Before the Concert begins MC Howard Kramer(R&R HOF Curatorial
Director) introduces Duane Eddy and his Musicians. Duane and
Howard chat and Duane tells about his boyhood days back in
New York and Arizona, his early musical influences and background
leading up to his fascinating career. At one point in the conversation
Duane fingerpicks "Wildwood Flower". He recalls Mother Maybelle
Carter and Chet Atkins and other musicians. Duane introduces
Mike McGuire(Gibson Guitar Custom Shop Director). Mike has built
the Brandnew Gibson Duane Eddy Signature Model Guitar. The
guitar has 2 DeArmond styled pickups produced by Seymour Duncan
and a Bigsby Vibrato. It has different fret markers than any
guitar I've ever seen. They are block markers with tops shaped
just like the traditional Gibson Peghead. The new guitar has a
3rd pickup!--it's hidden in the bridge and is activated by pulling
one of the guitar knobs into the up position. Duane has 3 of
his new Signature Model Guitars on stage. Mike Mcguire tells
me after the concert that the guitars will be available to the public
later this year, "Around Christmas time" he says. Price will be,
"4 to 5000 dollars".
******THE MUSIC PERFORMED TONIGHT:******
- Duane switches to Danelectro 6 String Bass. -
- Duane switches back to his Gibson Signature Model Guitar. -
By request from the audience Duane plays several measures of "Desert Rat" which was a very popular recording here in Cleveland due to repeating playing of the tune on the local popular TV program Ghoulardi whose character was created by Clevelander Ernie Anderson. Anderson later left Cleveland for Hollywood and was seen sometimes in commercials and ocasionally popped up in skits on The Carol Burnett Show. Anderson was friends with Tim Conway a regular player on the TV Show. Conway is from Chagrin Falls, Ohio and was also on Cleveland TV earlier in his career. Anderson finds his niche in the world of voiceovers and is heard nationwide with his, "Attention K-Mart shoppers....." Duane tells us he's heard that flipside " Desert Rat" had outpaced the A side Boss Guitar here. Norm N. Nite the famous DJ is in the audience and comments to Duane who mistakes Norm N. Nite for some connection to The Ghoulardi Show. Duane asked, "Was That your show?" but Norm would not take credit for Ghoulardi! Duane tells the audience though that he does know of Ernie.
Howard Kramer of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was the Master of Ceremonies and he handled the duty with great skill. He had researched his subject very thoroughly as he had expert knowledge about Duane's career. Duane came across as being very much at ease as Howard placed questions to him. No problem hearing the two men as they both spoke with great clarity into their respective microphones. Between each musical performance Duane told his audience the stories behind the hits---He's had so many hits that he could have done a second show!! There were 3 new Gibson Duane Eddy Signature guitars on stage. The Gibson nearest his chair had a strap with Duane Eddy emblazoned on it. I figured that would probably be his main guitar. It was! One guitar was not in standard tuning. Instead of tuning the strings from low E to high E it was tuned from F to F. Duane used this guitar on "Peter Gunn". He explained it was easier for Dennis Soli to play saxophone in the key of F rather than E but easier for himself to play the repetive "Peter Gunn" figure in E (Yes indeed!) so he adjusted the guitar that way so that when he appeared to be playing in E it was really F! I was surprised by this. I thought he would just capo the first fret. My brother Grant played saxophone in High School. He's a really fine guitarist too. He reasoned years ago that on the recording the guitar was tuned up to F but we both thought it was done using a capo. Howard Kramer, besides presiding as MC also acted as Duane's extra hands by exchanging instruments with Duane throughout the concert.
Duane played his Danelectro 6 string bass on "Because They're Young" and "Blueberry Hill". Duane said, "When I saw this in the store I couldn't resist. I saw that I could play even lower notes!" I was in the front row--right in front of Duane! I couldn't help himself. After "Because They're Young" I asked him if this was the same guitar from all those years ago. He answered to me and the audience, "It's the same guitar but I've added something to it." What he added is a vibrato which I recognized as exactly the very same style as those made popular on Fender Jazzmasters, Jaguars and the Bass VI. At this point I want to thank my friend and bandmate Don Ressler. Don works on and off the air at WELW AM 1330 "Oldies Radio" Willoughby, Ohio. Don brought me as his guest and as a result I had a front row seat! I'd already bought a ticket as I was worried that the show could sell out. (It did! The auditorium seated 150 I'm told.) I bought ticket #46 but didn't use it as I got in on a special pass but I will keep the unused ticket in my memories book.
I could see a few recognizable faces in the audience. My brother Grant was seated halfway up the auditorium next to longtime friends John Ramski and Bob Kenney. Al Globokar, a fine guitarist, sat right behind Don and myself. Tom Stanger sat next to me and next to him were Dennis Chandler and his wife Liz. Grant of course plays in our group The Pickniks. John engineered the instrumentals on our CD and he also is playing the drums on one of the tunes. Bob Kenney is our stage Manager and sits in with the group on guitar. Tom Stanger is a fine guitarist and a DJ. In July of last year Tom and I put together a 1 hour Duane Eddy Special for his radio program on WAPS, Akron, Ohio. Al engineered all the vocal tracks on our CD and Dennis Chandler is a well known local musician who is a member of the "Cleveland Legends of Rock and Roll." Also present was Chris McDonnell who played drums with our group The Party Lights back in 1980 and Underground Fire Member Chris Celebrezze of Strongsville, Ohio was in attendance and we were able to chat together briefly after the concert.
During the concert Duane had a bit of trouble with his Rivera Amplifier. Every once in a while the amp emitted a high pitched shrill sound. Sounded to me as if a preamp tube was coming to the end of its lifetime. Duane said, "The amp doesn't travel well..at least this time." Dennis Soli the saxophone/flute man obviously knows something about guitar amps. He walked over and cured Duane's amp several times. How?----- He used the Fonzie method! Wham! A well placed smack and then all was well again for a while. The audience had a good laugh about it! Duane and his guys didn't let this amp upset them. They just grinned and went on with the show! Duane's new Gibson Signature Model guitars are single cutaway archtop guitars that are shaped just like his previous Gretsch and Guild Signature Model guitars. The finishes are Brown. Regarding the thickness of the new instruments---my own impression is that the new instrument is thicker than the Guild and thinner than the Gretsch. Duane has stuffed his main guitar with dacron and covered this with black paper. This was visible from the audience and the question was raised by an audience member who asked, "If there was some sort of baffle in your guitar?" Duane explained that he did this himself to eliminate feedback problems that are inherent with amplified hollowbodied guitars and that he undertook the same procedure with his Gretschs and Guild. Mike McGuire of Gibson Guitars added that the new guitars when bought by the public, "Would be unbaffled." Audience laughed at his comical remark!
After the show was over I had the privilege to meet Duane Eddy for the very first time. I've bought his recordings for 40 years. The 1st album I ever bought was the Chantay's "Pipeline", 2nd was Duane Eddy's "Have Twangy Guitar Will Travel" and 3rd was The Ventures album "Walk: Don't Run!" I was trying to learn to play guitar back then and those 3 albums were a real training manual in how to go about it! I introduced myself as "Jeff Green, the guy that had the "Apache" dream." He laughed and shook my hand and I know that he recalled that incident. (A few months ago I dreamed I came up from the front row of the audience at a 60s Duane Eddy Concert. After a tune ended Duane's drummer switched to a steel guitar and Duane asked for a volunteer to come up and play drums on the next tune, "Apache". I volunteered! Duane looked about 25 years old and he had a butch haircut! We played the whole tune and I remember sitting behind him and the group and there I was pounding away! It seemed so real! I chalk it all up to what we had for dinner that night--both beef and pork ribs! I wrote all about this on the Duane Eddy Tribute Pages and a fan forwarded the story to Duane and then Duane sent back an amusing reply!)
I asked Duane if he would please autograph my 1963 Guild Duane Eddy DE-400 and he thoughtfully asked me where I'd like him to sign it and I specified on the backside upper bout so that when I play this guitar I won't wear his autograph off. I had a gold paint pen with me for just this very purpose and so Duane Eddy signed and felt very sorry when the paint ran a bit. He said, "I'm sorry, the paint ran." I said, "That's O.K." Duane said, "No it's not, but maybe you can fix it later." He signed a very nice legible signature for me and yes! I did fix it! I have some special polish that removed the paint blob but left the guitar finish in perfect shape. He'd made nice flowing lines so that I could remove the extra paint and leave his name intact. You can't tell that I removed anything! Duane was so friendly and cheerful! I was blessed with a brief moment for us to chat because it was all very busy right then and still he shared some of his time with me for which I am very grateful. My brother Grant and our friends John and Bob had a few minutes to speak with the drummer Steve Turner. He's a Nashville session musician and he told the guys that his main influence while he growing up and learning to play drums was The Ventures Mel Taylor! Dave Pomeroy told Grant, John and Bob that he brought Gibson basses to this concert because he knew it was, "Going to be a Gibson night!" Grant asked how many basses do you have? Dave told the guys, "40". Dave is also a Nashville session musician and I saw his picture on the cover of a recent "Bassics Magazine" Issue. Dave wrote the tune, "The Day The Bass Players Took Over The World" which was recorded by Chet Atkins under the title "The Day Fingerpickers Took Over The World".
Don Ressler had Duane record a message for the radio station: "This is Duane Eddy and you're listening to WELW Oldies Radio." Earlier in the day Don had arranged to have a morning interview live on the air with WELW radio. It was a really enjoyable phone-in interview and Duane remembered meeting interviewer Ravenna Micelli a few years ago and was looking forward to renewing their aquaintance. Before the interview Ravenna played "40 Miles Of Bad Road" and then interviewed Duane for about 5 minutes afterwards. The concert was superb! Everybody loved Duane and his music! Mike McGuire of Gibson Guitars says he wanted build a Duane Eddy Signature Model guitar for at least the last 20 years.(Mike used to own Valley Arts Guitars-same folks that restored Duane's Guild back in the 80s) Mike pointed out to the audience that the trussrod cover on the new Gibson Duane Eddy Signature Model reads, "King Of Twang!"
Jeff Green - The Pickniks - Cleveland, Ohio