Something about Guitar Geeks

While at Winter NAMM 2010, I spent some time with my bands bass player and his old band mates from the 60’s. They kept telling me I needed to go to the Guitar Geek Festival that was happening down the street from the Convention Center. I sat on the fence and almost didn’t go. I was tired, my feet hurt and seen enough for one day. Well, at the last minute I went. My friends had saved me a seat which was a coveted prize they had to fight for to hold for me. It turned out to be the most entertainment I had, including all my interviews with famous icons of the guitar world. Not because it was the hip place to be. It was because everyone there just loved guitars of any kind.

Deke Dickerson performing live at the 7th Annual Guitar Geek Festival

Deke Dickerson was the host of the show, or party, if you will. He emceed and played a variety of instruments throughout the night. Very well I might add. At one point “Deke” who had been dressed as a formal cowboy all evening, came out and did a Ramones tribute with his impromptu band which included Tom Kenny-the voice of Spongebob Squarepants as the lead singer. They were all in costume including the correct wigs.

I thought to myself, “this must be what NAMM would be like if you were on acid.” You see, not only were the mega stars of guitar at NAMM, but every poser on the planet was there too. I’m talking sunglasses and capes, mohawks and zoot suits. You name it. There were freaks covering ever possible mix of genre attire. The interesting thing was that they were not trying to be funny. Deke and his crew were. That is a big difference.

Another segment of the show was the “Electric 12 String Nightmare.” Anyone who brought an electric 12 string could join in on stage to play a song together. There were 17 takers. Have you ever heard seventeen 12 string electric guitars going at once? Me neither. It was worth the price of admission alone.

HoneyBoy Edwards was there and did a set with Joel Paterson, a guitarists guitarist. HoneyBoy is 94 years old and still gigging. Amazingly he had to leave because he had to get to another gig in L.A. Billed as the last living bluesman to play with Robert Johnson, he was worth the price of admission as well. Joel brought up his own band from Chicago and blew everyone away. Now I am an official “Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds” fan. They were beyond “tight”.

At one point during the History of Lap Steel Guitars segment of the show, Chas Smith loosened some of my fillings with his 28 lbs of titanium fury monster slide guitar. Pushing the envelope with this instrument also was worth the ticket in.

Lots of other amazing stuff went down that night including dueling double neck guitars with Brian Longbeck and Elaine Frizzell and it was all headlined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Duane Eddy. He played a bunch of his stuff with Deke and Joel and never dropped a single note. And it wasn’t  just Duane who played to utter perfection, it was all of them. They are all Hall of Famers in my book. Yes, that includes you too, Crazy Joe. You did Enon, Ohio proud.

  • Hey Frank, thanks for the great writeup! I really appreciate it. My favorite quote ever about NAMM and the Geekfest: “not only were the mega stars of guitar at NAMM, but every poser on the planet was there too. I’m talking sunglasses and capes, mohawks and zoot suits. You name it. There were freaks covering ever possible mix of genre attire. The interesting thing was that they were not trying to be funny. Deke and his crew were. That is a big difference.” Can I use that one?

    Thanks again,
    Deke

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