My head is still wrapped around all those 1020 cities I remembered on Facebook’s “cities I’ve visited.” I looked at the list again today and thought I’d write down a story or three. My travels for two decades involved some artist relations work. That means not only did I need to bring my products to the public eye in music stores all over the west coast, but I needed to get important players to endorse them.
Two of the musical products were already recognized as “professional players” equipment. The guitar line, Alvarez, had never been distributed on the west coast but was popular with a lot of Nashville players. The Bass amplifier, Ampeg, had a worldwide following but had been revived from bankruptcy by an Asian company who proceeded to ruin the name with shoddy manufacturing. The company I represented, St. Louis Music, purchased Ampeg in 1985 and brought the manufacturing back to the USA (unfortunately the same thing has again happened to Ampeg since another company bought the name in 2007 and has now shipped it to Asian manufacturing…the word on the street isn’t good).
Ampeg has always been a favorite with bass players, especially rock and roll bass players. When the “old” sound of Ampeg was once again reborn in St. Louis, I had bands lining up to endorse and play through Ampeg Bass damps. Part of the endorsement deal would be our guarantee to have the equipment they choose to use on stage to be warehoused in Europe, Asia and California for usage when the bands toured. Bass amps weigh a ton and are fragile, so shipping them across the pond was not an option for bands. In return the artist would allow posters and ads to be displayed plus agree to do some in-store promotions in the local music stores where the band would be touring.
Contrary to what most people probably think, most of the big-haired metal gods of the 80s and the rockers of the 90s were sweethearts to deal with. I mean gentlemen. Some were not. Some were really bad guys.
I choose to forget the stories of the bad guys, even though that’s the stories most of my friends want to hear. There are two reasons for not talking about those “bad” guys. 1) I don’t want to give them any kind of publicity. 2) There is an unspoken “code” that existed between two parties signing a legal endorsement document…well maybe there wasn’t, but they know where I live.
Tomorrow I want to relive a “night” with one of the sweethearts, Michael Anthony, when we visited the city of North Hollywood.