Options Aerial View: Playlist from June 9, 2015 Options

Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me. (Visit homepage.)

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Options June 9, 2015: Happy 100th, Les Paul!

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Jimmy Page Plays a Les Paul
Tonight: Happy 100th, Les Paul!
True, he's been dead for six years now but that won't keep us from celebrating the 100th birthday of Les Paul! I've known his name since I first wondered just what guitar that was hanging around the necks of so many of my favorite guitarists, everyone from Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Marc Bolan, Mick Ralphs and Mick Ronson to Duane Allman, Bob Marley, Lita Ford and Steve Jones. 

But - of course - once you delve into who Les Paul actually was, it seems the guitar named after him is the least of what he brought the world (disregarding how much or how little he had to do with its actual shape and final design). Guitar effects, "sound on sound" (aka overdubbing) and his role in the development of multi-track recording are just a few of his lasting technical contributions to the world of music. None of this takes into account his exquisite playing, his late-in-life non-stop gigging and his decision to remain a proud resident of New Jersey (Mahwah, where he lived, is hosting the Les Paul's Big Sound Experience exhibit at the Mahwah Museum). There's also a great Les Paul exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum.
Speaking of Mahwah, in 1952 - the year the Gibson Les Paul model guitar was introduced - Les Paul & Mary Ford did fifty-two five-minute (yes, five minutes!) long TV shows from their home in Mahwah, brought to you by Johnson & Johnson, makers of Listerine, the slayer of Halitosis. Below are three of the TV shows. There's a bunch more on YouTube. And if you have a spare $124,999.00, Mary Ford's 1961 Les Paul is on eBay (shipping not included).
This Les Paul & Mary Ford TV Show features "How High The Moon".
Les Paul and Mary Ford
In this show, Les serenades the refrigerator.
Les & Mary 1953 TV Show 10 of 10
This show features a talking frog slinging Listerine.
Tonight, join me to celebrate the life and career of Lester Polsfuss, Rhubarb Red, the Wizard of Waukesha and Les Paul. They're all the same person, of course, and they all changed the world.

Call 201-209-WFMU between 6 and 7 PM and VAYA CON DIOS!
Chris T. & Les Paul, circa 1992.
Joan Jett with Les Paul
Last Week: I Love Rock And/Or Roll!
Last week we talked about the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, who is in and who is out and who just doesn't care if they're in or out. Here's the playlist action:
  • I just got HBO for the first time and was actually flipping around Sunday but decided against even stopping on the R&R hall of fame ceremony. I had a feeling it would just upset me.
  • It's bogus. I was tired of Jann Wenner years ago.
  • The fact that Rundgren hasn't been inducted yet is reason enough to reject it altogether.
  • Good that Aerial View will be back. Chris T. got a hardcore look on the world that I get.
  • I like your "If my guitar had a voice" voice, Chris.
    AND it's a Filter-Tron on the Gretsch
  • Never understood the hatred Joan Jett gets.
  • Are there published criteria for who gets chosen to be in the rock-n-roll hall of fame, or is it just a bunch of old media dickheads sittin' around deciding this?
  • Randy Bachman was IN a band with Neil Young and Rick James.
Chris T.'s Les Paul
Circa 1982, after painting my '68 Les Paul.
I told the story of that paint job last year here, in poem form.
Now here's the prose version.
How Debbie Got Her Spots

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I have this 1968 Les Paul I call Debbie. Let me explain: A Les Paul is an electric guitar, named after the late guitarist/inventor formerly named Lester Polfuss and manufactured by a company called Gibson, after Orville Gibson, the founder. After the precedent set by B.B. King with his guitar “Lucille”, I named my guitar Debbie, as in Debbie Gibson, because I thought it was funny and because she grew up not far from where I did on Long Island.
Debbie has a very special paint job, a truly magnificent coating of metal-flake blue, which reminds me of a ceiling in an Italian nightclub, the kind that captures a mere whisper of light and sparkles like the Milky Way. I love Debbie in a way I couldn't possibly explain. I COULD explain but I'd sound foolish. Listen: Debbie is the most wonderful object I've ever held in my hands. She's beautiful and shapely, yet ugly and beat up. She weighs a ton (the heavier a guitar, the more it'll sustain) and she gives up this sound, an ungodly boom and clang that hits me dead between the eyes and makes me feel omnipotent. If you hit a chord on Debbie just right you're rewarded with angel trumpets and devil trombones, like pulling the lever on an old one-armed bandit and finding quarters up to your knees a moment later.
I don't hold Debbie as much as I once did. I haven’t been in a band in years, so mostly I head down to my basement, plug her in and play for a while. She never fails me. Sometimes I leave her in the corner, turn the lights down and gaze into her paintjob, getting lost in the deep blue metal-flake. Wasn't I telling you about her paintjob?
When I was seventeen I discovered punk rock. I'd been playing guitar four of five years and at fourteen had already formed a cover band – Cobra – playing The Who, Steve Miller, Bad Company, BTO, Led Zeppelin, etc. Cobra eventually withered away and I lost interest in playing. Then along came the Sex Pistols and I felt enthusiastic again. They cleared away my musical cobwebs and I begin to dress differently, act differently, think differently. I was already playing guitar in a cover band – Cobra - but my style changed, loosening up considerably. I started bashing away more at the Ibanez Les Paul copy that was my main axe. My grandmother bought it for me for my fifteenth birthday - $200 with the case (the most expensive thing I'd ever gotten). I loved it at the start. It was white with gold hardware and a bolt-on neck (a real Les Paul has a glued-in neck, a more expensive construction technique) and when I saw it hanging on the wall of the Sam Ash music store in Huntington I knew I had to have it (see it below):
That guitar went through many permutations. For its final look I chose all chrome hardware with a chrome pickguard, like the guitar on the back of Be Bop Deluxe's Axe Victim. It looked pretty cool. My friend Mike and I started a band in my basement. I christened us "The Nihilistics" because I was reading Sartre just then and liked what the word meant. I'd flail away on my Ibanez Les Paul and Mike smacked around a Hagstrom bass. We worked up songs like "Grandmas are Made for Kicking" and "You're to Blame". We had become punk rockers (see below):
As punk rockers, we needed a place to hang out. Mike discovered this joint with the horrible name of "Legz" (PUNK & NEW WAVE FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHTS!) through a girl he knew and it became our weekend destination. The ritual began with the downing of a cheap six-pack, usually warm, in Mike's basement to the bewitching strains of The Damned or Stiff Little Fingers or the U.K. Subs or the Dead Boys or whatever was new. We'd smoke some Ben Franklin cigars ($5.99 a box of 50 at the Pathmark), then pile into Mike's yellow Mercury Capri and head off to beautiful Valley Stream, Long Island. (Tony LoBianco, as one half of a murderous team in "The Honeymoon Killers", looking out a window onto a tiny lawn: "Valley Stream! They call this place Valley Stream. Ha! Thousands of little jail cells surrounded by lawns!)
Ah, Legz! What a rotten hellhole. Run by low-level Mafioso, the place gave off a stink like nowhere I'd been previously or since. It was the smell of desperation. Everyone desperate to have a good time, desperate to hear his or her favorite song, desperate to meet a boy or girl, desperate to get laid. I hated it. And I loved it. It was a very complex relationship we had, that nightclub and I. It was so much worse than other places I could be and so much better than home.
The club had a bar at either end, benches along mirrored walls, a DJ booth, a decent sound system and cheesy disco lights. There wasn't much else in the way of distraction. Occasionally, the owner - a short, angry man - and his squad of muscle-bound Vietnam veteran goons would kick living hell out of someone until the cops came. Then the owner would step forward and claim the guy who got stomped had started the trouble by getting out of line or creating a disturbance. He hated the Irish… so his favorite line was "Damn Micks - always startin' trouble in my club!" as the cops hauled away the evening's sacrifice.
When I was in attendance I mostly drank gin and tonics and stood on the edge of the small dance floor watching other people have the good time I wished would find its way to me. I became openly voyeuristic, focusing on lovers or beautiful women or Mike making out with whatever girl he was interested in that month. I have rarely experienced a deeper loneliness in the midst of so many people.
One night, as I sat with my friend Pat on one of the benches along the dark side of the club (between the bathrooms), the owner came over and began shouting at us from the other side of a small cocktail table. At first we couldn't hear him above the music but then he bent over and put his twisted, sputtering face inches from Pat’s and cursed him. He grabbed Pat's arm and yelled, "What did you do?! What did you DO?! I told you to stop flickin' cigarettes, didn't?!" He shook Pat violently. Pat - a tall, gangly, harmless kid - sunk down into himself like a Macy's float deflating.
I was close enough to the action to smell the owner's cheap cologne and feel flecks of flying spittle wet my face. Pat was meekly protesting his innocence: "I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't do anything. I've just been sitting here..." The owner saved his best for last: "You hit a girl in the eye, do you realize that?! You hit a girl in the EYE and now she has to go to the hospital because of you!" He leaned in closer, grinning a "Your-ass-is-MINE" grin.
I've never shied from the role of Good Samaritan. I like to help out when I see what I think is an injustice. I can't stand to see someone get run over and flattened - so I took up Pat's cause. During a lull in the proceedings I cleared my throat and in my most convincing voice, said, "Mike, I've been sitting here all night and I didn't see him flick anything." The next moment is frozen in time for me. Mike pointed at me, said "And you - you son of a bitch!" while grabbing the cocktail table, raising it high above his head and crashing the steel base down on my skull.
It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I became strangely calm. I felt warm torrents cascading from just above my hairline, spilling down my forehead to my eye socket, pooling up under my eye, collecting to overflow and continuing down my cheek, my chin, my neck and onto my shirt, soaking it and my pants and then splashing onto the floor. They say head wounds bleed a great deal and they're not kidding: at the time I had very short hair, a crew-cut, and the blood wasn't absorbed but ran freely wherever gravity beckoned.
The owner stood above me, still wielding the upside-down cocktail table, sneering at me, his goons forming a tight semi-circle behind him. All eyes were on Pat and I. Pat had his hand over his mouth in a silent "Oh my God!" gesture. The only thing I could think to say was "I'll leave." Which I thought was wise. I got up slowly and walked into the men's room, trailing blood. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and thought I looked really cool but then wished it wasn't me staring back but a monster from a movie. I began wadding up paper towels, wetting them in the sink to dab the wound but they kept falling apart in my hand. A bouncer I'd always been friendly with came into the bathroom and expressed his regrets, saying, "I think you better leave, kid." I tried to explain that I hadn't done anything wrong but he made it clear it really didn't matter. He handed me a dishrag, indicating my head. I held the dishrag to the open cut and pressed down hard. It was time to go.
Mike was not in the club so I figured he must be in the parking lot, where people went for fresh air or to smoke pot. I made my way outside - everyone gaping at me and clearing a path as I went - and over to the Capri. Mike, his back to me, was talking with a girl. She saw me over Mike's shoulder and shrieked bloody murder. Mike turned and saw me stepping out of the lamplight, exclaimed "Jesus Christ!" and flung the car door open. "Jesus Christ!" he said again, stepping out of the car. Then he added, "What the fuck happened?!" Not feeling very well, not up to explaining, I said, "Can we just go?" Then the girl said, "Uh oh..." Mike and I turned to see the owner walk up, with four large men. We stood still, thinking, "They're going to stomp the living shit out of us and there's nothing we can do about it." The owner grabbed me by the shoulders, maneuvered me under the lamplight and said, "Jesus, did I do THAT?!" He fished in his pocket, pulled out a bankroll, barked, "Get that taken care of, kid!" and shoved a bill into my hand.
Mike and I climbed into the Capri and made like speed demons out of the parking lot and onto Sunrise Highway. When we were a mile gone, I unclenched my fist and unrolled the bill. It was a hundred! I'd never held one before. At arm's length I checked the front and back several times. Yep, a hundred-dollar bill! I started laughing, waving it toward Mike. He thought I'd lost it until he saw the greenback. "Holy shit... where did you get that?"
"The owner gave it to me. For hitting me over the head. He can hit me over the head some more if I get a hundred bucks each time." Mike gave me the once over and declared me a goddamn mess. I looked at the hundred-dollar bill and felt much better. By the time Mike pulled up to his house I decided the money would be spent on a new guitar. Not a brand new guitar, but a new-used guitar. A Gibson SG (Special Guitar) copy manufactured under the trade name Carlo Robelli. In the '60's and '70's, the same Japanese factories that churned out the Ibanez and Univox brand, among others, manufactured guitars with the Carlo Robelli name for the Sam Ash music store chain. Carlo Robelli versions of just about every electric guitar ever made existed cheek-by-jowl with their more expensive legitimate cousins. But the secret about Carlo Robelli copies, especially of the Gibson stuff, was that they were very serviceable. They played right and they looked right and if you put some electric tape over the name on the headstock (the top of the guitar, where the tuning machines are) who would know? I even knew a guy who painted over the headstock of his Les Paul Junior copy and applied an easily-obtained Gibson decal to the right spot. Sure, he was living a lie but I was one of the few who ever noticed.
My Carlo Robelli dreamboat was hanging in the window of my local music store, Music Land, with the oh-so convenient price of one hundred dollars on its head. It was cherry red with a glued-on neck (like actual Gibson SG's) and it felt like a real guitar, not like the pseudo-Les Paul I was playing. I'd gone into Music Land just the week before, played the faux SG and fell in love with the beautiful noise I coaxed from its innards. And now it would be mine, all mine!
I said "Good night" to Mike and drove myself home, arriving around three in the morning. My mother, whose bedroom was separated from mine by a small bathroom, usually slept through my entrances and exits. But I caught her unawares in the hallway, on her way to the kitchen for a cold drink, and her eyelids - which had been at half-mast - snapped open and she let out this unholy scream. It wasn't one sound or another but a combination of sounds adding up to a roar - and in that roar was my name and Jesus Christ's and many, many curse words.
I tried to squeeze around her into the bathroom but she blocked me and demanded to know, "What happened?!" I mumbled, "I've been in a fight."
"A fight?!"
"Do you think I'll need stitches for this?" I asked, peeling the blood-soaked dishrag from my head. She gasped anew and yelled, "It's too late for stitches! The skin has separated! WHY DIDN'T YOU GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM?!"
"I didn't think it was that bad!"
"This is going to leave a scar! Put a butterfly bandage on it and see how it looks tomorrow!" was final instruction before she shuffled into the kitchen for her drink. I went to my room, undressed and got into bed, visions of new guitars dancing in my head.
Tomorrow came and I awoke to the sight of my blood-drenched shirt draped over a chair. It fascinated me. There was a large ruddy-brown stain over the collar and most of the shirtfront. I was reminded of pictures I'd seen of JFK's autopsy. I put the shirt on a hanger and stuck it in the back of the closet. It would make nice stage-wear for the next Nihilistics gig.
Music Land opened up at eleven AM on Saturdays and I was there at noon. I don't remember if I did but I'd like to think I slapped the hundred down on the counter and directed my favorite salesman, Charlie, to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's. When I got it in my paws and realized it was mine, all mine, the events of the night before receded into a mist and I blasted home with the Carlo Robelli on the backseat of my Plymouth Satellite, a smile plastered on my big mug. All the way to the front door of South Fifth Street I hummed to myself and imagined what it would be like to get the guitar inside and plugged into my amp (a 100-watt Gallien-Krueger 2- 12 combo). The house was quiet when I arrived, no one around, and I hurriedly got my new toy into my bedroom, out of its cheap case, and plugged into the high gain input. I didn't even bother to remove the price tag, hanging from the headstock. My clumsy, cold fingers formed a barred C chord and I felt the waves of volume pulse around and through me. I banged out a hasty and cheesy chord progression and it was like manna from heaven. O glorious instrument! O sound divine! Then there was a rapping at my door. My mother, who knocked briefly while pushing the door open, stood shouting, "Lower that damn thing!" She, who never took notice of such things, pointed at my Carlo Robelli and asked, "Where the hell did you get that?" Probably suffering the after-effects of a cocktail table induced concussion, I blurted out. "I bought it with the money that guy gave me last night."
"What guy?"
"The guy who cut my head open..." I replied, still not lucid enough to see where this was going. My mother grabbed the price tag and yelled, "HE GAVE YOU A HUNDRED DOLLARS?!"
"Yes! For hitting me over the head..."
"What do you mean, bring it back?! I don't know if I can do..."
I haven't told you this but I will now: I was one of those kids who paid rent to live at home. From the time I turned eighteen, my mother charged me two hundred a month for room and board. I was notoriously late with the rent, probably because I resented having to pay to live in such a terrible place and because I hadn't yet figured out how to pick up and leave. I was in arrears to my mom for - you guessed it - a hundred dollars. It'd been owed to her for a couple weeks and now she was telling me to render unto her what was Caesar's. My mother cuts a very imposing figure so I didn't argue. I grumbled, stomped around, slammed doors and muttered - but an hour later I was back at Music Land, Carlo Robelli in hand, asking for a refund. When Charlie heard my story he took pity on me and although I wish he hadn't, he refunded my hundred dollars, actually handing me the same bill I paid with (bloodstains and all). I thrust the cursed thing into my wallet and spun around, determined not to turn back and see the object of my stunted desire lest I end up like Lot's wife. I never saw that guitar again. I was at Music Land a week later and there was an empty space where my Carlo Robelli once hung, just like the empty space in my heart.
It was on another trip to Music Land that an 18-year-old recent arrival to our country from Poland plowed his AMC Pacer into my Satellite head-on. My car was totaled and I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I took the kid to small claims court and got eight hundred dollars out of him for the cost of recent repairs on my car. I had my mechanic come to court and testify, which is one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen. I take the eight hundred bucks and buy a '66 Cadillac Sedan Deville with 80,000 miles on it and 426 cubic inches under the hood. The car was black with a dark gray interior and was the classiest ride I'd ever owned. The man who sold it to me explained that it belonged to his aged grandfather who drove it back and forth to Miami and did little else with the car. I believed him because the car was pristine. First thing I did was install a quick-release cassette deck of my own design (this was in the days before such things became commonplace), making sure my inaugural tape was Black Sabbath's Paranoid. That first day of ownership I drove my Cadillac for hours, still amazed it was mine and wishing I could see what I looked like behind the wheel.
My friend Alex and I went all over in that Caddy, to nightclubs, to museums with girls, to visit other girls in New Jersey and the whole time I got a thrilling six miles to the gallon. I used to sit in it on my way to work in Great Neck and watch the gas gauge sink as the car moved forward. It was an absolute pig to pay for but an indescribable pleasure to drive. Twenty-eight days after purchasing the Caddy I was heading back from Alex's house in Ridgewood, Queens, feeling very little pain because we'd gone to see these sisters in Jersey City (Sip Avenue!) and I had finished me some wine. I was so nervous around the one sister, the ex go-go dancer, that I handled it by drinking wine and taking up smoking. I leave Alex's house, make my way to the main drag, Woodhaven Blvd., and I'm chugging along in the right lane, wondering if the go-go sister likes me, when I come around a blind curve and smash into a stack of Sunday editions of New York Newsday, piled about six feet high and eight feet wide. The last thing I see before the car comes to its rapid stop is a man flying over the newspapers onto the curb. I wasn't sure if I hit him or he jumped just before impact but soon he was at the driver's door with another man, banging on the window, yelling, "MISTER?! MISTER!"
They opened the door for me and I fell out into the crisp October air to the sickly sweet smell of anti-freeze spurting from my radiator. The man who had gone flying said, "I knew that was gonna happen!! Then the other guy chimed in: "We knew someone was gonna come around that curve and this would happen!" I didn't want to ask the obvious - Then why were you there? - so I apologized for nearly killing them. Then I noticed this police barricade, like a sawhorse, they'd put up, with a flashing light that wasn't flashing. They were sitting ducks, an accident waiting to happen - and though you've heard that phrase before, I've been part of it.
The cops came and - for once in my life - they were nice. They seemingly didn't care that I had some wine - no sobriety test - and seemed more concerned about injuries. I was okay, a scraped-up knee - but my car was demolished. I called up my mom from a phone booth and said, "Mom, I've had this really bad accident.." and my mother's response was "I told you not to go to Queens!" I hung the phone up, not knowing what to do, and then I got a thought: "I'll call my sister." I dialed and got her boyfriend, an engineer, a quiet guy who most of my family didn't care for but whom I thought was okay. I told him what had happened and he said, "Chris, first thing I want you to do is calm down. Are you okay?" I said "I'm fine."
"Can you ask the police for directions to the nearest train stop?"
"Yeah, I guess I can do that."
"Because if you can get the train you can come out to Copiague and we're within walking distance of the train station."
"Okay, I think that's what I'll do." I had very little choice. The officers were kind enough to drop me off at the Long Island Railroad stop in Jamaica and I sat there and waited an hour for the next eastbound train, getting into Copiague at five-thirty in the morning, as the sun came up. I was shaking and really upset when I got to my sister's door. She made me some coffee and I sat down and told her what had happened. Then I realized it was Halloween and a very bad day for my car, although demolished, to be sitting in Queens with all those school kids with chalk and eggs walking by. I thought, "I gotta get it out of there because that's everything I own, that piece of junk car." I walked to my mechanic's, the guy who testified in court for me, and said, "Look, can you get a tow truck out to Queens?" He looked at me like I was insane: "You want me to go out to Queens with a tow truck?"
"Yeah. I have to get my car out of there: it's Halloween." He relented and we got in the tow truck and drove out to Woodhaven Blvd., hooked the Cadillac up and dragged it back, depositing it at my brother-in-law's body shop. I put an ad in the paper - "Cadillac for parts" - and a week later a guy shows up and offers me four hundred dollars. He was interested in the interior, which was good because the interior was immaculate. When he handed me the cash my first thought was: "I'll go buy a new guitar."
I went down to Music Land and I'm standing there talking to my Charlie when this woman comes in and plops a guitar case down on the counter. Charlie goes over and says, "Can I help you?" She says, "My boyfriend just split and this is the only thing he left behind... I wanna sell it." Charlie opens the case and it's a Les Paul Deluxe, bastardized by some hippie. He'd run roughshod over what was once a beautiful instrument, slapping a "Harley-Davidson #1" sticker on its goldtop, replacing the volume and tone controls with switches (!) and reaming out the small humbucker positions to accommodate large pickups, three in all. Whoever the boyfriend was he'd basically ruined the guitar. Charlie turns to the woman and says, "I'll give you two hundred bucks for it." She says "Okay."
Charlie and I both knew this guitar - even in its ravaged state - was worth more than two hundred dollars. After the woman left the store with her money in hand I took a leap into the void: I turned to Charlie and said, "I'll give you two hundred and twenty five dollars for that guitar right now!" Charlie looked at the guitar and then back at me, shrugged and said, "Okay." Charlie was a real happy-go-lucky sort of guy who didn't own the store so what did it matter to him? And we had built up a very solid relationship over the years. I always went to him to make my purchases. He was paying me back for my loyalty. I grabbed the guitar and ran home with it, plugged it in and made some kind of a chord - a barred C or a D -and heard this noise ten times more incredible than the one I heard from that cruddy Carlo Robelli.
I decided I'd have to refinish the guitar to remove every trace of its past owner so I took it down to my mechanic's brother, Ronnie, the paint-master. I handed him Debbie, all taped up, and said, "Ronnie, I want you to paint this guitar!" He took Debbie from me and gave her a cautious once-over and said "Really? I've never painted a guitar before." I said, "Really," and he said, "What color?"
"Metalflake blue!"
He looked at me and said, "Wow - that would be really nice, I've never seen a metalflake blue guitar." I said, "Yeah, me neither - that's why I want one." Ronnie, went to a loose-leaf binder, thumbed through it, wrote some numbers down on a piece of paper and directed me to a paint store in Amityville. I slapped the piece of paper on the counter and said, "This what I need." The man came back with a jar and I took it and thought, "What the hell is this?" And then I noticed the tiny blue flakes and it opened a whole new universe of understanding for me. I said, "So this is how they do it?" as the man handed me a can of clear lacquer base. I ran back to Ronnie and he painted my guitar. It cost me a hundred dollars, plus the paint and the flake.
And that is how Debbie got her spots (so to speak).
The Mermaid Parade in 11 days!
2014 King & Queen Neptune.
The 2014 King & Queen, painted by Marie Roberts.
Saturday, June 20
The Mermaid Parade is 18 days away! HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?!

The parade begins at 1 PM and all the info can be found at coneyisland.com. See you there!
Obligatory Throwback Pic
Circa 1984, The Nihilistics at CBGB's.
Mike (RIP) on Hagstrom bass.
Me with Debbie.
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Artist Track Year Format
Les Chris T. Paul  Aerial Carioca View   Options 2015  CD-R 

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Listener comments!

Avatar 6:05pm Marcel M:

Hello Chris and friends. I'm excited about tonight's topic!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Fuzzy:

Happy B-day Les Paul! If Les were alive today, I'm sure he would ask "Why is Chris T. standing in the bathtub with his guitar?"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Mike East:

My sister took care of Les Paul in the hospital once and she had an awkward moment of asking him to extend his arm for blood pressure or taking blood or somesuch and he informed her that his arm was locked in the position required to play guitar (I believe from some kind of accident). She said he was super nice and got his autograph. I know many people with a les paul story...he got around North Jersey a lot. My grandparents live in Mahwah. Nice town.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

When he broke his arm, he had it set in guitar-playing position.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Mike East:

Yeah, there you go, Rabbit. she said she was gently tugging at his arm and thought he was just being stubborn and he politely told her "its not gonna move"
Avatar 6:15pm Marcel M:

Lester loved his low impedance pickups thats for sure.
Avatar 6:16pm Marcel M:

My wife always thought the guitar was French, and named "The Paul" hehe.
  6:21pm Slide:

Can not say enough good things about Les Paul.
Avatar 6:22pm Marcel M:

Oh boy.. the controversy of that guitar that Doyle sold...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...& the point that - he was a Wizard Innovator
- but his Pop records w/ Mary Ford singing are just really kewl Pop records for their own sake. He was technically ahead of his time, but Pre-Rock'n'Roll - so they have that remarkable 'Back to the Future' quality...He told the story that Miles Davis asked him how he got Hits - & he told Miles , 'my songs have Melodies!'...He would pose as a Country artist on one side of town - & then play post-Django Jazz on another...Such a total dude.
Avatar 6:28pm Marcel M:

The worst is when parent's buy those First Act starter guitars... can't keep tune... probably makes you worse to learn on. Its strange because First Act has a killer custom shop...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:31pm Fuzzy:

@Marcel: Yeah -- i was surprised to learn that First Act actually made decent guitars...I thought they were all shite.

And modern CNC technology has made cheap guitars a lot better than they used to be.
  6:31pm alex:

The landfillharmonic group out of Paraguay would disagree.
  6:33pm JakeGould:

When a thing—guitar or anything—comes with extra crap it always means the core item you are buying is crap.
Avatar 6:33pm Marcel M:

@Fuzzy: I had the reverse reaction, I knew they made really sick custom guitars, and then a friend who gives lessons complained to me about students coming in with crappy First Acts and I was perplexed.

And yeah, we live in a time where vintage and high end guitars are insanely expensive, but you can buy really great guitars for not a whole lotta money. Even a Gibson.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Mike East:

a friend of mine growing up got a guitar given to him by les paul who was a family friend.
Avatar 6:35pm Marcel M:

Generally true Jake, but the Squire "starter pack" is a good learning guitar, I recommend it to parent's buying for their kids on a budget all the time.
Avatar 6:37pm Marcel M:

Yo Bennett!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Mike East:

me too, Marcel...I get people calling to rent guitars for their kids and I tell them they're better off buying something cheap. Squiers aren't the worst thing in the world. my first guitar was a fender squier bass. Do you work at a music shop?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Mike East:

though I agree with Chris, those Kay's are garbage
Avatar 6:40pm dale:

didn't sears sell some les pauls under their own silvertone label?
Avatar 6:41pm Marcel M:

No I don't Mike, but friends and random people ask me when they find out I play. Beginners just need a guitar that is comfortable, not too heavy, can stay in tune, adjustable action and can be intoned. One will find their specific tone path later.
  6:43pm LES:

Ha! ChrisT our Elvis Impersonator. Good show today Chris.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Interesting: I heard First Act actually got an award (Guitar Player or such) for making super-super-low end affordable starter guitars that are actually instruments - talking about K-mart prices (under-sized models for kids & stuff)...I mean - I started w/ hand-me-downs that were falling apart...Sending a kid to Lessons w/ one of these though - that's misguided...
Avatar 6:43pm Marcel M:

Eric Clapton right?
Avatar 6:43pm Marcel M:

Ah right Keith Richards.. he quickly left it alone though so I always forget he was a burst man.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Fuzzy:

Silvertones were made by Harmony in Chicago. I lucked out recently and found a decent '50-something Harmony Archtone on ebay (you roll the dice and takes your chances...) It's kewl: flat black with an added P-90. Sounds and plays great!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

The early Stones had such kewl guitars!
Avatar 6:44pm Marcel M:

Clapton also had a lot to do with its success because of his recordings on the Beano album and later with Cream a bit. He also dropped it for Fenders though, so eh... forget him too!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

@MarcelM: That coupled w/a 50Watt Marshall, yeah?
Avatar 6:46pm Marcel M:

My favorite original Burst wielders were Peter Green and Paul Kossoff.

Also Bennet its actually probably only worth like 1.7k - 2.2 or so. Not that valuable.
Avatar 6:46pm Marcel M:

Chris, the Custom Shop is really off the hook.. amazing guitars. Gibson USA is another story.
Avatar 6:47pm Marcel M:

@Rev Rabbit: I think so, they make a reissue of it now called the "Blues Breaker"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm Fuzzy:

Matsumoku represent! Don't forget the old Arias!
Avatar 6:48pm Marcel M:

Oy Chris I don't agree with that!!!! They were better than the 70s Gibsons but no way not new Gibsons now.
Avatar 6:50pm Marcel M:

The coolest original Burst: img5.bdbphotos.com...
Avatar 6:51pm Marcel M:

I hate to correct you Chris, but don't confuse Thru Neck with Set Neck...
Avatar 6:53pm Marcel M:

Les Paul had the idea of the solid body, he chose the color, and the trapeze tailpiece was his idea. Pretty sure thats all. But, he was a big factor in the reason they decided to do it for sure.
  6:58pm Tommy:

Chris, great show. I do a lot of multi track recording , didn't' know Les Paul had pioneered this
Avatar 6:58pm Marcel M:

Thanks Chris! Good show.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Nice one, Thx CT !
Avatar 6:59pm Marcel M:

By the way if someone can prove me wrong with my statement about what Les Paul actually had to do with the instrument, email me. I've searched online for conclusive stuff and only found that.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Fuzzy:

Love the Guitar Geek-o-Rama shows -- thanks, Chris!
  7:01pm JGI:

Thanks for remembering Les today
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