The View from Here


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed a recurring pattern: I attend some interesting event and promise to report on it, only to get subverted by work, crowds, jabbering with old acquaintances, and jetlag. True to form, I’ve spend the first two days either demoing TriplePlay, or staggering to the coffee bar. Yesterday I spent hours staring at these Guitar Grip guitar hangers, which are mounted on the wall right next to the spot where I’m playing. They remind me of the human-hand candelabras from Jean Cocteau’s La belle et la bête.

It’s been fun playing for so many hours, though I’m still not very good at the MIDI guitar/drums thing. I was having a fairly disastrous moment when John McLaughlin came by. Isn’t that always how it is? You’re having an off day, and then you look up and see that frickin’ McLaughlin. Is it just me, or does everyone hate that? :shake:

This is my first time here, but the old hands tell me that the show is relatively dead, and that a lot of manufacturers have either already given up on Messe, or are planning to next year. We’ll see what transpires tomorrow afternoon and Saturday, when the show opens to the public. (So far, it’s industry-only.) And I really will try to scope out some gear!


Stay classy, Marshall!

Now we're talking —  refrigerators!

Now we’re talking — refrigerators!

16 comments to The View from Here

  • Digital Larry

    Those hands coming out of the wall remind me of the hallway scene in Polanski’s “Repulsion”! Gahhhhhhh!!!! Must get a couple for the ukulele collection.

  • Bear

    Man, I know. John McLaughlin did not stop with that stuff around me until the restraining order. It sounds like a hassle, but trust me — it’s totally worth it.

  • Geez, I hear you. On the last little tour I did I went out all modern-multi-equipped (by computer illiterate blues-guy standards. Hell, some of my buddies don’t know what a blog is) and achieved almost nothing. If anything I end up playing non-stop for a week and chatting about music a lot, and at those times the impetus to write about it is pretty much nil. No thanks, too bust having fun at the moment.
    As for the McLaughlin thing, I think someone should market blinders to us, like the one they use to keep horses calm in urban environments. Having Paul Pigat (Cousin Harley, Gretsch pitchman) staring at me all night as I played through a cabinet he sold me was pretty unnerving this last Friday. Festivals are always exceptionally unsettling in that regard; you never know which one of your heroes is listening…

  • joe

    You guys cracked me up and made me spit Wiezenbier all over my Handkäse.

    • smgear

      Just invite John out for a couple pints of Ayinger and all will be forgotten. I don’t drink beer, unless I’m in Germany or Austria. Mmmm. time for a trip.

  • Oinkus

    My guitars are for my hands only! Those are kind of creepy ! We built a Marshall fridge back in the 70s with pieces of some cast off garbage at The Animal House. Road had potholes big enough to swallow a truck , electricity came through a 300′ long extension cord. The P.A. head sat on top of it and it gave off this wonderful hummmm. And now back to whatever we were actually talking about?

  • Sem

    I’ve attended previous Musikmesse in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and since 2010 it’s constantly decreasing in size. I’ve read that this year it’s even worst… About 20% smaller ! I hope this crisis time is soon over…

  • Digital Larry

    Darnit! Guitar Grips doesn’t have ukulele size, harumph! They do have ladieses hands, maybe the thought of a disembodied child’s hand is too weird? How about a 4-fingered Alien hand? Oooh! Startup idea! Off to talk to the VCs!

  • Marshall’s use of the woman’s outline in their logo does suggest that they endorse an objectifying view of women. On the other hand, her posture suggests a negative opinion of Marshall as well. In short, nobody wins that one.

    • joe

      LOL — I hadn’t thought of it that way.

      Hey, I’m no prude — I’m a San Francisco pervert! But Mom raised me to be a good feminist, and she was also my first guitar teacher. I had other crucial female teachers and music profs, and I’ve been lucky to work with seriously great players like Polly Harvey and Tracy Chapman. Yet from editing Guitar Player to writing this blog, I’ve been painfully aware of what a sausage party we’re throwing here.

      As a non-parent, I’m no expert, but it seems fairly obvious that there are many forces acting to undermine the confidence of girls and young women, and we don’t need to lob additional ones from our supposedly “cool” music field.

      One remedy: Organizations like San Francisco’s Women’s Audio Mission (, a non-profit dedicated to promoting women in music production and the recording arts. My wife and I are enthusiastic supporters, and we donate much of our used music gear. They’re great folks doing great work. Also encouraging is the explosion of rock summer camps for girls. Several friends are counselors/teachers, and I’ve heard so many cool stories about how they encourage girls to embrace their creativity and, well, rock out.

      • Big ol’ +1 on that, brother! If I never see another Dean advert it’ll be too soon.
        I’ve made a point of having women in my bands over the years, if only to temper the ‘bro-show’ tendencies of most bands; honestly, it civilizes the discourse to a great degree.
        Pretty disappointed with Marshall, but not the least bit surprised…

        • joe

          It’s weird. In the last few years, I’ve worked as much in the high-tech realm as in the music biz, and the casual misogyny and sexism you encounter in the latter would be UNTHINKABLE in the former.

          • Maybe one day there’ll be enough of us wanting to see the back of this ‘seventies rocker dude’ paradigm, and enough integrated bands to render this line of thinking unhip, but I’m not holding my breath. Especially when manufacturers want to get their products into sweaty teenage boy-hands, and have no qualms about marketing to the lowest common denominator.
            Where’s Sly and the Family Stone when we need ’em?

      • Yeah, it’s disheartening–I think of friends, great, *great* musicians, composers, and engineers, who have to battle career-impedence because they’re women. The Women’s Audio Mission seems awesome.

        I just kind of found the alternative reading of that Marshall logo amusing–they thought they were going for bad-boy, and got, um…critiqued.

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