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Howdy from Minnesota

13 Posts
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Posts: 90
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Hi all, lurked a bit and decided to register, so here's me:

I've been playing guitar for 25 years and piano for 34. I am 38 right now so started young. I was mad at my folks when they still made me go to piano lessons when I was 8 because I thought I knew it all at 7 but am really thankful in retrospect . At 12 or 13 I played my big bro's Pan SG copy (which I wasn't allowed to touch) and figured out a little from what I knew about music from piano and trying to play along with what I liked at the time (Husker Du REM and the 'Mats come to mind). I finally got a tele copy of unknown origin and took 1 lesson at Schmitt music. The guy said I was doing it wrong (My fingers are super long and I like to hook my thumb over the top and often fret with it) so i quit lessons but kept on playing and teaching myself (some moments of "eureka" could fill whole other threads).

I played keys and rhythm gtr in a couple of bands and then started a 3 piece sans keys, playing kind of mix of country and punk rock, no covers (except obscure or totally inappropriate). The bass player and I switched off on instruments and sang and wrote together. I never thought much about what gear I was using, as long as my guitar, amp and pedal could do clean and distorted OK. I used an Am Std tele w/hot rails bridge pup and a silver-face twin with a DS-1 mostly. We went on to some modest success for a few years, toured the middle third of the US a couple of times in an old POS Suburban til it died in Missoula, shopped a demo around with some interest and then we just kind of imploded. Lots of alcohol (pretty much me and the bass player/other singer/cowriter) and some personal problems played no small part in that.

I proceeded to almost destroy my pancreas (it's fine now, thanks) and decide what I was going to do with no degree and no money. My dad's manufacturing business was circling the drain so I went there to see if I could help and I helped out by driving a forklift around while I got a business degree at night (for what it's worth, I think degrees are a bunch of crap) and moved into trying to manage the business back into the black. Now I'm co-CEOing with my bro and things are going ok. Still playing one instrument or another every day, even if it means I'll be really tired the next day.

Enough about me then. Is this too long?

Now I own 23 electrics, 4 acoustics, 4 basses, a banjo, a mandolin, couple of keyboards and synth modules and a Gretsch drum kit. I've only ever sold one guitar and it was because the guy who wanted it would not let me be (a Gibby L6-S which I didn't like much anyway).

My favorite guitar is my '74-76 SG special with mini's (I don't know the year and the folks at and old Gibson ads narrowed it down to this).

My fave for playing at home is an 80's Jap Tokai SG with a Bigsby-copy trem through a Tech 21 Trademark 10.

Live, it's either the Tokai or a 1999 LP Studio or a Reverend Slingshot (all with bigsbys except the tokai copy) through a Savage Macht 12.

I use a lot of effects but often bypass them all w/a Radial A/B and a kit-made loop switcher:
Pigtronix EP1, Klon Centaur, Nobels ODR-1, Keely Seeing eye ultra DS-1, Boss DD-6, ZVEX lofi loop junky, ZVEX super hard on (2 of em), ZVEX fuzz factory, ZVEX seek wah, ProCo Rat, Catalinbread teaser/stallion, Janglebox, Carl Martin Chorus, MXR phase 90, Dallas-Arbiter fuzz-face (a real one!), MXR black box, Morley wah, MXR dynacomp, EH Holy grail, EH Microsynth, EH small stone, EH small clone, some others can't remember! Obviously not all together but I string em up with George L's on a pedaltrain board as needed...

I play with some pals that are in other bands when they can and have done short stints with several bands when they need a quick learner to step in for every reason under the sun.

I also play bass often and my fave is a DeArmond Guild Starfire Reissue w/ dark star pups and flatwounds that I bought from Fred Hammon (the guys who makes Dark Stars). Play it through a Phil Jones Suitcase which is incredible in my opinion.

If I had to name a hero/influence I'd say Nels Cline.

I love looking through these threads (newsgroups get a little er, frustrating). Thanks to all of y'all for the threads I've read, I will read, and responses to any questions I might bring!

Sorry so long and all the parentheses!


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Posted : 09/05/2008 4:40 am
Posts: 156
Estimable Member

Greetings from another resident of the great frozen north (Stillwater, MN area).

What band were you in that "went on to some modest success"?

Posted : 09/05/2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 4338
Famed Member

Welcome to Guitar Noise, Jick! We look forward to seeing you around the forums! :D

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"

Posted : 09/05/2008 1:41 pm
Posts: 2801
Famed Member

Welcome to us Jick!


“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)

Posted : 09/05/2008 2:09 pm
Posts: 1106
Noble Member

Nice resume... you should have much to contribute to our forum. Welcome!

Posted : 09/05/2008 3:25 pm
Posts: 726
Prominent Member

Welcome aboard! :)

Posted : 09/05/2008 5:30 pm
Posts: 90
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Thanks everyone, I hope to participate as much I can!

Geez, how do you all wake up so early?
:D Guess I'm just a night owl...

Cringe: We were called Big Backyard (I think there is now another band in Chicago with the same name). By modest success I guess I just meant we had a small but loyal audience. We made three studio demo cassettes :lol: that made their way into some pretty far-flung places. Honestly, I didn't like them much and don't even have copies but a friend in Seattle has copies of them and keeps telling me he's sending a CD of them to me. This was pretty much pre-internet but we had a mailing list for awhile that was around 500 people from all over, even a couple of people in Spain! We had an offer from TVT to make a record when it all kinda fell apart, so we were at least that successful. We would usually be able to have decent cash in our pockets (score 1 point for 3-piece bands!) after 2-3 weeks in that godawful truck and managed to sleep in cheap motels when we didn't know or meet someone in whatever town had a couch or floor. For the first couple of years we only played in Mpls at the Entry, First Ave, Uptown, Cabooze, 400 bar and some local events like Cedarfest and Grand Old Day, that kind of thing. When we started getting out of town it was usually Madison -->Chicago -->KC -->Austin -->OKC -->Ames -->Mankato-->home with shows in between cities that I can't remember 15 years later. For some reason we played at the exit/in(?) in Nashville once and drove straight back all night and morning, no pay, no sleep, no beer (no audience either)! We got to play in New Orleans once to open for (I'm almost positive) the Monks of Doom which was great. We played in Missoula, MT many times because of friends/family there and once in Boise for the same reason. We employed the help of an awesome guy named Brian Swanson at Hello! booking that made it possible to book an itinerary of sorts so that there was a paying show every night we were gone for 2-3 weeks and when possible he would book opening slots before crowd-drawing bands which was great.

Someone (who I don't know) posted some youtube vids of a Big Backyard show at the 400 Bar in Mpls from 1993. Please forgive me, I think the sound is from the video camera but it's probably best that way when I hear how we played!. Go to youtube and search "big backyard 400 bar" and they're easy to find. It's funny, I went and looked and I guess it's not that bad, but it stirred two emotions in me: First, confusion. I don't remember writing (or playing) several of those songs. We very often wrote songs on a thursday and played them on a friday, then never again! Our very first show we ever played was at the old 400 and we thought there were two bands but nope, just us, so I started by saying into the scary microphone, "Hi, we know 38 songs. Here's the first one..." We ended up having to play the first songs over again because 9:30-1 is a looong time to fill up especially when we were playing our songs about twice as fast as they should've been. The other emotion stirred from those vids was GOT DANGIT I WISH I WAS 23 AGAIN!!!!!(there are a few things I would have done differently:idea:)

I'm truly sorry for my long-windedness, brevity has never been my long suit...I'll try to post on the shorter side going forward.

Thanks everyone for making me feel welcome!


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Posted : 10/05/2008 2:57 am
Posts: 90
Estimable Member
Topic starter

doy, forget that comment about the waking up early. When I first looked all the times were 3 hrs earlier! Honestly I get to work at 8am! Honest!

Also, Cringe:

Do you know Jason K(famous radio last name)?

He is doing some recording and mixing for a friend of mine in Stillwater as we speak!

Prince of Brevity

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Posted : 10/05/2008 3:05 am
Posts: 4113
Famed Member

Welcome to GN!


Posted : 10/05/2008 8:15 am
Posts: 156
Estimable Member

I remember Hearing of Big Backyard but I never saw them/you. You sounded really good.

I don't know who Jason K is.

I had some friends that had about the same amount of success in the mid to late 80s in a band called The Weables. They Played at the Uptown, First Ave, 7th Street Entry, 400, Cabooze etc and other gigs in srrounding states. You can hear them at The recordings aren't the best.

I'm working on starting a band with the singer and drummer (now guitar player) from that band. SInce the drummer is playing guitar we are still looking for a drummer. If you're brave you can listen to what we've been up to at or

Posted : 10/05/2008 5:44 pm
Posts: 10264
Illustrious Member

Welcome to GN, Jick! Lot of experience there, and a lot of guitars too!

Only ever passed through Minnesota once - I don't have fond memories, but then again, all I ever saw was the inside of Minneapolis Airport. A thorough grilling from the Airport Gestapo didn't improve our moods much after a 10-hour non-smoking flight from London, which made us miss our connecting flight, and on the way back we were delayed for 12 hours so Minneapolis Airport is NOT my favourite place in the world!

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

Posted : 16/05/2008 12:02 am
Posts: 90
Estimable Member
Topic starter


ha ha, MSP is our pride and joy (but now Delta bought NWA so now it'll suck even more) and the godawful mall of america.

Sorry to hear about your experience, it's much better outside the airport (although the smoking nazis have made going out less fun).

We got beautiful lakes, farms, cities. I kind of like that we are considered flyover land. We have bad weather and cold winters but I like the snow and love the changing seasons. I think we have pretty much all climates covered at one time of the year or another. Cold, Arctic-like winters, beautiful and invigorating springtimes, Hot, humid Texas hill country summers and the most awesomest autumns that I've ever experienced. My ex lives in SoCal, and she can't stop talking about how she misses the seasons!

I don't know if you travel a lot, but most airports in the US suck pretty bad for travelers these days. That's why I drive everywhere when possible. The only people who bother me that way are mostly state HP or sheriffs, and they're usually pretty cool and just want to tell you to slow down or see if you're drunk.


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Posted : 19/05/2008 6:12 am
Posts: 157
Estimable Member

hey man, welcome to the site. Real jealous of your collection. One day when i have more than minus something dollars to my name i hope i can have a similar assortment of gear.

Don't sweat it dude, just play!

Posted : 19/05/2008 4:41 pm