Spells and Curses recording at Eastside Sound
When asked what drives me to create, my answer has always been the same: my anger. Whether leaving toxic situations or being accountable to my flaws, it’s all a process of creation and the drive behind it has always been a pissed off kid angry enough to do something about it.
Recently, I’ve been facing a lot of resistance and negativity for just trying to be myself. These past 2 years saw things happen with the sole intention of keeping me from releasing music ever again. I’ve always prided myself on being able to turn the venom of opposition into the basis of my courage. However for this brief period of time, that wasn't the case.
This song is important because it’s about when I became vulnerable to that venom again. I forgot how to turn it into fuel; instead allowing it to slow me down, because deep down I felt that's what I deserved. Sometimes drowning is a choice. Thankfully, coming back up can be too.
It's been a super bumpy road on the way to the birth and discovery of my Stella. You see, I needed a guitar that was custom made not only to how I write and record my music, but to how I perform live as well. Naturally, everything in the current guitar marketplace lacked something that was either essential to a song or an emotion I was trying to convey on a regular basis. That's to say I basically wanted to have my cake and eat it too (all on one plate... in one sitting). I needed a tool that was specifically made to help me express every possible avenue of my imagination, with the least amount resistance possible. I was told by few colleagues to hold off on this because it's a mountain too high; but they didn't understand. If I pick up a strat, I do my best Hendrix impersonation. Slash for a Les Paul, Jeff for the Tele, Vai for an Ibanez, etc. I just needed something to help me find ME. So while it wasn't going to be easy, I wasn't gonna give up on making this a reality. It took 2 years of trial and error (in just design alone), and I take a great amount of pride in being able to say that only ONE spec was cut from the drawing board during the actual creation stage. ONLY. ONE. That was when I knew I was on the right path.
However, in the early stages of finding a qualified tech to put this baby together, I kept getting turned away or charged an arm and a leg because what I wanted "wasn't realistic", "hasn't been done before", "won't work", etc. I couldn't accept that, so I took a risk by choosing to work with a tech who offered me a fair price to take this project on. While he didn't completely mess it up, he didn't do anything close to an ideal job. I literally got the guitar the night before one of the biggest gigs of my life and it just sounded so dull. It just didn't play right and was uncontrollable the whole time. I was devastated, but thankfully made it work as no one really noticed. After a few months of going back and forth with this tech (who will remain nameless) trying to figure what the issues were, it became very clear that he wasn't gonna be the guy to bring Stella to the finish line. In comes Lane Steven Sparber.
Roughly 1 year ago, I went to him, basically begging him to fix my baby. He was apprehensive at first because of how "odd" a guitar it was, but he ultimately accepted. As you can see from the first pic, he had his work cut out for him. The spaghetti platter of wires were a mess, the solder joints were bad, the front cavities were not shielded (and weren't even connected to the ground), it had tack soldering throughout with no strong mechanical connections, sloppy lead dress, etc. It needed to be completely gutted and rewired. Lane not only did it in a few days, but he kept calling me to vent about his frustration at the previous tech's crappy work. He didn't want to be told the guy's name because he didn't know what he'd do. That's when I saw just how much pride he took in not only his work, but his customer's satisfaction. That's when I knew I finally found a keeper. He made Stella look beautiful from the inside and out. To this day she sings like a bird with no problem thanks to her Godfather Lane.
Exactly one year after that initial repair, I took the Stella to Lane again. This time I wanted her to embrace the future (pic 2). Simply put, she no longer runs on batteries, but rather on Fishman's USB power charger. You read that correctly; my guitar runs off of USB electricity just like your iPhone and Kindle. It's now has a charge that'll last it for 250+ hours (which by Lane's estimation should last me until October before I'd even have to charge it again). If that ain't the future I don't know what is.
Fast forward 2 more days after Stella's USB upgrade; it's March 8th today and it's Lane’s birthday. Lane, I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate you clearing so much time for me and my crazy ideas. From listening to my outlandish ideas regarding the improvement of guitar design, to giving your own two cents, you've always been so generous with both your time and your knowledge. You saved my baby girl and gave us both our voices. Every song I write with her, every riff I play on her, every scream I make through her, it all leads me closer to finding my truer and higher self, and every time I get a glimpse of that, I thank goodness you exist. I love you, man. Happy birthday. YOU ROCK.
BONUS SLIDE: I added a pic (pic 3) Lane took of the first time he ever worked on a guitar of mine. That was also a day before a show, and it played like butter. He does full repairs and immaculate setups for amps, pedals, guitars, and basses. He's a genius. HIT HIM UP and I promise you he's worth every penny.
An inside look into what Mondo NYC was like from the perspective of a fella in the music industry. It was quite a trip meeting so many passionate and intelligent people in both the music and tech worlds. We even got to close out the festival with our showcase at NORD!
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