• October 5, 2017

    Petty

    When a celebrity passes, if I had met them or had any interactions with them, I always feel compelled to post some recollections of them. This is not to brag that I knew them, but rather to share some personal thoughts. When my brother Ed sent me a text saying that Tom Petty had passed, I immediately thought of how much he supported a few charity events I was involved in that really made a difference.

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  • June 13, 2017

    A Night at the Grammy Museum

    Caught up with one of my favorite artists last night, Taj Mahal. He had been one of the most popular artists when I worked on the Catalina Island Blues Festival, not only because of his incredible shows, but also because he hung out with fans and islanders afterwards. Taj also did a benefit concert for the Kids Rock Free music education program in Corona that was initially funded with proceeds from 4 of the 5 Catalina Festivals. Taj was a big influence on me in my formative musical years and remains a true musical and cultural treasure.

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  • March 27, 2017

    Rock ‘n Roll Art Legend

    We recently lost one of the most influential artists of our generation, Alan Aldridge. He was best known for designing album covers for Elton John and the Who, art books like the Beatles’ Illustrated Lyrics, along with the logos for House of Blues, Hard Rock Cafes and the Beatles’ Apple Records. It was the last two that brought us together. Alan’s agent at the time, Tom Zotos, contacted me to tell me the Hard Rock was looking for a special philanthropic element to help celebrate its 40th Anniversary through Alan’s art and they had chosen Jimi Hendrix. You see, Jimi had met Alan through Paul McCartney at his birthday party in London and Jimi inquired about Alan creating an album cover. Alan said he was so booked but Jimi persisted and Alan agreed to at least do an art guitar. Through three separate meetings with Alan, Jimi conceptualized the design utilizing images based on his songs but Hendrix sadly passed away and the concept was mothballed for 40 years.

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  • January 25, 2017

    Music & Film

    Just getting my voice back from the past three weeks making stops at the Palm Springs and Idyllwild Film Festivals followed by the annual music industry gatherings in Anaheim at NAMM. What I love most about these events is connecting with old and new friends alike. Had the pleasure to sit at the Idyllwild festival awards show with the lovely Ann Archer (Academy Award Nominee for Fatal Attraction).
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  • January 5, 2017

    That Thing You Do

    My wife Bettina, the Film Commissioner for Riverside County, and I were invited to opening night Gala of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. This Festival draws celebs equal to the actual Academy Awards; this year alone featured the likes of Amy Adams, Ryan Gosling, Nicole Kidman, Annette Bening, Casey Affleck, Janelle Monae (“Hidden Figures,” “Moonlight”) and my buddy Tom Hanks, who won the prestigious Icon Award. I say “my buddy” Tom Hanks because he gave me my start in the movie side of my career.
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  • January 1, 2017

    All You Need is Love

    With so much upheaval in a divisive US and the world, the general consensus is that 2016 wasn’t the best of years. I was trying to think of a positive message I could post for the new year, even though it looks like a bit of a rocky road ahead before things get better. Then I heard a commercial in the background playing the Beatles’ classic ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.
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  • June 10, 2016

    From my Windy City Travelogue

    Our good buddy, Emmy Award winning actor and Chicagoan, Joe Mantegna, invited my brother Ed and me to be his guests at Wrigley Field to see him throw out the first pitch (a perfect strike – take that Snoop Dog!) and sing the 7th inning stretch (perfectly on key – take that Bill Murray!). The Cubs crushed 4 homers and won big over the Dodgers. Good times.

  • May 27, 2016

    Makita

    My good friend and riding buddy Tony Gauthier introduced me to his friend Bob who owns an automotive repair shop and has so many cool collectables including several vintage pedal cars. I rode my Triumph Bonnie out to the shop today. But for me, the centerpiece is the larger than life statue of the Chicago Blackhawks’ legendary Stan Makita which was featured in “Wayne’s World.”
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  • May 10, 2016

    RIFF 2016

    I was so honored to be asked to present the Riverside International Film Festival’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jimi Hendrix to his sister Janie. I have worked on many great projects with her over the years including the Hard Rock Cafe’s Artist 29 Series Hendrix T-Shirt and lapel pin program which raised over $1.5 million for the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation and through Janie’s generous support, music education programs through the Fender Music Foundation which Janie and I are both on the board of. Janie fittingly also received the Festival’s 2016 Legacy Award for her dedication in protecting and promoting her brother’s music and legacy for generations to come.
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  • April 21, 2016

    Prince

    “I heard the news today, oh boy.” Glenn, David, Sir George, Merle and now Prince – lost too many great ones already this year. With all the wonderful tributes today, I’d like to share a story: back in my Fender days, I received a call from Live Nation that Prince had a vision of a gold guitar that he wanted custom made for charitable cause. Keep in mind we didn’t have a relationship with Prince so I was excited for the opportunity. It just so happened that Custom Shop Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov (who had followed me to Fender from our previous company Washburn) had told me he had a stunning Gold Leaf Stratocaster that a customer cancelled, so it was not quite finished but if I knew anyone……well… perfect timing.
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