stories of everyday life. STEAM Is it hard to find bands that play traditional country? JW Naw, it’s easy for me because I live in Austin Texas. I think it would be hard for people that live in New York or New Jersey. I introduce the band each night and I tell everyone that it’s a sacred stage because we’ve had 20 Country Music Hall Of Continued on page 10

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings’ Guitars given to James White for display in the memorabilia room. The guitars have been autographed by many of the stars that perform here.

James White and Rusty Hicks with two Broken Spoke Employees

“We are a true Mom & Pop operation and this is what we love” James White



DEC 2014

Continued from page 9 Fame stars perform here. Folks like Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Dolly Pardon, and George Strait; the list goes on and on. STEAM Did Alvin Crow get his start at the Broken Spoke? I know that you are on his album cover and anytime he’s in town he comes in. JW Yep. Alvin has one of the best bands that the Broken Spoke can have. He started at the Broken Spoke in 1973 and I’ve gone on the road with him and sang in different parts of the country that I never would have if it hadn’t been for him. Not his start, but he is the one that got me up on the stage and singing. I was hesitant the first few times, but now I enjoy it.

James White, the happy owner of the Broken Spoke

STEAM It seems to me that we always arrive about 5 minutes after you get off the bandstand. JW Yeah, I get up with all the different bands that come in and I sing two or three standards and now I’m even writing and recording songs. And thanks to Alvin because he’s helping me do everything I want to in the music business. STEAM Did you think when you started that you’d still be going today? JW When we first opened up people came in and told us that we wouldn’t last six months because we didn’t know what we were doing. Then they’d come back three and four years later to tell us how we had everything going for us so we couldn’t have missed. But you know, we are a true Mom & Pop operation and this is what we love. Now it’s turned into a family operation with both my daughters, some of our grand kids, heck we even have a greatgrandson who’s showing interest in cooking; which makes me real proud. It makes it real fun when you can get your work done and visit with family. Everyone enjoys working here.



DEC 2014

Anyway, it’s a fun life and I don’t think there’s anything I would have liked better. We’re so fortunate that it’s become world famous and that people like coming here.

Alvin Crowe performing on November 7th for the Broken Spokes 50th Birthday!

Chris Wall singing his hit Trashy Women

Words By Derek Signore, Sound Magazine Photo by Jayme Thornton






whirlwind year for Ace Frehley coming off the recent induction to the

Rock N Roll Hall of Fame which saw him take the stage with old bandmates in what might be the awkward moment of the year. But it wasn’t awkward for Ace because he’s who he’s always been and with the recent release of Space Invader he’s once again proven he hasn’t lost a step and in fact he sounds better than ever. STEAM: You brought in famed artist Ken Kelly to provide the cover art for your latest release ‘Space Invader’, who was also famous for his work on Destroyer and Love Gun. In a digital world where cover art is almost nonexistent you took a different approach. What inspires you to deliver the entire package to your fans when most others have giving up on such a canvas? AF: I’m just trying to please my fans by giving them a package that I would like, something we would have done in the 70’s. The whole idea of album artwork has fallen into the void which is unfortunate but it’s not a trap I’m going to fall into. I actually just recently saw the vinyl package and it looks great, I think my fans are going to like it.

STEAM: Your fiancé cowrote two tunes on the album, ‘Change’ and ‘Immortal Pleasures’. This industry has been more of a battleground for spouses than a collaborative arena. What was that spark that made you want to collaborate with her on the new album?


12/1 THE TREES, DALLAS 12/2 SCOUT BAR, HOUSTON 12/3 210 KAPONES LIVE, SAN ANTONIO AF: We’ve been together over five years and it actually took some time to get into the groove with her. I tend not to look at how the industry sees things. It’s all how you feel and perceive the music. It was a departure for me that turned out to be a great surprise because I think they’re probably the best two songs on the record.

STEAM: Is there anything on the album that stands out as something you can’t wait to play live? AF: The title track was a big surprise to me. Up until the mixing process that was a very instrumental piece and the record company gave me a call and urged me to make that the title track with a little more work. I went back to the hotel that night and put the lyrics down on paper and boom, the title track was born. For what it is and for what I think it will be that’s a song I can’t wait to play for my fans.

STEAM: Having played all over the world with KISS is there a particular venue on this tour that you’re returning to play at that you are looking forward to because of the acoustics and setting? AF: Well the old theaters sound the best, they have the best acoustics. I’m look-




GUITAR Gibson Custom Ace Frehley "Budokan" Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar




Words by Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine | Photos by Ace Pepper

shops as I am amp builders. I love the actual building of the amp. It's not just a bunch of wires to me. It's about the quality of the build. That's my art!

STEAM How did you get into amp building? How did you learn? AP I've been a working guitarist all my adult life, over 35 years. Like any guitarist, I've always been interested in how to get a better guitar tone. Around 1999 I needed a good-sounding small amp. A friend turned me on to a book that explained everything about tube guitar amps in guitar player terms. It was a "lightbulb" moment. Everything made sense! I got it! Also around this

time there started to be a lot of information on the internet about building tube guitar amps. I found the forum, and those folks were really nice and there was a lot of good info that started making sense. I got to play a friend's Fender Deluxe amp from the 50's. It sounded fantastic! I did some research and found the parts for these were pretty easy to get and a lot of folks were building them from scratch. I ordered some parts, followed the drawings, got some good advice, and built my first Deluxe-style amp. It made sense to me, was fun to build, and sounded great! I was hooked!! I loved building this stuff, doing neat work, creating art that sounded great. There was nothing else I wanted to do but build guitar amps!

A 14

STEAM How do people find you? Is it mostly


word of mouth? Like I said I was told about you. AP In the early 2000's I did quite a few guitar shows where I had a booth and sold my custom amps. I sold some amps and met a bunch of really great players that helped spread the word. I've always had a website and a lot of folks found me through that. The word of mouth is also very important and a lot of folks hear about me that way. There's always been a small group of folks who want something different in a guitar amp. Special tones, different finishes, better quality. When you do something special word gets around among this group. After 14 years, I'm starting to look like an "old man" in the boutique amp biz, where many other folks have come and gone. There's also the folks that are looking for custom builders for something different and they find me on the web. STEAM You’ve been doing this for a long time, so what has kept you going? AP Passion for the craft! I honestly love building custom guitar amps. This stuff is art to me! Each one is a challenge. To do nicer work; to take the art to another level; to do THE BEST work possible. I'm i n spired as much by custom motorcycle builders and custom car builders and restoration

STEAM What’s been your biggest challenge in building an amp for some one? AP There are different challenges. A few years back I met Rick Derringer, who was, and still is, one of my guitar heroes since I was a teenager. He called and asked for a very special amp. It was a fairly complicated circuit design I hadn't done before. I felt a lot of personal pressure to make something that really kicked ass for his music and playing style. I built the amp and then took it around to some of my golden-eared tone guru friends in Austin to make sure it was right before I sent it to Rick. Everybody liked it a lot, so then I felt pretty good about sending it to Rick. Rick called later and called it "One of the best amps I've ever heard!" That still makes my day!! Another challenge was a customer, who you've never heard of, who wanted an amp to match the finish on his Paul Reed Smith guitar. He had other requests too, like a lighted plexiglass front panel, laser-etched with pinup girl art. I worked closely with my cabinet guy to do a flame maple head box. Then my wife spent a lot of t i m e matching t h e stained finish to the finish on the guitar. Then I spent a lot of time doing a polished aluminum chassis for the amplifier. A lot of work for a small amp! It came out beautiful! A real work of art! STEAM Any advice to people wanting to learn to do this? AP There's some really good books on

tube guitar amps. Those are a good place to start. There's also a few places that sell good kits for some classic amps. Get one of the small, simple ones, like a Tweed Champ or a Tweed Deluxe. Check out the online forums, like, The Amp Garage, and others. I learned so much from these forums, reading other people's questions and the answers they got. Most folks on these forums are really nice and really helpful. That's what they're there for. Most "tone junkies" on the builder forums are eager to share the love of the craft. STEAM Is there one piece that is special to you, or that you particularly enjoyed creating?

AP Oh, there's several. I still play that first Marshall-style amp I built back in 2000. It's had tweaks and upgrades. It's the amp where I try new ideas. The inside looks a little crappy, not as nice as my customer builds, but I LOVE the tone! My current TopFuel 50 model is based on this amp. I still get folks who hear or play that amp in my shop and want one of those! The BlueFlame head was probably the most beautiful amp I've done. The head cabinet was painted by a local custom paint artist who usually does custom bikes and cars. He did these beautiful "true-fire ghost flames" on the cabinet. I then mounted polished aluminum bars in the cabinet, sort of like a custom grill on a car. Then I made a polished aluminum chassis for the amp and polished transformer covers. The finished chassis looks like a hot rod engine! That's a custom amp, baby!!




I realize that practically every month I write about Willie Nelson, and you may be getting as tired of that fact as I am. The simple fact of the matter is that after eight decades on this earth, he continues at a pace that would cripple the average person. Literally every time I check my email, there’s another With Dale Ma tin press release talking The Brauntex Theatre in New about his next project. Nelson just announced Braunfels will feature three that he will host a new nights of special shows this television series called month, beginning with a ‘Inside Arlyn’, which ‘one time’ only tribute to will have the country the Rolling Stones by Texsuperstar inviting fellow as band Statesboro Remusic legends and new vue. Lead by vocalist Stewartists into an Austin art Mann, the Revue have recording studio for been building a solid fan intimate interviews and base all across the country performances. The touring to support their series is still in its early latest CD, ‘Ramble on stages and currently Privilege Creek.’ They are without a distributor, currently finishing up a but Freddy Fletcher, cruise with fellow rockers Nelson's nephew and a Lynyrd Skynyrd, so they co-owner in Arlyn Stuwill be rested, tanned and dios, reports that several ready to crank out some cable outlets are interclassic rock. The show is ested in seeing the pion December 18 at 7:30pm lots. A total of 13 epiand tickets are just $5 at sodes are planned for the door. the show's first season, The other two shows will the first few of which feature local singer songwill tape this month. writers doing intimate acoustic shows. First is Hal Ketchum on The Redheaded Stranger is set to host longDecember 19, performing an acoustic trio time friend and fellow outlaw country legshow. Ketchum will be singing songs from end, Merle Haggard, along with blues his new CD, “The Troubadour,” which was sensation Gary Clark, Jr. for one of the produced by Austin icon Jimmy LaFave. first shows. Veteran journalist Dan Rather He will be singing all his hits plus new will sit down for a joint interview with tunes and telling the stories behind the Nelson and Haggard. Nelson has a special songs. The super cool Americana group place in history when it comes to musicCarolina Story will be opening for Hal. On focused television, as he was the featured Saturday, December 20, Cody Canada and performer on the pilot episode of the PBS his brother-in-law Wade Bowen will per- program, Austin City Limits in 1974. form a special family Christmas show. They Merle and Willie are also planning to record will each sing all of their hits, plus some a new album, though a title and release date from their new CD’s and include some hasn’t been announced. Like the Energizer classic holiday songs. Tickets to all these bunny, Ol’ Willie just keeps going. shows can be purchased at DEC 2014

Troubadour Insights


San Antonio/New Braunfels/San Marcos/Austin S peaking of Willie and Merle… White-

water Amphitheater just made their first concert announcement for the 2015 season, and it’s going to be a huge event. On March 27 and 28 they will have Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard together on-stage for two nights. Willie and Merle have been friends for years and even recorded a few albums together. They had a big hit with ‘Pancho & Lefty’ back in the 80’s and have toured together many times over the past few decades. Both artists have played Whitewater before but this will be the first time they have shared the stage at the venue. Kenny Rogers is another Texas born artist who has had a long career in the music business. Unlike Willie, Rogers does intend to slow things down a bit and in January will start his last tour in Australia and New Zealand. Though in great health, the 76-year-old isn't quite as agile on stage as in years past. "I've got a bad knee and a bad shoulder. I tell everybody onstage, 'I had my knee replaced, so if I look shaky up here… I don't drink, so it's my knee. If I should fall, don't come get me because I have Life Alert,'" he joked. Rogers isn't quite ready to sell his tour bus, but he is saying goodbye to his friends Down Under. The country music icon will spend January and February of next year in Australia and New Zealand on his Farewell Down Under tour, playing his final shows there. He first toured there in 1973 and has a huge fan base in that area. "For all of the traveling I've done around the world, Australia and New Zealand remains two of my favorite places to perform,” Rogers said in a recent press statement. "When I was with the First Edition, we made this same trip several times, and no matter how many times I've gone, I've always loved the audiences Down Under. They have a great sense of humor, and they've always treated me with such great respect." -

Words by Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine Photos by Cheryl Bibbee


FLJ Ok, first

chord to a D without a bender. I also employ it for extending bent notes another 2 frets, so you can play crazy Albert King blues 5-7 bends without slicing you're finger! But I think it’s most useful for inner chord bending, taking a C 7 shape for example and bending the B string up to a 9th Chord. And for creating very realistic

did you get into guitar building? How did you learn? FLJ Well, when I was 10 years old I went to a Salvation Army Store with my mom and there was a crappy guitar with parts missing, but it had a neck so I talked my mom into buying it. My step dad had a great woodshop at our house, and he taught me the basics of woodworking and safety. This was my first guitar build. It was really ugly! I frequently went Blue Paisley with B and G Benders to Franks Pawn Shop in Bellingham WA with my dad, Forrest Lee Sr. I talked Frank into letting me fix all the guitars that were in need of TLC. I did setups, paint work, everything to make them sellable. Unfortunately, he sold every guitar I fixed, including the one I wanted! So I guess I did my job well. I was still only 15 years old but that was technically my first job outside of playing music. Lord knows there's not a lot of money to be made playing music unless you have it to start with, or are insanely lucky. So having this guitar business is still in my wheelhouse of dream jobs. Pedal Steel sounds. STEAM How did you get started with installing it? STEAM Describe your creative process.

FLJ It all depends on the customer. My business is custom work, so the customer lets me know what they are shooting for. If they want a Brent Mason style wiring, then I have a baseline of what they are trying to accomplish with their playing and tone choices, and I can decide the other choices with them, like wood, neck and bender or benders.

STEAM What exactly is a “bender”? FLJ The B or G bender is a device that fits into the guitar, and attaches to the strap. When you push the neck down, it actuates the bender and pulls the string up a whole tone, or 2 frets. It can be set for 1 to 3 tones but 2 is the basic setting. This allows you to take a chord like D7 and bend it up to a D chord without moving your fingers. In fact it's impossible to bend that

Forrest Lee Jr and the Blue Paisley

off, I was a kid trying to make one for a year. I must have broken 100 strings before I decided to just sell my Dirt Bike and buy one. But all that trial and error taught me a lot about what NOT to do. Then as fate would have it. I was playing poker and drinking with one of my best friends when the game and alcohol intake got out of hand. Somehow, he ended up with my guitar with the B bender in it, and I ended up with his 91 USA Tele and his 1985 Buick Skyhawk. I had to give him a ride home… (laughing) Anyway, after trying to play his guitar without a bender, I felt like my left hand had been severed. I was a bender player, and it was part of my DNA at this point. So I got in touch with a guy who had my first Tele and offered him more than he paid to get it back. I immediately went to work in my shed and created my first fully functional bender. It's still in my Frankentele (the Squire Tele was aptly renamed because of the ugly bender and bolts sticking out of it). About 10 years later John Bohlinger contacted me to install a Fankentele bender in his Peavey, he didn’t care if it was ugly or not. But I figured ok... this guy is the bandleader for Nashville Star, so I better make it look good on TV. Then he wanted another bender, and another... next thing you know he's go 5 and word is getting around that I'm making B benders.

STEAM How do you decide to put in one or two benders? FLJ Some of my customers want the ability to play both B and G bender licks, so they order a double. I usually ask them if they are doing Brad Paisley's stuff or everybody else's, because Albert Lee, Ricky Skaggs, Jimmy Page, Ronnie Wood, Brent Mason, Clarence White, Bernie Leadon (Eagles and Burrito Bros), Bob Warford (Linda Rondstat)... all B bender guys. Personally, I'm a B bender player; I never use the G bender.

STEAM Where did you come up with

A 17



CONTINUED FROM PG 17 the idea of paisley on a guitar? FLJ The whole paisley thing came from a guy wanting to build me a signature Forrest Lee Guitar, and my main axe was a pink paisley. After the initial meeting we agreed to do a paisley. I'm the one who came up with the paisley designs and we couldn't agree on a fair royalty rate, so we went our separate ways. I made one just for the hell of it and next thing I know, somebody bought it... So I made another... it really started as word of mouth.

record pre-sales for $25 and pre-sales cds are $15. Pre-sales for either vinyl or cd are availa b l e b y c o n t a c t i n g Sales@outwestrecords.comPre sales for either vinyl or cd are available by sending money to **Go to our website to read more of Forrest Lee Jr’s story: **

STEAM Where we can find you and your guitars:

FLJ Most are custom order, but there are a f e w a v a i l a b l e f r o m,, and . We also have a Facebook page so Like us, I need all the friends I can get!

Red Paisley with B-Bender

STEAM Any news on your new album? FLJ Yeah, we are pre-selling the ‘Beer Songs’ record now. All the songs are about Beer. I’m releasing a limited edition vinyl

A 19






CONTINUED ing forward to all those venues. We played a two night stint at BB Kings in New York and it’s always nice to do two shows back to back, especially in the New York Area.


STEAM: How is it working with the new band lineup? AF: I’m excited. It’s my first time touring with Chris Wyse, the bassist from The Cult. I also reunited with my old guitarist Richie Scarlet and old drummer Scot Coogan who have been absent for the past few years. I think it might be the best band lineup I’ve ever assembled. I’m confident that this lineup is doing justice to all the songs on Space Invader as well as works from my earlier catalogs. This is the first lineup I put together with four lead singers as well, definitely a force to be reckoned with live.

STEAM: For years you played a character on stage, hidden behind the makeup. Do you find yourself having to reinvent your onstage persona now with your solo act? AF: I don’t think my persona has changed at all, I’m just not wearing a spaceman suit anymore (laughing). I’m still a character, I’m still funny and I still have that swagger that other people like to copy.

STEAM: What are you finding yourself doing to fill the time in the dressing room pre-show now that you don’t have to put in an hour plus in the makeup chair? AF: You’re right, not having to put on the makeup and costume does give me some free time but I fill that void by getting to the venue an hour or so early to meet and greet with the fans prior to performing. It’s definitely easier than going to through the whole nine yards of the makeup, hair and costume, sometimes it would be a two hour process.

quoted saying you are writing ‘No Regrets 2’. In the wake of Paul Stanley's ‘Face the Music’ book and the fact that in the past few years your old bandmates have taken quite a few shots at you, will you be so nice to them in the second round of the book? AF: I don’t really have an axe to grind and I want it to stand alone as a fun book. The second book isn’t going to be a vendetta book. I have so many funny stories that haven’t been told I could probably write four or five books. It’s really just going to be a continuation from where the first book left off with more stories about touring with Kiss. That’s what I think my fans want.

STEAM: You were recently

ACE FREHLEY (above) Photo by Jayme Thornton




The Jimi Hendrix Left Handed co-wrote the article with Jim Coral Electric Sitar back in 1983. I asked if he knew how to get in touch with Al Brown, a friend of Jimi’s back in New York. Steve said I should instead call Vincent Bell and gave me his phone number.

Continued From Pg 3


was excited to be able to talk to the designer of the Electric Sitar directly about this. He answered the phone right away and asked me to call him “Vinnie”. I proceeded to ask him what he would think if I told him that I was the owner of a left-handed, Coral Electric Sitar? He told then me that I should think about taking the next year off! I had already planned a trip to New York, to visit my friend Dominick. Vinnie said that it would be fine to bring the Sitar with me so he could take a look at it. Dominick and I drove to Tenafly, New Jersey to meet with Vinnie. Our meeting lasted 4 hours as he looked over the Sitar, showed us his hidden laboratory and gave us a history lesson on everything Danelectro. A few weeks later, in the mail, I received a letter of au-

thenticity from Vinnie.

In a November 1998 Vintage Guitar magazine

article, author of the book “Guitars from Neptune” Paul Bechtoldt states that although they could not pinpoint an exact date when the Lefty Sitar was received by Hendrix, they could confirm it was delivered between July 15th and August 8th by a Danelectro sales representative to Hotel Navarro in New York. Jimi Hendrix, played many guitars, but to my knowledge, only two were built specially for him. One was a Guild acoustic 12-string. The other was this left handed Coral Sitar, a very rare find indeed! Rick King is a freelance writer from Gig Harbor WA. This article first appeared in the July-August 2014 issue of Collectible Guitar. Rick King: Joe Riggio: Collectible Guitar Magazine:

Words by Tamma Hicks | Photo Provided by Rip Tones

STEAM How did you come up with the name? RT The Rip Tones are so-named because of the energy

and positive nature of the show. It's also a name which conjures up images of rockabilly and beach bands from "back in the day", who played music of which we are very fond. The name Rip Tones doesn't define our music to a specific genre: leaving us room to learn many styles to fit any venue being played.


Who’s in the band and how did you band together this group of musicians? RT The members of any band should match each other fairly closely. If you're blessed, as we are, sometimes the musician that fits your style, direction, drive, and determination, gracefully appears on your stage and magical moments begin to develop. That's what happened. The Rip Tones' shows are not about the band; they are about the audience. Not only is our music of the utmost importance, but also the entertainment aspect of involving the audience; insuring an experience not to be forgotten. Bass player J.R. Smith is a Kingsville resident, who has played classic rock and country with such bands as the Mickey Summers Trio, Sudden Notice, and Kelly Kenning. Numerous other bands have employed his skills over the years but he is now proudly a Rip Tone. Drummer Deborah Dault has performed 38 years in this area and in several countries. Her talent has graced the stage with the Dynamics, the One's, and the PA Rockers. We believe that she is not only one of the finest female drummers, but one of the finest in Texas. After twelve years in Nashville and four on the Ralph Emery Television Show, front man and guitarist Jef with one 'F' Wilson brings a unique approach to involving the audience in every Rip Tones show. Jef's experience as an entertainer guarantees that your experience in a Rip Tones' audience is a memorable one. His resume includes over 70 published works with original songs recorded by Earl Thomas Conley, Asleep At The Wheel, Hank Williams Jr., George Jones, and Confederate Railroad. Numerous jingles for radio and television, casted in movies such as Country Gold, Living Proof (as piano player), daily cast member on The Country Boy Eddie Show, and performing four years at the Kentucky Derby are a few of his career highlights.


How did you choose which songs fit your


RT Vocals are of prime importance to the Rip Tones. The songs that are performed in our show are strong on dynamics and blend; to be a singer you must be a good

listener first. Our originals are "Rippers", and any song we cover has been a hit. Very few obscure tunes appear on the Rip Tones' play list. Our harmonies are as strong as our music, which to say the least, enhances every song to its fullest.


Tell me about your original songs. What inspires the music you write? RT After twelve years as a singer/songwriter in Nashville, I now find myself the lone songwriter in our band. I learned the methodical and formulaic way to write commercially. But now, after four decades, it's more important for me to write from the heart. People, places, and life experiences inspire me; the love songs over the years have been few and far between and I've got to have some drive and excitement in the music, as I am easily bored and so are American audiences.

STEAM Are you planning on going into a studio or are you already recording? RT The last Rip Tones recording session was held in North Carolina at Suggs Studio, which resulted in the songs "Cherokee Woman", "Hurricane Sal", "Charleston Blues", and "Black Water Love" being mastered. There are plans for a spring session, when we'll record half a dozen more originals, and one song about the Lone Star State that will be on everyone's lips!

STEAM I know you play private parties, who do we contact to book you? RT The Rip Tones band offers music as a duo or a full band. We also offer an amazing Christmas Show filled with music of joy and happiness that you won't want to miss, so book your Christmas show soon and the Rip Tones will bring music, joy, peace, and laughter to your hearts! You can call me at 843-729-1011 or contact us through my website ( and our facebook pages: TheRipTones, DeborahDault, JefWilson, and Jacob3273.

December Shows:

6 Mission RV Park, Mission 13 Dodge City, Victoria 20 Island RV Park, Port Aransas 26 Pumphouse, Victoria




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