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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Steve Alba Finding New Ways to Shred

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Belmar’s Bowl Bash, an exclusive 20th anniversary celebration of Kelly Belmar’s popular Orange County skate bowl, went down over the Thanksgiving weekend.

According to pro skateboarder Steve Alba, Belmar helped save the sport back in 1990 when he built a pool in his backyard for skateboarding. Since there were really no skateparks or private facilities at the time, Belmar’s backyard skate pool became an Orange County standard.

Check out Alba’s blog on the anniversary bash, which also included Alba shredding on his Gretsch White Falcon.


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Fred & Dinah Gretsch Honor John Lennon

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Gretsch Guitar Placed at the Imagine Memorial in Central Park

Representing the fourth generation of Gretsch musical-instrument manufacturers, Fred and Dinah Gretsch made a visit to New York City’s Central Park today — the 30th anniversary of the assassination of legendary singer, composer and musician John Lennon. The couple was there to place a Gretsch Historic Series acoustic guitar near the “Imagine” memorial within the Strawberry Fields area. The guitar was inscribed with the word “Imagine” as well as being signed by Fred and Dinah. It was their way of paying their respects to John Lennon and to all his fans.

Although the Gretsches have lived in Georgia for many years, Fred Gretsch spent his boyhood in the New York City area.

“I was here in 1964 when the Beatles came,” says Fred. “Coming back to New York, where my family roots are, always kindles many tender reminiscences. But coming this time to honor John Lennon’s memory makes this visit especially poignant.”

Inside the tribute guitar placed by Fred and Dinah was a copy of a photo that’s near and dear to their hearts. It shows John Lennon playing a Gretsch guitar during the recording session for the Beatles’ classic hit “Paperback Writer” in 1966. The following reference to that guitar appears in the Beatles Gear book by Andy Babiuk:

“Keeping in step with their scheduled LP and 45 releases, the group set out to record a new single, ‘Paperback Writer.’ The April 13th session was photographically documented for The Beatles Monthly Book providing detailed information on the instruments used. New to their guitar line-up was a Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 that Lennon used. The early-1960s orange-finished double-cutaway 6120 hollow body guitar had gold-plated hardware apart from its aluminum-colored Bigsby [vibrato tailpiece].”

In addition to the fact that John Lennon played the guitar, Fred Gretsch offered another reason for its sentimental value.

“It would have been made in the 1960s at the Gretsch factory in Brooklyn,” he explained. “My uncle, Fred Gretsch Jr., was running the company at that time. And ironically, Uncle Fred died in 1980—the same year in which John Lennon died.

“John’s music made an impression on millions of people around the world,” he concludes. “And it continues to do so, generation after generation. We placed the guitar at John’s memorial as a symbol that we hope will remind people of the power and importance of his music.”

CLICK HERE to watch video from the visit.


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Hot Rod Walt & the Psycho-DeVilles Get TV Time

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Gretsch artist Hot Rod Walt and the Psycho-DeVilles were recently featured in episode 9 of Café Racer, the new hit series airing on Discovery HDTheater.

In the show, custom bike builder Alan Bernard of Santiago Choppers in Gibsonton, Fla., takes his good friend Hot Rod Walt a custom-built café racer (based on a Kawasaki Z900 engine and fit into a vintage Martin racing frame) for a test ride on the south side of Atlanta.

Hot Rod Walt, who chose his stage name because of his own hobby of building custom bikes and cars, was happy to oblige. After taking the bike for a test run through the Georgia hills, Hot Rod Walt joined the Psycho-DeVilles to celebrate, entertaining a packed house with their rockabilly tunes.

The bike will be auctioned off at Mecum Auto Auction in Orlando, Fla., this January. All proceeds will be donated to Coaches Curing Kids’ Cancer. 

Watch the episode below.


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Brian Setzer Earns Grammy Nod

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The Recording Academy revealed its list of Grammy nominees last night during the GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live, which aired on CBS.

Gretsch signature artist Brian Setzer earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Brian Setzer Orchestra track “Sleepwalk.”

In 1998, Setzer won a Grammy award in the same category with an earlier version of “Sleepwalk,” which appeared on breakthrough album The Dirty Boogie.

Here’s BSO performing the tune at the Montreal Jazz Festival in June 2010.

We’d also like to congratulate rockers Neil Young and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell on their Grammy nods. Young picked up three nominations for material from Le Noise, including Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. Campbell’s band will battle Young for Best Rock Album with Mojo.

The winners will be revealed on Feb. 13, 2011, during the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

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