Leroy is from Long Island, NY. He started his career by learning how to setup and maintain his own guitars in the late 80’s. Soon, he made connections in the business and had the opportunity to travel as a guitar road tech for Joe Jackson and Marshall Crenshaw. He was fortunate enough to apprentice at Mandolin Brothers with Flip Scipio in 1991. Flip taught him the skills and respect needed to care for them. In 1996, Flip left Mandolin Brothers to start his own shop at which time Leroy took his place as the Head of Repair. Leroy stayed with Mandolin Brothers until 2010.
Aiello Guitars and Eric Clapton’s Guitar
Leroy left Mandolin Brothers to open Aiello Guitars in Point Pleasant, NJ. He has worked on many restorations, but the ones that stand out are a guitar arriving in a bag and another authenticating the historic Stratocaster used by Clapton in Cream. Here are Leroy’s own words about being a luthier… “It’s always been about taking an instrument that ‘used to be special,’ and transforming it into an instrument that ‘is special.’ Whether it’s a setup or a full restoration, I’ve always felt that each guitar or mandolin shouldn’t be just a ‘routine job.’ The end result is always in my head before I even start. The before and after is the brass ring for me. I perform restorations, both routine and extraordinary — D’Angelico’s, 19th and 20th century Martins, and many other classic and rare vintage guitars.”
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.”
Dick Boak started at Martin Guitars in 1976, and is well known in the guitar world. 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. Dick was soon hired as a design draftsman. Throughout his career, he has held many diverse positions, but his favorite was leading the formation of Martin’s Artist Relations Department, and the conception of more than 100 signature guitar collaborations, with artists such as; Eric Clapton, Mark Knophler, Paul Simon, Steve Miller, and many others.
Eric Clapton and the 000-42EC Model
After getting phone calls about the guitar that Eric Clapton used for the MTV Unplugged show, he was permitted to contact Eric about Martin issuing a limited edition Eric Clapton model. Eric loved the idea and the final version was based on the guitars he used for the Unplugged concert. Martin made 461 copies of the Eric Clapton 000-42EC model and was sold out immediately upon release. Dick has worked with Eric on several models over the years. He was so grateful to Eric on the attention he brought to acoustic guitars and Martin, that he wrote a personal letter about him that was published in Acoustic Guitar magazine.
Mario Andretti and Other Interests
After 42 years with the company, Dick retired in 2018. His retirement party is a dream to some folks – the party was held at the State Theater in Easton Pennsylvania, and was called Boak’s Bash (see the video below), featuring Steve Miller, John Mayer, David Bromberg, and many others. Dick spends his time working on his illustrations and music. He was also asked by his neighbor, Mario Andretti, if he could assist in helping with putting his racing archive together.
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.
Perry Leandro is well known for being a violinist, but his musical career did not start out that way. He started playing guitar at a young age and was a student at Berklee School of Music., Perry even had a lesson with Barry Gordy. It wasn’t until Perry was in his 30’s when he discovered the violin. It has been a passion of his ever since. Perry is a violin and guitar teacher and offers lessons through his website, LearnBluesViolin.com
NYC and The Killer Blues Band
Perry’s passion is not only the violin, but the music of the Blues. Perry was a regular at the blues clubs throughout New York City and was asked by the owner of the Chicago B.L.U.E.S. Club if he could put a house band together, Perry soon put a band together with his violin in tow and called the band, The Killer Blues Band. The band was also the house band for BB King’s Blues Club on 42nd, also located in New York City. The Killer Blues Band have also released one album, The Mighty River.
Video interview with Perry Leandro
Perry Leandro’s version of “Summer Song” by Joe Satriani