2001-2004-Trade Shows, Stars & foreign Countries
Fairs, fairs, fairs ...
Every damn year at least two of them. It is annoying, costs a lot of time, a lot of money, and the real financial success is hard to estimate. But being present is important.
Anyway, L.A., Anaheim is definitely nice in January. It is best to book a direct flight from Germany to Los Angeles, because stopovers in the USA almost always end in chaos: Connecting flights missed, flight cancelled or whatever else. Arriving at LAX-Airport, you first have to go through the immigration formalities, which regularly causes long queues in front of the check-in counters. This takes at least an hour. Finally outside, the first cigarette, then into a shuttle bus to the car rental, (where hopefully you have already reserved a car from home). From now on everything goes relatively fast. You grab a street map (navigation systems were not available back then) and take Freeway 105 east, then 405 south, a few more miles on 22 and you're in Anaheim, where Disneyland is located directly across from the exhibition center. And that's exactly the good thing about the NAMM show: the infrastructure. The hotels and motels are in the immediate vicinity.
After a hearty breakfast in one of the abundant eating places you can go to the fair on foot and without stress. As an exhibitor one comes fast without lining up by the rear entrance inside, where one must show his badge and his identity card. But that's it then.
Here is a breakfast in Tiffy's Restaurant including the totally typical American receptionist we were fascinated by for many years.
In January is usually quite good weather, in any case over 20 degrees. In addition, the Americans control the volume in the halls much better than is the case in Frankfurt. So the whole daily routine is much more relaxed. And the evenings are also more pleasant than in Frankfurt's hectic pace. They start at 6 p.m., because that's when the sun has set, and you step out of the exhibition hall into the darkness. A short visit to the Alamo Inn - our regular hotel for decades. A two-story, typically American motel from the 1950s with a huge courtyard as a parking lot. Apart from the NAMM, most of the guests are visitors to Disneyland directly across the street, separated by the palm-planted Katella Avenue.
Around 7 p.m. you get into your rental car and drive to dinner. In L.A. you can eat really good Japanese (great tuna, raw scallops and creative sushi compositions). Only the oysters offered here are rather second rate because they are grown in brackish water, so no salt and little taste, so the Japanese add some spicy ingredients. And the supply of fresh fish is - because it is directly at the Pacific Ocean - not from bad parents. Tuna, Yellow Fin, Mahi Mahi etc.
However, good food is not possible in the immediate vicinity of the fair. Here the motto is rather: a lot and cheap (which is clearly owed to the Disneyland visitors). And especially in the evenings I prefer not to have to see those short, fat parent couples with their brats, who mostly wear Mickey Mouse caps on their heads. These people in crowds - that's almost as bad as the sceneries at the Munich Oktoberfest.
So we mostly drove on Harbour Boulevard towards Fullerton, where you can easily find Japanese restaurants on the left and right along the road. Alternatively, take Katella Avenue to the west, where you will find a restaurant called Kings Fish on your left after about five miles (it's worth the trip!). Of course you can also drive to the sea, e.g. to Newport Beach or to the Balboa Island peninsula. You can reach it either directly from Highway 1 or, if you like it romantic, a little further south by car ferry. Directly at the ferry pier of the Balboa Island Ferry, which crosses an about 100 meter wide arm of the river, there is a really nice restaurant called Newport Landing Oyster Bar, where one Sunday afternoon even a black trio celebrated bluesy jazz for general entertainment. More flair is not possible ...
2002-The German joint booth
We had rented a small space in the subsidized German exhibitor booth. It was inexpensive, and the infrastructure in terms of "drinks etc." was also well organized. Unfortunately, however, this block of about 16 exhibitors was positioned at the end of the very last hall. Very bad location, because only a few fair visitors went to this remote corner. As an eye-catcher we had a big TV screen on which a video with photos of our various Duesenberg users was running all day long. Background music: Midnight Rambler by the Stones, a concert recording with Ron Wood playing a really strong solo on our Pearl guitar. Ingo can't listen to it anymore after four days of continuous playing at the booth, but I'm still digging it ;-)
Promo-Video part 1
Promo-Video part 2
Promo-Video part 3
So we stood there a little bit on lost ground; and this with our Ron Wood guitar, which demanded respect from at least some visitors.
The Frankfurt fair was really huge at that time, because there were several halls for discotheque equipment, lighting, studio equipment etc. All of them areas that were practically never covered by NAMM. And in March or April: bad weather was part of the daily program. In addition, long journeys from the accommodation, then a kilometer walk from the parking garage to the booth and the continuous infernal noise in the halls. I am glad that we exhibited there for the last time in 2013. Today this trade fair as such is practically non-existent. All important companies and also the guitar makers are flying to Los Angeles for the NAMM.
Ingo immediately got down to business and soon engaged Mr. Olly Blunck as representative for the northern half of our republic, important things I would never have been able to finish that way. Olly is still doing this today.
Martin HuchI have known Martin for ages. A gifted lap and pedalsteel guitarist and a super friendly, good person. On top of that with a sense for my sometimes vicious humor (and still a man of good taste). Martin played in Heinz-Rudolf Kunze's band for a long time, and has played in Fury In The Slaughterhouse and also with Carlton Carl. Besides his technical mind, he is an excellent photographer and especially a master of photomontage by computer. Over the years, he has taken hundreds of photos for us, like guitars and basses in front of wacky, surrealistic backgrounds, photos of musicians at all kinds of concerts, as well as lap-steel designs and other suggestions in terms of "form and graphics".
Years before, Martin had developed the so-called "Thunderlog", four lapsteel guitars of different tunings, scales and pickups, arranged on a rotating axis like a revolver drum, all mounted on a solid stand for upright operation, ingenious! In addition, from 2006 on he was our constant companion at the Namm show in Los Angeles, where he took impressive photos, especially of Johnnie Depp and many other top stars.
We hadn't seen each other for a long time, but got in touch again when he bought a guitar from us. And there our common enthusiasm for Chris Whitley turned out. Whitley was playing the opening act for Stoppok, whose manager was Ute-Elke Schneider. Via this wire I then hired Chris for my birthday party.
The ads designed by Martin can be viewed here under "Publications" >> "Duesenberg" >> "Ads & Artworks Martin Huch"! And look at his montages of our instruments in the bizarre ambience of the Joshua Tree National Park under "Publications" >> "Duesenberg" >> "Martin Huch-Joshua Tree"! This site has its special features not only because of these gnarled, holly like trees but especially because of Gram Parsons, who is considered one of the most important men in "country music". He was involved with the Stones in the south of France on the fantastic album Exile On Mainstreet, but unfortunately became more and more addicted to alcohol and heroin and finally got the golden shot in room 8 in this small pension in Joshua Tree Park. Wikipedia and my notes here in 2009 recommended!
It should be noted that the one who invented the B-Bender with Clarence White was not Gram but a Gene Parsons.
Juni 2002 – my 50th birthdayBig party in the house of Duesenberg, Chris Whitley as special guest:! Meiomei, "Big Sky Country" is for me one of the most important musical works of all. Especially on Formentera, I played this song in the Casa of Thomas Stratmann for a few nights on permanent repeat.
Chris had moved to Europe, his daughter was in Amsterdam and he was in Dresden with his new German girlfriend. At that time, we all knew nothing about his state of health. Chris Whitley was the absolute discovery for me, for Ingo and especially for Martin Huch and we assured him of a correct fee for this evening and all the support he needed. He toured Europe and always played alone, one man show with his Dobro, and the audience was always electrified. This man had it easy, a charisma that captivated everyone.
Have some videos of him at my party on Youtube that are worth seeing.Big Sky Country - Chris Whitley.mp4:
Poison Girl - Chris Whitley:
Life Boat - Chris Whitley:
Living with the Law - Chris Whitley:
Meanwhile, I was musically very active with my "Duesenberg" band, plenty of concerts in the Hannover area. We had a very nice concert at the so called "Lister-Meile-Fest", where during our song "After Dark" a small brawl between two vagrants took place in front of the stage. One of them, a toothless, frail old man, attacked a younger, rather rocker-like styled guy, who, while dancing, merely avoided the helpless blows of the aggressive old man and made fun of him. We had kindly filmed the concert. The video is on Youtube and has reached almost 4,500 clicks to date. See: https://youtu.be/_ddmsZsnKdw
Shortly afterwards we recorded our CD "Morrison & More". My old Formentera friend Miro plays some nice saxophone solos. Various songs can be heard here under "Audio".
We also launched the DSP Starplayer Solidbody as our most affordable guitar, a kind of scaled-down TV with a maple top, screw neck and two humbuckers, with the new "crunchbucker" at the bridge. The next year, after all, was voted "Guitar Of The Year" in England.
New Duesenberg users were also added: John Platania, this very discreet musician, who plays the guitar on the m.M. after best Van Morrison double album, namely "It's Too Late To Stop Now". And in addition the venerable Robby McIntosh, who got a DCC through Carl.
There was a lot of work for our company. As a result, Ingo brought his former colleague Daniel Frantz to join us. This was a good move, as Daniel is super reliable and still with us today! A little later another former colleague named Ted Otto also joined us, who carefully managed the incoming goods department and later future trainees.
For more than a decade, a small vintage guitar fair was held every May in the idyllic northern Italian town of Soave. All this in the beautiful, medieval ambience of the centuries-old mayor's office.
Our Dixie Kidd was present as always, as well as Seniore Davoli as our Italian importer. In the middle Rick Harrison, former owner of the HIWATT brand of amps. Musicians like Albert Lee, Jerry Donahue, Johnny Highland, Larry Coryell and many more played there as "special guests.".
A guy from Nice told me that now Brian Ray, guitarist in the Paul McCartney band, also had a Starplayer. There was a restaurant which offered various dishes made of horse meat in addition to the good drinkable Soave wine. This is a great meat, as steak is better than beef!
Unfortunately, this show has not been held since 2015, which is a pity. The really nice things are not coming back!
In August this wonderful email, namely in English and at the same time in German, was translated by Google, by ZZ-TOP or "ZZ-upper part" regarding Mr. "Invoice F. Gibbons":
Billy Gibbons is a really funny guy, intelligent and humorous. He also had the idea for our later "Senior" model and even drew us a little sketch.And Dusty Hill is also a rogue!
The time seemed ripe for us to release a "Fender style" model. Time for the "V-Caster"! But we didn't want to follow in Fender's footsteps so closely and I preferred to place authentically wound single-coil coils with Alnico bar magnets in our humbucker frames. They fit in there without any problems and even the bridge pickup was placed diagonally into the pickguard like Fender's. The tone pot was inactive in the middle position and turned clockwise added the middle pickup and lowered the treble in the other direction.
All well thought out, but the sales results were poor: The guitarist's brain works like this: "What this looks like, it must also sound like.". And if it looks different, but sounds the same…. "I don't understand anything ...". Bitter experience and soon off to the "rejected inventions" department!
Jule Göls & Raab
My daughter Jule, (presenter on the children's channel KIKA) was invited to the Stephan Raab Show for a birthday and presented him with our new V-Caster, a guitar in DSP form, a little thinner and with 3 single coils in humbucker housings. Stephan - also quite a good guitarist - was very pleased, especially since he was one of the first who had bought a Duesenberg in 1996 from the Karlsruhe Rockshop. He played some hot Rock'n'Roll with the house band Meiomei. Several million people watched that!
In the same year, I was on Formentera at least twice, always living in the beautiful Casita of the aforementioned saxophonist Miro. In March I had revised the göldo catalog and in autumn I wrote my second book "Formentera Fever", in which my protagonist Gerd Hammer experiences exciting and frightening things..