Recent Questions... and One Big "Why?"

Recently asked random questions…

I’m in town, could I could come tour the workshop?
For years the answer was yes, though never on such short notice. This is a work environment. It’s funky, fun, and magical – but it’s a work environment. To show someone around it means work has to stop, the spaces need to be neatened, hazards need to be addressed, I need to make myself presentable, and then the next couple of hours is show and tell and questions. I love it, but for the time being there’s so much going on I’m not really able to accommodate. I rarely have anything kicking around to play that doesn’t belong to a client and even those leave as soon as they’re ready, and right now my focus is on steady work and progress for my waiting clients. I’m happy to talk on the phone for any questions, and you can feel confident ordering sight unseen; our reputation is all over the internet, it’s how 90% of our clients order, and I would never make you keep something you found unsatisfactory (our return rate is well under 1% for 14 years). I do understand if that doesn’t work for you – but please understand I’m stacked high working for those it does. 

When are you going to finish your guitar?
Ha ha, yours come first! I sneak in work on my personal projects as I have it extra to sneak in. This year I stopped doing night shifts and I’m trying to pace myself a little better for the long haul. So time working is a little tighter and you are my priority. I am building a custom guitar order right now, and once it catches up to where mine is I’m going to try to companion build them both together since the pickup setup will be very similar. For those watching, mine is "D'AQUILA #007" on the builds page, and I would think it holds the record for amount of time on there!

Do you still have Sarge?!
YES. I occasionally talk about the machines I have relationships with; I love old cars. They’re all I drive – the newest year model I have is a 1983. Joe the Truck is a ’74 Dodge pickup that has helped build Birdsong since day one, sometimes literally whether hauling lumber for the workshop or nudging a wall into place in the big shop we had down in town for a chapter. It’s amazing how much of a “Bigger hammer” the front bumper of a 1974 Dodge truck is! My main ride is a ’74 Roadrunner named Sarge, and on Facebook (and here) I posted about my latest American Beauty, a 1960 Pontiac. More of you than I even thought read this asked me about Sarge once you saw another car being talked about… a big, classic, sculpted old battleship for cruising was on the bucket list BUT I will ride it in, fate willing, with Sarge. He’s not going anywhere by choice.

What’s happening for the Anniversary this year?
Every year around July 4th while we celebrate freedom & independence, we also celebrate Birdsong’s anniversary. We launched our website (and realistically the company with it) on July 4, 2004. This year for #14? Oh some specials, some inventory basses, a cool little funky fretless prototype, a few anniversary basses of some special wood but I’ll let YOU decide the model & trim (there’s a good story coming with this!) – and maybe a video or two. What I need from YOU are questions! Send me questions you’ve always wanted to ask a luthier or Birdsong or me specifically. I’ll get to them all one way or another! Perhaps while eating random hot sauce laced pizza again. I don’t know. And DEFINITELY find & friend Scott Beckwith and follow Birdsong Guitars on Facebook – there WILL be Facebook-only deals too popping up and down throughout that day, which is on a Wednesday. So this year it will be ONE DAY ONLY and on the actual day of JULY 4th. 

And, since she gets asked about too, here’s MAGGIE MAE. Our little Mae, the fuzzy girl, etc. She’s got to be 10 years old now, still a total character, still loves rides in the car to maybe see some cows more than anything. One of the sweetest beings I have ever known.

And… it would not feel right, with this little podium life has for whatever reason loaned me, to not mention the sad passing of Anthony Bourdain this morning. Quoth Gordon Ramsay, "He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food." Deepest condolences to his family and circle. It was really more of a punt than a pass however, with major reputable sources reporting suicide. Oh how our heroes fall. One would think if he was tired of his life, with his pocket change he could tithe a bit to those he’d feel guilty about if he stopped the gravy train and just go get healthy and live out his years somewhere he loved. My guess is that, by the time that’s an option, you’re so fragged by the drama and eaten from inside by the very quirks that made you that character in the first place… that there is only one way out to you. So sad the people of all walks we lose to hopelessness! The thing I’m most grateful of all for is that I still see the beauty in that first morning breath; the potential in what’s coming; the rebirth in awakening; the beauty in the dance, however difficult its moments. That tether to hope and springtime inside. That life is more OK than not, I’m more OK than not, that life’s waves are not always tsunami waves and tomorrow can be worked with into a garden. Without that, I don’t know. I just don’t know. 

But I do know this; as suicide rates continue to rise in startling numbers, it would behoove us to stop seeing them as just the selfish acts of troubled individuals. For future inheritees of this great experiment we might think about what kind of world we help seed with our postings and commentary, our priorities and our interactions with others – every one of which is fighting a battle you know nothing about – when we allow our stances and causes to overtake our humanity. We can take each tragedy and twist it to fit our agenda, every suicide and chalk it up to the medication or the mentality or the moment… or we can go deeper, beneath blame and bluster, and understand better why hopelessness is boiling the stew; because we’re simmering too. Anthony, thank you for the joys you brought and sorry for the pains you left with. Please my friends – if you are unhappy, start changing your life and see that through. There is plenty of OK to be found. If you are hopeless, talk to someone you respect for their perspective and trust them. There is hope in every sunrise.

Go make a great weekend happen. Go care. Go tell someone you love them. Go eat beautiful food, reverently, and be grateful. And play some Ramones for Anthony B.

Listening to: Aerosmith’s 1st album, Richard Betts Highway Call, Tom Waits Bone Machine, some live Joe Pass, Bob Marley & The Wailers Uprising.