I've been slacking on the blog lately, but I wanted to let you know that my band, Spiller will be playing at the New World Brewery in Tampa, FL this Saturday night, November 29th with 2 great bands, Luxury Mane and Selectric. If you're in town and want to have some drinks under the stars with us and enjoy some music please stop by and say hello. It would be great to see you. We promise to play all the hits.
The new album will be officially released world wide on October 14th, 2014! Head over to Bandcamp and check it out. Pre-order now and get a free track. Also, since we just can't wait for people to hear the new record we're going to have a limited number of copies of the record with us this Sunday at Red Light Cafe this Sunday
Check it out below!
Hey! We've got some fun shows to tell you about! Check out all the fun below.
8/14/2014 - ATLANTA, GA - VINYL
- 9:00pm – 11:59pm
- Vinyl (map)
8/23/2014 - ATLANTA, GA - GRANT PARK SUMMER SHADE FESTIVAL
Free! All Ages!
- Saturday, August 23, 2014
- 12:00pm – 12:45pm
- Grant Park - Meadow Stage (map)
9/14/2014 - ATLANTA, GA - IPO ATLANTA - RED LIGHT CAFÉ
- Sunday, September 14, 2014
- 10:15pm – 11:15pm
- Red Light Cafe (map)
10/23/2014 - ROSWELL, GA - THE ROSEWELL TAP - SOLO SHOW
- Tuesday, September 23, 2014
- 8:30pm – 9:30pm
- The Roswell Tap (map)
A nice little mention of The Good Graces when we played in Raleigh a few months back on tour
As I listened to the highlights of their set, guitarist John McNicholas’s “Warm in Wisconsin” and singer Kim Ware’s response entitled “Cold in California,” I was struck by how the venue’s layout could make a gathering of 30 or 40 people feel almost like a packed house.
Despite the fact that we're still waiting to receive our new record back from the pressers in Nashville, The Sunset District has started working on a new 4-song EP. No title for the thing yet, but this one is much more rocking and so far it's been a ton of fun to record.
Name: Robert Mabery
City: Acworth, GA
Instrument: 1982 Daion Power XX Bass
Bass guitar and funk music crept into my soul at a young age. Growing up in Augusta, GA, the influence of James Brown was unavoidable and the bass lines from Bootsy Collins were irresistible. After suffering through a few low budget instruments I stumbled across my musical soulmate. I walked into a local music store and there she was, hanging on the wall next to the popular brands of the day. I had to have her. I didn’t know anything about the brand but I knew she was beautiful. And she played better than she looked. Love at first sight.
Daion was a Japanese company from the 80’s that crafted handmade top of the line electric and acoustic guitars. There is a cult like following among the owners of these fine instruments. The Power Mark XX is there premier bass. It has a laminated body of Ash and Maple. The neck is a 9 piece maple and rosewood through body design. Fingerboard is ebony and nut and saddles are brass.
It’s been many moons since we met but she has remained my number one. I occasionally try some others when I’m out and about but I always come back to the Daion. She has been with me through many bands, many shows and many recordings. She never lets me down.
Band name: Soul Foot
Name: Phil Mutz
City: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: Bogner Fish Preamp #197.
From what I have gathered, Bogner produced 200 Fish pre-amps between 1989-1990. Jerry Cantrell, of Alice in Chains, owned one of the early units. Then he had 5 Fish preamps specifically modded with a mid-range boost. Those amps would become the foundation of his signature tone, along with the G&L Rampage guitar. Fish serial numbers #195-200 had the “Jerry mod.” This very unit was used on Alice in Chains’ ‘Facelift’ and ‘Dirt’ albums and supporting tours. Essentially, it is 1-in-5 of it’s kind in the world.
Coming of age as grunge was hitting and being a rock-n-roll guitar player, I was definitely drawn to Jerry Cantrell’s dark crunching riffs. I was also starting to see the light that it’s not the effects pedals, processors and guitars that give you good tone… it’s the amp. Up until this point I had never owned a legit tube powered amp. So I was in the market and researching my next and perhaps biggest gear purchase. I saw this preamp come up on eBay a few times during the fall of 2002. I knew it was meant to be mine, and each time it sold a part of me died. Sure enough, it popped back up on eBay again. The story in the listing of being owned by Jerry and all was way too grandiose for me to believe. However, I called Bogner and spoke to Reinhold Bogner himself. He confirmed the story and knew the individual selling the amp. It had just been in his shop for re-tubing, as the listing claimed. Emboldened by this confirmation, I then contacted the seller with questions. We spoke on the phone even. He was clearly tired of people playing games with him on eBay – winning the auction and backing out after-the-fact. This explained why it kept popping up on eBay every few months. He sternly said, “don’t even bid on this thing unless you’re serious.” But again, spending that much money on eBay, without hearing/seeing the amp in person was very sketchy, to say the least. But, I took a leap of faith. The amp arrived and I was just blown away. Ever since then, I have played dry straight into the Fish and a Mesa 20:20 Power-amp. After 12 years, I am still in love with the tone.
Name: Lucas Miré
Instrument: Olympia Tacoma 6-string acoustic guitar
This was the first guitar I bought after moving to Atlanta in 2000. I didn’t have much money, but I really liked the way this guitar sounded and it was in my price range. I’d just started playing guitar a few years before and this one had a built-in pickup I thought would come in handy for open mics, if I ever did one. Also, the action was perfect and it was so easy for me to play.
I used it to record the acoustic guitar tracks on my first and second records, and I wrote the bulk of my catalogue on this guitar, including a bunch of songs that I’ve never recorded. These days, I have a new guitar that I play and write with, but, even now, when I pick this one up, it feels like spending time with an old, trusted confidant.
Band: Lucas Miré
Name: Liz Landau
City: Pasadena, California
Instrument: Casio CDP-100 keyboard, hooked up to Macbook laptop via MIDI adapter
When I moved to Atlanta in 2008 I bought this keyboard. It is weighted with hammer action, so it feels like a piano, but only comes with a few built-in sounds. At the time I thought I would just use it as a piano, nothing more, since I had taken lessons in classical music.
But then I learned how to connect it to my laptop to make recordings and map any number of sounds onto it. Suddenly I didn’t care about sheet music anymore - I wanted to write my own songs. The program MainStage really let me take it to the next level, since it lets me designate which notes on the keyboard correspond to which sounds, and use multiple sound layers at once. Over the course of six years, this keyboard came with me to improv shows, gigs with two different bands, Christmas parties, two Happenstances, an open mic and even workplace singalongs…playing music has been part of many fond memories.
Now that I’ve moved away, I miss everyone I played music with back in Atlanta, and hope my keyboard leads me to meet new friends here in Los Angeles.
Band: The Sweetdick Jane (Atlanta)
Name: Ryan Odom
City: Atlanta, GA
Instrument: 1979 Epiphone Genesis Custom
It’s a strange transitional or one off with double binding throughout and trapezoid inlays that were done quite poorly. Not a lot of info on these ‘cause they were made so briefly (‘79-‘81). I bought the guitar in 2012 for $40 dollars at a yard sale from Cassandras producer Nate Prater. It was a mess, almost unplayable, pickups and wiring harness were shot (They were likely garbage the day it rolled off the assembly line, honestly) and the back of the neck had been refinished with vinyl fence post paint or something.
Total disaster, maybe the worlds least loved guitar.
I played it out one night when I was in Damon Moon and the Whispering Drifters for a minute, and that was it. It sat under my couch for a year or two. I forgot I even had it at one point. I knew that I wanted to get the work done to it to get it combat ready, but i didn’t have the money. I started to kind of half assed put together the parts I needed, Tonepros bridge and tailpiece, all new pots and jacks and switches. I stripped off the vinyl paint from the back of the neck and refinished it myself with shellac and rubbing alcohol ($10 secret to the comfiest ride in town), and then I kind of put it off for about another year ‘cause I was going to school and starting to tour with bands and whatnot.
Fast forward to about 2 months before the Spirits and the Melchizedek Children US tour, I wanted to take a second guitar out on the road and I needed it to have single coils (That sound just plain works better for SATMC). I bought a set of new pickups for it, (Lollar Jazzmaster pickups, badass single coils, for real, they are amazing), and took it over to Jeff and Jacob at Intown Guitar Repair with a ridiculous laundry list of things I needed done to it to get it ready for 2 months on the road. They called me the day before we left, I went to pick it up and it just totally blew my expectations out of the water. They filled routs and rerouted, did the electronics to my secret specs from the ground up, fixed up the terrible re-fret the last owner had done to it (Its got the biggest frets I’ve ever seen), they totally brought this instrument back from the dead. Those guys are geniuses for real. I can’t even believe they did what they did to this guitar.
Jeff pointed out to me that he had never seen or worked on one before, and that it might be the only Genesis in the world with Jazzmaster single coils. I planned on playing it on maybe one or two songs a night on the tour just because I had never played it aside from when I picked it up and I didn’t know what to expect from it. I think we were about 4 days into the tour and my long time go-to Jaguar was relegated to one or two songs a night tops.
This guitar is one of a kind bona fide bastard. It’s straight up evil, it could be a character in a Cormac McCathy novel. It weighs 15 goddamned pounds, it was literally covered in bong sludge when I got it, the finish is coming off, it’s too noisy to play in clubs with dirty power, and its not even a little bit easy to play (I string it up 12-56 and I tune to standard pitch but i drop the low E down to a D). It’s an orphan and an undocumented relic, its got secrets and nearly 40 years of bitter resentment from being so completely neglected. And now it gets a second chance to be loved. This guitar was going to wind up in a land fill and now I play it every night.
Everybody loves a comeback story.
Name: Dan Williams
City: Downtown Atlanta, GA
Instrument: 1976 Guild D-50
My family’s American heritage starts and still largely resides in the southwestern portion of Virginia, same county where Ralph Stanley is from. I fooled around with a lot of styles and music interests before I came around to my roots and started playing bluegrass and Americana stuff in my early 20’s.
Not long after, around the time I had my first “real job” I was doing a good bit of picking with a guy in Rome, GA that ran a nice home studio with several nice vintage instruments. He owned the guitar at the time after having bought it at the venerable Gruhn Guitars in Nashville. Once I started playing it, he could tell faster than I could that it was the guitar I was meant to own, though he hadn’t intended to sell it. He let me buy it off of him in payments over the course of year — which was probably the only way I’d have gotten my hands on such a nice guitar at that stage in my life.
I tend to play in a way that’s pretty percussive, which I think sort of goes back to listening to a lot of Richie Havens when I was first teaching myself to play as a kid. Havens, as it happens, was a big fan of Guilds. So as bluegrass-type players go, I’m short on finesse and long on beating the hell out of a guitar, basically; hence the steady buildup of blood over the bridge.
The 70’s era guild dreadnoughts respond with a big low end and a loud, rich sound. They are also built like absolute tanks, which is great for me as one that would probably ruined a more delicate guitar of its caliber years ago. Guild is owned by fender now, and a few years ago reissued the D-50s for about three times what you can get a good vintage one for.
If anything ever happened to it, I’d be out looking for another 70’s era D-series just like it the next day. At this point I’d feel pretty lost in life without one of these to bang on.
Band name: Sweet Auburn String Band
Name: Kenny Howes
Location (city): Atlanta, GA
Instrument: Rickenbacker 370/12 WAL
This guitar, made in 1981, was my 18th birthday present from my dad, in 1988. We bought it out of Bargain Trader, a Central Florida newsprint magazine that was mostly classified ads for cars and boats, from a guy in Seffner, FL, a short drive away from where I grew up. It’s a tobacco burst, which is often mistakenly called “AutumnGlo” but the actual nomenclature is “Walnut,” not to be confused with the current models the company makes out of actual walnut wood. (Mine was described by a friend once as “a FireGlo Rick with a suntan!”)
It originally came with the very, very rare “Byrd” control panel, which was a custom order. It was a passive circuit that pre-dated the active one from the later Roger McGuinn Limited Edition, and resembled Gretsch wiring (master volume, individual volumes for each pickup, and two switches). I found it difficult to maneuver and had the wiring changed out to a standard Rick layout (which I later realized was done incorrectly). The original pickguard is long gone, unfortunately.
I played this 12 string heavily the next ten or so years, using it on almost every recording I made (three or four CDs worth). I was pretty rough on it through my twenties, and then, thinking I had damaged the neck, I sold it on eBay in 2001.
A year or so later, I realized I hadn’t actually damaged the guitar, but I was just adjusting something incorrectly - so I thought, hey, I should try to get that one back! So I contacted the fellow who bought it, but he had since flipped it on eBay, and had none of the new buyer’s information, except that he thought it went to Texas somewhere.
Eight years later, in 2009, while scouring the web for Rickenbackers (as I am wont to do), I found it on Craigslist in Austin, TX, and I was able to identify it based off of the blurry photo on the ad. Others had begun to tip me off on it as well - the Rickenbacker collector community tends to look out for each other, and people knew I was after this one. I contacted the seller, recited the memorized serial number to him, and confirmed that is was my old one.
He wasn’t comfortable shipping it, so luckily I was able to recruit a Rick guy in Austin (who I had never met) to act as middle man, collect the guitar, and ship it to me in California, where I lived at the time.
So remember how I said I had been rough on it? Well, the latest owner hadn’t used it much, so condition-wise it was as if I had put it straight from a sweaty gig into its case, shipped it from a humid climate to a dry climate, and put in the closet for a couple of years. Opening the case when I got it back was equally joyful and bittersweet, like seeing an old friend who after many years had become homeless. It was pretty much unplayable. All told, I gave it a new nut, a new “R” tailpiece, yet another re-wire (using stock Rick parts), lots of elbow grease and work on un-bowing the neck, and a local repairman did some fret leveling. But man oh man oh man, it plays and sounds just GREAT now. The action is crazy low, with Thomastik-Infeld flatwound strings, and the intonation is right on, even with the original “split-D” bridge.
Not only do I love this thing because of all the good times we’ve had, but also because it not plays and sounds so good. So, no, I’m not letting this one go again.
Band: Kenny Howes and The Wow
Name: Bo Blount
City: Los Angeles, CA
Instrument: 1983 Fender Standard Stratocaster “Smith Era”
The 1983 USA Fender Standard Stratocaster (body and neck). This was literally my first electric guitar, and without it there probably wouldn’t have been any others. I learned to play and perform on this instrument, which makes it (for me anyway) the ultimate “one” guitar.
The ’83 Standard was designed by Dan Smith (with the rather uncharacteristic 1 volume, 1 tone, and straight input jack on the pick guard). From a collector’s standpoint, it is MUCH less desirable than a true “Dan Smith” Stratocaster, which ceased production the year prior (1982) to this one’s manufacture.
Sometimes known as a “Smith Era” Stratocaster, the impractical design was abandoned after only two years, but that didn’t make me love it any less. I learned to play back in the 80’s, so this guitar has seen all manner of modifications: a DiMarzio humbucker in the bridge position, a locking Kahler tremolo, and even one of the prototype Bill Edwards “finger-tite locking nut” systems on the neck (which was installed by Bill himself in his shop on 56th street in Temple Terrace).
I’ve always kept the guitar with me, and after 15 years in Los Angeles I recently salvaged what was left of it from my storage locker. I’ve owned several Stratocasters over the years, but none have meant more to me than this, [ahem]…”one.”
Bands: We Voice Sing / Soul City Sue
Name: R. Garcia
Instrument: Schecter Ultra III Guitar
This is my main stage guitar. I bought it on a whim, because it was a sexy looking beast. Unfortunately, it did not play very well and it sounded like crap. I redid the wiring and put new pick-ups in it, and I swapped out the Bigsby for a string-thru tail piece. It’s more or less perfect now and it sounds amazing!
Bands: R. Garcia & The Nerd Parade
Your Name: Cory McBurnett
Instrument: Schecter TSH-1 Diamond Series
Early 2013 i was looking into buying a new back up guitar. Looking for something like a telecaster to play with more of the laid back songs the band does. A friend of mine told me he was trying to sell his Schecter. I never heard of them but he told me to string it up and try it out. I played it at a gig that night and fell in love with it.
It’s semi-hollow, so it’s light like a strat but plays like a Les Paul. It has a P90 in the neck pick up which really gave me that warm clean tone i was looking for and great for bluesy solos. It also has a Duncan humbucker that’s great for the rock tracks. This made it quite versatile for the cover band. It’s changed the way i play. I never used the neck pickups and now that’s all i play on. Oh and how i knew i needed to buy it, the night i gigged with it, some female came up and started “stroking” the neck while i was playing.
That sealed the deal.
Bands: High Fidelity, El Scorcho
Your Name: Spike Fullerton
Instrument: 1953 (ca) Fender Telecaster - “Ol’ Yeller”
"There are many like it, but this one is mine"
I’ve owned this guitar for 30 years, and it is just the greatest thing known to man. Jagged trebly bits of angular Monkish tones flow freely from her, but with practice and a proper tweed amp, she can be tamed to generate the powerful woody thwack required to get from from Bakersfield to Nashville, and Memphis in between. Words cannot express how much joy it has brought me these many years.
I got her in 1984 when I was 23, pulling over at some guitar store for no good reason, and not being any kind of collector at the time. Saw her on the wall - body routed, poorly refinished, beveled, and apparently dragged behind a truck for a few miles. The kicker was that it had been in a fire that warped the neck a bit, in addition to significant play wear. It doesn’t intonate properly to this day, and I just had to learn how to play around it. The clerk was kind enough to carefully show me the bits that were original, and explain the minor (to me) hardware changes it had gone through. When I came back a week later to get a post break-in setup, the same fellow sheepishly told me that his phone had not stopped ringing since I left with many well known DC players trying to purchase after I’d left - apparently he’d put it on the floor about ten minutes prior to my first visit.
I am reminded of a scene in the first Harry Potter film where “the wand chooses the wizard”. I am no wizard, but I had no overwhelming interest in country or rockabilly at the time, and really was just another rank amateur with some cash in his pocket. It took me years to figure out the inner soul of this instrument - but the places this thing has taken me - the thousands of hours sitting around the house trying to emulate the masters of this model - soul (Steve Cropper), country-jazz (Jimmy Bryant, Phil Baugh), western swing (Eldon Shamblin), and dozens of bywaters of the American musical experience I may never have chosen to study otherwise.
I had the good fortune to get signatures on her from Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, and Paul Burlison - and turn down a few from other far more notable folks, because well, because this space reserved for pickers. I felt like I had to live up to her every time I opened the case, because of the “whoooah” reaction she always inspires. I don’t know that I ever got there, but I am a better player for having this one guitar, this instrument of joy that has celebrated my triumphs and eased my sadness for three decades now. She is retired these days for the most part, and rests in the company of many other pedigreed pieces, but I take her out every once in a while - if only to remind me and her of who’s boss around this piece.
Hey friends, it has been way too long since we've updated the blog and I wanted to say hello, so hello! Currently The Sunset District is waiting to get our records back from United Pressing in Nashville, and once we do we're going to work on a video and plan our release show! But, in the meantime we're already working on a few new tunes in the studio. 4 songs to be exact. Check out the little teaser trailer below!
Hey friends! Tomorrow night I'll be singing in the 8th annual Bob Dylan birthday bash at the EARL. Come say hi and grab an EARL dog before the show! Proceeds will go toward ovarian cancer research.
Name: Keith Scott
City: Mobile, AL
Instrument: “The Feather Bass”
I rescued this from the bowels of a dilapidated basement in 1974 in St. Louis, MO. I cut my teeth on this forever piece. First used in the “Nasty Antho Discoshow.”
Band: Sagittarian Fire, Nasty Antho Discoshow, Anthos, Monk of Phunk, Soul Skool, School of the Soul