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05/17/2006 @ 12:44 AM: Here's a long overdue round of semi-interesting updates...

I've very much been in a "transition" phase as of late. A lot of stuff has been changing--all for the good--and I'm finally settling in. The only unfortunate bit is that I'm backed up on music and film work (and website updates).

AT/DT shot through a couple of gigs in April, and though we'd hoped to be playing out a lot this summer, it looks like we'll stay at about a once-a-month kind of pace for the next while. Rehearsals and writing have gone well, and we want to get time logged in the recording studio in order to get down some of the new songs while they're fresh. At Big V's in St. Paul a couple of weeks ago we put on one of our more energetic and punk rock shows yet. Ben was at his best, and we debuted another new song, "Skillz To Pleaze." Once I go through all our live recordings of the past year, I'll pick one or two of the better songs and get some MP3s up on our MySpace page.

The revisions film is progressing... in its own way. Though for the last couple of weeks we've occasionally stalled out a bit (par for the course for this production), we're in the mixing process now and slowly but surely seeing the film take on its final visual--and audio--form. As has been the case for several months, an abundance of the work that remains rest primarily on me, so I really won't be washing my hands of the project and its accompanying stress until I've singed off on the mix, music, and effects. With some concentrated work that can happen in relative short order; time is the only continuing x-factor. It goes without saying we're very excited to take revisions to film festivals.

In the twenty or-so years I've played the guitar, I've rarely found myself bored with the instrument. Most players experience phases in their respective styles, approaches, etc. I'm no different in that sense. I can't put my finger on exactly why, and I'm sure it's a combination of numerous facets, but my interest in all things relating to music, guitar playing, and the instrument itself has never been greater than now. Considering I'm a musician for a living that probably doesn't sound terribly profound, but I personally never thought I'd ever top the excitement of being a teenaged guitarist doing and learning everything for the first time. And I have discovered a new guitar "hobby" recently: building and assembling guitars. I've made no secret of my extreme liking of the Peavey Wolfgang guitar; I own many of them (we're talking double digits). I recall wanting to assemble a custom guitar as far back as high school. Never, though, have I possessed the true skills of craftsmanship in this way. Very much like my studio equipment, I can use a device to its maximum functional potential, but ask me to open it up and explain how the technical aspects work, and I'll look the fool. But I know the Wolfgang guitar so well inside and out, that last year I bought up all the necessary genuine parts to assemble one whole. With the soldering help of my gang of buds at My Music Store, I put together the "Frankengang," a Wolfgang Special in gloss purple with two simple modifications: a tone knob and coil tap on the pickups (so as to offer more tone options than a production Wolfgang). I recently replaced the Frankengang's neck, as the first one I acquired was dirty and having serious fret issues. Over the course of a few months this year I opted to do another one. Andy and Ted from My Music Store both put a lot of work in on this second custom 'gang (not yet nicknamed). This time I used a blue quilt top body from an import Wolfgang (so as to have a different look than the others) and otherwise all-USA parts. I went with Seymour Duncan pickups and again did the tone knob and coil tap addition. We finished Custom Wolf #2 on April 28th, and I played it at the AT/DT gig on April 29th. The first time I heard the sound of the bridge pickup through my rig was the first chord of the first song in our set. Well now I'm at it again--another custom guitar is on the way. This next one won't be a Wolfgang except for the neck and neck pickup. Inspired by the Les Paul I bought last month (Can you believe it?!), I bought a Strat-style Mahogany body routed for a Wolfgang neck. I'll put the standard Gibson LP pickup in the bridge position and the Wolfie pickup in the neck position. The theory is I'll have a sound resembling the warm rock tone of the Les Paul along with the comfort of the Wolfgang neck. It is indeed an experiment, so we shall see how custom guitar #3 turns out.

AT_Guitars_Fr02_LP_Fr01 (82k image)
Guitars, from left: Frankengang #2, Les Paul Studio, Frankengang #1.

thumbnail 001thumbnail 002thumbnail 003thumbnail 004Photo Chronology: 1996 to Today
thumbnail 005thumbnail 006thumbnail 007thumbnail 008Please feel free to peruse these memories from the AT photo archives.

Andrew Thomas