In Part One with Dick Boak, we discussed how he got his start at Martin Guitars in 1976. Before Dick began at Martin, he had been going through their dumpsters looking for scrap wood to make his own guitars. After some time, the folks at Martin saw his work and eventually, owner C. F. Martin, III, saw his work, and was so impressed, he told one of his employees to have him apply for a job.
We chatted with Dick about when he pursued Eric Clapton when the guitar he used for the MTV Unplugged show was in demand, and making a signature guitar in his name. Dick has worked with Eric on several models over the years. He was so grateful to Eric for the attention he brought to acoustic guitars and Martin, that he wrote a personal letter about him, and it was published in Acoustic Guitar magazine.
Steve Miller and Mario Andretti
In Part Two, we discuss Dick’s various roles at Martin and the craze for acoustic guitars that started, including the guitar Kurt Cobain used for the MTV unplugged series. We tell the story when Johnny Depp saw the personal guitar collection Dick was selling and Johnny bought several.
After 42 years with the company, Dick retired in 2018, and he went out in style. His retirement party (Boak’s Bash, see the video below), was at the State Theater in Easton PA. Steve Miller, John Mayer, Jorma Kaukonen, and many others attended to say their thank you to him in person. Dick spends his time now working on his illustrations and music. He was also asked by neighbor, Mario Andretti, if he could assist putting his racing archive together.
Joe Castelli is a sound engineer and musician from New Jersey. In the late 1970’s, Joe started out as bassist and guitarist, but soon discovered that he found the audio/sound side equally interesting, and has been doing both ever since. In 1994, he founded Further Communications, a company that specializes in corporate shows and festivals. Through a suggestion from friends, in 2001 Joe filled in as sound engineer for The Tabernacle, a concert venue in Mt. Tabor, New Jersey, and has been part of that production company ever since. Not only is Joe the sound design, audio engineer at The Tabernacle, he is also a member of the At The Tabernacle,, the non-profit entity that organizes the concerts and other events.
The Tabernacle in Mt. Tabor, New Jersey
The Tabernacle is a small, unique, and popular concert venue, with 350 seats. In 1996, founder and current board member, George Philhower started promoting concerts at the theater in 1997, and has since grown it to be a popular location.
The Tabernacle rises 45 feet from the floor to its windowed cupola, with its roof supported by open truss work and two columns of solid chestnut. The Mt. Tabor Post Office operates in its basement, and where the police station and jail were once housed. “This building plays like a vintage guitar,” said John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), on a night he shared the At The Tabernacle bill with Hot Tuna.
Donavan, Hot Tuna, and Art Garfunkel
The list of legends that have appeared at The Tabernacle stage grows yearly. Once bitten, they aren’t shy about coming back. Names like: Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Hot Tuna, David Johansen, Donovan, the late Richie Havens, Tom Rush, David Bromberg, and Willie Nile, among many repeat guests. Kick back, watch, and listen to the great stories from Joe about when Art Garfunkel wanted to have the local noisy train stopped, or Donavan’s color of lights for his songs.
Bill Tuli- Author of Stratocasters and Telecasters- A Love Story
If you wanted to know everything there is about Fender Strats’s and Tele’s, Bill’s new book is for you. Bill is a guitarist and author with several published books including Naked and Dimed, Naked and Dimed is a great book that focuses on the tones from different guitars and amps.
Stratocasters and Telecasters- A Love Story, is Bill’s share of the love he has for these guitars, he has played Strats and Teles his whole life. In this book, Bill wanted to explore why he loves them. it turns out the reason was far more complex than he ever thought. The book is filled with vintage pictures of Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters and technical data. In the second part of this book he explores the history of vintage Fender guitar values. Bill also explains the values they are today, and why, as well as where it’s likely headed tomorrow.
Great quote from the book “The other day my wife asked me how many guitars I owned. For the first time ever, I told her the truth. She didn’t get mad. She just seemed a bit puzzled. She asked: “Why would anyone need that many guitars?” I didn’t know. But I did know why the vast majority of them were Stratocasters and Telecasters. In this book, I answer that question.
Another quote from Bill. “It took me 40 years to completely understand why Stratocasters and Telecasters are so powerful. You cannot play one like the other. They have distinct personalities. You simply have to master each one separately. Most guys devote their lives to either one or the other. I feel blessed that I somehow managed to discover how to play both.”
Ken has some great stories working for Stone Temple Pilots. In their early days, he made a Slide Bandolero for guitarist, Dean DeLeo, and when he smashed Dean’s favorite guitar on stage. Ken tells the story of how he and some of the other guys from the road crew opened up for them at one show. We discuss him being a tech for Gene Simmons and Eric Singer of Kiss, and his return to Alice Cooper.
Part Two of a Two Part Story
Video interview with Ken Barr (Part 2)
Ken Barr’s band, “Monkey’s with Guns” opening up for STP
Pat St. John is no stranger to the Rock N’ Roll music scene, and has just about met everybody in Rock N’ Roll. He was one of the most popular DJ’s in the country for most of his years at New York’s WPLJ. He was rated by Arbitron as the most-listened-to afternoon radio personality. Pat has been recognized by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland by being added to their display of America’s Greatest Classic Rock Air Personalities.
Detroit, WPLJ, and WNEW Radio
Pat was brought up in the Detroit area and loved the music of Motown. He began his radio career on Windsor, Ontario’s CKLW (800 AM) in 1968 and 1970, followed by WKNR (1310 AM) in late 1970 to early 1972, followed by WRIF FM (101.1) to April 1973. St. John is best known for the 42 years he spent in the New York City radio working for WPLJ, WNEW-FM, WAXQ and WCBS FM. In 1973, Pat jumped on the offer when ABC (WRIF and WPLJ parent company) to be a DJ on their album-oriented rock (AOR) station WPLJ in New York City, He stayed at WPLJ for 15 years and left to join WNEW-FM, a WPLJ competitor. Pat became the station’s program director in the early 1990’s and was a DJ during the mid-day. In 1994, Pat did the morning show through 1996. Pat left WNEW after their format switched to a hot talk format in 1998.
Satellite Radio, SiriusXM, and WCBS
After Pat left WNEW, he received an offer from up-and-coming Sirius Satellite Radio and was one of the first programmers as the Director of Classic Rock Programming. Pat stayed on as Sirius acquired XM Satellite Radio and changed their name to SiriusXM, and is one of their most popular personalities. Pat has been on many of the station channels, including, “60s Vibrations,” “The Vault,” “Deep Tracks,” and “Sirius Blues.” Since 2014, Pat has been on the ’60s on 6 channel weekdays 3PM to 7 PM ET.
While he was at SiriusXM, Pat also joined WCBS-FM in 2000 and stayed through 2015 ,.
Ken Barr was a road-crew technician (folks these days don’t like the word Roadies because they are a lot more technical than a Roadie) for a lot of bands throughout his career. He started out in the NYC area clubs in 1978, and eventually landed a gig with Debbie Gibson in the early 1980’s when her first album was released. Ken has worked as a drum tech for Eric Singer of Kiss and Alice Cooper, then ultimately became Gene Simmons‘ bass tech, handling both Eric and Gene. He has worked with Air Supply, The Bangles, Alice Cooper, Stone Temple Pilots, and many other artists. In 2009, Ken decided to share his amazing stories in his book, We Are the Road Crew.
In 2003, Sean Gilday formed Blue Raven Entertainment in New Jersey after starting a successful merchandise company in 1994. The merchandise company was also involved in making concert T-Shirts. When Molly Hatchet asked him to make their T-shirts, they were so impressed with his product and fast production, that they turned him onto other bands such as Blackfoot, Jefferson Starship, and others. Sean then became an agent in booking bands as a result.
More on Blue Raven
Blue Raven is based in Mountain Lakes with offices in Illinois,Texas, and Siberia. They handle all aspects of the music business from merchandise, booking shows, and finding new talent, such as The Outcrops. They work with national acts and tribute bands. Blue Raven also works with festival shows, especially the New Jersey Rock, Ribs, and Ridges that Howard Freeman promotes every year in Sussex County. Check out the interview below with Sean and hear from him about Blue Raven as well as a couple of funny stories that he has to tell.