*** Special reminder, especially this time of year when I can't answer the phone every time. VERBALLY leave your number for a call back. My message asks for that. My phone doesn't know who you are and yours just goes in with a bunch other numbers. Thanks! ***
I never watched SpongeBob – honestly my path has kept my attention on other things than TV or most movies, let alone cartoons… so I haven’t heard of actors everybody knows or seen movies the whole world has watched. But I do have a Spongebob story…
In the late ‘90s I tracked down a formative musical hero, guitarist Leigh Stephens of Blue Cheer. Their cover of Summertime Blues popped me like a kernel and put me on a sonic path. As a kid it made me want to make big sound with a guitar and turned me on to a whole era and scene of music I still love. So years later I found him online, made him a guitar - and MORE years later in 2005 flew out to see the original Blue Cheer reunite in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco with a bunch of other San-Fran bands from the late ‘60s. I got to see Leigh… with Blue Cheer… in San Francisco… play Summertime Blues… on a guitar I built. Let that sink in; so it was already a VERY surreal day. Who opened the show? A solo set by James Gurley – long ago the wild, feathers-in-the-hair, out there feedback shaman of Big Brother & The Holding Company. Just go listen to the first minute and four seconds of “Ball and Chain” off of Cheap Thrills and… I mean eloquent it’s not but it definitely left a mark. So the Leigh connection gets me behind the stage at the “Chet Helms Memorial Tribal Stomp” with the artists, though I still maintain the fake press laminate I packed in helped too.
I wander off back there during the It’s a Beautiful Day set and some 20 minute rendition of “White Bird” and over in a corner, giggling to himself, is none other than James Gurley. Older but of the same ether as all the pictures, and I mean just everything about being a trippy guitar god spirit still radiated from this guy. Including a stare that had to be seen to be believed. I walked over and offered him some incense with outstretched hands, saying “Mr. Gurley, a humble offering back to you for the ripples of music into the world and influence on my path,” something like that. He laughed warmly. “Well thank you, ahaha. Hey, you wait right here – heh heh – I got something for you too, ahaha… be right back… don’t go away!” And with that he strolled into an artist dressing room tent and came back with something in his hand. He was a tall man, of course everyone’s tall when you’re five foot three. But his presence was a towering presence. He might have even been levitating slightly; I don’t know. He stood in front of me, smiling down, pupils that looked like something out of the cosmos.
This is quite a moment. What’s he gonna hand me, I thought. There are lots of possibilities, none of which I partake of. How would I get it back on the plane? Would I receive it as sacrament? Was my life about to change? Or… would it be a folded note with wisdom from some sacred oracle? A code from the universe? A name bestowed by mystic I would then forever-on be known as? He smiled and slowly raised his hand up by his head. Swinging from his thumb and forefinger back and forth… was a Spongebob keychain. Slightly hypnotized in the moment by its swinging, I could only softly muster “What is it?”
“Spongebob Squarepants! You oughta check him out sometime.” And with that, he put it in my hand. It hangs by the assembly bench with other sacred items brought to me by this journey music has taken.
And with that, I sign off of weekly site updates until after the new year. It takes more time to execute all these words every week than it may look like, and I need to take every bit of me and time I have to get as much work done as possible before the shop goes on break for Christmas and a few weeks after. I also need to recharge and replenish and just be Scott for a while. No screen, no tools, no list. I’ll keep posting progress pics on the builds page, and there will still be Facebook updates since those can happen quickly. Follow Birdsong Guitars and friend me; I’m this Scott Beckwith... not the others.
The “EOY” group (that’s “End Of Year” on the order sheet), I made a lot of them, there is a handful I’m building up to be ready and go, and there are some I just couldn’t get as far on as I would have liked (I’ll be giving you a call). But that’s the flow of the work through the shop, and in that river I can only be one very sharp tool in the process. I make sure it’s always worth the wait for you and I thank you VERY much for your patience with the process. Same goes for the “Early ‘19” folks – once we’re through the Holidays and recharged from some down time, some fixing things & cleaning around the shop, and crank back up (looking at last week of January / 1st of Feb.)… I’ll be all over your builds like a bad suit!
But for now, this little wood elf has still got a Santa’s sack-sized load of work to do, so I’ll sign off. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, Happy Holidays to the rest, and Happy New Year. Thank you – YOU, whether I’ve ever had the pleasure to speak with you or not – so much. Celebrate the good, muster some magic, make some moments, and share some music. Be kind to each other and give the gift of yourself. On behalf of all the hands that help this all to happen, this is one Chief Woodgnome Scottibus, Bean of Padouk, Head Cheese, Highway Song and Captain of the Ship, wishing blessings to you & your circles from ours, out and on the side.
Listening to: Bob Seger, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Slash autobiography readings.