SMG Weekly Round Up: News From Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bad Seed and More!
This week pretty much made me question my faith in the human species, but gave me restored faith in karma. More on that later!
My favorite story of this week is that of Bad Seed guitars, I’m a bit biased here, because I think I’m actually the first guitar blogger to land an interview with the company, but here’s the brief…
Bad Seed Guitars
You could quite easily replace the word ‘seed’ with a slang term for ‘bottom’. These guitars are super cool. The company’s first ever customer was James Hetfield, which is a pretty good endorsement. Bad Seed main man, Sheldon Currington, managed to sneak back stage at a Metallica gig in New Zealand and leave one of his guitars in the care of a sound guy, who promised to show it James.
The guitar was an Explorer type body, but with an incredible twist – it was made out of freaking titanium. You have to be pretty skilled to weld a guitar using titanium, especially considering these guitars aren’t big lumps of metal, they are hollow. Luckily Sheldon builds roll cages for a living, the same perfectly crafted and designed roll cages that are responsible for saving the lives of New Zealand’s racing car drivers.
As if that wasn’t already cool enough, he also works on special effects for movies. If he wasn’t one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, I’d be so envious of him that I’d hate him.
The process of perfectly welding the guitars takes a really (really) long time. If Sheldon makes one mistake he has to start again, and scrap the expensive material. You might be thinking “what’s the point?”, well the body of the guitars are virtually indestructible (please note the neck is still made from wood), they are lighter than wooden guitars, and the tone is like something you’ve never heard before. The one-piece through-neck and hollow body, plus the resonant nature of the body means that the sustain on these guitars will last until the end of time.
Sheldon will hate me for saying this, as he is a modest guy, but his guitars stayed at the Foo Fighters‘ studio for a week in January, and Justin Hawkins has also had a jam on the guitars. Bad Seed is still very much in the development stage, but it’s one to watch out for, each project is customized and no two Bad Seed axes will ever be the same! I accompanied Sheldon to the 65Amps HQ in Hollywood earlier this year, and even Dan Boul was impressed… they sounded even better through his amps.
Read my interview with Sheldon HERE
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s guitars get nicked
Last weekend, five guitars were stolen from a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The vintage and rare guitars were taken from a studio in Culver City where the band was rehearsing for their upcoming American and European tour.
The saddest part of the theft was the fact that the guitars, belonging to Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Ron Blair, and Scott Thurston, were all vintage guitars that had been owned by members of the band for decades. The monetary value was not important to the band, but the sentimental value for a guitar that has been with you for most of your life is huge, as the Share My Guitar community will know.
Petty immediately offered a $5000 reward for the safe return of the guitars, no questions asked. One of the guitars in question was Mike Campbell’s signature Duesenberg, genuinely one of the most beautiful guitars ever made. Why anyone would think it was a good idea to steal a 00001 serial number guitar is beyond me, you can’t sell it to a dealer or a collector as they know not to touch it with a barge pole, and if you are Mike Campbell fan, you wouldn’t steal his guitar.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitars are safely returned
Faith in humanity restored! Police apprehended a suspect, and upon regaining possession of his guitar, Tom Petty wrote the following update on Twitter:
“Extremely gr8ful 2 the Culver City Police Dept 4 a job well done & touched by the outpouring of good wishes & concern from R fans & friends.”
It became obvious the thief, named as Daryl Emmette Washington, was a fairly stupid individual. He was an employee at the Culver City studio, and sold one of the guitars to a pawn shop for $250… doh.
The retrieved guitars were Petty’s 1967 12-string Rickenbacker and his Gibson SG TV Junior, Ron Blair’s Fender Broadcaster, Scott Thurston’s 1967 Epiphone Sheridan and Mike Campbell’s blue Duesenberg. The guitars were estimated to have a combined worth of $160,000!
Bert Weedon passes away, aged 91
Bert Weedon is one of the most influential men in the history of guitar. He wasn’t a rock and roll star, or a multi-platinum artist, but he was responsible for teaching some of world’s greatest guitarists. To put it into context, people often say The Beatles are the most influential band of all time, well Paul McCartney learned guitar from one of Weedon’s books.
When Bert first published his ‘Play in a Day’ book in 1957, he could never have known that the future stars of rock and roll would credit him as their teacher. Brian May, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton all learned the trade from the great man. He was a well rehearsed and technically brilliant guitarist, and played on records for the likes of Nat King Cole, Tommy Steele, Frank Sinatra. He even had a top ten hit of his own.
Clapton said of Weedon in an interview:
“I wouldn’t have felt the urge to press on without the tips and encouragement that Bert’s book ‘Play in a Day’ gives you. I’ve never met a player of any consequence that doesn’t say the same thing.”
The thoughts of the guitar community are with Weedon’s family, and we thank him for his amazing contribution to the world of guitar. By virtue of influencing some great guitar legends, he has had a secondary influence on thousands of young guitarists all across the world. He passed away peacefully, aged 91, in his home in Beaconsfield.
Editors note: Musician Levon Helm, who was the founding drummer of the Band died at age 71.
Read more about Helm’s amazing career HERE
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