Gretsch kicked off the 2010 Gretsch Showcase on Wednesday, Jan. 13, with an evening celebration of the newly announced Eddie Cochran “Tribute” Custom Shop Model. Backed by Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley, Bobby Cochran performed one of his late uncle’s hits in“Summertime Blues,” while models strutted at the foot of the stage flashing Gretsch’s iconic G6120 guitars.
“The only guy in rock ‘n’ roll that mattered to me who played a Gretsch was Eddie,” said his nephew. “He was the guy who put it on the map. It was my dream as a kid to have one, and I was so happy when I finally got one; I was just upset that it wasn’t like Eddie’s.”
Standing in front of a glass display filled with Cochran photos, albums, picks and other personal artifacts loaned to Gretsch by the Cochran family, Bobby tried to pinpoint what it was exactly that made the rock and roll musician so special.
“Eddie’s music meant something; it touches you in a way that somebody who is just singing some words and trying to hit pitch, you don’t get that,” said Bobby. “Eddie had heart and soul about his playing and his singing, and his songs were very mature. His partner was a great songwriter. Eddie at a young age––(if) you talk to anybody who knew him––he was smart, articulate, charismatic and he brought all of that to his music. He had a tremendous love for it.”
Gretsch artist/clinician Paul Pigat was meanwhile on the other side of the booth falling in love with a Sparkle Jet™ Gretsch guitar.
“It’s my first time at a NAMM show and it’s kind of overwhelming,” shared Pigat. “I just saw (Gretsch’s) Joe Carducci and said to him, ‘This is the biggest candy store I’ve ever been to.’”
Throughout the rest of the week, Pigat and his band Cousin Harley performed both on the main stage and on the “Kim Falcon Stage” at the Gretsch booth, where other Rockabilly artists such as Brophy Dale, Mad Max & the Wild Ones, Hot Rod Trio and Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln took turns entertaining visitors.
Over the weekend, Gretsch artist Lynda Kay also brought her Americana roots style country music to the Gretsch booth, while rock guitar legend, Steve Hunter & the Hurricanes proved that you can play blues on a Gretsch guitar.
Civet and Rancid injected some punk rock into the Showcase as well. The self-described “femme fatale punk rock” quartet strutted their stuff both on the main stage and the booth on Friday, while Rancid rocked the booth on Saturday in front of a crowd that drew the attention of the Fire Marshal.
“That’s our M.O.,” laughed Rancid guitarist Lars Frederiksen. “Everybody’s trying to shut us down. We had a great time. It was a great little, intimate setting.”
Added lead singer and guitarist Tim Armstrong, “We came up playing those type stages, playing punk rock parties. It had that vibe. This was fun. This one was wild, definitely a fun one––100 per cent.”
Armstrong also discussed his new Tim Armstrong Signature Model.
“It’s an honor for me, and it is designed after my favorite guitar ever, which is that 1971 Country Club Gretsch I play more than any other guitar––in the studio and onstage,” said Armstrong. “I would drag that Country Club all over the place. So, it’s amazing for me. I was playing the signature and it sounds identical to my Country Club. The people at Gretsch have been amazing, super respectful. They kept the ingredients the same.”
Asked what it is in particular that he loves about the guitar, Armstrong said, “To me, it sounds like a piano, like it’s full body and thick. I hear the chords as if I’m playing a piano. That’s just a simple way for me to explain it.”
Other Gretsch sightings…
Gretsch girl Kim Falcon drew a lengthy line for her autograph throughout the weekend.
Fred Gretsch hanging out in the booth with Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame inductee & Grammy-award winning guitarist Duane Eddy.
Dhani Harrison playing a G6129T-1957 Silver Jet™ onstage during thenewno2’s performance on Friday.
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